W. Raymond Wannall
A 34-year government career focused on counterintelligence; CI Centre Professor
On Saturday, January 29, 2011, in Sykesville, Maryland, W. Raymond Wannall, who headed the Intelligence Division of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover and later became an Assistant Director of the FBI, died of natural causes. He was 92 years old.
Mr. Wannall, a native of Washington, D.C., lived there for over 85 years. He graduated from McKinley Technical High School, and received his law degree in 1942 from the Columbus School of Law, now part of Catholic University of America.
In 1942, he was admitted to the D.C. Bar and entered the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent. He retired in 1976.
All but five of his years in the Bureau were spent at FBI Headquarters in the Intelligence Division, which was responsible for all FBI operations regarding intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, security and espionage. His last position was as the head of the Intelligence Division as an Assistant Director of the FBI.
In this position, he also served as the Bureau's representative on the United States Intelligence Board. He was one of its spokesmen before Congressional committees, civic and other groups.
His intelligence work has been acknowledged by awards from British and Canadian Intelligence services, CIA, the Emperor of Japan, and the Masonic Lodge of which he and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover were life-long members.
In September 1992, the Board of Directors of the National Intelligence and Counterintelligence Association extended to him an Honorary Life Membership.
He also held life membership with the National Intelligence Study Center and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He served as the Chairman [1982-84] and President [1986-87] of AFIO.
Mr. Wannall formerly served as the AFIO's Chairman and President. He also served on the boards of other respected organizations including America's Future, Inc.; The Maldon Institute; The Hale Institute; and The American Sentinel.
After his retirement, Mr. Wannall authored the biography, The Real J. Edgar Hoover, For the Record published in 2000 by Turner Publishing Company. This book includes a detailed breakdown of the myths surrounding Hoover, myths that are now known to have been created by the KGB in their active measures program (see the Mitrokhin Files book).
He continued as an outspoken advocate for a strong and responsible national intelligence establishment before Congressional committees, and civic and educational groups in 23 states. His appearances on radio and television shows included NBC national evening news, ABC Nightline, Entertainment Tonight, CBS Nightwatch, Cable News Network and The History Channel.
Mr. Wannall was a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI CENTRE) and gave lectures about the Morris Childs/Agent 58/SOLO case, on which he was one of the managers. Morris Childs had access to the highest levels of Kremlin leadership from the 1950s to the 1970s and provided the US executive branch with invaluable insight and information. This was one of the most significant, long-term double agent programs in the US. See the book Operation Solo: The FBI's Man in the Kremlin for more information about this case.
Mr. Wannall is survived by a brother, former U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms William H. Wannall, his wife of over 70 years, Gertrude "Trudie” Crane Wannall, son W. Raymond Wannall III, daughter Anne W. Hart, grandsons Douglas K. Wannall and Steven H. Wannall, five nieces and nephews and three great-granddaughters.
The CI Centre will miss him greatly.