State & Corporate Crime

HOW THE CIA UNDERWROTE BIG TECH: A Revealing Interview with A.B. Krongard

Alvin Bernard Krongard (or “Buzzy” Krongard – as he likes to be called) is one of the less known but most influential investment bankers and CIA officers of the last 40 years. As an Alex, Brown & Sons investment banker between 1980 and 1998, he underwrote several of the major Big-Tech US corporations of today: Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, Qualcomm, BroadCom, etc, was crucial in the early development of the Israeli Tech industry and helped to fund the major Private Equity Group in the World, the Carlyle Group. As an advisor to the CIA director and CIA executive officer from 1998 to 2004, he implemented, just 3 months before 9/11, one of the major restructurings of the Agency organization since its creation in 1947, created In-Q-Tel, initiated the CIA Rendition and Torture Program and championed the use of privatized armies in the battlefield. We will show in this article that A.B. Krongard was recruited by the CIA in the late 1950s at Princeton campus and was covertly an active member of the CIA during the 3 decades he worked for Alex, Brown & Sons. We will show that he was an important case officer involved in CIA “anti-terrorism” operations globally and that he was in constant personal contact with the CIA directorship for decades prior to “officially” joining the Agency in 1998.

INTRODUCTION

If one examines a list of the most valuable high-tech American corporations, by looking at the year they became public and at the institutions that underwrote their IPOs, one finds a surprising pattern in their common financial origins. An unusually large number of the corporations, which had become public prior to the dot-com bubble burst in March 2000 and that have survived until today becoming giants in the market, had as a leading underwriters one of two relatively small investment banks and brokerage houses, both defunct nowadays: Hambrecht & Quist (HQ) and Alex, Brown & Sons (ABS). Curiously, the total number of IPOs HQ and ABS participated in represent only a fraction of the total number of IPOs in the sector during those years.

These two small boutique investment banks were among the leading Tier 1 underwriters in the High-Tech IPO market during those years [1,2,3]. For the 1986-1991 period, out of 191 underwriters, only 14 underwriters belong to the Tier 1 group [4]. For instance, ABS was ranked 5th among Tier 1 underwriters between 1980 and 1985 with 33 offerings or 3.0 % of the total offerings in that 5-year period. In the following 5 years period, between 1986 and 1991, ABS was ranked 1st amongst Tier 1 underwriters with 79 offerings or 7.3% of the offerings. Hambrecht & Quist was ranked 8th among Tier 1 underwriters between 1980 and 1985 with 26 offerings or 2.4 % of the total and ranked 14th between 1986 and 1991 with 21 offerings or 2.0% of the total offerings. For the 1993-1995 period, out of more than 500 underwriters, we still find ABS and HQ among the Tier 1 underwriters ranked 12th and 19th respectively with 90 and 55 deals, which combined is about 10% of the total number of deals [5]. During the last year of the dot-com bubble, ABS lead-managed 24 technology IPOs and still ranked among the top 10 underwriters.

How can one explain then the high rate of success in the long term of the companies that were underwritten by these two relatively small investment banks and brokerage houses? What was their secret? The answer as we will show in this article resides in the connections between those investment banks and the National Security State.

The Vice-President of Hambrecht & Quist between 1981 and 1986 was William Perry who joined Hambrecht & Quist after serving as Director of the Department of Defense D.A.R.P.A. agency. He was appointed by President Reagan in 1983 to serve on the President’s Commission on Strategic Forces. He served as US Deputy Secretary and Secretary of Defense during the Clinton administration between 1993 and 1997. After leaving public office Perry would join Hambrecht & Quist (HQ) again as a member of the Board of Directors. The CEO of Alex, Brown & Sons between 1985 and 1998 was Alvin B. Krongard, who would leave investment banking to join the CIA as an advisor to the Director in 1998 and then as Executive Director in April 2001, just 6 months before the 9/11 Event. Hambrecht & Quist was also the main underwriter of the first biotechnology company to go public, Genentech, a few weeks apart from Apple in 1980. Hambrecht & Quist also underwrote Netscape in August 1995, MP3.com in July 1999 (the largest technology IPO at the time with $370 mln). The presence of an ex-Director of D.A.R.P.A. and ex-Secretary of Defense first as a Hambrecht & Quist Vice-President and then as a member of the Board of Directors even though not illegal is in retrospect very telling given the role that some of these corporations have come to play in the current institutionalized and state-run corporate surveillance state.

What surely will come as a surprise to many is to find out that Alvin Krongard was also covertly an active member of the CIA during the 3 decades he worked for Alex, Brown & Sons. We are not revealing any State secret. We will be presenting an interview where Mr. Krongard in his own words reveals that he was recruited by the CIA in the late 1950s at Princeton campus where he graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor in Philosophy of Religion. Krongard served in the Marines for 3 years, where he retired with the rank of captain. He worked at his wife’s family business, Lion Brothers, from 1961-1969. After a two-year stint at Bache/Stern Brothers Boyce, he joined Alex, Brown & Sons in 1969. While he worked for ABS he was an important, active, high-rank member of the CIA until his retirement. This includes the years when as CEO of Alex, Brown & Sons he underwrote several of the major Big-Tech US corporations: Microsoft (1986), Oracle (1986), Qualcomm (1991), AOL (1992), Amazon (1994), others that were at some point bought by the largest ones: Foundry Networks (1999), Sun Microsystems (1986) and also other non-tech corporations as Starbucks (1992) or The Carlyle Group (1987).

We will also overview the no less important role that Mr. Krongard played after “officially” joining the CIA in: A) the creation of the CIA Venture Capital firm In-Q-Tel , B) The CIA Rendition and Torture Program, C) the legalization of mass surveillance (via the Patriot Act in 2003) that provided a legal basis for a profitable economic model for the Big Tech corporations he helped create, D) the field deployment of the first privatized armies (The Blackwater Group) during the Iraq and Afganistan wars. In retrospect, one can clearly see Krongard’s work after 1998 is a continuation and consolidation of the work he did covertly for the CIA as Alex, Brown & Sons’ CEO.

ALEX, BROWN & SONS

There are two institutions today that claim to be the oldest investment bank in the US and both of them trace their origins to the same original Alex, Brown & Sons co-founded by the four sons of Alexander Brown in 1818. This is certainly confusing if one is not familiar with the history of the original Alex, Brown & Sons Bank. During part of the 19th century when there was no Federal Reserve in the USA the Brown Brothers Banknotes were the equivalent of the current Federal Reserve US bonds, as good as gold. ABS had a very important role in the development of the American economy and its rise to global power during the 19th century [6,7]. At some point, there were several Brown firms in the US. One of them eventually acquired all the other branches. In 1931, Brown Brothers & Co. merged with another business entity, Harriman Brothers & Company, a private bank started by W. Averell Harriman, heir to the fortune of rail magnate E.H. Harriman, to form Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH).

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. (BBH) is the best known and probably the most influential private investment bank that has ever existed [6,7]. Some of its founders played central roles, openly and covertly, in world affairs during most of the 20th century. Among the 16 founding partners there were 11 Yale graduates, many of them members of Yale’s Skull & Bones. Among some of them, we find a US Senator who had a central role in the creation of the CIA and in the OSS covert economic operations before and during the WWII (Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. Bush), a US Secretary of Defense (Robert Lovett), a US Ambassador and Secretary of Commerce (W. Averell Harriman) just to name a few.

When BBH was consolidated there was one branch, the Baltimore office, that continued as a high-end regional bank. ABS used to hire as partners products of the East Coast Elite as Mayo Shattuck III, whose father, Mayo A. Shattuck II, was VP of the largest custodian bank in the world, The State Street Bank [8]. The Shattucks lived in Hingham (MA) and were next-door neighbors to George Bennett, CEO of the State Street Corp. Mr. Bennett was descended from Elder Brewster, a passenger on the Mayflower and leader of the Mayflower community. (They don’t come more blue-blood elite than that). Another ABS hire was Jr. Carter Beese, a friend of the Bush family that would be appointed as SEC commissioner by George H.W. Bush and who later would join the infamous Riggs Bank then under the direction of Jonathan James Bush [9,10]. The Riggs Bank, also known as “The Presidents Bank”, was another banking institution with longstanding ties to the CIA reported in the mainstream press [11,12].

Furthermore, Baltimore has a large, longstanding, and prosperous Jewish community. Many East Coast wealthy Jewish families had been doing business with Alex. Brown for generations. It made perfect sense then to select an American-born Jewish boy like Krongard to be a partner in the Baltimore office. Krongard was nevertheless an anomaly in the ultra-WASPy world of the East Coast blue-blood banking elite.

