National Archives (A4195-19A)

Former CIA Director William Colby (right) talks with former Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcrof (middle) and former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller (left) about the Vietnam War during a break from a meeting of the National Security Council on April 24, 1975.

William Colby

On April 27, 1996, former CIA director William Colby was found dead in a river bank one-quarter of a mile from his home, with his dinner still on the table. His death was ruled to be “accidental” by the medical examiner, but many theories about what happened exist, including his son’s, Carl Colby. 

Carly Colby claims, in his documentary “The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby” that due to his extreme guilt in his past operations in the CIA, and at one time the CIA director, he killed himself on his solo canoeing trip.

Colby is famous for his 692 page document exposing the sometimes questionable, and sometimes highly immoral and illegal operations of the CIA in the post-war and Vietnam era. He wrote about the human LSD and mind control experiments, who some allege famed killer Charles Mason was a victim (or willing participant) of, and the CIA’s numerous plots to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Colby’s death is certainly mysterious. Some allege he was murdered for exposing CIA crimes, but that was 20 years before his death. Why would anyone kill him then?

His death is interesting, and heavily debated.

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