tv Q A CSPAN December 5, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EST
information but just other more personal emotional information he was not forthcoming. so, i thought it would be very frustrating. then another reason is i was watching wolf blitzer's coverage of the fall of the twin towers on 9/11 and he asked james baker how it asked and baker said i trace this back directly to when colby revealed the family jewels of the c.i.a. when he testified before the pike and church committees and that just decimated america's ability to conduct covert action around the world. i thought well i guess my father is relevant. then two weeks later i saw photographs of c.i.a. operatives wearing turbans and riding camel back and i thought that looks like o.s.s. i thought maybe there is a story here. host: your father lived whether years? guest: 1920 to 1996.
born as an army brat. never lived in the same place more than two years. very formative years in china which was just before the manchurian invasion. he had a taste for the orient. he under military. he was the boy you find on the edge of the parade ground. host: i wrote down a quote from the documentary. my father was the coolest character i ever knew. what did you mean by that? guest: as a boy i grew up understanding the lore of who he had been and what he had done. he was opposite of santini. a quiet self-effacing person. he had opinions but was not pushing they will on you. his favorite expression when we would argue about the vietnam war you would get your points across and he would get his and he knows more about it than i did but in the end he would say fair enough. as if well, i respect your opinion, just give my opinion a
shot. i always remember that about him. he wasn't pushy, not the great santini. not physically aggressive and ruling the roost with a big iron fist. i think we picked up on that and understood him. host: what were the major jobs he had in his life? guest: the first job was probably just being a terrific son to his military father and his mother who believe it or not his father traded. he went it princeton at 16 and never looked back. he wanted to be in the spanish civil war fighting on the side of the republicans. went in o.s.s. parachuted behind enemy lines fighting nazis. then he went to being a lawyer in new york and he once told me american can offered me a job in the general counsel office and looked at me like i have nothing against 10 cans but i can't see
spending my life like that so he joined the c.i.a. that was just forming and went to italy where he worked on influencing the elections so the christian democrats would win and communists would lose then to vietnam and that begins another story. host: when i first met you the first thing was my goodness you look just like your dad. do you get that often? guest: i do. i can't help it, i guess. he was a creature of washington as well as being other places. he loved the give and take of d.c. you look around the world especially america and it is so contentious and people are at each other's throats. but i still feel like washington is a place you can talk and you could have donald rumsfeld and patrick leahy once in a while in the same world and he wanted to have that world where we could disagree but come up with the best solutions to today's problems. host: we found video in our
archive of your father back in anyo 1989 talking to interns and we used this before we show the documentary to establish what he looked like and what he sounded like. guest: sure. >> bobby kennedy lived nearby and drove by this sign and came am and said this is a the silliest things. here is the secret intelligence agency with a big sign pointing to it. for god's sake at least take the sign down. we took it down. he did have quite a lot of influence. for 15 years we pretended that that big building wasn't there. even though every pilot on his way out of national airport used it as a check point, turn hrfrt at c.i.a. because it was so obvious. host: what did you see there? you knew him. guest: what i see there is brutal honesty. he is not afraid. he is not afraid of you physically certainly. he is just not afraid of the
public. he is afraid of the enemy in terms of what they can inflict on us but he is not afraid of us. he said what are we afraid of. meaning what are we americans afraid of in terms of setting policy. if we have a drone policy or we have a policy of being in 18 to 20 countries we don't talk about, then i don't want to reveal operational details. but let's talk about that policy. let's see what we can and can not do and should and shouldn't do. as leahy said if you don't like the policy don't pass it and live with the consequences. but he didn't fear us. host: what was the phoenix program that he was either in charge of or involved in with vietnam? guest: probably the most controversial thing was involve in he was called back in 1968 to vietnam by president johnson at the time. i remember my sister bought him