When Krongard joined the firm in 1969 Brown’s descendants were still running the firm, still flying the red and white flag that used to mark the company’s trans-Atlantic ships in the 19th century. The Chairman at the time and until 1990 was Benjamin H. Griswold, three previous generations of Griswolds had led the firm and also owned a seat at the NYSE. Once dependent on a retail stock and bond business ABS did not become a major force in investment banking until the 1980s. Much of that early success was credited to Donald B. Hebb, who joined the firm in 1970 and would become president in 1984. Alex, Brown & Sons used to be a traditional private partnership until 1986 when it sold shares to the public because of demands for more capital. Several lawsuits in the late 1980s relating to poorly handled stock offerings would bring Hebb’s early departure at 48 years old and the rise of Krongard to the Presidency of the Bank and the position of CEO of ABS in 1991 [13]. Mayo Shattuck III joined ABS in 1985 just 30 years old after 5 years with Bain and Co and Morgan Guaranty Trust Co in San Francisco. Right after joining ABS Mayo Shattuck and A.B. Krongard would lead one of the most famous IPOs of all time, the deal that made Bill Gates at age 30 a millionaire.

Krongard and Shattuck would make a team that in the next 15 years carved out a secure, hugely profitable niche raising money through stock offerings for America’s fastest-growing businesses of the time: Microsoft (1986), Oracle (1986), Sun Microsystems (1986), Qualcomm (1991), AOL (1992), Starbucks (1992), Amazon (1994), Foundry Networks (1999), etc…, ABS also provided seed money for another CIA offshoot, The Carlyle Group (1987). The Carlyle Group would go on to become the largest Private Equity firm in the World and the main vehicle to channel Oil & Gas surpluses from the Middle East into the US economy in the post-2001 oil boom. Mayo Shattuck III would bring to ABS the friendships and high-flying contacts attached to his privileged upbringing. For instance, Scott McNealy, Chairman of Sun Microsystems in 1986, was Shattuck’s friend. McNealy needed more funds after taking Sun Microsystems public. Shattuck persuaded McNealy to drop his investment banker and let ABS manage the $100 mln deal. By 1995 Shattuck and Krongard had become a legendary team. 1995 was a “huge year,” said Mr. Shattuck, who expected the company to be involved in a total of 140 IPO and follow-on offerings that same year [14].

ABS was bought by Bankers Trust in 1997, becoming BT Alex, Brown & Sons. Amazingly, negotiations between the two didn’t really take off until 10 days before the transaction was announced. Even some Alex, Brown & Sons Directors didn’t know how close the firm was to selling until a special board meeting was scheduled on short notice [15]. We will explain later why the sale of ABS to Bankers Trust was done in such a rush. One year later after ABS was sold to Bankers Trust, the resulting merger BT-ABS was acquired by Deutsche Bank and finally, in September 2016 Alex, Brown, & Sons was officially sold to Raymond James. Interestingly, the most famous “alumni” of Bankers Trust is Jeff Bezos, who got his first job with Bankers Trust between 1988 and 1990 before founding Amazon. Bezos would select Alex, Brown & Sons as Amazon’s underwriter in 1994, 3 years before Bankers Trust purchased ABS.

The connections between the CIA and Bankers Trust go back decades. The Bankers Trust representative in Europe from 1960 until his retirement in 1969 was John H.F. Haskell, who had been vice-president of the NYSE as well as Minister and Defense Advisor to the Chief of the US mission to the NATO organization in the late 1950s and prior to that one of the finest members of the OSS (predecessor of the CIA) under John Donovan during WWII [16]. John H.F. Haskell’s father had been Donovan’s commander during WWI. The resident scholar at the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center from 2001 to 2009 was Paul Jabber, who had worked for the Bankers Trust from 1982 until 1994 as Manager for Middle East Merchant Banking. There are more connections between Alex, Brown & Sons investments, and National Security. For instance, Sun Microsystems’ First software manager was Eric E. Schmidt. He rose to become President of Sun Technology Enterprises, then Google’s CEO from 2001 until 2011, and executive Chairman of Google-Alphabet from 2011-to 2017, and finally came out of the closet publicly as an advisor to the Pentagon since 2016 [17].

The important role that Alex, Brown & Sons played in high tech underwriting, as well as its connections with National Security, mostly ceased with the departure of A.B. Krongard for the CIA and the sale to Deutsche Bank in 1998 and ceased completely with the departure of Mayo Shattuck III on September 12th, 2001.

AN INVESTMENT BANKER “JOINS” THE CIA

Alvin B. Krongard worked in various positions at Alex, Brown & Sons (ABS). In 1991, he was appointed its executive director, and in 1994 – simultaneously the chairman of the board of directors. In 1995 and 1996. Financial World magazine named Krongard the best manager in the financial industry. In 1996, he was elected chairman of the Association of Stock Market Participants. In September 1997, following the takeover of Alex Brown Incorporated by Bankers Trust, Krongard became Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bankers Trust, Alex, Brown & Sons (BT-ABS) and remained in that position until he joined the CIA in February 1998 as a “consigliere” to CIA’s director, George Tenet [18].

Krongard told a journalist in January 1998 that “He liked his new job at Bankers Trust and could have stayed on, collecting a $4 million annual salary and bonus”[19]. This is ironic given the financial fiasco that unraveled at BT Alex, Brown & Sons just a few months after Krongard departed Baltimore for Langley [20].

By the time of the 1997 sale of Alex, Brown & Sons to Bankers Trust (BT), BT was a high-flying bank engaged in massive fraud.  BT had been sued by several clients and lost a case regarding large losses suffered in complex derivatives transactions engineered by the bank arguing that BT had failed to inform them of the risks and the partners at ABS were aware of this fact before the sale to BT. By the summer of 1998, however, BT was teetering on the brink of insolvency in the face of ever-mounting losses and it threatened to take Alex. Brown down with it. A bankruptcy would have left Krongard and other Alex, Brown & Sons partners, and shareholders with worthless paper. Then in late summer 1998, the regulators announced that Deutsche Bank would acquire BT and its subsidiary, now known as BT Alex. Brown. When many Jewish-American clients, who had been banking with ABS for long, found out it was Germany’s Deutsche Bank that was buying ABS they started closing their accounts and pulling out their savings in mass. Luckily, Krongard had jumped off the sinking ship a few months earlier to join the CIA and as a partner cashed out big time with the sale to BT and later with the sale of BT ABS to Deutsche Bank.

Krongard had cultivated a circle of friends in the upper reaches of the military and intelligence communities including Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and CIA Director George Tenet. In 1998 when interviewed by The Baltimore Sun [19] about his recent appointment as “consigliere” to CIA’s director, George Tenet, he said that: “He has known Tenet for centuries. It is not unusual for them to have lunch together, either at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., or in Washington” and that “Joining the agency was something he had fantasized about, but never seriously thought he should bring up”. He drew an analogy: “It’s like high school, you want to ask the girl to the prom but you’re afraid to ask.”. On March 17th, 2001 George J. Tenet, director of Central Intelligence, announced that A.B. Krongard, a “former businessman and longtime consultant to the agency”, would become its executive director, essentially its chief operating officer [18]. In what constitutes a textbook example of the definition of a corporate-government revolving door the outgoing executive director, David W. Carey, left the agency to join Oracle, not surprisingly one of the companies that A.B. Krongard underwrote as CEO of Alex, Brown & Sons. What on Earth was the CEO of the investment bank underwriting some of the largest US Big Tech corporations talking about with CIA directors on a regular basis for many years prior to 1998?

HALE-STORM

Edward Hale is a Baltimore-based businessman who started his career as a trucker, then shipper, and who by 1991 had become the Chairman of the Bank of Baltimore, started the 1 st Mariner Bank, was involved in international shipping, real estate, and owned a pro-soccer team with several international players in his roster. Unfortunately for Mr. Hale, his businesses were the perfect front for CIA shenanigans. It wouldn’t take long for the CIA to come knocking on his door. In 2015 Edward Hale self-published an autobiography with the help of journalist Kevin Cowherd [21] that gives us a small glimpse of the CIA operations Mr. Krongard was involved in during the decade of the 1990s other than making Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz millionaires. After three newspaper articles briefly reported the book’s publication at the time [22,23,24] there has been a complete national mass-media blackout on Ed Hale’s revelations.

