David Atlee Phillips can be seen as a very respectful and important man in the espionage and intelligence world. What sets David Atlee Phillips apart from other intelligence operatives is the length of service he conducted in the intelligence world and the work he completed while doing so.
Phillips worked for the CIA; in fact he completed 25 years service in the CIA showing his loyalty to his country and the Central Intelligence Agency.
David Atlee Phillips Prior to the CIA
Phillips was born in 1922 in Fort Worth, Texas. Like any normal young man of the time Phillips attended college and then went on to university, studying at the Texas Christian University. After university the Second World War broke out and Phillips served for the United States, unfortunately he was captured by the Germans and became a prisoner of war.
During his time as a prisoner of war Phillips joined an escape committee where their sole plan was to escape, he stayed in the committee until he was able to escape himself.
Between the end of World War Two and 1950 information is scant on what Phillips did; it was in 1950 that he joined the CIA.
David Atlee Phillips in the CIA
By 1950 Phillips was in Chile where he owned an international newspaper with a circulation across the whole of South America, this newspaper was called “The South Pacific Mail” and was an English language newspaper.
It was in 1950 that he also joined the CIA where he served as a part time operative while still carrying out his newspaper business. In 1954 Phillips decided to make his CIA position more permanent and moved full time.
Once full time in the CIA Phillips was shown to be exemplary in his work, this meant that he easily rose through the ranks of the CIA from intelligence officer to chief of station before gaining the high position of the chief of all operations in the Western hemisphere.
Nearly all of Phillips work in the CIA was carried out in South America even though his title said the chief of all operations in the Western hemisphere.
While we know Phillips worked in South America and potentially even conducted meetings with Alpha 66, an anti-Castro Cuban movement, there is little information of his other exploits because of the National Secrets Act.
Because of his service in the CIA Phillips gained the Career Intelligence Medal.
After the CIA
By 1975 Phillips had served 25 years in the service, but quite a few negative stories made public by the media caused a storm about the CIA. Phillips decided his best course of action would be to leave the CIA; this action was so that he could personally talk about the importance of intelligence agencies and try to regain their strong image.
During this same period and probably because of his vocal support of the CIA, Phillips ended up being accused of being a part of two assassinations, including that of JFK. The reason for this it is said is because Phillips allegedly met Lee Harvey Oswald during his work in South America with Alpha 66.
Phillips took the newspapers to court on defamation charges to clear his name and managed to win his cases. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Phillips turned to writing and penned 5 books about fictional espionage and terrorist stories.