a sable russian fur hat and he was the new chef of the soviet block. that is the biggest assignment you could get but then johnson called and said we want you to go to vietnam and run this pacification program. that was really a program of a little of what is going on, a lot of what is going on in afghanistan and anbar province in iraq, which was secure part of a town like general mcmaster in afghanistan. if you go in a hot zone secure at least one section and make it livable for the people then build out there and when people can go to work and raise their children and buy their rice and whatever, then secure some stability for the place and start using our intelligence. that is what the phoenix fapassf i kicks feels. -- pacification was. it is not a shooting war. it is get to know the village
aerpsd their needs and learn through them. phoenix was the tip of the spear. that is where the villagers helped identify who the viet cong were and north vietnamese and they would capture and enter get and hopefully turn them. it would be like my dad with the drones. he would say it is fun to kill bin laden or a couple other higher ups but you don't want to be killing the middle level guys. you want to capture them, enter get them and best of all flip them. get them to work for us. host: viet cong were south vietnamese who were supposedly communist and involved in fighting the government. guest: yes. host: how long feels the involvement -- how long was the phoenix program and when did it blow up? guest: by 1968 the war had gone badly in terms of the conventional attack and westmoreland said we have a one war philosophy. we are going to conduct every
operations but make this a people's war. he started being effective. the phoenix program tip of the spear there were some abuses. we go out and say this guy out in fairfax would say we are here he is my cousin and i think he is hanging out with taliban and we ought to capture him and enter get him and maybe -- enter get him. are you just settling a grudge? is he taliban or not? it is difficult to corroborate the evidence. so he suffered for that. because 29,000 suspected viet cong sympathizers were killed in the program. that is a lot of people. but the north vietnamese general said after the war colby hurt us. it was destroying their infrastructure. but by then america was fed up with the war and saw the pictures of people being bet up, tortured, bodies laid out in mass graves and thought why are we there. so the controversy began shortly
after he came back to the united states and when he was appointed to be director of the c.i.a. host: what were his politics from what you can remember? guest: i would say he was an f.d.r. liberal. he was j.f.k. kind of incarnate. he was extremely active in world war ii. he drank the milk of f.d.r. he believed -- he was a democratic activist i would say, truly.awyer conducting sort of activist rallies and supporting downtrodden workers. going in the c.i.a. i think a lot of people from yale and ivy league ers. the tricky part is at the end of the 1960's when it goes saw her. i think that he stayed being liberal under the covers, and when you see him in the clips that you have where he is
very open and very willing to engage with the public and in a sense no longer the clan des find -- clandestine d person. it is going to be out in 35 cities and 104 minutes. host: when did you start working on it? >> i was inspired by that 9/11 story but about 2005 so it is a long slog. two years of edited with my editor in new york, grace tkpwougen anaheims -- guggenheim with my producer and an extraordinary amount of archival footage. it is a trip down american foreign policy from world war it. how long have you been doing documentaries? guest: since the 1970. i couldn't just come out of the
box and make this. see the film, i had to be very careful what i said and how i said it and in terms of accuracy. i'm dealing with some of the most important issues america ever faced so i did a lot of homework. host: here is your mother talking in the documentary. >> sometimes it was difficult to ascertain just who we were and where we were going at a certain point. one evening we went to the theatre and i saw -- i recognized a couple whom we had dined with the night before and i started to go over and say oh, how are you, wasn't that phrfpt last evening? and my husband took me aside and said quiet, quiet, we don't know these people. we don't know these people. well, we did know these people.
there were times when, really, i didn't know what role we were playi playing. who are we tonight? >> we would go somewhere, family trip on the weekend, peck nick pws kept in the basket -- basket in the back and he would meet somebody, have a conversation, deliver something. he and my mother and the family left town, drove up north apnd went and passed a radio to somebody. it was a picnic. that wasn't a lot. some time later one of my dad's friends said your mother has a lot to do with your father's success. they were a great team. >> the family wasn't always let into this world of his.