Krongard and Ed Hale had become acquainted with each other when Hale became Chairman of the Bank of Baltimore. I will quote a small part of the book’s chapter which summarizes the beginning of Hale’s 10 years of relationship with the CIA and that reads like a script taken out of the “Men in Black”. On a warm spring day in 1992, Krongard showed up in Hale’s office unexpectedly and asked Hale to go for a walk. Hale protested “I can’t leave. I’ve got people coming to see me”. Krongard insisted “This won’t take long. Come with me.”. They walked to the Legg Mason building in downtown Baltimore and took an elevator to one of the middle floors and entered a “non-descript, dimly-lit conference room,… where 10 men in dark suits stood waiting for them”

” What’s this all about ?” Hale asked

“We’re going to tell you” One of the men said, “But you have to sign this document first

A sheet of paper was passed across the table. Hale glanced at it.

“What am I signing ?” he asked

“It’s a confidentiality agreement,” the man said. “It says you promise not to talk about this meeting.”

Hale signed it without even reading it….”I’m with Buzzy (Alvin. B. Krongard), whom I completely trusted,”...

A genial-looking man with blond hair introduced himself as David Miller. We’re with the CIA, he said…..

Would Hale consent to allow Agency operatives to gather intelligence overseas under the guise of working for his various businesses?

The David Miller who Hale is referring to and who would become Ed Hale’s CIA handler for 9 years was the former US Ambassador to Tanzania and Zimbabwe under President Reagan [25,26]. At the time Ambassador Miller was a special assistant to President George H.W. Bush for national security affairs on the National Security Council. David Miller would leave office in 1990 and was one of the founding partners of Torch Hill Investments together with Stephen R. Kappes (another controversial CIA figure who directed the CIA extraordinary rendition program). Torch Hill is a private equity firm that invests in companies with roles in law enforcement, defense, intelligence, and security-threat assessments.

Not long after Hale learned that the unremarkable office at the Legg Mason building was known as a SCIFF facility, an acronym for a sensitive compartmented information facility, where classified information was handled. Within weeks Hale was “setting up fake credentials and dummy bank accounts for the spies who would be sent out under the auspices of his various businesses”. Hale was told around 1992 that the CIA was tracking an international terrorist named Osama Bin Laden, from a wealthy Saudi family, high on the USA watchlist. The hope was that operatives posing as Hale employees might be able to “chronicle his whereabouts and gather information on his money laundering schemes” [21]. For the next 9 years, Agency operatives “purportedly working for Hale were dispatched to Uzbekistan, Cypress, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan. Hale was never given any specific details about their missions“[21]. After the 9/11 Event Hale’s services as a fake employment agency for spies were no longer needed.

The 2008 housing market crisis also seriously affected Ed Hale’s fortunes. First Mariner Bank’s troubles started when Bear Stearns sent defaulted loans back to First Mariner under a buyer’s remorse clause. Those mortgages cost the bank about $60 million. Then he was also forced to sell the 1st Mariner Tower at a loss when a bank began foreclosure proceedings in Sept 2009 even though he was current on the loan [27]. The 1st Mariner Bank failed to qualify for Timothy Geithner’s TARP help. If that wasn’t enough in September 2009 federal regulators stepped in, demanding that the bank raise more capital, and slapped a cease and desist order on the bank, “you are swimming to shore and they throw you an anchor” Hale said. He was forced to step down as Chairman in December 2011 in order to facilitate the sale of part of the bank and as part of a New York investment company’s plan to take a stake in the bank [28]. In February 2014 Hale, who was the largest shareholder, was not even informed that the Bank was filing for Chapter 11 protection [29,30]. Ironically the bank was sold at a discount to Timothy Geithner’s Warburg Pincus PE group for $88.4 million becoming for a short time a leader in predatory lending [31]. Hale would end up losing the 1 st Mariner Bank and the 1 st Mariner Tower, that he had helped to build.

His 10 years of work for the CIA did not help Hale to qualify First Mariner for TARP help nor stopped federal regulators from stepping in and making it even more difficult for him to raise capital to save the Bank from bankruptcy. His friendship with the Alex, Brown & Sons CEO did not seem to have helped either. Ed Hale was probably the target of a coordinated attack to render him irrelevant and take over his bank. He was not one of them after all. He was just another CIA clueless agent, another disposable instrument taken advantage of. While he saw some CIA officers becoming extremely wealthy thanks to working for the Agency, Hale had lost most of the fortune he had spent a lifetime building, the federal regulators’ actions had damaged his reputation, and adding insult to injury nobody knew what he had done for his country.

His 10 years working with the Agency, his many absences, and constant traveling took a tremendous toll on Hale’s relationships with his partners and children. He had been an absent father and he saw the book as an opportunity to repair his personal relations. Whatever Ed Hale’s motivations were behind his decision he decided to send a big F**K YOU to the agency and published the book. He met his old handler and other CIA connections and informed them of his decision. Of course, they were not very pleased with it:

“I am disappointed and upset that Ed would violate his agreement and understanding with the agency,” Krongard told the WS Journal. [22,23,24]

KRONGARD’S WARNING

When Ed. Hale found out he would have to step down as Chairman of the First Mariner Bank bad luck was added to misfortune. In February 2011 he was criminally charged after he was found with a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage at BWI Marshall Airport, police said [32]. He said he had a carry permit for the gun, which he forgot was in his briefcase. In a really strange development, straight out of the “Twilight Zone”, 4 years later in August 2015, a few months after Ed Hale published his autobiography, A.B. Krongard was also arrested at BWI Marshall Airport attempting to bring another loaded gun through security [33]. Also on that same day and in the same news piece, TSA reported that a Virginia man was arrested at Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR) with a 9mm handgun loaded with 10 rounds (I suggest the reader consults the dictionary for the meaning of hager). It is possible that Ed Hale really forgot he had a handgun in his carry-on back in 2011 (he was criminally charged after all) but it is very unlikely that Krongard attempting to pass a handgun through airport security was a coincidence (Mr.Krongard was let go without charges by BWI). This is the CIA’s way to say Thank You for Your Service to its assets. At the time of writing this article, Ed Hale is still alive and has not been involved in any “hit and run” accident.

Actual picture of the loaded gun Krongard attempted to bring through BWI Airport security a few months after the publication of Hale’s book (Hale had been arrested at BWI for the same offense 4 years earlier)

KRONGARD TELLS IT ALL

In 2015 and as a consequence of Ed Hale’s revelations Krongard was asked by the press if he had been a member of the CIA before officially joining the agency in 1998. He refused to answer. For this reason, I found it surprising when I bumped into a candid interview that Krongard gave to a family member a few years ago, as part of a school project I believe. Krongard played a central role in the creation of the Big Tech industry and also in National Security at a crucial time in US history. An interview where he reveals his lifetime affiliation to the CIA is of some historical significance. Next, we present the video interview and a transcript for those readers who may have difficulties accessing the video interview platform. The interview took place at Krongard’s 15,000-square-foot Georgian mansion, Torch Hill, that sat on an 80-acre wooded estate off 1400 W Seminary Avenue in Lutherville, just north of Baltimore, Maryland. Family photos were propped atop an antique piano and memorabilia of his lacrosse days covered half a den wall.

A. B. Krongard Interview

Interviewer: This is my grandfather, Alvin B. Krongard and he has lived a pretty extraordinary life. He grew up here in Baltimore and attended Princeton University where he played lacrosse and then after school, he joined the Marines and worked for a lot of big corporations. He later joined the CIA. In addition to all of that he played lacrosse for Mount Washington and was on the National — team. In addition, he was elected into the National Hall of Fame for lacrosse and has a black belt in martial arts and traveled the world finding the best places to scuba dive. So, grandad, what did you want to do when you were younger?

Krongard: I really had no specific objectives, just have a good life, enjoy myself, help the country if I could.

Interviewer: What was it like in college? What did you major in?

Krongard: I majored in philosophy, in particular, the philosophy of religion and at that time I was very lucky because Princeton was acknowledged to have by far the best philosophy department in the world. So it made studying very easy and the teachers were so good.

Interviewer: After college, you joined the Marines, How was that?

Krongard: I like the Marine Corps.

Interviewer: Do you still have friends who you talk to?

Krongard: Oh, yeah!

Interviewer : That is awesome. How did you join the CIA? Did they reach out to you?

