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Going through the doorway of a Barnes&Noble store a few weeks ago, I saw the discounted books stack and because of my past background in military intelligence in Vietnam, The Secret History of the CIA by Joseph J. Trento (2005 edition) caught my eye. I began reading it that night and finished it quickly. Besides the fascinating stories from interviews with very high up people in the CIA, it was a compelling book from the historical angle of many CIA operations about which I had captured in my lifetime only fleeting facts. One of the most intriguing aspects was that of the penetrations of our CIA by "double agents" planted by Russia. These agents were specifically planted to determine who were our own recruited "double agents", to determine our targets, and to plant false information to sidetrack us. One of the most amazing narratives was that of Kim Philby, a British intelligence officer, who eventually defected to Russia. He had been acquainted with both Jesus Angleton, CIA Counterintelligence Chief, and Hebert Hoover, our FBI chief. We were trusting Americans.
In October 1966 I met probably fifteen times to debrief a defector from Cambodia, In Chin Hai Lam. His story which I took down in meticulous notes and later produced in intelligence reports was very captivating: former Cambodian Army officer, fluent in seven languages, mother had been head housekeeper in Prince Sihanouk's palace, a friend of Prince Sihanouk's son, a graduate of Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, the Communist school for young revolutionaries world-wide. I went on to another assignment and did not learn any more of him until reading a front-page story in the New York Times in 1970 that an American was being tried for his murder which occured on Nov. 24, 1967, a short time after which I had read an article about his murder. His fellow Khmer Serie, non-Communist Cambodians, had thought him to be a "double agent" of the Soviets.
This harkening back to my wartime experience with a possible "double agent" caused me to relate these secular world accounts to my spiritual world. I believe our churches, our lives, and our societies are infiltrated by "double agents." These are people who attend our places of worship, associate with us in business and social lives, and are close to us in our families. Actually, they present themselves as high-minded and ethical persons, even very "religious," but actually are "double agents" in a sense, because what they really are is deceptive, duplicitous, and devious. Many live hidden lives. They attempt to curry our favor to obtain business, they place themselves in church organizations to establish trustworthiness, and they present themselves as one of us in God's world. They lie, cheat, and steal and act out as residents of Satan's world and infiltrate the world of the people who enjoy the freedom achieved by our belief in Jesus as our Savior. We must be on our guard for them. We can give them our trust and respect only when their "walk" is straight, not just their "talk." We shall judge them by the fruit of the Holy Spirit they exhibit as expressed in Galatians 5:22-26: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." (KJV). President Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify." Oh, by the way, be merciful and pray for them to come in from "out of the cold."