beginning of course with the c.i.a. code of need to know. he never had to really tell me anythi anything. i suppose that is the c.i.a. modus on ran did i. -- operandi. i remember seeing one woman say my husband tells me everything. well, i was a little jealous but i thaought, no, it couldn't be. they don't tell us everything. they tell us very little. host: why did mom agree it do this? guest: when i first set out doing the interviews i thought i will obviously call up my dad's old friends and that got me about three or four interviews. i did 85 interviews in total, 35 are in the number. then i started thinking well i better talk to people like james schlesinger, brent scowcroft, hopefully donald rumsfeld,
generals, admirals. host: james schlesinger was director? guest: yes. host: and brent scowcroft national security advisor. . exactly. so with people of that ilk you can call them and they will say high carl, maybe but won't agree to an interview so i probably took two days it write each e-mail. then i think i will interview my mother. she will have something to say. then the whole movie changed because she brought the human element, the underneath. what are we doing? what is show doing? she is keeping him to a high moral standard. she referred to the c.i.a. as catholics in actionlike in the f.b.i. especially the early years, a lot of catholics because they have a moral compass and they operate from a moral point of view or at least you hope they do. religion, morality is part of their mindset.
that was part of mine too. i went to gonzaga here it d.c. and georgetown so i was surrounded by the jesuits and they made you think. we were taken as boys to the march on washington, the tent city and the priests would say what do you think? is this legal? should they be here without a permit? is this a greater cause at work? what do you boys think? what do you 14-year-old's think? that was the best education i ever got. but to your point, my mother lived the life. she was his partner. she may not have known very many secrets or think secrets at all. but she supported the member of the club. she was not a member but she supported the membership like we all did. i remember once i had been in indonesia and i said i met mr. x, fantastic guy, wonderful. said nice things about you, too. she said no, never repeated his
name again. so, what i took by that is that he is obviously operating in deep cover. my little part of the game and part of my job is to support my dad and still mention his name. people would come to the house sometimes and i would think back, why is that monsignor here. who was that general? ? then you see the general on the front page. or who was that bicyclist that would come by who seemed to exchange notes and send him on his way with a packet of money? was that just charity? it is always something else going on. my theme in life, everybody has a touchstone and mine is things are not what they seem. host: how much of a relationship did you have with the c.i.a. in this project? >> i was treated like a normal citizen with the c.i.a. i called up to ask for different biographies or if they had any don't recall on footage or archival material or any unclassified material on my
father. and they eventually gave me a book about pacification that they had redacted and i looked at that. no official cooperation at all. and i preferred that. it is arm's length. host: here you are talking about your father in the documentary. >> he was in pretty good shape. 6:00 in the morning canadian air force exercises, push ups, jumping jacks, legs going up and down. he called me sport when he kind of liked me. when he was annoyed at you you friend. listen, friend. if you had done something badly he would get the belt out. he didn't like lying. he certainly believed in corporal punishment. he could be relaxed. well, frankly, he didn't have any friends. he had people he worked with. he didn't have a lot of romantic ideas about spying.
he saw it for what it was. dirty business. >> how tall was he? >> my height, around 5'8". when he was a maim parachuting into norway he was 125 pounds, 5'8". he could ski. he was all heart. he was all heart. host: how catholic was he? guest: he was very catholic. growing up. i would say after he leaves the c.i.a. things too long another turn. but as you can see from that clip, i say some provocative things about him but at the same time to me what were honest things. when i say he didn't have any friends he was obviously friendly with the people in the agency. but it was a club. and there is not a lot of room for the outsider, the insurance salesman to be part of this clique. they like to talk it each other.
they are all cleared. they are 150,000 to 200,000 people in the washington area who have a top-secret security clearance. i'm sure they mingle at the bridge club or the soccer game with other people. but when push comes to shove, they are on a team and they are to win. and i think it is quite compartmentalized. that is what his life was like. host: why would we not suspect that you are a member of the c.i.a.? guest: i don't think so. why would i be out making movies? host: it could be part of the disinformation or information of the c.i.a. guest: that would be wild. that is like when oliver stone came to visit my father and was accusing him of being part of the plot to kill j.f.k. and my father was a very patient person but i think he really ended up throwing oliver stone out of the house. i know oliver stone and i would
throw him out, too. he can be really a bore. he makes you think there were only two people not involved in the j.f.k. assassination, according to stone. himself, oliver stone, and harvey oswald. host: your family, five kids, where are they and what is their age group? . my older sister died but my others are hear in washington. host: what do they do? any in the c.i.a.? guest: no c.i.a. a little mix of government and business. host: where do you fit? guest: i'm the middle. i had a older brother and older sister, younger brother, younger sister. host: when did you know you were going to be a documentarian? i was going to be a tkphrat or maybe art dealer and never c.i.a. because my father had the top job. he encouraged us to manufacture other directions.