Krongard: I graduated from Princeton in 1958. If you wanted to join the CIA at that time there was no way to do it. They had no Langley. The headquarters of the CIA did not exist. They had no job fairs, no place to write, nothing to do. It turns out that on about 10 or 12 college campuses they had talent scouts. People that had (served) in OSS in World War II and then gone into Academia. One day I got called to report to the Dean of Students. I could not imagine what I had done. What was he after me for? He chatted me up a bit and asked me, How would you like to serve your country in an unusual way? I said, “I am going in the Marine Corps”. There were no Seals then. Then you see now… Your uncle just retired as a Navy Seal Admiral. I would probably have done that and so I said fine. .. In the Marine Corps, I bounced around a lot, taking tests and interviews and everything, and then I took a deferred appointment. I have the letter giving me my first job in the other room there, still, at the CIA. Then what happened, my in-laws, I’ve got married, were killed in a plane crash. They were traveling in Egypt from Cairo to Alexandria. The whole plane went down and suddenly I had a 17 years old daughter, my sister-in-law, who had nowhere else to live. We had a baby on the way. So, my life was turned upside down and I disengaged, and then some years later they (asked) me if I would help them out on something and that something … and then by the time in the 90s I did not know who I was working for. It sounds weird and everybody says that’s really weird. I never thought it was weird at the time. I have to agree now that probably it was weird but so then at that time I became the Chairman and CEO of Alex, Brown and in 1997 we sold it to Bankers Trust and I became the Vice-Chairman of the Board and the Director of Bankers Trust and I said well, as I described it I divorced my wife Alex, Brown and I married my mistress the CIA and that is my story and I am sticking to it.

Interviewer: What kind of jobs did you do ? In the CIA

Krongard: Well, up until then I was working in the Directorate of Operations, which is the spy side of the building and I did what spies do.

Interviewer: So, you were undercover the whole time

Krongard: Totally. That was the beauty of my position because… The way to think about it is, say in 1975. It is the cold war, we are against the Russians. Something in intelligence is covert for action. You could get in and for example, in the books and the movies, the CIA person is called an agent. In real life, the agent would be the Russian that was working for us. I would be a case officer. We were called case officers. So, you get in there with some phony business cards and a visa, you know we were all disguised and you get in and get out and let us say you told you were there because you were a tractor salesman for John Deere or something. In a couple of days, especially you wouldn’t go to Russia because their counterintelligence was so good but East Bloc, Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary. Get in with your business get out. Today if you try to do that or even as time went on. For example, they said, well the guy looks like he is 45 years old and they google up John Deere tractor salesman training classes and you are not in it, the picture, you have a serious problem because when you are working undercover you do not have diplomatic immunity. A lot of CIA people are attached under some working alias to the embassy in that particular country and if they get caught doing something there as do Russians or anyone else in this country you are what is called PNG, persona non grata, you are kicked out of the country but if you do not have diplomatic immunity you go to jail or worse.

Interviewer: Did your family know you were in the CIA?

Krongard: Not really, No

Interviewer: What did they think you were doing?

Krongard: Going on vacation to strange places.

Interviewer: Wow, That is incredible. What was the best part about being in the Agency?

Krongard: Serving the country. I mean anything I could do to serve the country and I had great jobs. What I did, the Director of Operations. When I was the Chief Operating Officer of the CIA, which was running the building, the day-to-day operations, including covert action and special activities, which is our equivalent to special operations in the military world. I mean I would do anything to help the country.

Interviewer: How did you have time to get a black belt in martial arts and travel the world?

Krongard: Well, I got involved in martial arts as early as in the Marine Corps and I had a couple of different belts: in — Karate, — Kung Fu, a background in chinook, some Brazilian jiujitsu and some aikido, and a lot of different martial arts are more similar than different and it was a good way to stay fit.

Interviewer: Do you feel like you have accomplished everything you wanted to?

Krongard: I never set out to accomplish anything specifically. I mean, I have 7 wonderful grandchildren. One of them sitting here. My sons, I couldn’t possibly say how much pleasure I got out of them. I am happily married. I am healthy. So, what do I have to complain about? I didn’t set out to do anything but everything I’ve done I think I got more from than I gave.

Interviewer: Is there one specific thing you learned after all this time you think it’s important?

Krongard: Well, I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve learned that there is something called character in people. Most of my work has been with men but I had the ability to work with — in the CIA with terrific women. I’ve seen people of incredible capability and character coming in all shapes and sizes and backgrounds and races and religions and any time if you got a place like the CIA, or the Seal community, or the Marine Corps, any place where people’s lives have been at stake, I mean, you really depend on the individual person, and that’s all you care about is if she or he will do what I need them to do when times get rough. A lot of times you get surprises, most of the times are pleasant surprises but you know I have learned to judge people as individuals and not to rush to any judgment.

Interviewer: Thank you

THE GERMAN CURE FOR THE RUSSIAN FLU: HOW DEUTSCHE BANK BAILED OUT BT-ABS

According to Alvin B. Krongard’s own revelations, presented in the previous interview, he was a CIA case officer for 3 decades prior to publicly joining the agency in January 1998. We should be asking ourselves then, what is the reason Krongard decided to join officially the CIA at that time? He could have stayed working as the head of the investment bank Bankers Trust-Alex, Brown & Sons (BT-ABS), “making $4 million per year” as he said while continuing his covert work for the CIA, as he had done for 30 years. In order to understand why Krongard left BT-ABS at that exact time, January 1998, and not before or after we have to take a look at a historic chart of the Russian Equity Market Index and the price of the Ruble/Dollar conversion rate between 1996 and 2001.

The purchase of Alex, Brown & Sons by Bankers Trust in April 1997 at a high premium was reported in the financial news as a triumph [34]. Alex. Brown shares jumped 28% overnight on the speculation of the takeover. The acquisition toppled the walls that had separated banks from the brokerage industry since the Great Depression. That division had crumbled the previous year when in December 1996 the Federal Reserve Board allowed banks to increase the revenue they could get from securities underwriting and other non-lending businesses [35]. The BT-ABS announcement sent shares of other securities firms soaring, as investors bet banks will pay a premium for the ability to underwrite and sell stocks and other securities. “There are a lot of big banks with a lot of capital who want to get into the higher-margin brokerage business,” said James Schmidt, who managed $6 billion for John Hancock Funds in Boston.

What all these financial news pundits failed to report, and that was well known by ABS and BT management is that Bankers Trust had an enormous amount of exposure to Russian Federation securities and that the Russian equity market had doubled in value the previous year and doubled in value again in the few months prior to the ABS takeover announcement on April 1997 (see chart below). The winter Russian Flu was obviously unavoidable and BT-ABS management knew they had no winter clothes to wear [34].

Some claim that the December 1997 Russian crisis was triggered by the July 1997 Asian crisis. This is an oversimplification that only serves to hide the true origins of the global 1997 economic crisis. The credit of several South Asian economies (Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea) had been increasing at a 20% per year (in percent of GDP) since 1986 [36]. The spark that ignited the expected fire was the decision of the US Federal Reserve in 1995 to double interest rates for nearly 3 years. In January of 1994, the interest rate was about 3%. By March 1995 the average yield was 6.0% and from January 1996 to August 1998 the average yield was 5.5% [37]. In summary, the 1997 crisis of the South Asian economies and the bankruptcy of the Russian economy in 1998 were predicted events, the exact timing was triggered by the Federal Reserve. This crisis allowed the IMF to step in with $120 billion in loans [38] to solve the crisis forcing as necessary conditions unpopular structural changes to the economies of these countries. The 1997 Asian crisis is referred to in Asian countries by the more proper name of The 1997 IMF crisis.

Let us look at a timeline of some highlighted events in the chart above:

  1. December 1996 Federal Reserve Board allows banks to increase the revenue they get from securities underwriting[35]
  2. April 8th, 1997 Bankers Trust Agrees to buy Alex, Brown & Sons [34]
  3. July 2nd, 1997 Thailand unpegs the Thai bath from the US dollar (the “official” beginning of the Asian crisis) [38]
  4. November 11th, 1997, the Asian crisis causes a speculative attack on the ruble. The CBR defends the ruble, losing $6 billion[39]
  5. December 1997, the year ends in Russia with 0.8 percent growth. Prices of oil and nonferrous metal begin to drop
  6. January 1998, Alvin B. Krongard leaves BT-ABS to join the CIA [18]
  7. August 17th, 1998, the Russian government devalues the ruble, defaults on domestic debt, and declares a moratorium on payment to foreign creditors.
  8. September 23rd 1998, fourteen banks and brokerage firms invested $3.6 billion in Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) to prevent the firm’s imminent collapse [40]
  9. October 23rd, 1998, Bankers Trust ABS reported a quarterly loss of $488 million [41,42]
  10. November 1998, Deutsche Bank announces the agreement to purchase Bankers Trust for $10 Billion [43]

In summary, in August of 1998 the Russian government defaulted, and the Bankers Trust, which was loaded with Russian securities has to contribute $300 mln to the September 98 LTCM bailout. Next month BT-ABS announces a half a billion loss in just a single quarter. Then miraculously the Deutsche Bank steps in and buys the Bankers Trust for an astounding $10 billion. The sale of BT-ABS to Deutsche Bank is presented up to today as a victory for both sides. The purchase would “give DB a foothold in the US” – they claimed – and would “dramatically expand its investment banking business”. The German Bank even earmarked a total of between $400 million and $500 million to retain “prized talent” the bank deemed “indispensable if it hopes to bring American banking know-how to its European operations” [44]. Mayo Shattuck III, who was second in command at ABS under A.B. Krongard and who would become the head of BT-ABS after Krongard‘s departure for the CIA stayed as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Deutsche ABS unit until September 12th 2001 [45].

