CIA Reveals Name of Former Spy in JFK Files—And He's Still AliveBreaking News
tags: JFK, CIA, Richard Gibson
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Paris beckoned African-American intellectuals hoping to escape the racism and conformity of American life. Chief among them: Richard Wright, the acclaimed author of Native Sonand Black Boy, who arrived in 1947. He was soon joined by Chester Himes, an ex-convict who mastered hard-boiled detective fiction, James Baldwin, the precocious essayist, and Richard Gibson, an editor at the Agence France-Presse.
These men became friends, colleagues and, soon, bitter rivals. Their relationship blew up after Gibson forged a letter, published in Lifemagazine under the name of one of Wright’s friends, attacking the French government for refusing to give up its colony in Algeria. Wright was enraged, and he dramatized their falling out in a roman à clef he called Island of Hallucination, which was never published, even after his death in 1960. In 2005, Gibson published a memoir in a scholarly journalrecounting the political machinations his former friend had dramatized, tellingThe Guardianhe had obtained a copy of the manuscript and had no objections to its publication. "I turn up as Bill Hart, the 'superspy...'," Gibson said of the story.
Wright's book was apparently prescient. On April 26, when the National Archives releasedthousands of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they included three fat CIA files on Gibson. According to these documents, he had served U.S. intelligence from 1965 until at least 1977. The Gibson files revealed his CIA code name, QRPHONE-1, his salary—as much as $900 a month—his various missions, as well as his attitude(“energetic”) and performance (“a self-starter”).
The most curious part of the story: Gibson is still alive. ...
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