his father had been a writer and he made a story about gene davis and people liked it and i kept going. maybe i should have done something else. but i kept going. i liked having a point of view. host: how many documentaries have you done? guest: probably more than 35 to 40. a lot of profiles. the question why did i never profile my father earlier. i think when the subject is in front of you -- arithmetic -- right in front of you it is harder. i did a story on the artist franz ocho-uno -- kline and he was an abstract painter, big friend of dekooning and everybody had a different thing to say about franz china clinic. that he was kind of a bastard, abandoned his wife and he was the most charming person, wonderful, have a drink with him any time of the day.
in a way, i saw a different aspect of my father. that is why the movie is called the man nobody knew. host: how many years did he work with the c.i.a.? guest: i would say from 1950 to 1976. host: and how long was he the director and what years? guest: he was the director of 1973 to 1976. he came in after schlesinger who was only there 15 weeks. then he was flipped around with that saturday night massacre or whatever where schlesinger went to defense and my father stayed at the c.i.a. but became the top. he was appointed by nixon. then when nixon fell, ford kept him on for a short time. but the crowd around ford, republics, schlesinger also, and chen cheney, consikissinger, just sa dad was giving away too many of
the secrets of the c.i.a. which he didn't need to do at that time. host: one of the remaining controversial issues around vietnam is a man named di everyone -- diem. what role did he play in your father's life? guest: president of south vietnam in the 1950's and early 1960's were catholic and both controlled the country. eerie parallels to j.f.k. and r.f.k. my feature was tasked to be in constant contact with nhu who controlled the special forces who was the fixer or strongman. and things started to unraffle because we started with a pass if i kicks program earlier, countersturgt s
countersurgt seu. and it seemed to be working but the american military got impatient with special forces used in a advisory role. they wanted them to find, fix and kill the enemy. diem got in hot water, he was a catholic in a buddhist country a buddhist set himself on fire and killed himself. and it was a huge incident. flashed all around the world. his wife didn't help out. madam nhu saying that the buddhist were barbing their mornings. so -- monks. but support for the government was falling. but he was a believer in the government but this was a coup instigated in part by the americans and certainly henry cabot lodge the ambassador at the time and it really unrave d
unraveled. host: diem was president of vietn vietnam, south vietnam, what years? guest: from 1954 through 1963 when he was killed in the coup. host: john f. kennedy was president when he was killed? i john f. kennedy died three weeks after the assassination of diem. host: here is the clip of your mother and tim winer talking. >> november of 1963, i was at mass that morning and your father came in to the church in bethesda and said pray for the diem brothers, pray for the souls of the diem brothers. they have been found murdered, which was a shock, a terrible shock. bill stayed for that mass.
and we pray ed fervently for president diem and his brother. what was so difficult about it was that in hindsight and immediate hindsight we persons have to realize that we bore some share in this tragedy. not personally, but somehow things went wrong somehow. >> this was an extraordinary moment of presidential and the result feels a president and his brother with their hands tied behind their backs and bullets in their heads. and a shattered illusion, which is that we were building a democracy in vietnam. it was only three weeks later
that john kennedy was killed. lien condition johnson said -- lyndon johnson said when he found out what the role of the united states was we just have a bunch of thugs that killed them. >> the u.s. responsibility for diem's death was clear and once that was done it became not the south vietnamese wore against the north vietnamese but it was our war. the albatross was around our neck and it was ours from then on. host: who was the hrlast gentlen guest: hugh tovar a legendary station chief and operative in indones indonesia, laos, extraordinary individual. really cut out of the same cloth as my father. tremendously loyal, diligent, extraordinarily intelligent. extremely well connected.
just the judgment and sense of history. can you imagine cherry picking the best in america to study their history, speak the language and accepted them in this and get to know the generals and police and one of my dad's friends, robert myers, former deputy chief of the far east division and publisher of the new republic, one time told me, i said what about the diplomats? don't they do a lot? he says diplomats aren't worth anything. the only people you really need to talk to and want to talk to are the military and the police. gives you an idea of what kind of real politics, harsh world, we are talking about. host: do we know today who ordered the assassination of the diem brothers? guest: apparently it was a cabal of a general and big men and his cohorts.