Deutsche Bank executives would say later that they had paid a “premium” or an “overpayment” to acquire the American bank and its know-how. This multi-billion dollar negative “premium” would remain sitting on the books of Deutsche Bank investment banking business unit for 16 years, hopelessly waiting to be realized as profits by the unit. Finally, in October 2015 the bank admitted that it was worthless, wrote it off, and reported it as a $7 billion 3Q net loss [46]. There is a more appropriate word to describe DS purchase of BT-ABS, bailout. In November 2002 State Street Corp had announced a deal to acquire substantial parts of Deutsche Bank’s Global Securities Services business for $1.5 billion [47]. Taking this into account and that in 2002 DS had reported quarterly net incomes in Euros of : +0.61 billion (Q1), +0.90 billion (Q2), (-) 6.6 billion (Q3) and (-)2,3 billion (Q4) we estimate the bailout paid by Deutsche Bank $5 to $6 billion in 1998 dollars. Germany had just de facto bailed out Bankers Trust and with it helped to stop the free fall of the Russian economy from propagating to the US banking system and to the rest of the World. Note: The Vice President of the State Street Investment Corp until his death in 1974 was Mayo A. Shattuck III’s father, Mayo A. Shattuck II [48].

FROM THE CIA RUN ABS TO THE CIA RUN IN-Q-TEL

In 1998 the CIA created an “experimental venture capital unit” called Peleus, later In-Q-It and then In-Q-Tel. According to the CIA’s own account of the genesis of In-Q-Tel sometime in 1998 then CIA director George Tenet called a meeting with Norm Agustine (ex-acting Secretary of the Army, ex-CEO of Marietta Corporation and Lockheed Martin) and ex-CEO of BT Alex, Brown & Sons A.B. Krongard [49]. “Tenet told the group that the Internet boom poured so much money into tech startups, the startups leaped ahead of the CIA’s technology. Tech companies didn’t know what the CIA might need, and the CIA had no idea what the tech companies were inventing”[50,52].

Let us keep in mind that we now know for a fact, based on Krongard‘s own revelations presented in this article, that this is not true. The CIA not only knew what tech companies were inventing prior to 1998 but the CIA through A.B. Krongard (who was an important CIA case officer for decades before joining officially the CIA) and through investment banks (such as Alex, Brown & Sons, and Hambrecht & Quist) had been deeply involved since 1980 in the crucial process of underwriting certain specific businesses for which the Agency had Big Plans at the long term.

At the time there were many questioning the viability of government-backed venture capital funds to promote the introduction of new commercial technologies into sponsoring government agencies. “Many within the Agency and other Research Agencies were not receptive to the idea. Some did not understand In-Q-Tel’s capabilities and how the existence of a venture capital firm could relate to their respective directorate. Others viewed In-Q-Tel as a competitor that would drain their own budgets” [52].

The CIA took the concept of government-backed, strategic venture capital investing to a new level. Some found the 1990’s ATP (Advanced Technology Program) unsuccessful but unlike the ATP, which was a “public-private partnership that functions more as a pool of government grant money” In-Q-Tel would be a true independent Venture Capital Firm [52]. A debate ensued regarding how the potential profits from the investments would be distributed and re-invested as well as the non-profit semi-public nature of the enterprise. “Critics of hybrid organizations such as In-Q-Tel “tend to consider the governmental and private sectors as being legally distinct, with relatively little overlap in behavioral norms” [53]. In the past, when the CIA had a need for private-sector assistance, a bidding process would be initiated and the winning bidder would earn the contract and deliver the product. “Since In-Q-Tel had to be a not-for-profit organization, any returns In-Q-Tel generated from its portfolio companies would have to flow back to In-Q-Tel. When In-Q-Tel realized a profit from the exit of a portfolio company, the board of directors would then re-allocate the funds to new projects. As for compensation, between 20 to 40% of an In-Q-Tel employee’s salary is put into a mandatory fund; for every three dollars, In-Q-Tel invests, one dollar from the employee fund is also invested. Overall, In-Q-Tel managers are compensated differently than managers of traditional venture capital funds but they still have a direct stake in the companies in which In-Q-Tel invests” [52].

Krongard referred to the In-Q-Tel as “a baby with a beard – everybody is rushing to see it” [54]. The reason In-Q-Tel was created is that by late 1998 after Krongard jumped the burning ship of BT-ABS and the bank was saved from a certain collapse by Deutsche Bank it was obvious that the High Tech IPO business was a bubble about to burst. They were expecting that there would be a run of capital out of the Tech sector after the DotCom crash and this would make it indispensable in their point of view to find other sources of funding. The State could not wait a few years for a full economic recovery, they needed to take a lead and stay ahead in the development of industries that they deemed were crucial for National Security. Another reason is that there were certain technologies and ideas in which private VC firms were reluctant to invest in because they presented serious privacy concerns at the time. The legal framework immediately after the 9/11 Event and the passing of the 2003 Patriot Act would change all that. In the following years, the liquidity crisis in venture capital post-DOTCOM bubble crash also made venture firms eager to draw In-Q-Tel in as a partner. “Funds are increasingly looking to other, less traditional investors to fund portfolio firms, including In-Q-Tel, even if their ultimate objectives may be quite different from the venture capitalist’s goal of maximizing the rate of return.” – said Josh Lerner, an investment banking professor at Harvard Business School [48]. In the years following the DOTCOM crash the number of companies added to the In-Q-Tel portfolio increased considerably in relative terms when compared to the total number of Tech IPOS, for instance in 2006 there were a total of 48 Tech IPOs, and in-Q-Tel added 6 new companies to its portfolio. In the aftermath of the Housing crisis in 2008, the total number of Tech IPOs for the year was 14 while In-Q-Tel was able to add 11 new companies to its portfolio [55]. This gives us an idea of how important has been the impact of public funding in the development of new Tech industry for more than a decade especially since 2008 [56].

We want to emphasize how hypocritical and even laughable all these concerns and complexities in the setting of the In-Q-Tel organization sound in retrospect when one becomes aware of the fact that for decades Alex, Brown & Sons was headed by a high ranking active CIA case officer, who was in constant and direct contact with the CIA directorship during the underwriting of some of the major Big Tech corporations of today. A.B. Krongard and associates and those lucky enough to have been first in line during the underwriting of Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, etc.. benefited enormously, and neither Congress nor any financial regulatory agency like the SEC has ever investigated them.

Stanford professor Ronald Gilson concluded that government involvement in Venture Capital is ultimately fruitless because “The U.S. venture capital market developed organically,” argued Gilson, “largely without government assistance and certainly without government design” [52]. Although this may be true statistically (the government does not interfere with the majority of Venture Capital firms) we know now that this belief is naive to say the least given the facts presented here, which are in summary that the CIA and the Pentagon used some particular investment banks lead by government operatives such as Krongard and Perry to push forward some specific companies. Those companies have become overwhelmingly dominant and have come to configure the current infrastructure of surveillance, to which a number of Federal Agencies and the Pentagon have backdoor access and superuser control.

Finally, there is probably one more reason In-Q-Tel was created, in order to become a Parking Lot for a number of termed out and retired godfathers of the Panopticon. As of 2022 in the Board of Directors of In-Q-Tel, we can find A.B. Krongard, George Tenet (Director CIA 1997-2004), Admiral Mike Mullen (17th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff), Jami Miscik (CIA Deputy Director 2002-2006), Jeffrey H. Smith (CIA General Counsel) [57]. How can anyone claim that In-Q-Tel is independent of the Agency or the Pentagon when it counts with 4 ex-CIA heads and a JCS ex-Chairman amongst its Board of Directors?

THE CIA AND ISRAEL’S TECH INDUSTRY

Krongard through ABS in the 1990s and later through In-Q-Tel in the 2000s took also a leading role in the early development of Israel’s Tech industry. In 1996 Alex, Brown & Sons was the underwriter of the first Israeli company to go public in the US NASDAQ, Orckit Communications. Orckit was established in 1990 by Israel’s Military Intelligence electronic unit 8200 graduates Eric Paneth and Yitzhak Tamir [58]. Paneth was a commander of the 8200 unit, that has provided Israeli high-tech a significant proportion of its engineers and managers.

