From to Prouty was the "Focal Point Officer" for contacts between the CIA and the Pentagon on matters relating to military support for "special operations" but he was not assigned to the CIA and was not bound by any oath of secrecy. The book details how the CIA started as a think tank to analyze intelligence and states that the CIA had no authority to run their own agents or to carry out covert operations but that they quickly did both and much more. The book provides many details about the organization's activities and how they operate. In Prouty's own words, from the edition of The Secret Team :. In Studies in Intelligence , a CIA journal, Walter Pforzheimer wrote about the book that "Reading it is like trying to push a penny with one's nose through molten fudge.
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After leaving the US Air Force USAF , he became an outspoken critic of the intelligence establishment, although by the time JFK was filmed, he had been relegated to the fringes along with countless other conspiracy crackpots. When asked why he did not use Prouty's name in the film, Stone said: "Because the man does not want to be known, he doesn't want to be traced.
It seemed that the shadowy image of the figure Sutherland portrayed, instructing the naive New Orleans attorney Jim Garrison Kevin Costner , was one Prouty was proud to fit. As a young man in Massachusetts, his early ambition to become a singer was interrupted by the second world war. He served, first, as an army tank commander, and then as a transport pilot. He claimed to have flown in the first overt cold-war mission, rescuing Nazi intelligence officers from the Balkans at the bequest of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, in In , Prouty was assigned to coordinate operations between the USAF and the CIA, and remained in intelligence duties until retiring in to join an aircraft company.
He later worked in banking and public relations, while writing on intelligence topics and the assassination of Kennedy. His book, The Secret Team, was reviewed seriously.
In it, Prouty called the CIA, and the cold war, a cover story, which had allowed elements of the military and intelligence community to work on behalf of the interests of a "high cabal" of industrialists and bankers.
It found a ready audience in the atmosphere of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers, and, in the light of Iran-Contra and CIA drug-running controversies, many of its revelations have been confirmed. A mass-market paperback was published by Ballantine in , but the book immediately became hard to find. Prouty believed it was "disappeared"; at any rate, copies remain collectors' items.
After that, his writing became increasingly marginalised. He continued to develop links between the secret team and the Kennedy assassination, characterising the events in Dallas as a way of thwarting the US president's plans to take control of the CIA after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Prouty later claimed that Lansdale was in Dallas - and visible as a passer-by in the famous "tramps" photograph - on the day Kennedy was killed. Like other assassination critics, he found an outlet via the Liberty Lobby, a far-right organisation with ties to Holocaust deniers.
Although Prouty himself never espoused such beliefs, the connection enabled critics to dismiss his later writings. He remained active, via his own website, until his death, and is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three children. It is appropriate that Fletcher Prouty, who has died of organ failure following stomach surgery at the age of 84, will best be remembered as the model for the mysterious Colonel X, played by Donald Sutherland, in Oliver Stone's film JFK.
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L. Fletcher Prouty
A former colonel in the United States Air Force , he retired from military service to become a bank executive. He subsequently became a critic of U. Prouty was the inspiration for the character "Mr. Prouty was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on January 24, In , he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst then known as Massachusetts State College. Prouty was commissioned as a reserve 2nd lieutenant in the cavalry on June 9, and began his military career with the 4th Armored Division in Pine Camp, New York. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on February 1,
THE SECRET TEAM
Air Force Ret. Author's Note. Preface to the First Edition. Preface to the Second Edition. Preface to the Third Edition.