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March 02, 1969 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-02

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Sunday, Mo r6 2, 1969


* y : I :


Whatever happened to

Agent Smith?

ON A MAP of world espion-
age, Ann Arbor doesn't ever
rate a pin. The most reknown-
ed undercover mission locally
was the nation's first recorded
panty raid in 1952. And t h e
N most zealous spies have beer
underpaid pizza delivery boys
collecting $10.00 from police fo
ratting on pot parties.
But this fall, a 21-year-old
senior named Leonard Smith
officially employed as a nighi
"clerk" for the Federal Bureat
of Investigation in Detroit, tried
to carry out an incredible plan
for subverting student activism
in Ann Arbor. His proposed ven-
ture was titled "Operation text-
book", spelled out on a two.
page xeroxed document under a
Central Intelligence Agency let-
a terhead.
In three phases, "Operation
Textbook" called for (1) organ-
izing a conservative student al-
liance to "permeate every facet
of the student activist life" with
covert agency support; (2) us-
ing FBI contacts to keep "New
Left organizations and. stud-
ent radical groups in internal
disruption from within;" and,
(3) the actual interruption, de-
struction, and intervention in
New Left affairs," under
"Agency supervision."
4 TO CARRY OUT Phase I he
tried to lure several old friends
into collaboration with prom-
ises of free rent and future gov-
ernment jobs. Frightened, one
of his confidants exposed t h e
plan to University President
Robben Fleming and an embar-
rassed FBI had to fumble for an
explanation: that Smith "was
acting on his own."
Smith, of course, resigned
from the FBI but was not pro-
secuted,, for/ impersonating a
CIA or FBI agent.
Investigation shows it is like-
ly that Smith enjoyed the tacit
and perhaps the direct approv-
al of the FBI on the plot (al-
though there is no way to
prove that the CIA was in on
the plan and the "Operation
Textbook" document c o u l d
have been a forgery).
Despite the FBI's denials it
seems incredible that the FBI
(an agency which has fired a
clerk because his girlfriend
slept on his couch overnight)
was ignorant of Smith's activi-
ties while in their employ. Cur-
iously, even Smith's father, a
'r 20 year veteran of the Detroit
police force and a former vice
president of the detective asso-
ciation, was aware of the con-
servative student group and en-
couraged it.
LEN SMITH has always been
, an enigma to his friends. His
blond hair and boyish frame
create an impression of earn-
est adolescence. A journalism
major (with a C average), he
belonged to the Evans Scholar
Len Smith's passion, however,
4 was espionage. He soaked up
James Bond novals, sometimes
wore sunglasses and an ascot,
and dangled cigarettes from his
Last February he became a
full-time night-shift clerk -in
Detroit with the hope of attend-
ing special-agent training
school after graduation.
The FBI refuses to discuss his
duties, except to confirm that
he was a clerk. The bureau's De-
troit director, Paul Stoddard,
says: "A clerking experience is
like becoming a mason; you
t learn how to lay the bricks."
prentice, Len Smith quickly as-

sumed responsibilities which
took him outside the office. He
reportedly carried an unregis-
tered concealed weapon and an
official FBI identification pac-
ket that included a government
vehicle operator's license. He
also had access to the entire De-
troit headquarters in the Fed-
eral Bldg. Chris Frizell, '70, one
of Smith's more steady dates re-
calls an evening last spring
E when Len took her upstairs to
the ninth floor there for a royal
tour. She saw director S t o d-
dard's office, the well-stocked
gun vault, the card files on rad-
icals, even the exclusive and un-
listed eleventh floor of the
" '

building where the communi-
cations equipment is kept.
In the presence of another
agent, Jim Sturgis, Len de-
scribed an exciting mission
earlier that evening where they
had stalked a top-ten criminal.
BY THE END of the summer,
he landed a big "back-to-
school" assignment, which ar-
rived in an unmarked envelope.
Inside, a two-page document
with a CIA letterhead spelled
out the three-phase "Operation
Textbook" plan, but he says that
he received verbal instructions
to set up the student alliance.
In early August, he began
telling close friends he was "now
working for the CIA under the
FBI cover."
This admission was not a case
of indiscretion. Len had made a
conscious decision to try to
build the Conservative Student
Alliance from a base of close
friends. The first man he tap-

cruiting other members - and
this is where the organization
foundered. One evening, John
and Len drove downtown to the
FBI office and made calls to
three other students whom they
hoped would join the battle
against SDS. But of the three,
only one girl expressed luke-
warm interest.
Len tried to bring another close
friend into the management
group-and this eventually blew
the cover on the whole opera-
The person he contacted was
an old Michigan girl friend
named Ellen Heyboer, a tall,
radiant brunette. A German
major, she had been spending
the summer before her senior
year visiting Europe. On August
13, the very evening of her re-
turn after several sleepless
nights of travel, Len came over
to give her the sales pitch and