there was a plan to spirit them out of country and get them to some safe haven but it went badly and they were killed in an armied personnel carrier outside of saigon. host: how far can you go up the chain of american government where there was support for this? guest: well, certainly lodge wanted a change and he was held bent on -- he was hellbent on effecting a change. you have to see the film, but a tough exchange between john f. kennedy, robert kennedy, harriman, mcnamara, my father, bundy, rusk, the whole crowd mulling over a coup. should it happen, should it not, to whose advantage, toying with the world. host: in that group lodge was running mate of richard nixon in 1960. guest: exactly.
>> you had mcgeorge bundy a republican from harvard. guest: uh-huh. he was a big favorite of j.f.k. harvard mafia. host: national security council and robert mcnamara who was also supposedly a republican. for the motor. here they are sitting around and i remember from the film i think bobby kennedy was against the assassination. >> he was against a botched counc coup. he didn't at the present time to happen and unraffle. and diem be taken out and die and what options do we have? he said it is not like a coup in south america or iraq where we can control it. thought it could go south. when you hear that you think do you think they would be against a coup. but there are conflicting forces at work and lodge, having been the vice presidential running mate of nixon, he was a confident man and i think he
took the job of ambassador to set it the way he wanted. host: how long had he been there when the coup happened? . a few weeks. and as harriman and j.f.k. note he had only been there once maybe as a reporter on a trip. host: whose idea was it to make him ambassador to south vietnam from the united states? . was john f. kennedy's idea to have him to be ambassador to provide cover on the republican side on capitol so it was a shared war. wasn't going to be a democratic war. host: what is your opinion after you studied this, would john f. canada kennedy had gotten out of vietnam had he not been assassinated and been re-elected? guest: strangely enough my father thought that r.f.k. in 1968, even though he was on a campaign saying we are going to get out of vietnam and it is immoral, he thought robert kennedy was somebody he could
work with that would have gotten out of vietnam more gradually. i think my father would felt john f. kennedy never would have approved 500,000 troops in vietnam and would have sought the more quiet war, the secret war. probably the one we are inviting in afghanistan now. host: back to the documentary, a minute and a half on your father's assignment to vietnam and the role that your deceased sister played in that. >> he had a length lengthy ass. he came back periodically. we would go to vermont. tried to carry on life as we had known t. and it was -- he was called to serve and he did. he did it capably. >> when it documents long separation, my mother was at loose ends. she lost the center out of already life. it was very hard for her.
a year or so into his being there my sister catherine became ill. she had had epilepsy since she was a child. alternatively -- terrible seizures. she had anorexia nervosa. it was awful. my mother took on the suffering of my sister. she would make it go away for my fath father. there couldn't be any other way. everything for the mission. and i remember i looked over at her one evening, she was writing him a letter, i think in viet m vietnam. i saw that she was a woman, not just my mother. she was lovely. she hadn't signed up for this.
but she did. host: how well did you know your sister? guest: quite well. she was only two years older than i was. she was not as sociable as i was and she had epilepsy from an early age. so, she was different. she was kind of the odd duck you might say. very celebrate, spoke four languages. went and lived in israel. extraordina extraordinary. she had to come home because they found out she had epilepsy and said we can't care for you here. she said the medication is fine. in a lot of ways she was the fiercest of all the siblings. she was a lot like my dad. a redhead, failures, spoke all those languages. intensely curious about the world. a fighter. host: what year did she die? guest: she died in 1973.
host: when you see the documentary she played a major role in their lives. how did you see it as one of her siblings? guest: well, that is a hard thing to say but i think once she was dead it was over and she was forgotten. i think my father's way of dealing with the world if you imagine your daughter dies at the same time as you are going before hearings in the senate for your approval of c.i.a. tkrorp and they are grilling -- director and they are grilling you about an assassination where you personally supervised the killing or set the architecture of a program that killed more than 29,000 vietnamese, be that they are viet cong, that is a tough character. committee or public know that he was losing a daughter during that time? guest: i don't think so.
