Shortly after he took office in 1999, he was escorted to a state Capitol conference room where 23 CIA agents were waiting. He writes that they grilled him about how he campaigned and won the election. “In short, how had the independent wrestler candidate pulled this off?”
He said he learned “there is a CIA operative inside every state government. … In Minnesota, this person was at a deputy commissioner level, fairly high up.”
It turns out, he was right. Who says? The CIA.
MPR reporter Tim Pugmire called the CIA to verify the story and got back this e-mail:
Thanks for your call. With respect to your questions about Gov.
Ventura’s references to the CIA in his new book, you can use the quoted portions that follow from me, in name, as a CIA spokesman:
With respect to his reference to a meeting that occurred shortly after he took office in 1999:
“On occasion CIA officers meet with senior state government officials, as they did in this case, to discuss issues of mutual interest.”
With respect to his statement about CIA officers in state governments:
“I wouldn’t think of CIA officers as being in state governments.
They’re federal employees.”
CIA Office of Public Affairs
In other words: the goose flies north at midnight.
Tim called back to try to clarify such points as (a) were there really 23 agents involved and (b) huh? He has not heard back.
There’s also a call in to Gov. Tim Pawlenty to find out if it’s routine that a deputy commissioner in state government might be a CIA agent.
(Photo: Carlo Allegri, Getty Images)