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There were some seemingly puzzling discrepancies between the corpse and Paisley. It weighed 144 lbs., while he weighed 175. The body was clothed in size 30 undershorts; Paisley had a 34-in. waist. Paisley's height, however, matched that of the recovered body: both were 5 ft. 11 in.
There were also questions about the assumed manner of death. Two unexpended 9-mm cartridges were found on the boat. A 9-mm slug was found in the head of the corpse. Paisley was known to have owned a 9-mm pistol. Unfortunately, it is missing. But if he shot himself on the boat, would not the gun have been found on it? Replied Maryland state police: not if he jumped in the water first or shot himself in such a way that both he and the gun fell overboard.
The weights on the body could be readily explained: Paisley was a scuba diver. There was also an explanation for the radio equipment aboard the Brillig. Paisley was an amateur radio operator (call sign: K4BM), who carried two different portable transceivers on his boat, one for short-range and one for long-range chats with other hams. In addition, he had two-way marine radiotelephone equipment aboard.
The CIA's initial action after the sloop was found was not entirely helpful to state investigators. Representatives of the agency, accompanied by Mrs. Paisley, visited both the sloop and Paisley's apartment before police were called in. Exactly what they found at either site is not known, but police consider this kind of entry an unwelcome "contamination" of evidence. Said former State Police Captain Paul Rappaport, who led the investigation last year: "Contamination certainly hurt the investigation. There were no eyewitnesses. We could only rely on physical evidence." But there was little physical evidence left by the time police were called in.
The CIA depicted Paisley at first as an expert on the Soviet economy. In fact, his job was to analyze the Soviet Union's military capability, meaning he had access to CIA data about Soviet nuclear weaponry and was aware of how the CIA acquired the information. After retiring from the CIA in 1974, Paisley had been working full time for a private accounting firm, and part time as a CIA consultant. He was helping to coordinate a highly sensitive assessment of Soviet strategic strength, which gave him continuing access to secret CIA data. A draft of his final report on this study was found aboard the Brillig.
The CIA denies that Paisley was a key interrogator of famed Soviet Intelligence Agent Yuri Nosenko, who defected to the U.S. in 1964 and has been suspected by some CIA officials of being a Kremlin plant. But other Government officials insist Paisley not only helped question Nosenko but defended him as a true defector and became his friend.
TIME has learned that a longstanding internal CIA search for a Soviet "mole," or double agent, within its ranks had been focusing on Paisley's department at the CIA just before his retirement. In addition, Paisley faced a fresh round of interrogation by CIA officials as part of a routine double check of his background.