Saturday, July 16, 2005

UNDERCOVER CIA MOMS

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My mom and dad being SPIEIs awards for their great work

During WWII, my father became one of the youngest OSS/ONI officers. He went deep into Germany looking for the secret rocket factories. He had a most exciting time of it. After the war, the OSS was disbanded and he became a civilian again, a respected astronomer.

My father's activities during WWII were so classified, he reported only to Gen. Eisenhower himself or the President of the United States. Because it was so classified, after the war, all information of it was kept hidden from view only to be partially declassified in the late 1980's. When I was tracing my father's activities in Europe in 1968, I met a number of Germans who told me many astonishing stories. To them, my father was a dashing figure. I was rather annoyed at his quiet image at home. Geeze. Like living with Tarzan only he is wearing a business suit and glasses to hide himself!

When the CIA was launched, they reached out to my father and mother. Since my father was deep cover ops already, they kept him that way. He was the perfect person for this sort of thing for he is very good at what he does in the open: astronomy. He traveled around the planet organizing observatories and conducting classes in physics and his constant companion was my mother.

My mother is a great woman who keeps a low profile at home. I could spend days telling you funny or amazing stories of her. She was the real intelligence gatherer for no one paid any attention to her as she travelled about, poking her nose into everything, talking to everyone. She rummaged about the planet, quite literally.

When I was a child, she went off on these long journeys to India or Africa or Europe and we were cared for by Rosie. She couldn't call us on the phone during the early years because after WWII, there was very spotty phone service in many countries. Even from Europe, I remember the calls. You had to yell to be heard. The calls from Asia had to be passed hand by hand via various operators who didn't do very good English so my mother's speech to us fledglings often came across in hilarious forms.

In the sixties, I would call their secretary and ask her, "What part of the planet are they at now?" Sometimes she didn't know, herself. Once they turned me loose in Europe, they were the ones demanding to know what country I was in! Turned the tables, yah.

I became suspicious of my parents when young because they knew too much. They would talk to each other and forget some of us have very big ears. The mysterious helicopters that would suddenly appear dropping into the horse pasture whenever there was a crisis certainly wasn't normal. The bizarre flights on supersonic jets my father took when there were really bad stuff happening impressed me. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis! He gave us the helmet and parachute from that ride. All our friends laughed at us when we showed them as proof our dad did weird things. I also riffled through my parent's office when they were overseas. I pieced together a great deal this way. I used to wait until they changed their IBM typewriter ribbons and then fish it out and reconstruct letters. I felt like a real spy.

What I was doing was dangerous, of course. Finally, my father noticed my activities, I suspect he was warned to stop me because I talked to Statsi agents in Germany so he ordered me to not tell anyone anything anymore.

My own affairs became tangled with my parent's CIA activities. I was active on the world stage while they were increasingly upset with me interfering with them.

"We are trying to protect America," my father would say, his face in pain.

"You are not protecting America, you are protecting the rulers of America," I countered. "And they are evil."

One thing, though. I will protect my parents. Up until four years ago, I never wrote a word about them nor did I talk to any reporters. But now this is all over because they have retired for more than a decade. I promised them at least this.

When my mother was overseas, she could have been killed. Back then, most governments assumed she was out of the loop instead of deep inside it. If the top advisor to any President were to tell the DC top reporters, "Professor Meinel's wife is a undercover CIA operative who works in China and Saudi Arabia," for example, my mother could have been killed! Luckily for me, this never happened.

But Bush and Rove did this to another mother in the CIA! And this ticks me off, a great deal.

Jesse Walker of Reason Magazine makes fun of the outing of Plame. From Reason Magazine
Before Neil Bush had some trouble with a failed savings and loan and before Jeb and W. entered politics, George H.W. Bush's most famous child was the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, passed with much fanfare in 1982. Under that law, an official who deliberately reveals a covert agent's identity faces 10 years' imprisonment and a $50,000 fine; it was passed to stop the activities of former CIA case officer Philip Agee and the magazines Counterspy and Covert Action Information Bulletin, which between them had exposed over 2,000 alleged agents of the company. For former CIA chief Bush, such revelations were an outrage: They had led, he argued, to the death of one agency employee—Athens station chief Richard Welch, assassinated by Greek leftists on December 23, 1975—and they had to be stopped before they killed anyone else.

Now the law is back in the news, thanks to Robert Novak's 2003 column revealing that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war whistleblower Joe Wilson, did undercover work for the CIA. Newsweek has fingered Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, as the man who leaked Plame's other identity to the press; he soon may be in trouble under the act aimed at Agee. One reporter has been jailed for refusing to cooperate with the investigation, and another barely missed imprisonment. All for an edict that shouldn't have been passed in the first place and ought to be junked today.
I am going to tell you something: every time my mother was cornered, she would put on her most innocent face and say, "Why would the CIA send a mother of seven children overseas to spy?"

I can't tell you how many times my parents were facing armed people who were on the verge of killing them and how they talked their way out of it all, time and time again. Especially my mother. They were in constant danger and sometimes, so were we, the children. When others in the CIA reported that Statsi agents were tracking me, he told me to come home and go into hiding.

Of course, I didn't. I said, "The CIA is more worried that I will spill the beans on them in the European press." He couldn't refute this.

The passage of the CIA laws was done by Bush to stop whistle blowers within the CIA. It is immensely funny that this law is biting off the head of Bush's childish son, Bush Jr. A fitting end to all of this.

One more thing: actually, the Russians and Chinese know who our spies are. In the beginning, when Nixon opened China so he could withdraw from Vietnam in one piece, the Chinese assumed all Americans interacting with them were CIA spies. And guess what!

They were right!

They told me this. I laughed with them, they laughed nervously. While spying on me, they quickly discovered that I was a person non grata with the government and the CIA and with my own parents so they relaxed and sometimes would even blurt out the truth which is why, when I tell you what they are thinking, I am not making stuff up.

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