Spy Wars author Tennent “Pete” H. Bagley in the news

This week, The Washington Times and the New York Post are reporting on the recent cancellation of Tennent “Pete” H. Bagley’s scheduled appearances at the International Spy Museum and the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC.

Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games: Tennent H. Bagley Bagley, a former CIA officer, is the author of Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries and Deadly Games, (Yale University Press, May 2007) a new book in which he breaks open the mysterious case of KGB officer Yuri Nosenko’s defection to the United States in 1963.

The Washington Times says, “Intelligence sources said a network of current and former CIA officers opposed to Mr. Bagley’s views was behind the cancellation. . . .Mr. Bagley said in an interview that he believes his talk at the CIA was canceled because agency officials objected to his views on Mr. Nosenko. ‘It’s the Nosenko case,’ he said. ‘I give very powerful, convincing reasons to believe that Nosenko was a plant.’ The suspicions were confirmed by post-Cold War discussions with former KGB officers, he said. . . .A CIA spokesman said Mr. Bagley’s talk was not canceled due to his message but because of questions regarding prepublication review of the book. ‘Intelligence officers are routinely exposed to a range of views on complex topics — that’s a key part of the job,’ the spokesman said.”
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The New York Post article says, “For months, Tennent Bagley had been scheduled to speak yesterday at Washington’s International Spy Museum about his new book, ‘Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games,’ which argues Nosenko was a KGB plant. But on Sunday, museum executive director Peter Earnest phoned his fellow ex-Company man Bagley to cancel the talk. Bagley told a group of cloak-and-dagger types at the Yale Club he was disinvited ‘because the old spies that run the place back the official CIA position that Nosenko . . . was legit, not a provocateur. . .’ “

1 Discussion on “Spy Wars author Tennent “Pete” H. Bagley in the news”
  • Bagley’s book is fairly convincing, if a little scary. After reading Spy Wars, I was so intrigued that I read about 25 other books about CIA afterwards to try and put Spy Wars into some context. The Nosenko debate really was one of the most curious episodes in CIA history, and nobody has made (at least publicly) a solid case for his bona fides or a solid case against them, though Bagley comes close. I suspect that this case is so convoluted by now that one would have to view thousands of classified files to make up one’s mind on Nosenko. What is evident, though, is that he was clearly caught in several lies, and to this day, that affair still haunts The Company. Former DCI Richard Helms, writing in 2003 (note: post 9/11 debacles), said that the Nosenko affair was probably the strangest and most complex case in CIA history. The reason, obviously, that it causes so much stress to so many people is that Nosenko’s claims about Oswald are at the heart of the “lone nut” vs. conspiracy arguments. To this day, Nosenko appears as a “source” in anti-conspiracy documents and documentaries on the History Channel purporting to prove that Oswald did it alone. Whether CIA wants to admit it or not, and regardless of whether or not Nosenko was a plant, there are gaping holes in his story and due to his relationship to the JFK assassination investigation, his credibility is an important thing to verify and is therefore worth debating. CIA and the Spy Museum did a disservice to intelligence and intellectual honesty by not letting Bagley speak.

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