and a few of the people in the white house might have known but my father wasn't anyone to ever seek kind of a pass or seek your sympathy for his predicament. not built that way. host: more of -- tell you that once an old washingtonian was managing director of covington and burling and my father's best man at his wedding one time told me carl your dad could be sitting across from you as you are now and he could be talking about gaddafi or the weather, somebody could be sawing off his right arm and he wouldn't so much as flinch. host: i was starting to say more your mom's anguish from the documentary. >> people would turn to me and say your dad was a murderer.
my immediate reaction used to be you don't know what you are talking about. then i would find myself thinking, well, was he? what was he, really? it is a very difficult field, real really. those who serve had loyalty to the agency itself but certainly must have inner loyalties in behavior, which they would not violate. and one has to take on favorite and trust that the right thing is being done. and perhaps they did good. it is very difficult, find, to
explain. host: why did you do tease interviews with your mother and how many days did you spend with that project? guest: i did interviews with my mother twice on camera in h.d. in a studio like this, very comfortable with a cameraman gary steele who was one of my oldest friends. so it was a little bit lake family. and she is like barbara stanwick with an ivy league education. host: what year did you do them? >> i did them a few years ago. then i did audio interviews with her. i would go over to her apartment and we would talk and grace guggenheim would record it and we would just talk, a mother and a son, about things, about the life and her life. lot of things came out of that. i like the starkness of being in a studio where you can concentrate your thoughts like studio that you have.
enables you, if you are a good questionerlike you are, to folk your attention and keep driving and getting at those little nuggets that may spill out. because, remember, you are dealing with somebody, at least my father, and my mother in some ways as well, these are hard nuts to crack. it is like peeling an onion. you get to one just like the other. trans-lucent. i'm not learning a thing. is that leading me somewhere? practice in the art of deception. i wouldn't say my mother was but certainly my father host: whether year did your father die? guest: 1996. host: is kwryour mother alive. guest: yes but he had raceway married. host: but is she still alive? guest: yes and she came to the opening show in washington last friday. host: this is probably gratuitous buttier mom never
locked better than in that film. she looks better with age. . i told her that and people come up with me in theatres and anybody who would love to come to the theatre on the opening weekend because i'm usually there whatever city and we do q&a and people grab me and say my god your mother is extraordinary. she looks more beautiful now. i think it is her spirit. she is kind of that indomitable spirit. i didn't put this in the film but while i interviewed her we were talking about iraq and afghanistan and she said where is my sacrifice? what am i being asked to do? where is my part? if we're at war give me something to do and maybe i should ration, or maybe i should go visit the v.a. hospital or wrap bandages. where is my sacrifice. host: quick clip with seymour
hersh. >> i did learn from people inside the agency that there had been these documents called family jewels and i had your father's gone number and he called him and he did see me and didn't lie to me. if i said there was at least 120 cases of wiretapping of american citizens contrary to the wall, he said my number is only 63. there was a question of the numbers. he did not back away from the question of wrongdoing. that is one hell of a story. host: the fellow this wall street the malai story. >> he said a little more than what you might imagine. if you trace back what he said, he said that he was pivotal to the publishing of that story. so, my father was the source in some ways to that sorry. host: the leaker. guest: the leaker, at the top. you might say my god why would he do that. i think my father was doing what
he had said he was going to do, is that he was going to keep the good secrets and let out the bad secrets. there had been wrongdoing, 697 instances of assassination plots, experiments on human guinea pigs, torture of suspected double acts on american soil. these were not opening bell whwl d these were not opening bella abzug's mail. they needed to be revealed. but he was not going to reveal the names of agents and he was not going to reveal perhaps other operational details or histories that probably would have not have done well. host: this goes back to what you said about jim baker on 9/11 saying colby was responsible. guest: people to this day think the c.i.a. never recovered from
my father spilling the beans because it set up a culture of exposure of leaking, of the congress being perhaps overly zealous in its attentions to what the c.i.a. is up to. robert gates i interviewed as well and the c.i.a. doesn't like on the front page. they should be not in the newspaper at all, not referred to. they are a secret organization, remember. host: gates is not in this documentary. no.t: host: you said you did 85 interviews, 35 are in it. what do you do with the rest of the material? . all of the material will be part of the expanded d.v.d. and other follow-up programming that we may do. so, keep tuned. but gates, for instance, is an extraordinary person because he has humility, he has deep understandi nderstanding, and he also told me that he has the support of a very strong president during his contentious hearings which were
about iran-contra whereas my father had little or no support from what woodward called in the film ford, the accidental president. host: when is the d.v.d. coming out? guest: probably next summer. a clip m going to show next, this was a surprise to me when i watched the documentary. i don't know where i missed this. let's run it and you can tell us about it. >> i'm not sure he ever loved anyone. and i never heard him say anything heartfelt. by the time i turned 30 i came to understand the man that knew. or at least i thought i did. >> when he saeid i want a divorce, i was really knocked ov over, really surprised and shocked. i said, but we are catholic, we don't believe in divorce. so, there goes the catholicism. i mean, i don't know.
