Monday, March 5, 2018


I was in Atlanta attending the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology hoping to find a better position. It was1963, and I was an assistant professor at the University of Vermont School of Medicine in Burlington.  The Microbiology Department was small with little opportunity for advancement.  Also, I was lonely since my former wife and daughter Diane were now living in New York.

A stranger approached me and started a casual conversation that somehow morphed into a job offer.  He told me the “agency” could use a man like me. I could tell he was referring to the CIA , and I envisioned myself in Eastern Europe with a pistol and a raincoat. He indicated I would be working as an analyst in Washington D.C. perusing scientific literature.   He explained “if the Russians published a paper describing immunization of humans with an aerosol of flu vaccine, we would be interested and your report might be considered at a high level.” He gave me a contact in Philadelphia and asked me not to discuss our conversation with anyone.

I thought about working for the CIA until the following day when Dr. Harry Rose, Chairman of the Microbiology Department at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, interviewed me. He offered me a position there, and I jumped at the opportunity. Also, I would be closer to Diane.

I never called the contact in Philadelphia.

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