Washington, D.C. 20505
SUBJECT: Operation Textbook.
PHASE I: To initiate, centralize and strengthen a con-
servative yet political autonomous student organiza-
tion. This organization should permeate every facet
of the student activist life. The steering committee
of the organization may be aware of Government
support but this knowledge must not filter down
into the main body of the group. Agency money will
be used to support this organization. Agency person-
nel must limit their action to a strictly organiza-
tional nature.
PHASE II: New Left Organizations and Student radical
groups must be kept in internal disruption from
within. Decentralization of these groups is evident
and must be encouraged and fostered. This will
be accomplished from within by Bureau contacts.
The Bureau will be completely responsible for all
Phase II projects.
PHASE III: Actual interruption, destruction and inter-
vention in New Left affairs. This Phase will be ac-
complished only when Phase I is strongly under-
way and Phase II is in progress. All Phase III
projects will be accomplished solely by Agency

nance graduate study and get
her a job in Germany after
graduation. To appease her lib-
eral instincts, he said the con-
servative student alliance coe
have wide political range except
"we wouldn't like to see you
protest the war in Vietnam."
By the end of this perform-
ance, Ellen was dazed, as if the
friendly encyclopedia salesman
had suddenly turned out to be
the Boston Strangler. And yet
she didn't have the nerve to
resist even when he told her:
"Things happen to people who
slow things up. The CIA doesn't
look favorably upon people who
mess things up, just because
they are slow or uncooperative."
And on that inconclusive note,
he left.
made a key oversight which did
not become apparent until they
both returned to Ann Arbor in
late August: the three-page
Operation Textbook document
remained upstairs in her drawer.
Len should never have given
the CIA letter to an unwilling
partner; having done so, he was
frantic to get it back; even to
the neglect of his fledgling or-
Ellen, meanwhile had become
-too preoccupied with her cam-
pus activities to pay him much
heed, but she unwittingly joined
him in a tug of war. One eve-
ning he sent John Bologna to
bring her back to their apart-
ment for a tongue lashing. She
scoffed at the importance of the
document and then demanded
to be taken home after hearing
a tape recorder click.
Late for work, he strapped
on his gun before dropping her
off at the sorority and going
to his midnight job at the De-
troit FBI. Another time he in-
vited her to lunch and shoved
thick CIA application across te
table; she refused to put down
her yogurt container and look
at it.'
But the game began to wear
away Ellen's patience. Then on
the night of September 19 the
implications of "Operation Text-
book" suddenly dawned. Ellen
learned the local SDS chapter
was in shambles, in line with
Phase II of "Operation Text-
She felt obliged to tell some-
one. As she recalls: "I didn't
want to break Len's trust, on
the other hand, I was starting to
boil. I was cracking up." Not
surprisingly, she turned to her
21-year-old fiance, E. . Know-
les, who conveniently was a
member of the student govern-
ment council (SGC)
A tough, volatile personality
wrapped up in a soft southern
accent, Knowles was not, like
Ellen, hesitant to act. On the
next afternoon, a Friday, he re-
peated the story to his close
friends, SGC vice-president Bob
Neff and to Will Smith (no re-
lation to Len), a rugged ex-
Michigan lineman who was then
the university's assistant di-
retor of student organizations.
THAT NIGHT Ellen went
home and retrieved the docu-
ment; on Saturday afternoon
Will Smith arranged a meeting
with President Fleming for 8
p.m. that evening. Present in
Fleming's study that night were
emissaries Knowles, Neff and
Will Smith.
Robben Fleming is a good
listener. A labor mediator, by
profession, he likes to stake out
all the points of an issue before
hazarding an opinion. But after
reading "Operation Textbook"
and hearing the accompanying
story, he was incredulous.