he was a dedicated public servant. who gave his best to his work. and i think we had a good family life as long as it lasted. i guess i would say he was a complicated person who maybe i didn't know as well as i would hope to think i do. host: when i was watching that it really did stop me dead i didn't know. but i wondered why in the world would she have cooperated? because up until that point it is all very sympathetic. guest: my mother is an honest
person. she has currently and she has character. and -- she has courage and she has character and she is not afraid to face the truth. my father changed in my opinion after was thrown out of the agency. if you watch the film closely and study him, he is a sole. toughest, the dirtiest assignments given to him by the presidents from eisenhower onward. but when it came time for the president, ford in this case, asked him to lie and misled congress he couldn't do it. where is the authority, moral or otherwise as woodward said, and he sided with the constitution. rememb remember, that liberal democratic lawyer from new york, he knows the hlaw. there is a very big law, article one. congress has an thornton -- congress has an authority and you can't speak falsely to
congress and the american people. host: he was fired by ford. was he given a reason by the president? guest: no, just going to 32 times to testify in capitol hill one year. i think he had seriously lost of that process. i think that congress -- it was a witch hunt and he was the whipping boy. he had lost a lot of authority as director of central intelligence and i think the white house just wanted to get a handle on this. so they put in george h.w. bush, who was a friend of lot of people in congress and was a politician. and congress is made up of politicians. and they could deal with a politician. host: we found this from peter jennings newscast the fifth month sixth day, 1996.
>> in maryland the body of william colby was recovered from a marshy area of a recover a complex man who master minded covert u.s. operations and spent years repudiating them was missing after taking a can new trip. is jack smith. >> colby's wife sally who had continued until the end to hold out hope that he was alive spoke to reporters about her husband after identifying his body. >> there is not much that was left undone for him. fascists and fought the communists and he lived to see democracy taking hold around the world. >> officials say there is no occasion of foul play. >> we are still considering this a fatal boat accident. that is how it is being investigated. >> colby a life-long spy was the perfect under cover agent the traditional gray man so incon speckous he can never catch the
in the restaurant. was fired at c.i.a. director after advocating a retreat from cloak and dagger operations and continued raising eyebrows by advocating nuclear disarmament. president clinton said colby was a dedicated public servant who led the c.i.a. knew challenging times. sally colby echoed those thoughts. >> his children and i his wife are very proud of him and very proud for what he accomplished and what he brought to this world. host: jack smith, who is the son of howard k. smith reporting that. what is or what was your relationship with his second wife? guest: cordial. i would see him and her when i would visit washington in the 1980's and early 1990's here and there every few months weld get together and have dinner at his
house. i kept up with my father on the telephone and saw him in los angeles or new york when i would be there. because i was not living in washington. host: had you do you think he -- how do you think he died? guest: well as the coroner reports probably overexerted himself out paddling his canoe in the evening after he had a few drinks and fixed his favorite meal. but i have to say in my opinion i hark back to a conversation i had with him a few months before he died and i called him up or we were talking and i say by the way your old friend judge teeter was found under a bridge in middleburg, vermont, and he has advanced alzheimer's and spent the night under a bridge. he said that will never happen to me. i said really. he said yep. one day you will hear i was walking along a goat path on a greek island and i fell to the sea. i said really?
