Out in The Cold

Why Casey bypassed the CIA

As a spymaster with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, William Casey was an action-oriented operator who dropped agents behind enemy lines. As Ronald Reagan's director of Central Intelligence 40 years later, Casey chafed at Washington's restrictive atmosphere. That, says a subordinate, & was one reason Casey brushed off warnings from top assistants and teamed up with Lieut. Colonel Oliver North to swap arms for hostages with Iran.

"Bill Casey was the last great buccaneer from OSS," said Clair George, the CIA's chief of covert operations. "He saw in Ollie North a part of that, and he liked...