The federal government may come up empty-handed even if it pursues and wins its lawsuit against ex-CIA agent John Stockwell, author of a book about America's covert efforts in Angola.
Stockwell says he's broke.
But the Justice Department wants him to forfeit all money he earned by writing In Search of Enemies -- a CIA Story because he didn't submit his manuscript to the intelligence agency for review. Earlier this year another former CIA agent, Frank Shepp, was ordered to do just that for the same reason in the case of his book, a harsh look at America's last days in Vietnam.
"I don't have any money," says Stockwell, who lives with his family in Austin, Tex. He estimates he earned about $60,000 over the course of three years, but he says taxes, research costs and living expenses devoured that total. "I own no car, no stocks, no bonds or assets except a modest house, which they can't take away. Stansfield Turner must know better -- books like this don't make much money. I don't think people of his ilk can understand that you don't do things like this for the money."
Stockwell says he occasionally lectures about his CIA tenure and is working on a novel that, he hastens to add, "has nothing to do with the government."