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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 11th May 2018 > The Woman Who Kept the Secrets

The Woman Who Kept the Secrets

Gina Haspel’s CIA colleagues praise her discretion, but that trait bedevils her hopes of running the agency



IN THE SUMMER OF 1969, THE CIA director urgently sought a meeting at the White House. Richard Helms was determined to get President Richard Nixon to quash an Army investigation into the murder of a Green Beret informant in Vietnam. The case was threatening to expose the CIA’s assassinations program in that country, as well as the agency’s more discreet killing devices, including lethal drugs.

Nixon despised the urbane Helms—and the CIA as a whole, which he considered part of the fashionable Georgetown crowd that looked down on him. But after letting Helms stew over his decision for a few weeks, Nixon forced the Army to drop the case. Helms was eventually tainted by the CIA’s dirty deeds but escaped town with an ambassadorship to Iran, leaving his successor, William Colby, to take the fall in widely televised hearings in 1971.

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