"Where did you guys get this
stuff," he exclaimed pointing to
the document. "This sound like
a Keystone Cops plot," Instinc-
tively recognizing the "psycho-
logical" pressure on Ellen, he
asked to meet with her Monday
morning and to contact Len
Smith for an immediate ex-
Then began a tumultuous few
days as the principals spun like
spokes on a wheel faster and
faster around without coming
any closer together. Fleming
could not locate Len, whose
phone was unlisted, so he had to
send a registered letter to the
apartment asking for an ap-
pointment. Len, despite the fact
that he was now calling every
half hour, could not find Ellen,
who was shielded by her room-
mates, E. 0. Knowles and Bob
Neff vainly tried to track Len
down at an incorrect address.
But on Wednesday, Septem-
ber 25, Len received Fleming's
letter after his creative writing
class. He now realized that the
story was out, and followed
Fleming's demand for an ap-
pointment the next day.
He did not know how much
Fleming knew (or where the
document was) so he made one
last frantic stab at finding El-
len shortly after dinner.
Contacting a mutual friend,
he learned that Ellen was hid-
ing out at E. 0. Knowles' apart-
ment that evening. Knowles still
anxious to find Len, had left
her there alone, but promised
to check in regularly.
heard a mysterious knock, then
a few minutes later the phone
rang. It was Len, calling from
his apartment. Did she have the
document? No, Fleming had it,
Len was stunned and furious.
"You're in big trouble, El, this
isn't going .to end tomorrow,
next week, or next month," he
told her.
To Ellen alone in the apart-
ment, the words were ominous.
-Fortunately, she did not have to
worry long. Knowles checked in
soon after and raced back to
calm her down.
Len's threat could hardly be
taken seriously; it was a reflex
spasm of anger and frustration.
Even before Ellen hung up on
him in disgust and fear, Len
changed his tune: "You know
when this thing is over Een,
you are going to look like a fool.
Wait until I tell them that this
thing is all a hoax."
IT WAS hardly that. Imme-
diately after hanging up, Len
notified the FBI in Detroit that
the document was out. Then,
he and roommate Bologna set
out burning all the remaining
evidence. Bologna says: " 11
papers with a CIA letterhead
(there were several) were fed
to the garbage disposal. Then
he drove out Carpenter Road
(past the 1-94 freeway) and
burned the remaining papers
in an open field."
The documents included two
copies of the post-office safe
and combination number plus

President Fleming

Ellen Heyboer

some confidential FBI reports.
to see the Ann Arbor FBI and
to tell Fleming "it was all a
joke." The president didn't
laugh: "If it was a joke, it was
a joke in very bad judgment."
On Friday evening, the two
drove to Len's home where,
says Bologna, Mr. Smith was-
highly agitated. "When we got
to the house, the first thing his
parents did was, "Where is the
gun?" Len handed it to them
and they put it away. "'Boy you
really blew this one,' Len's
father said."
Afterwards John drove Len
down to the Detroit FBI where
the latter stayed for two hours.
The FBI says it officially ac-
cepted his resignation on that,
date-September 27.
But on Monday, September
30, Len and Detroit agent Jim
Sturgis were seen together in-
vestigating the bombing of the
Ann Arbor CIA office, which
had taken place toe previous
parently fresh in Len's mind
when he broke his lease and
dropped out of the University
the same week. He told both
landlord and academic counselor
that there had been "bomb
threats" on his life. (Bologna,
who moved back into the Evans
Scholars House, was not aware "
of them.)
Before leaving Ann Arbor, Len
made a final try at camouflage.
While sadly admitting "I blew
the job," he asked several
friends to substantiate a cover
story: "If anyone asks tell them
I was simply a file clerk with
the FBI. A lot of trouble could
come from this if it gets. out."
Despite the fact that bits and
snatches of the story have cir-
culated widely in Ann Arbor, the
whole story has not yet come
out. One reason is that the CIA
and FBI maintain anti-press
information offices. As in "Mis-
sion Impossible" they "disavow
any knowledge" of "Operation
LAUGHES A CIA spokesman:
"We don't have agents on col-
lege campuses, your imagina-
tion must be running away from
you." And the FBI's Washing-
ton bureau will only confirm
that Len was a "clerk" from

