" ... As the Times puts it, “Lapham began work on June 1, 1976, and quickly found himself atoning for the agency’s past sins,” including accepting responsibility for CIA research on mind control. ... "

Wall Street Journal

March 03, 2008

Law Blog Obituary:

Goodwin Procter’s Anthony Lapham

November 15, 2006

Posted by Peter Lattman

Anthony Lapham, the CIA’s top lawyer in the 1970s during a tumultuous time for the agency, died of a heart attack Nov. 11 while fishing in North Carolina. He was 70 and, at the time of his death, was counsel to Goodwin Procter.

Former CIA director George H.W. Bush hired Lapham from Washington, D.C.’s Shea & Gardner, which was later absorbed by Goodwin Procter. The Times notes that President Clinton’s CIA director James Woolsey and President Bush’s current national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, both came from Shea & Gardner.

In 1975 a President Ford-appointed commission found the CIA “had engaged in spying on Americans, plots to assassinate foreign leaders and other questionable activities.” As the Times puts it, “Lapham began work on June 1, 1976, and quickly found himself atoning for the agency’s past sins,” including accepting responsibility for CIA research on mind control.

Lapham (Yale, Georgetown Law) worked as an assistant United States attorney in D.C. and then in enforcement for Treasury. He joined Shea & Gardner in 1967 and became a partner three years later, and returned there after his stint at the CIA. He’s survived by his wife, two sons and his brother Lewis Lapham, the former editor of Harper’s Magazine.

Correction: Before serving in government, Woolsey and Hadley both worked at Shea & Gardner prior to it merging with Goodwin Procter. An earlier version of the post said they worked at Goodwin Procter.

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November 15, 2006

Anthony A. Lapham, 70, Former C.I.A. Lawyer, Dies


Anthony A. Lapham, who was the Central Intelligence Agency’s top lawyer in the 1970s when the agency was reeling from Congressional investigations into questionable and illegal activities, died on Nov. 11 near Burnsville, N.C. He was 70.

Mr. Lapham died of a heart attack while fishing for trout on the Cane River, his son Nicholas said.

Mr. Lapham, a quiet, modest man who preferred to work in the background, served two C.I.A. directors, George H. W. Bush in the Ford administration and Adm. Stansfield Turner in the Carter administration.

Mr. Bush, under scrutiny in 1975 as the first politician appointed to head the agency, searched to find someone outside the political and intelligence worlds. Mr. Lapham came from the Washington law firm Shea & Gardner, which was later absorbed by the firm Goodwin Procter, whose headquarters are in Boston.

President Bill Clinton chose his C.I.A. director, R. James Woolsey, from the same firm. Stephen J. Hadley, the current President Bush’s national security adviser, was also a partner there.

After news reports of C.I.A. misdeeds in 1974, President Gerald R. Ford the next year appointed a commission to analyze the agency, and the Senate and the House set up investigatory panels. They found that the agency had engaged in spying on Americans, plots to assassinate foreign leaders and other questionable activities.

Mr. Lapham began work on June 1, 1976, and quickly found himself atoning for the agency’s past sins. For example, he wrote letters to the University of Pennsylvania and other universities accepting responsibility for C.I.A. research on mind control on their campuses in the 1950s.

In March 1977, he sent a memorandum to congressmen and policy makers urging care in rewriting laws governing intelligence leaks. He pointed out that the phrase “information relating to national intelligence” could mean vital military secrets or something as simple as daily stock market reports. He also argued for precision in defining who and what should be covered by the law, and for prompt and independent review of any questions raised.

He said the agency favored “a narrower and more discriminating approach.” ...

Anthony Abbot Lapham was born on Aug. 22, 1936, in San Francisco. His father, Lewis A. Lapham, was president of several shipping companies and of the Bankers Trust New York Corporation, and helped create the professional golf tour.

Anthony Lapham graduated from Yale and earned a law degree from Georgetown. He moved to Washington and worked as an assistant United States attorney for the District of Columbia and then for the Treasury Department in its enforcement area.

While doing those two jobs, he served in Army intelligence and then in a legal unit in the Navy, sometimes on active duty but mostly in the Reserves. Nicholas Lapham said his father had entered the Navy after fulfilling his Army duty because he enjoyed being in the military.

In 1967, Mr. Lapham joined Shea & Gardner, and he became a partner three years later. He returned there after his C.I.A. tenure.

His great enthusiasm was conservation, and he was recently elected chairman of American Rivers, which works to protect river systems. He was a past chairman of the Ocean Conservancy.

After his time at the C.I.A., as a private lawyer, Mr. Lapham represented figures including Adolfo Calero, leader of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, a contra group; the chief paymaster for the brutal government of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president; and his own former boss, Admiral Turner, who sued the C.I.A. for heavily censoring a book he had written.

Mr. Lapham is survived by his wife, the former Burk Bingham; his sons Nicholas P. and David A. Lapham; his brother, Lewis H. Lapham, editor of the history journal Lapham’s Quarterly and a former editor of Harper’s Magazine; and two grandsons.

This April, in an interview with The New York Times, Anthony Lapham revisited the issue of leaks of government secrets, coming down on both sides of a complex question. He judged the debate over measures used by intelligence agencies to fight terrorism so important that it justified the leaking of knowledge of the measures’ existence. But he could not bring himself to approve of the leakers themselves.

“There’s a premise that it’s O.K. for someone to leak because they’re serving a higher purpose, a higher loyalty,” he said. “Well, the next thing you know, you have a whole building full of people with a higher loyalty, each to a different principle. And pretty soon you don’t have a functioning intelligence agency.”