In May 1996 the Giza Group (one of Israel’s leading private investment banking firms) facilitated a meeting of Krongard and Shattuck with Israel’s business leaders and politicians, including then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres, to “broaden business ties with Israel’s high-technology and health care executives”. “We want to be perceived as the premier underwriter and adviser for high-tech and health care companies in Israel. The time has come to build stronger affiliations at the senior management level.” – said Krongard for the Baltimore Sun [59]. It is reasonable to assume that the Israeli government, by the time Shimon Peres met Krongard and Shattuck in May 1996, was perfectly aware of the fact that Krongard was an important CIA case officer and that he had been involved for years, through front companies like Ed Hale’s and others, in “anti-terrorism” operations worldwide. Therefore, when the talk about Alex, Brown & Sons supporting the early development of Israel’s Tech Industry we are in fact really talking about the CIA covertly supporting the early development of Israel’s Tech Industry. One of the first In-Q-Tel investments and the most well known by far is Palantir, which was founded with $30 mln from Peter Thiel and $2 mln from In-Q-Tel. The connections of Palantir with another one of Thiel’s Surveillance Data Integration companies, Israeli Carbyne, with Israel’s 8200 group, and with worldwide illegal operations of surveillance of dissident groups and minorities have been explored elsewhere[60,61].

At the time of Krongard‘s visit, Aviv Boim was a vice president of Giza Ltd. Boim remained at Giza for two more months, until August 1996, and then joined ABS as an associate from August 1996 to February 1998. Aviv Boim worked with Alex Brown’s technology group in London, where he managed initial public offerings, mergers, and acquisitions concerning Israeli companies. When Krongard left Bankers Trust-ABS to join the CIA, Aviv Boim also left BT-ABS to join Orckit as Chief Financial Officer. Aviv Boim was also CEO of Tikcro Technologies, a company that supported early-stage development on biotechnology projects that originated in Israeli academic centers. Both Orckit (and Tikcro) are not your usual companies. These are typical Israeli military “dual-use” companies, with hidden military and intelligence functions, which are presented as normal commercial enterprises. “Buzzy” Krongard and his team at Alex, Brown & Sons certainly must have been aware that they were investing in companies closely tied to the Israeli military and vice versa. The management of those companies was perfectly aware of the fact that they were being supported and helped in the underwriting process by the C.I.A.

THE CIA PRIVATE ARMIES

American law specifically prohibits the use of private soldiers or mercenaries in combat. Nevertheless, the CIA had planned to expand the role of private contractors on the battlefield since the 1990s and found in a young and wealthy heir, Erik Prince, the vehicle to do so. Erik Prince had a privileged upbringing. In 1990 at 21 years old he secured an internship in the White House under George H.W. Bush. After college, then 23 years old Prince was commissioned as an officer in the USA Navy via Officer Candidate School. He went on to become a Navy SEAL and was deployed with SEAL Team 8 to Haiti, the Middle East, and the Balkans. Erik Prince’s father’s engineering company, Prince Corporation, was sold to Johnson Controls in 1996 for $1.35 billion. That same year Erik Prince founded Blackwater. Prince purchased approximately 7,000 acres to create the largest private training facility in the country. In his autobiography, he states that it was during the Yugoslav Wars, that he realized that there was a need for private training facilities for special operations [62,63].

After taking the position of CIA Executive Officer in 2001 A.B. Krongard helped Blackwater to get its first big security contract, to provide security guards in Afghanistan in 2002. Krongard described helping Blackwater to get its first CIA contract as a routine intermediary role. Apparently, Mr. Krongard and Erik D. Prince knew each other. They had hunted together near Blackwater’s North Carolina training ground and at Mr. Krongard’s hunting club in Maryland [64]. A.B. Krongard’s son, Admiral Alexander L. Krongard, was also a Navy Seal who had also been commissioned as an officer in the USA Navy via Officer Candidate School in 1985, seven years prior to Erik Prince. We can assume that A.B. Krongard used his high-flying contacts to get spots for both his son Alexander and Erik Prince in the Officer Candidate School of the US Navy after college graduation. Blackwater’s first assignment was to provide 20 men with top-secret clearance to protect Afghanistan’s CIA headquarters and a base that was responsible for hunting Osama bin Laden. In the following years, Blackwater contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan would extend considerably. In 2003, Blackwater received its first Iraq contract to provide security for Paul Bremer, head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq. In 2004, Blackwater was hired by the Department of State to provide protective services in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Israel.

 

The Iraqi Government revoked Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq on September 17, 2007, after a massacre in Baghdad in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed. In 2007 Democrats, headed by Henry A Waxman, initiated Congressional Hearings on Blackwater’s actions. A string of Blackwater revelations was used by Democrats to torment the Bush administration. Blackwater’s actions included “active participation in raids overseen by CIA or special forces personnel”, significantly expanded beyond their previously known assignments in security and logistics”. If contractors have been sent on true combat missions, missions where they are supposed to kill and engage the enemy, then they are by every definition of the term mercenaries. To have such a force without allowing Congress to approve was a very serious offense to the US Constitution. Blackwater’s license to operate was reinstated by the American government in April 2008, but in early 2009 the Iraqis announced that they had refused to extend that license. In 2009, FBI investigators were unable to match the bullets from the 2007 shooting to those guns carried by Blackwater contractors, leaving open the possibility that insurgents also fired at the victims. In August 2010, the company agreed to pay a $42 million fine to settle allegations that it unlawfully provided armaments and military equipment overseas concluding a U.S. State Department investigation that began in 2007 [65,66,67].

After A.B. Krongard retired from his position as Executive Director of the Agency in 2004 he went on to join several Advisory Boards including In-Q-Tel and Blackwater. In 2007 Alvin B. Krongard was forced to resign from the Blackwater advisory board he had just joined after his brother, Howard Joel Krongard, then the State Department inspector general recused himself from the Congressional Hearings on Blackwater Activities. Howard Krongard had been accused by members of Congress of going easy on Blackwater because of his brother’s connections with the company. Howard Krongard, as Inspector General at the State Department, had blocked investigations of massive fraud by military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. At Congressional hearings, Howard feigned ignorance that his brother was a director of Blackwater, one of the key contracts being examined [64].

The connections of A.B. Krongard with Blackwater did not end there [68]. Due to the bad press Blackwater was renamed Xe Services in 2009 and then Academi since 2011, after it was acquired by a group of private investors.  It continued providing services to the CIA and the State Department. In 2014, Academi merged with Triple Canopy a subsidiary of the Constellis Group. Academi’s Board of Directors included former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former White House Counsel, and retired Admiral and former NSA Director Bobby Ray Inman. In 2016 Apollo Global Management bought Constellis for about $1 billion [69]. Interestingly, A.B. Krongard had been a member of the Board of Directors of Apollo Global Management and its audit committee since 2011.

On December 22, 2020, President Trump pardoned four former Blackwater contractors serving long prison terms for the 2007 killing of 17 innocent civilians.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S THRONE

“….On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (586 B.C.), Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon….”  

2 Kings 25

The sons of Jacob had to wait exactly 2,600 years to get their revenge (Nebuchadnezzar II’s siege of Jerusalem took place in 597 B.C.) and their divine revenge came in the form of a Jewish boy of Baltimore named Alvin who carrying the flag of the CIA would be the first and the highest-ranking USA official to sit down on Saddam Hussein’s throne the day of his capture on December 13th, 2003. What was in A.B. Krongard‘s mind when half a year ago he gave a public interview to Tim Malloy [70] from the Palm Beach Civic Association? As he walked Tim Malloy through his newly purchased $10 mln retirement home in Pal Beach he said [71]:

“These are my CIA medals” [A.B. Krongard points to a shelf with 9 different medals including the CIA Distinguished Intelligence Medal, The CIA Director’s Medal, The Director of Operations Donovan’s Award, and the Warren Medallion]

“This is the highest medal I could have been given by a Warlord in a certain country – his sword”

This is something from my Agency days, from the Berlin Wall”

“The first year [after the 9/11` Event] the Agency was the leader in taking the fight back to them because we have been preparing and preparing and ringing the bell for it”

“This is the Oath I took at the Agency. That is me in Afghanistan with a beard. I never had facial hair before or since and that is me sitting on Saddam’s Throne. I was there the day we got him in Iraq”.

The Arab World is rife with Israeli-American conspiracies. Certainly having a CIA executive officer of Jewish ancestry taking a pic of himself sitting on Saddam’s Throne the day Saddam was captured was not a good idea. One can expect this behavior from the rank and file infantry soldiers who fought their way into Saddam’s compound but not from a USA high-ranking official. Some people at Langley or at the Pentagon may be perplexed, wondering by now, what is bigger Krongard’s mouth or Krongard’s ego? Why do we worry about whistleblowers at all?

