RARA-AVIS: The Phillips Brothers

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 30 Sep 2000

Bill Crider can correct me if I am wrong as he has the Nevins interview with James Atlee Phillips handy but my memory of it is that James and his brother David avoided contact for years. This is logical as James was writing the Joe Gall series about semi-rogue contract agent who disliked the agency and David was a top CIA official. It had to be awkward for David. Whether there was any conflict over the Bay of Pigs or anything else, I have no idea. James did say in the interview that he actually traveled to each of the countries featured in the series.

All this ex-spook discussion, reminded me that I met Richard Helms, former CIA head, after he retired. One time I ran into him at a TV production studio in Washington and went over and shook his hand. He was a little surprised but not unpleased at being recognized. At that time I was still wearing a Montagnard tribesman bracelet given to me in Vietnam. In the twenty years I wore that bracelet, Helms was one of only six or eight people to recognize it's origin. He asked me when I served in Vietnam. I asked him how he had guessed that and he just pointed to my bracelet. At that moment I remembered that when he was in Vietnam he had been in charge of the Phoenix program that orchestrated the "elimination" of scores of VC-leaning village and province leaders.

He was so friendly I ventured to ask what he thought of E. Howard Hunt. Helms twitched a shoulder, scowled and said dismissively, "He was a romantic."

Richard Moore

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