he said yep. just like that. he didn't want the aarp card. never accepted senior discount. got angry with me when i said you get a discount if you take that flight on a senior discount. he didn't want to grow old. host: no evidence of foul play or did you -- guest: no, i mean we looked into it and i'm sure the agency looked in it and there wasn't any foul play. he had enemies but that was a long time ago. host: what was your mother's reaction? guest: i think she was saddened that he was gone. she was, of course, not the wid widow. she didn't receive the flag at arlington. but i think she was sad, really, that he had again, that was g e gone. she admired him. host: did you think at any time he took his own life? guest: no. host: not like him? guest: not really like him. but i think that he was done.
i think that he had done what he was going to do. host: he was how old? guest: 76. host: whether if he was here today and watched what was going on and certainly the last 10 years in iraq or 10 in afghanistan? guest: i think that he would feel number one the c.i.a.'s regard in the american people would be favorable. i think what he would question would be the persistent drone attacks and other such things. the drones to him would be perhaps not the most efficient way to deal with our enemy. it is one thing it take out bin laden in a seal raid or a drone attack, a senior al qaeda official. but when you use them against other middle level officials, it is so antiseptic and surgical that i think he would coldly
it would be worth kphurg that fell -- capturing that fellow and turning that fellow. remember, remember that fellow lind the american taliban from sonoma california, three years grows a beard, goes to pakistan and he is in the inner council of the enemy. due think we could recruit a few more like that? i think he highly valued human intelligence, the relationships. just like you, brian, have relationships in washington. you can't trade those. when you are on the phone they can trust what you are going to say. i think my father would like what the british system is more. they don't hire thousands of no when a crisis hits. they just call the old boys back this the business. host: here is your father, we found this in our archives in 1996, april 5, a few weeks before he died.
>> the problem the chinese will tell you the reason they favor the pakistanies having the fable of capable capability is because the indians and they say we will foreswear a capability if indians with and the indians will say they can't foreswear it as long as the chinese so you have the teufpinkers to evers t chance and they pass the ball and continue to develop the capability. they say it i'm doing it for my own protection because the others are doing it. host: had you ever heard him use to evers to chance the old baseball analogy? he was talking about something that is relevant today. guest: i think he was very f farsighted. his nuclear freeze feelings back in the 1980's, now you have george schultz, william perry,
henry kissinger calling for american unilateral nuclear disarmament. that is something my father talked about in the 1980's. he was very active. he looked to have influence. as long as he could have his voice heard that was enough. host: you live where today? guest: i live in washington, d.c. host: are you married? guest: yes. host: children? guest: yes. host: are they interested in this guest: interested in what? host: this kind of information on their grand father? guest: i think so. i have one child and he is just recently commissioned as an officer in the marine corps. host: what do you want folks to get out of this? guest: i would like people to under what sacrifice is being done for their sakes by peoplelike bill colby. there are thousands of women and men in c.i.a. and special operations command who are the bill colbies of today and tonight they are lift willing off out of an air base and do we
support them? people behind them and is this president selling the secret war to the american public? what i would not want to happen is for something to go awry, a couple of drones get out of control, a bomb goes off in a new york city subway and the c.i.a. is dragged up before congress again and who is the whipping boy? david patraeus? not likely. he is probably one of the most respected men in america. it won't be bill colby. host: who didn't talk to you? guest: nobody relevance didn't talk to me. i just tried to talk it dick cheney and henry kissinger. i made some overtures. cheney was interested but he was working on his book and then he had a heart ailment issue. kissinger i could never really nail down and by then i was pretty far along. host: the most valuable new thing in your film? guest: i would say scowcroft's
honesty and the show of how much opposition there was against my father's forthcoming testimony before congress was really revealing to me. it shows the push-pull all the secret operations are now under the looking glass. host: the name of the documentary "the man nobody knew" that is william colby. former c.i.a. director and your father, carl colby. we are out of time and i thank you very much. guest: thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> for d.v.d. copy call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or give us your comments visit us at q&a.org. "q&a" programs are available at
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