An ambassador and a station chief at odds in Laos

Here's a breadcrumb on Henry Hecksher's CIA career from the notebooks of aviation historian William M. Leary, which are available to the public by the Eugene McDermott Library at the University of Texas at Dallas. Why is our protagonist mentioned in the notes of an aviation historian? Because Leary wrote on Civil Air Transport, the … Continue reading An ambassador and a station chief at odds in Laos

Some words of advice on exiled Cuban rebel Manuel Ray

On September 20, 1963, someone had some advice for Henry Hecksher. The name on the memo in the CIA's files is blanked out, but from the tone, it seems to be another agency officer. "I regret that I wasn't able to spend more time on this case, interesting as it was," the person wrote in … Continue reading Some words of advice on exiled Cuban rebel Manuel Ray

Gathering information on the Soviets in post-war Germany

In August of 1946, we find our protagonist, Henry Hecksher, digging into the files on the NKVD, the Soviet Union's sweeping law enforcement agency that included its secret police, in the German city of Weimar. Working for the Strategic Services Unit, a CIA predecessor, in the American Zone of Germany, Hecksher wrote a top secret … Continue reading Gathering information on the Soviets in post-war Germany

Death record provides a birthday

Here at the starting point, we're going to try to establish some basic information about Henry Hecksher. The United States Social Security Death Index tells us a few things: Hecksher lived in Mercer County, New Jersey, at the time of his death, in zip code 08452.He was born on September 21, 1910. I accessed the … Continue reading Death record provides a birthday

A story told briefly at death

Our central character, Henry D. Hecksher, died on March 28, 1990, in a hospital in Princeton, New Jersey, as a result of complications from Parkinson's disease. The New York Times covered his death in a three-paragraph obituary the next day, giving us a very brief sketch of his life that nonetheless hints at a peripatetic … Continue reading A story told briefly at death

The beginning: A life in five paragraphs

I decided to focus this project on the life of CIA officer Henry Hecksher after I noticed that Wikipedia only offered five paragraphs on him. He had been the agency's chief of station in Santiago at the time of efforts to block Socialist Salvador Allende from becoming president of Chile in 1970, an event that … Continue reading The beginning: A life in five paragraphs