Dewey Clarridge

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Duane R. "Dewey" Clarridge" (1932-) is a legend of U.S. intelligence and covert operations, who now heads the Eclipse Group, an organization that provided intelligence-related services to the U.S. government and private organizations. He left the Central Intelligence Agency as a result of his activities in the Iran-Contra Affair, for which he was convicted of lying to Congress, but pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. Not long before leaving government, he wrote an autobiography, A Spy For All Seasons: My Life in the CIA.[1]

Current activities

The Eclipse Group provided intelligence services to the U.S. government until May 2010, and continues to operate with private funding. Their operations are believed to be most extensive in Afghanistan, where he opposes the rule of President Hamid Karzai and his power-broker half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. Eclipse Group also has operations in Pakistan. The New York Times reported that Brad Thor, a novelist and frequent guest of Glenn Beck, receives reports, as does conservative commentator Oliver North.[2] The Times first reported on his operations in March 2010. [3]

Opinions on intelligence

In 1997, he presented his views on intelligence after the Cold War, with emphasis on the role of what is now the National Clandestine Service, still part of the CIA, responsible for clandestine human-source intelligence and covert action. After making the point that technical means of intelligence collection will never replace human sources, he describe the accepted role of the Clandestine Services as "The proliferation of the means of mass destruction such as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery; religious and ethnic mayhem; stability issues in the former colonies of the Soviet Empire and even Russia itself; terrorism; plans and policies of rogue states like Libya, Iran, Iraq and so on; support of the U.S. military; economic intelligence; counterintelligence; narcotics/international crime/human rights; and the maintenance of an effective covert action capability...There is general support for the need to provide intelligence to assist the diplomatic effort to foster peace and democracy and counter general strife in the Middle East, the Balkans, parts of Africa and elsewhere."

Much more controversial, he said, were missions in: [4]

  • Support to the military: he pointed out the conflict between the national-level and tactical requirements of the services, and recommends that the Defense Intelligence Agency absorb much of the individual services' intelligence functions, citing Israel's Aman as a parallel. He would authorize DIA to run its own human sources for military requirements.
  • Economic intelligence: while the economic needs of government policymakers are understood, the role of the U.S. government providing intelligence to private companies is much more difficult, even though other first-world countries actively provide industrial espionage and other data to their firms.
  • Support to law enforcement: his 1997 view was that "counternarcotics, some counterterrorism activity, counterfeiting, human rights abuses, money laundering and alien smuggling." remain threats to the United States, and CIA has much better resources than the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. He suggested "perhaps it is time for the Clandestine Service to establish a new type of agent. Traditionally, CIA agents were developed for their ability to provide intelligence over a long period of time, preferable on a variety of subjects. In today's world, perhaps the CIA needs a short term "informant" much like DEA and the FBI, which will be used for law enforcement cases and serves only this one-time purpose. These informants would need to have the same access to the witness protection program and other services if they are used in criminal prosecutions. "
  • Covert action

Central Intelligence Agency

His last assignment was as director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center. Previously, he was head of field operations for Latin America.


  1. Duane R. Clarridge and Digby Diehl (1997), A Spy For All Seasons: My Life in the CIA, Scribner, ISBN 978-0684800684
  2. Mark Mazzetti (22 January 2011), "Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A.", New York Times
  3. Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti (14 March 2010), "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants", New York Times
  4. Duane Clarridge Speech, 27 January 1997