The Guardian posted this item this afternoon:
"Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who became a bitter critic of Washington's Cuba policy, has died aged 72, Cuban state media reported today. Agee quit the CIA in 1969 after 12 years in which he mainly worked in Latin America. He was later denounced as a traitor by George Bush Sr and was threatened with death by his former colleagues. His famous 1975 book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, cited alleged CIA misdeeds against leftwingers in the region and included a 22-page list of people he claimed were agency operatives.
"Granma, Cuba's communist party newspaper, said Agee died on Monday night and described him as 'a loyal friend of Cuba and fervent defender of the peoples' fight for a better world'."
It is extraordinary that the report makes no mention of the fact that George Bush Snr's description of Agee was a simple statement of the literal truth. Agee was no mere political dissenter from CIA misdeeds. His affiliation was confirmed by documents smuggled to the West by the late Vasili Mitrokhin, the KGB's chief archivist from 1972 to 1984. These were made public in The Mitrokhin Archive, 1999, by Mitrokhin and the Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew. The authors state (p. 300): "Agee became in effect the CIA's first defector. In 1973 he approached the KGB residency in Mexico City and offered what the head of the FCD's Counter-Intelligence Directorate, Oleg Kalugin, called 'reams of information about CIA operations'."
With self-defeating circumspection, the suspicious KGB resident turned Agee away. So Agee turned to the Cubans, who unsurprisingly welcomed him enthusiastically and shared the information that he brought. How many Western agents died as a result of Agee's treachery is, so far as I'm aware, not public knowledge. We can but retrospectively congratulate the Labour Government of James Callaghan, and particularly the Home Secretary Merlyn Rees, for having disregarded protests and deported Agee in 1976. (The Labour Party organised a national demonstration against racism later that year - a pressing issue given the support then being gained by parties of the extreme Right - which saw Rees being shouted down by what was then the International Socialists and is now the Socialist Workers' Party, itself an organisation of the racist Right. Agee's deportation was the complaint.)
The Morning Star (in a notably generous review of my book Anti-Totalitarianism, by Andrew Murray of the Communist Party of Britain and the Stop War Coalition) once described my politics as "those of an unmodified cold war warrior". I take this as high praise, and confirm that I regard Agee's service on behalf of totalitarianism with unalloyed hostility. His was an ignoble life, and I do not mourn his passing.