Victor Marchetti

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Person.png Victor Marchetti   Amazon Sourcewatch SpartacusRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, author, whistleblower)
Victor Marchetti.jpg
BornDecember 23, 1929
DiedOctober 19, 2018 (Age 88)
Alma materPennsylvania State University

Victor Marchetti was an ex-CIA officer whom the agency disillusioned. He wrote the 1974 book, CIA and the Cult of Intelligence.


As an American soldier, Victor Marchetti was recruited into the intelligence agencies in 1952 during the Cold War to spy on East Germany. He applied to join the CIA and did so in 1955. He soon became a leading CIA expert on Third World aid, with a focus on USSR military supplies to Cuba.[1] In 1966, Marchetti was promoted to the office of special assistant to the Chief of Planning, Programming, and Budgeting, and special assistant to CIA Director Richard Helms. He also worked as a special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He resigned, disillusioned, in 1969.[1]


Victor Marchetti with John D. Marks wrote CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, arguing that reform was needed in the CIA. The manuscript was completed in 1973. CIA officials read the manuscript and told Marchetti and Marks that they had to remove 399 passages, nearly a fifth of the book. After long negotiations the CIA yielded on 171 items, leaving 168 censored passages. The publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, decided to go ahead and publish the book with blanks for those passages, and with the sections that the CIA had originally cut but then restored printed in boldface.[2] This was perhaps the first book to use blacking out to reveal the extent of its censorship in this way.

He has continued to publish various articles critical of the CIA.[1] In 1978, after the highly suspicious death of John Paisley, told Harrison Edward Livingstone and Steve Parks of the Baltimore Sun that he thought that he was killed because of fears that he was "about to blow the whistle" to the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Marchetti has claimed that MK-Ultra was never abandoned - that was just a cover story. He has also stated that he believes the United States has made contact with extraterrestrials.[3]

CIA in universities

Helms asked his staff to find out just how many university personnel were under secret contract to the CIA. After a few days of investigation, senior CIA officers reported back that they could not find the answer. Helms immediately ordered a full study of the situation, and after more than a month of searching records all over the agency, a report was handed in to Helms listing hundreds of professors and administrators on over a hundred campuses. But the staff officers who compiled the report knew that their work was incomplete . Within weeks, another campus connection was exposed in the press. The contact was not on the list that had been compiled for the Director.”
Victor Marchetti (1974)  [4]

“To the Clandestine Services the universities represented fertile territory for recruiting espionage agents. Most large American colleges enrolled substantial numbers of foreign students, and many of these, especially those from the Third World, were (and are) destined to hold high positions in their home countries in a relatively few years. They were much easier to recruit at American schools — when they might have a need for money, where they could be easily compromised, and where foreign security services could not interfere — than they would be when they returned home. To spot and evaluate these students, the Clandestine Services maintained a contractual relationship with key professors on numerous campuses. When a professor had picked out a likely candidate, he notified his contact at the CIA and, on occasion, participated in the actual recruitment attempt. Some professors performed these services without being on a formal retainer. Others actively participated in agency covert operations by serving as "cut-outs," or intermediaries, and even by carrying out secret missions during foreign journeys.”
Victor Marchetti (1974)  [5]

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