If some thought that the creation of In-Q-Tel was the only reason A.B. Krongard was brought in as the new Executive Officer of the CIA in 2001 they were simply ignorant of the covert work Krongard had done for decades for the CIA prior to that. It is mind-blowing to think that the man who underwrote Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, and so many other Tech corporations is the first USA official who sat down on Saddam’s Throne unless one realizes that the creation of the High-Tech Panopticon and the post-9/11 Patriot Act are two sides of the same coin. The fact is that A.B. Krongard always was much more than an investment banker.

When Tenet promoted Krongard to CIA executive director in the spring of 2001, he asked him, “to look into overhauling everything from the Agency’s structure and technology to its compensation systems. Less than a month later Krongard delivered his report, and in June, three months before Sept. 11, the Agency undertook what may have been the most sweeping reorganization in its history” [72]. Tenet and Krongard, told CIA employees that “they plan to abolish the agency’s Directorate of Administration so that support personnel would work much more closely with CIA operatives, analysts and scientists”.[73]

KRONGARD ON TORTURE

A.B. Krongard graduated in 1958 from Princeton University, where he studied Philosophy of Religion. This is what this student of Philosophy had to say recently about Waterboarding during a speech at the Palm Beach Civic Association [74]:

“Let me make one third point that drives me crazy. Waterboarding … First of all, anybody that is a diver here and you dive long enough you basically get the simulated drowning thing and we all have gone through waterboarding, the difference is that you know you are not going to die from it wheras, where you are doing it to a terrorist or something, they don’t know, it simulates drowning Okay. Waterboarding might be a piece of cake for me whereas dangling a worm may drive me crazy. It is a different thing for different people. So, the first thing is waterboarding is absolutely horrible. We waterboarded 3 people, none of whom died and from whom we got good intel and that is horrible ? In the Obama administration drone strikes, the guy always dies, there is always collateral damage and you get no intel. He is dead…. and the people screaming about waterboarding they never had a problem with drone strikes. I could never figure that out.”

A.B. Krongard (Oct 21st 2021, Global Speaker Series, Palm Beach Civic Association)

For the record, according to the dictionary, waterboarding is defined as “a form of torture in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the person to experience the sensation of drowning.  Torturers pour water onto the face over the breathing passages, causing an almost immediate gag reflex and creating a drowning sensation for the captive. Normally, water is poured intermittently to prevent death. However, if the water is poured uninterruptedly it will lead to death by asphyxia, also called dry drowning”.

In a statement that seems extracted out of the Nazi Gestapo’s training manual, Mr. Krongard is comparing Waterboarding with Scubadiving. This will go down as one of the most disturbing and disgusting statements made by an American government official in the entire history of the country. Krongard even tries to argue incoherently that Enhanced Interrogation is not torture:

I am not ashamed nor proud of this but to the extent that any individual had with the enhanced interrogation. First of all, it is not torture. The only purpose of torture is to inflict pain and often ending in death. I mean, I go back to the Spanish Inquisition and the band wrapped around the head, things like that. Dead people are not some you can get intelligence from. I was telling you about our resources being cut, when 9/11 occurred we had by our shrinking budget, we had really no interrogation effort. You know, guys who that is all they studied and did. At Fort Bragg, the military, the special operations they had psychological operations, PsyOps. That is the closest we had”.

A.B. Krongard (Oct 21st 2021, Global Speaker Series, Palm Beach Civic Association)

Fortunately, there is still some common sense left in Congress to compensate a little for the insanity that reigns at the CIA’s and Pentagon’s headquarters. The 2015 Senate Report on CIA Torture clearly stated that the CIA torture program is “inconsistent with our values as a nation” [75] and that “enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in acquiring intelligence to avert terrorist threats”. The study also showed that “the CIA misled the public, Congress, the Department of Justice, and even the White House on the effectiveness and the scope and severity of their interrogation techniques”. The study was based on six million CIA documents. Unfortunately, the entire 6,000-page report still remains classified and only 525 pages of summary have been published. Nevertheless, Krongard and the CIA, 6 years after the Senate Report was published, keep on repeating the same official line, that only 3 terrorists were ever waterboarded, that none of them died, and that the intelligence acquired was crucial in the killing of Osama bin Laden. This is an absolute lie that movies like the 2013 Oscar-nominated “Zero, Dark, Thirty” helped to imprint in the American psyche (the inspector general’s audit staff identified several potential violations of federal criminal law, the bribery of public officials and witnesses by the movie producers and director). What is even more amazing is that after initiating the Torture Program Krongard and the CIA claim to have acted under the law and have deflected any questions in the matter to the Department of Justice, that “told us what we could do”:

“I sent a note to all chiefs of stations in all friendly or neutral countries asking, what experience did you have with techniques for interrogation, particularly cultural? This works well on Asian women, this one works well on Arab men and dah, dah, dah. It came back that we had 28 techniques. The General Counsel and the Deputy General Counsel said to go down to the Justice Department, give them the list, do not editorialize, do not request. Tell us what we can do. They came back with 12, later shrunk to 10, in writing, four different times, approving them all. So, If you have a problem see the Justice Department Okay. They told us what we could do.”

A.B. Krongard (Oct 21st 2021, Global Speaker Series, Palm Beach Civic Association)

This works well on Asian women, this one on Arab men…” What can one reply to these inhuman comments? Is classifying torture techniques based on race, sex, and, ethnicity part of the the job description for CIA Executive Officer? The medical term is Anosognosia, which means that someone who is mentally insane is unaware of his own mental health condition. Apparently, in his own mind, Krongard sees himself as a moderate, the voice of reason. This is what he believes the American Public thinks about torture:

We knew it was going to be an issue number 1), number 2), Had I gone out, say, a month after 9/11 and you all represent a proxy for the entire country and told you what we are going to do: sleep deprivation, extended arm, face squeeze, wall push, waterboarding. You’d been screaming, that’s all you are going to do ? You are not going to burn them ? You are not going to skin them ? to get information. I mean you’d been screaming at me. ”

A.B. Krongard (Oct 21st 2021, Global Speaker Series, Palm Beach Civic Association)

Mr. Krongard and the CIA are wrong about the American People. The American People do not agree with them. The CIA does not represent the American People. The American people have not elected them to occupy the position of power they occupy. They are nothing more than a bunch of handpicked elitist psychopaths, government gangsters with a license to kill carrying federal badges. Independent researchers have concluded at least 100 people were killed as a result of CIA torture and interrogation techniques [76]. The total number of detainees tortured at Guantánamo Prison and at CIA black sites across the Globe has never been fully determined, in part because the CIA isn’t certain itself and has destroyed all records of the Enhanced Interrogations it conducted [77].

A.B. Krongard. The legendary underwriter of Microsoft, Amazon, and Oracle is also one of the main architects of this parallel lawless Universe of individuals abducted at airports around the world and who with the complicity of local governments, without any evidence nor order of arrest, and outside any legal process are transported for interrogation and torture on a fleet of leased planes manned by CIA operatives. For more details about the CIA’s Torture-World, the reader should check “The Ghost Plane” by journalist Stephen Grey [78]. If the reader is interested in checking some of the garbage coming out of the Pentagon Propaganda machine on a regular basis I suggest these [79-88].

MOTEL VALENCIA

I became interested in the topic of this article because of a series of amazing coincidences that took place right after I arrived in this country. I flew to the US on 6th September 2001 from my hometown Valencia, Spain to New York, LA, and from there to Hawaii. I heard in the news soon after the 9/11 Event that some of the “suspected terrorists” have stayed in a Motel called Motel Valencia, which is halfway between Baltimore and Langley [87]. What a strange coincidence I thought! A.B. Krongard must have seen that hotel many times in his frequent trips from Alex, Brown & Sons offices in Baltimore to the CIA Headquarters in Langley.

September 11, 2001, fell on a Tuesday. I can remember perfectly because I had arrived in the USA on Friday the 7th of the previous week. It was my second day at the job at the Department of Physics & Astronomy of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I arrived very early at my office at Watanabe Hall. I closed the door of my office behind me and I stayed there until well in the afternoon when I suddenly realized that there was nobody around. I thought it must be a local Holiday I did not know about. I called the Faculty member whose group I had joined, Xerxes Tata, who asked me if I did not know what had happened earlier that morning. I had joined the Physics Department as a postdoctoral researcher, officially an employee of UH (University of Hawaii). This was a position funded by the DOE (Department of Energy). My application did not receive much support from the local Faculty I came to realize soon but from Howard Baer, a Professor then at the Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL (who I had met during a doctoral summer visit back in 1999) and also by an influential member of the High Energy Physics Committee of the funding agency and 2021 Sakurai Prize, Vernon Barger from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Howie Baer, now at Oklahoma State University, had been a student of Vernon at Madison from 1980 to 1984. Curiously, 5 years later I would end up joining Shell Oil’s Research Group in Houston, hired by another Physics PhD from Madison and surrounded by people who had been also students at the Physics Department of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Supposedly as they plotted their attack on the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Mihdhar stayed at the low-budget Valencia Motel, just miles from the NSA’s headquarters, halfway between Baltimore and Langley.

