Bill Colby was already out of the CIA by the time I was born. The one-time lever puller behind the curtain of US intelligence had been forced out by neocons like Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. President Ford went along with Colby’s ouster, and many like Colby for the simple fact that Colby had started to do what no CIA agent would ever do before Congress, the press and the American people ever again:
Tell the honest, hard truth. And apologize.
Commentetators who were alive during the tumultous times in the 1970’s after Colby was ‘brought in from the cold’ of the Vietnam desk and headed the CIA’s highest position as director have repeatedly stated that to many in the public, Colby was a bespecled apologist with a lot of dirty secrets and plenty of blood on his hands.
The truth about what the CIA has done, and who William Colby was, is a kelidascope of truths, lies and half-truths.
Colby got his start in counter-insurgency the old fashioned way. He joined the OSS and went behind enemy lines several times in the Second World War.
After the fighting, he attained a law degree and had set up a good reputation for himself working on the National Labor Relations board.
Then, and for a reason that even Colby’s wife who was interviewed for the film couldn’t answer, Colby got an invitation to be part of the OSS’ replacement, the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
What followed was a menagerie of important political characters, subterfuge and dark secrets.
Told through a series of interviews with family, friends and former rivals, the documentary, “The Man Nobody Knew..” tries to reconstruct for viewers the possible motivations of Colby and that despite the lies, assassinations and duplicitous characters, Colby was a man who tried to maintain his own brand of moral certainty that what he was doing was for the good of the nation.
Filled with fascinating details about American counterinsurgency in Vietnam, this is a heartbreaking story of one man’s descent into moral and political abyss.
The Man Nobody Knew is available on DVD now.