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Angleton on Dennis Blair

JJA: “True enough, although their son was in the Israeli Defense Forces at the time, so there are at least some grounds for saying he was ‘really’ an Israeli.”

ML: “Fair enough.  But he’s certainly wrong about Hezbollah.”

JJA: “You bet.  And his departure rant suggests that he really doesn’t have the temperament you want in your top analyst.”

ML: “And that raises questions about Blair’s judgment, too, doesn’t it?”

JJA: “The same questions arise.  Is Blair going to be just another participant in the policy debates, or will he stick to his job, and just do intelligence?  He just had a “round table” with some journalists, for example.  I don’t like that.”

ML: “It seems to be all the rage.  Even the Brits do it, nowadays.”

JJA: “Yeah, I’m years out of style, I know.”

ML: “Out of style, nothing, you’re dead as a doornail.”

JJA: “haha, yes.  So I’m really like the dinosaurs.  Truly.  But I still think the head of a secret intelligence service should save his words for his president, and for those endless oversight committees.”

ML: “And did he stick to intelligence?”

JJA: “Not hardly.  When he was asked about Iran, he unburdened himself of this:

...the important thing that we’re doing with Iran is trying to figure out the overall relationship, and to try to work for a future in which Iran sees that it can have its security without nuclear weapons.  And that it can advance both its economic prospects and its own view of where it is in the region, and in the world, without the use of the backing of extremist groups and possessing nuclear weapons.

ML: “And your point is?”


ML: “You don’t have to yell.”

JJA: “Sorry.”  He started to cough.

ML: “You still smoking cigarettes?  I thought they’d cracked down on that.”

JJA: “Maybe when Bloomberg gets here.  Anyway, you’re a fine one to talk about smoking...”

ML: “Cigars are different.”

JJA: “That’s what Freud thought, and look how he ended up.”

ML: “You giving lectures on smoking?  Good grief.”

JJA: “Obama is supposed to ask Blair how the Iranians see the world, and Blair is supposed to answer THAT question.  Then Obama is supposed to ask Blair what the Iranians are up to, and Blair tells him.  If Obama asks him what he thinks we should do about Iran, Blair is supposed to say, ‘that’s not my job, Mr. President.  It’s hard enough to understand these guys, believe me’.”

ML: “Got it.  Anything else catch your attention?”

JJA: “Damn right there was.  That incredible line about the Guantanamo terrorists.”

All of a sudden there was a bit of static, and it sounded like the wires were frying.

ML: “Oh, yes, that bit about welfare for terrorists?”


More sparks, and an acrid smell, kind of a mixture of burning insulation and Camels.

JJA: “HE JUST TOSSES IT OFF: ‘If we are to release them in the United States, we need some sort of assistance for them to start a new life.’  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?  NOW HE’S THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE SECRETARY OF HHS!!!

And he was gone.  There are limits to his patience, after all.  Even there.