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President Nixon appointed General Vernon Walters as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in 1972. Vernon spoke French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Chinese and Russian fluently.
Vernon loved #languages and enjoyed a friendly competition with fellow #linguists. He would engage two others in conversation and each time a person spoke, they had to talk in a new language. Once you ran through your repertoire of languages, you were eliminated.
Vernon's linguistic skills afforded him a myriad of opportunities. His simultaneous translation of a speech by Nixon in France prompted President Charles de Gaulle to say, "Nixon, you gave a magnificent speech, but your interpreter was eloquent."
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Joe Procaccino and Hugh Montgomery served under General Donovan, the director of the Office of Strategic Services, and 20 subsequent CIA Directors. Both entered the world of #intelligence on the strength of their foreign #language skills.
Joe was born in Italy and graduated with a major in #linguistics. He joined the OSS and continued on after the establishment of the CIA. Former Director George Tenet described Joe as “The Father of All Reports Officers” because he pioneered many procedures still in use today.
Hugh followed in his mother’s linguistic footsteps and learned eight languages fluently. He spent 24 years serving CIA overseas. In Moscow, Hugh was involved in handling the agent who many believe was the most valuable Russian asset ever run by the Agency, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky.
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Matthew Kevin Gannon had a deep interest in Arab culture and this interest propelled him to spend his senior year of college studying abroad in the Middle East and Europe, earning a degree in International Relations.
Matt joined the Agency as a junior Operations Officer. He continued to study the Arabic language and was rated as an “exceptional” student.

Learn more about Operations Officer positions:
During his career, Matt mastered the Arabic language and had a solid grasp of Arab culture. He also succeeded in recruiting an asset in one of the most notorious international terrorist organizations.

Learn more:

#LanguageOfEspionage Story 1
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