Richard Helms

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Richard McGarrah Helms (March 30, 1913 – October 22, 2002) was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from 1966 to 1973. He was the only director to have been convicted of lying to the United States Congress over Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) undercover activities. In 1977, he was sentenced to the maximum fine and received a suspended two-year prison sentence. Despite this, Helms remained a revered figure in the intelligence profession.[citation needed] CIA historian Keith Melton describes Helms as a professional who was always impeccably dressed and had a "low tolerance for fools".


Life and career

Helms was born in Philadelphia in 1913. In 1935, after he graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, he got a job at the United Press in London. The depression in London, however forced Helms to find work in Germany, where he covered the Berlin Olympic Games; he had spent two of his high school years at the prestigious Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland where he learned to speak French and later Realgymnasium in Freiburg, where he became fluent in German. He joined the advertising department of the Indianapolis Times; within two years he was national advertising manager.

Career in intelligence

A 23-year-old Helms interviewed Adolf Hitler for UPI during the 1936 Olympics.

During World War II Helms served in the United States Navy. In 1943, he was posted to the Secret Intelligence Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) because of his ability to speak German. In the aftermath of the war, he was transferred to the newly formed Office of Special Operations (OSO), where at the age of 33 he was put in charge of intelligence and counter-intelligence operations in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

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