Professional merrymaker Peter Malatesta as a secret agent man? Hardly, but after Malatesta interviewed fugitive Edwin Wilson in Libya for People magazine late last year, he returned to Washington to brief Vice President George Bush's chief of staff, Adm. Dianiel J. Murphy, on Wilson, Libya and its leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
"I said Wilson was involved in a number of things that were extremely sensitive, and Adm. Murphy wanted me to meet with the CIA, but I said 'No thank you,'" recalls Malatesta, who is better known as co-founder of the private club Pisces, nephew to Bob Hope and friend of Frank Sinatra. "I just felt obligated to go and be debriefed on what I'd seen."
According to a spokesman for Murphy, the vice president's right-hand man did "turn over information pertaining to Wilson to the FBI and the information regarding Libya to the CIA" provided by Malatesta. But there is no indication that Malatesta's information helped lead to the arrest last June of Wilson in New York as he stepped off a plane from the Dominican Republic. He's now awaiting trial on charges of smuggling weapons and running a terrorist school for Qaddafi.
For his part, Malatesta is back in more familiar waters, spending time in New York co-producing "R.S.V.P.," a revue about life in Manhattan, and trying to bring to stage a play based on his book Party Politics. Working title of the play: "The Party's On Me."