February 1 to September 27,
Len's old boss, Detroit FBI
director Paul Stoddard refuses
to discuss the case. He even
denies existence of the FBI's
unlisted eleventh floor commun-
ication's center which Len
showed off to friends. "There
are ten floors in the Federal
Bldg.," Stoddard insisted.
However, Stoddard and Ann
Arbor agent Ray Coglin felt
obliged to offer President Flem-
ing a private explanation of
Smith's activities the same day
he was out investigating t h e
CIA bombing with FBI agent
Jim Sturgis.
"They kept repeating the FBI
Is 'much too professional' to be
involved in these shenanigans,"
says Fleming. "They maintained
that if he did any thing 1 i k e
this he did it strictly on his
uncohvinced. He told them: "I
think you should go back to
your office and starting think-
ing -about what you are going,
to say when this story comes
out in print. If you deny it no
one is going to believe you. If
you admit it you are going to
be in a very embarrassing posi-
Like a witness taking the fifth
amendment, the FBI has stuck
to its "clerk" story in the face '
of overwhelming evidence to the

contrary. For civil service pur-
poses. Len might have been
identified as a clerk, but he
was clearly given duties beyond
shuffling papers. As Stoddard
himself sought to reassure Pre-
sident Fleming, no clerk would,
have access to confidential doc-
BY THE SAME logic, no clerk
would carry an unregistered
concealed weapon; flash an of-
ficial FBI identification a n d
government vehicle license; give
grandiose tours; make long-dis-
tance calls on official govern-
ment business from the office or
use the duplicating equipment to
run off the first-page preamble.
The link with the CIA is not
clearcut. But, John Bologna did
see several other documents
with CIA Washington letter-
heads and a healthy quantity of
two kinds of CIA stationery.
Even the CIA spokesman
concedes: "We don't hand our
stationery out by the bushel,"
As a young man planning a
career with the FBI, Len was
aware of the three-year and
$1000 penalty for impersonating
a federal officer. "In all my ac-
tivities, I was acting under or-
ders from the FBI and the CIA.
That's all I can say," he says.
There is further proof that the
FBI cannot pretend ignorance
of Len's activities. On Septem-
See WHATEVER, Page 10

E. 0. Knowles



ped, in fact, was a Sohn Bolog-
na a mild mannered economics
major from Detroit.
After a summer Evans Schola-
outing in Ann Arbor, he popped
the question: Would Bologna
become acting head of the CSA?
The latter, skeptical at first,
could hardly afford to pass up
the opportunity, even though it
meant moving out of the Evans
Scholar House and giving up a
full scholarship.
LEN OFFERED to pay Bolog-
na for his aid and to finance
an apartment that they would
share as a base. "We'll have all
the money you want," Len as-
sured him, explaining that the
subsidies would be funneled
through a safe-deposit box at
the post office. (A few weeks
later Lenwould shell out near-
ly $400 so that they could move
into the Woodland Hills apart-
ments, a plush Tudor-style
complex south of the campus.
In the waning summer days,
the two partners eagerly com-
menced work: At Len Smith's
modest white-frame house in
Detroit they hammered out a
one-page preamble for the Con-
servative S t u d e n t s Alliance,
pledging the organization "in
opposition to the radicalism
which thrives on and manifests
itself in demonstration and dis-
operation became a family af-
fair: Mrs. Smith battered out
the preamble on an old type-
writer and Mr. Smith suggested
speakers. He also promised to
ask a friend at the Detroit Press
Club (columnist Al Blanchard
of the Detroit News) to cover
the alliance's first meeting.
In early August, heartened by
the support, John and Len
dropped of copies of their pre-
amble at the homes of poten-
tial speakers, two conservative
state legislators.
It was now time to begin re-

what was by now a three-page
document: the Conservative Al-
liance preamble and the two-
page "Operation Textbook" plan,
on CIA letterhead. Ellen, "in a
zombie state" took the docu-
ment and filed it in her drawer.
Had Ellen been awake she
would have simply said no. Un-
like John Bologna she was an
active campus leader who as
president of the Panhellenic As-
sociation had no time for the
conservative group. Yet she had
known and dated Len since
high school in Detroit. So she
did not slam the door imme-
was very hard to discourage.
The following Saturday night,
he tried a whole bag of tricks
to convince her to join the cause,
but failed. First he gave her
the grand tour of the FBI of-
fices (including a peek at the
FBI files on prominent Ann Ar-
bor activist_.Eric Chester), then
he wined and dined her at Ar-
thur's discotheque.
During one interlude, he dis-
appeared briefly and returned
with a sheaf of confidential
documents, including a thick
dossier on the Peace and Free-
dom Party convention that had
nominated Eldridge Cleaver for
President that afternoon.
Afterwards, at Ellen's home
he promised that CIA would fi-

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