WOMEN IN INTELLIGENCE

Cold War

Topics included here:

1. Central Intelligence Agency

2. U.S. Military

3. U.S. Spy Cases

4. Women's Groups

 

1. Central Intelligence Agency

Bender, Margaret. Foreign at Home and Away:  Foreign-Born Wives in the U.S. Foreign Service.  Lincoln, NE:  Writers Club Press, 2002. 

Peake, Studies 47.2 (2003), finds that the author "interviewed 40 women from 28 countries and she tells their stories with eloquence.... In a chapter titled 'CIA Wives:  To Love, Honor, and Take the Polygraph,' Bender tells how many wives react to the revelation that marriage to their fiancé ... requires a background investigation and a session on the box.  The rules for foreign-born CIA wives are special and Bender discusses many of them, some of the foul-ups that occur, and the various support services available."

Garbler, Florence Fitzsimmons. CIA Wife: One Woman's Life Inside the CIA. Santa Barbara, CA: Fithian Press, 1994.

Clark comment: The CIA career of Garbler's husband was derailed around 1964 when he came under investigation by James Angleton as a Soviet mole. Paul Garbler's obituary appears in Adam Bernstein, "CIA Cold Warrior Paul Garbler; Won Payment Over Loyalty Slur," Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2006, B6.

Surveillant 3.6 notes that Garbler's husband spent thirty-six years (1942-1978) in the intelligence business and was the first chief of station in Moscow (1962-1964). Garbler blames Richard Helms "as weak for refusing to step in and curtail an out-of-control Angleton who was engaged in a character and career assassination campaign of her husband and others."

According to S.E., CIRA Newsletter 20.2, the "first portion of this book relates a wonderful love story.... Then, despite its title, it begins to represent the memoirs of both husband and wife chronicling their more than 25 years with the Agency.... [I]f the couple were fond of a CIA or cover colleague they usually do not name that person.... Former Director Richard Helms and DDO Tom Karramessines, Foreign Service officers Malcolm Toon and Walter Stoessel, along with others, each come in for their own harsh treatment."

Nelson, Kay Shaw. The Cloak and Dagger Cook: A Memoir. Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2009.

This is the story of a CIA employee-turned-traveling-spouse of an operations officer. Peake, Studies 54.2 (Jun. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), notes that the book "is mainly about [the author's] cooking, dining, and travel experiences, although [she] does not ignore her life with a CIA case officer and as a mother." It will "have a special attraction" for Agency families.

Peterson, Martha D. The Widow Spy: My CIA Journey from the Jungles of Laos to Prison in Moscow. Wilmington, NC: Red Canary Press, 2012. [pb]

From publisher: This "is the first hand account" of a Cold War spy operation in Moscow. Peterson "was one of the first women to be assigned to Moscow.... Her story begins in Laos ... where she accompanied" her CIA officer husband and where he was killed. "[H]er own thirty year career begins in Moscow, where she walks the dark streets alone, placing dead-drops and escaping the relentless eye of the KGB."

Peake, Studies 56.2 (Jun. 2012), finds that the author "conveys the personal and professional pressures of working in Moscow.," thereby providing "an unusually close look at the life of a CIA case officer operating under difficult conditions." Lukes, IJI&C 27.1 (Spring 2014), believes "[s]cholars of Soviet intelligence will find The Widow Spy to be indespensable, as will those seeking to understand the sometimes shaky role played by intelligence in the American political system."

For Steelman, Star News (Wilmingon, NC), 10 Mar. 2012, the author's privately published book "could have used a better editing job. Peterson's bob-and-weave storytelling technique might confuse some readers, especially those who aren't up on their Cold War history. For those still fascinated by that period, though, Peterson's book will be an invaluable addition."

Roosevelt, Selwa "Lucky". Keeper of the Gate. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Slatkin, Nora. "Women in CIA." CIRA Newsletter 21, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 3- 7.

2. U.S. Military

Harris, Gail, with Pam Mclaughlin. A Woman's War: The Professional and Personal Journey of the Navy's First African American Female Intelligence Officer. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010.

Reddig, NIPQ 26.2 (Jun. 2010), notes that when the author "retired in 2001, she was the highest ranking African-American female in the Navy.... This book is very human in scale, approachable and inspirational." Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), comments that this "is an inspirational story for career intelligence professionals in general and for African American women in particular. A really valuable contribution to the intelligence literature." Peterson, AIJ 29.1 (2011), says that this "book is full of ideas, advice, historical moments, and life. It is not a heavy read..... [I]t is a story of determination, perseverance, spirituality, and success."

3. U.S. Spy Cases

Bentley, Elizabeth.

Foster, Jane. An Unamerican Lady. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1980.

Olmsted, Kathryn S. "Blond Queens, Red Spiders and Neurotic Old Maids: Gender and Espionage in the Early Cold War." Intelligence and National Security 19, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 78-94.

Elizabeth Bentley, Judith Coplon, Priscilla Hiss, and Ethel Rosenberg "received the most media coverage of any female Communist spies, and their cases best illustrate the gender constructions used to interpret them."

4. Women's Groups

Laville, Helen.

1. Cold War Women: The International Activities of American Women's Organizations. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002.

Alonso, Journal of Cold War Studies 7.3 (Summer 2005), finds that the author "emphasizes the relationship between some U.S. women's voluntary organizations and U.S. government policy during the early years of the Cold War." Several of the organizations' international efforts were "unofficial activities of the U.S. government with some monetary support from governmental agencies." In fact, the "Committee of Correspondence ... received its funding directly from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency." A weakness of the book is that "Laville speaks of women's 'voluntary' organizations as if the few she covers represented all of the women's voluntary organizations in existence at the time," but "barely mentions the organizations whose main work was ... peace and social justice."

2. "The Committee of Correspondence: CIA Funding of Women's Groups, 1952-1967." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): 104-121.

3. "The Memorial Day Statement: Women's Organizations in the 'Peace Offensive.'" Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 192-210.

The 1951 Memorial Day Statement, signed by the leaders of 10 women's organizations, "re-affirmed American women's gendered commitment to peace but defined this peace in a way which could oppose and thwart the aims of the Soviet peace offensive.... They became less partisans for peace and more advocates of a ... peace ... which demanded such corollaries as freedom and democracy."

Van Voris, Jacqueline. The Committee of Correspondence: Women with a World Vision. Northhampton, MA: Interchange, 1989.

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