New Yorker Ed Koch Kibbutzes with CIA Director Dick Helms in 1969
Fearless Ed's Own Account 30 Years Later
At breakfast, we were given a briefing by the director. I can't recall a single thing he said, but I do remember thinking, "why am I here when I could be back in my office working?". I had learned nothing of real and perceived dangers to national security. For them, this was clearly a dog and pony show staged for the benefit of impressionable novices in Congress.
After the director finished his lecture, he said, "Now you can ask me any question on your minds. This is the only time you'll have that opportunity until you get on one of the senate oversight committees, and that is many years away."
My question was, "Would you tell us, please, the size of the CIA's budget?". The director laughed and said, "That's one of the questions we never answer". I said, "You mean to say I, as a congressman voting on your budget, will not know how much I'm voting for?" He replied, "That's right. Our budget is buried in some other agency's budget, and is not identified as such." I said, "You mean the CIA's budget could be buried in the budget of the Social Security Administration?" He laughed and said, "Yes: we've never used that one, but its not a bad idea."
Well, a few year's later, then CIA Director George Bush called Ed to let him know that, in retaliation for Ed's vote against continued military aid to Uraguay, the latter's counter intelligence agency had put out a contract on Ed's life... for which George declined to lend Ed any agency protection. Bummer.
So twenty five years later, Ed tells all. Here's a tip o' the hat to Ed for his delayed-fuse courage in complaining about lack of protection from a threat on his life, when it didn't seem important enough to do a Paul Revere number on discovering the agency was already killing the American public's (apparently arguable) right to know where their tax money is going.
What a guy.