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The CIA Is Still At Tech Square

AGENCIES:

By Nicholas Lemann

The Central Intelligence Agency continues to maintain a Boston area office at 545 Technology Square but it does not, its director said last week, engage in any investigations at Harvard or in the Cambridge community.

Herman A. Mountain, local chief of operations for the CIA, said that all the Boston CIA does is "collection of foreign information."

"We don't employ people to go sniffing around Harvard and MIT," Mountain said.

Last spring, Jessie L. Gill, a Cambridge woman who claimed to be a former undercover FBI agent who also "stayed in contact" with the CIA, said the Boston CIA office kept track of the activities of Cambridge radicals. Gill also said she knew Mountain.

Mountain said that "Jessie Gill is just another name to me, like many others you read in the papers these days. She's not anything to be commented on." He would not say specifically whether he knew Gill or if she had worked for the CIA.

The CIA's office is in suite 304 at 545 Tech Square, and is not identified by any sign on its door or in the building directory. Mountain, explaining the office's apparent secrecy, said, "Like any organization which has no need for any relationship with the public, we do not seek publicity. We do not seek out people; they come to us."

Mountain would not reveal the number of people working for the Boston CIA. However, last Tuesday there were five women secretaries in the office and five men--dressed in sports coats and ties--who appeared to be agents.

"There's nothing esoteric about our dealings with the community," Mountain said, "We're just staying informed about things going on abroad. There's no James Bond type activity going on here."

The Senate Watergate hearings have proved, Mountain said, that "we at the CIA do only what we're supposed to do."

Mountain said that the Boston CIA office was established in 1947, shortly after Congress passed the bill forming the organization.

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