William F. Buckley and the CIA


EconomicPolicyJournal
July 13, 2009

It is well known that William F. Buckley spent some time in the CIA before he went on to start National Review.

[efoods]In certain libertarian circles, the charge has been made that Buckley never left the CIA and that, indeed, the CIA funded the launch of National Review.

All of this makes a note in a book, Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir, by Buckley’s son, Christopher, quite interesting in that it ties a string between Buckley and the CIA, after Buckley was already involved with National Review.

Christopher Buckley writes that in the early years of National Review, his parents rented out an apartment above the garage at their house to a Charlie Blair, a Pan Am airline pilot. According to Christopher, Blair was more than just a Pan Am pilot. He was also a CIA operative who trained Francis Gary Powers to fly the infamous U-2 spy plane that was shot down by the Russians during the cold war, as it flew over Russia.

No smoking gun here, but it shows that there was at least one tie between CIA people and Buckley, during his early National Review days. And quite a tie at that.

Note: Christopher’s book also details that Buckley stayed in contact with his former CIA boss E. Howard Hunt (Of Watergate notoriety). When Hunt’s wife was killed in a suspicious plane crash, Hunt told WFB that if he died, WFB would be contacted with some material that was to be released to the public. WFB told Christopher that he thought it was dirt on some presidents.


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