I did not have a place to stay in Honolulu so the Physics Department Office arranged for me to stay in a Graduate Dorm across the street called East-West Center. I did not know it at the time but the East-West Center had been used by the CIA and the State Department for decades to bring talented students, scholars, and journalists from all across the globe. Some of them were recruited there, others were already working for the intelligence services in their countries and would use the East-West Center to establish connections with their American counterparts amongst other things. The East-West Center is where a 17 years old Stanley Ann Dunham (President Obama’s mother) met President Obama’s African father, the school’s first African student who had been brought to the East-West Center as part of a program run by President Obama’s grandfather while he worked for the CIA. President Obama’s mother, an anthropologist by education, would go on to work covertly for the Agency in SouthEast Asia, officially she worked as a consultant for the Ford Foundation [90].

Just a couple of days after I arrived a group of Chinese “journalists” who were all staying on the same East-West Center floor I was staying on approached me and invited me to have dinner with them. Many of these Chinese “journalists” had family connections to the CCP and some were literally the voice of the Chinese State in the press through their English articles in the China Daily. The person who first approached me was Guo Yali. Her friendliness seemed odd to me, her marriage had been arranged to a person she had not seen in years – she told me. She was supposed to go back to China to get married to a Chinese diplomat who would work later at the Chinese Embassy in London I believe. This person would contact me out of the blue years later around 2012 to ask me personal questions while I was, strangely enough, embroiled in a financial crime involving the Chinese State and the company I was working for, Shell Oil. I reported the approach from outsiders connected to CEPSA-COASTAL-1MDB deal to my management in Shell Oil in Houston, where I was working at the time. I have written about this in several articles in the past [91,92,93].

Just a few days after I arrived another person walked into my office at Watanabe Hall and introduced himself. His name was Roger Kadala and he was a Professor of Science, Math, and Business at Pacific Hawaii University but the reason he was in Manoa’s Physics Department – he said – is that he had registered recently in the Physics Department Graduate Program. It was shocking at first to hear this 6 feet tall swimmer who qualified for the Olympic games when he was in college speak in perfect Spanish with Venezuelan accent. Roger, born to a Venezuelan mother and an American father, was about 50 years old at the time. I believe his father had been in the US military. He had studied in the US and he probably was recruited while in College in New York as an informant or collaborator of some sort. He went back to Venezuela after graduation and he went on to become an airline pilot and even flew the Venezuelan Air Force One aircraft for the former President of Venezuela between 1980-1981. He told me how he had met some Chiefs of State, like Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, in his trips as Air Force One pilot. He left Venezuela in 1987, just before the Venezuelan economic meltdown, and flew some years for a dutch company before “retiring” from aviation. As a reward for his “service” he got a job in Hawai, where he joined a US Navy College, the Hawaii Pacific University. We became friends. I learned some basics of paddleboarding and surfing from him. Years later when I joined Shell Oil in Houston Roger asked me to invest in a small company. He said he had a colleague, who had been a roommate of a US Navy Admiral while in Naval School, who believed this company was going to get a big government contract. I had no idea about that – I replied – but I trusted him and that if he was going to invest I would invest a couple of thousand too – I said.

It turns out that the company in question manufactured airport scanners and Roger forgot to mention that since the 2003 Patriot Act investing in certain companies could get a non-US citizen on an FBI Persons of Interest List. Lo and behold, thanks to an apparent act of generosity from my friend Roger my name ended up on an FBI list and, without me being aware of it in front of a secret court in Texas, which around 2006, when I moved to Houston, gave the FBI the green light to implement “legal surveillance” on me for years. I even know the name of the judge who approved it, the Honorable retired Turkish-American Judge Jay Karahan. He was elected in November 2002 and took office in January 2003. He run with Republican Party affiliation and was a judge of the Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 8 in Texas. He was re-elected in 2006, 2010, and 2014. I believed he approved all the 1MDB-related covert operations in Houston TX which involved, undercover federal agents. The undercover agents in question didn’t use the power granted by Karahan’s Patriot Act Secret Court to conduct any kind of anti-terrorism-related operation but to attempt to fabricate all kinds of false evidence of my involvement in the 1MDB Scandal and to help Chinese Agent Jho Low to pull off the crime of the century. Some time ago I asked Roger Kadala who was the US Navy officer that had suggested him to invest in that company. He could not recall the name of his friend nor the name of the US Navy Admiral who gave them the investment tip. The last time I spoke to Roger Kadala I said goodbye to my old friend, I called him son of a b**ch and assured him he will get an expedited judgment straight to Hell when his time comes.

Another puzzling incident happened to me a few weeks after I arrived in Hawaii back in September 2001 and that also contributed to having my name on an FBI Persons of Interest List. After 9/11 the USA quickly declared war on Afghanistan. A few months after the 9/11 Event my face appeared on the Hawaiian local TV news. I was surprised to find out that I was apparently one of the organizers of an anti-war rally that took place on a popular beach in Honolulu called Ala-Moana Beach. I was on that beach that weekend but I was not anywhere close to the anti-war demonstration. The video editor who plastered my face on the local TV news went out of his way to make it look as if I had been involved in the organization of that demonstration. I found out about this when one of the Faculty members of the UH Department where I was working asked me about it during lunch. Other Department members stopped being friendly on that day.

I have never been recruited by the CIA, the FBI, or any intelligence or law enforcement agency from this country or any other country but in the past 25+ years, I had contact with plenty of people working for or collaborating with those agencies as well as with non-uniformed US military, especially after 2006 in Houston Texas. None of them ever identified themselves as such. I did not fully understand it back then but I had fallen prey to an international intelligence operation led by the US that counted on the collaboration of intelligence agencies from other countries including my country of origin. It would take me a few years to find out the actual name of the intelligence operation that was used by the multiple Agencies participating, Spanish Vagrant. It sounds racist, doesn’t it? I am not making this up. That was the actual name they used. The people who designed this insanity of intelligence operation and some of the people who led the Operation and whom I met in Houston are as racist as they come. What kind of hopeless racist imbeciles think that you can bring to the US a Ph.D. in physics from another country and convince the World that he is a Criminal Mastermind just because he has a Hispanic accent? A few scattered parts of this operation I have already described in previous articles, see for instance [91,92,93].

It may seem as if I am veering a little off-course but I am not. The reason I brought this up here is that when I arrived in the USA the Executive Director of the CIA was A.B. Krongard and the CIA Director was George Tenet and as such both of them necessarily heard about the Spanish Vagrant Operation since some of their people were involved in the ground then and years later. The operation had been in motion since George H.W. Bush’s Presidency and would reach its climax in 2012-2015 around the time 1MDB – Jho Low & Associates were present in Houston, TX [91,92,93]. Here is where one’s education as a physicist comes in handy. In some way, as if the fruit of a strange vortex of temporal entanglement, future events may help us to make sense of a string of coincidences from the past, that otherwise would be too coincidental to be true. Being aware of the fact that one is being manipulated is like seeing the invisible strings pulling the puppet’s arms up and down. One just has to follow the strings until one reaches the puppet masters.

CONCLUSION

On March 17, 2001, the day after he was named Executive Director of the C.I.A. A.B. Krongard told the Washington Post that “If you go back to the CIA’s origins during World War II in the Office of Strategic Services”, he explained, “the whole OSS was really nothing but Wall Street bankers and lawyers.”. We have shown in this article that the OSS and CIA methods haven’t changed a bit. The names of the banks and the companies involved are different but the methods are the same. We can claim without any exaggeration that the US Department of Defense [94] along with CIA and DOD front investment banks like Alex, Brown & Sons and Hambrecht & Quist, and the CIA’s own venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, helped to finance the creation of the Big-Tech giants of today, including Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Oracle, Broadcom, Qualcomm, NVidia, Facebook, Google, PayPal, Palantir etc… The development of the Big-Tech Panopticon and the development of State-Sponsored Synthetic Terrorism needed each other, as the two sides of a coin cannot exist without each other. From this point of view, it makes sense that the few individuals involved in the underwriting of the major Big Tech corporations were also deeply involved with National Security “anti-terrorism” operations before and after 9/11.

COMING SOON: FEEDING THE PANOPTICON

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