Provided by Warren Cowan Associates
For the late summer issue of Martial Arts Magazine, we interviewed Frank Dux: CIA Agent and Kumite Fighter. Frank Dux lived the true life store on which the movie "Bloodsport" (starring Jean-Claude Van Damme) was based.
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Here is a picture of Master Frank Dux.
Q. Why did you choose "The Secret Man" as the title for your book?
A. From 1981 to 1987 I served as a covert operative for CIA director Bill Casey. He knew that a mole existed within the agency, that he couldn't trust his own people, and that he needed to bring in someone from outside normal channels for non-attributable actions that were politically risky or might somehow damage the agency if they were made public. According to Casey, "Secret Man" is a name that was given to me by handlers at the CIA who knew that I existed but didn't know who I was.
Q. What specifically was the nature of your job for the Central Intelligence Agency?
A. Since the clandestine nature of the intelligence community demands secrecy, it is up to the community to police itself. But covert actions, unlike clandestine actions, must remain "plausibly deniable." That was my job - to make sure that covert agents were not using the assets of the CIA to serve their own personal ambitions or carry out their own agendas. I was essentially the final check and balance within the system.
Q. Why was there a need for someone like you? Didn't the CIA have counter espionage agents to police their own people?
A. Yes. The agency did and still does have counterespionage operatives - but Casey didn't know exactly who he could trust. And when you're dealing with problems at this level, and working within normal channels, information frequently leaks to the press or becomes public knowledge. Casey wanted to avoid that at all costs. In situations where things got really dirty and nasty, my job was to seek the truth. Once I discovered it I had authority to dispense justice as I saw fit. I was essentially acting as judge, jury and executioner.
Q. How did you first connect with Bill Casey?
A. I was originally recruited by Major General Foresman of the US Air Force. At the time Foresman was in charge of overseeing covert operations in Europe. I carried out several low profile missions for him and developed a network of contacts, mostly in the underworld, throughout Europe and the Far East. I left intelligence work for two years but was re-recruited by Bob Ames in 1981 and brought to the attention of Bill Casey. He and Ames became my handlers, gave me my orders, and were the only intelligence officers who knew my actual identity.
Q. What was your impression of Bill Casey?
A. Casey was tough but fair. He was willing to stand up and take responsibility for his actions, not shrink from them. He took the job very seriously and was extremely dedicated to the old ideals set forth by the CIA's World War II forerunner, the OSS, in which he served.
Q. There are some who question your credibility and claim all this is a tissue of lies. What's your reaction?
A. The people who are in the know, know who I am. I'm comfortable with that. On the other hand you have to realize I wouldn't know the names of key players or the specifics of certain incidents if I hadn't actually taken part in them myself. These are not the kinds of things you can read about in news magazines or newspapers. If I really cared what other people thought I wouldn't have lived the sort of life that I have or gotten involved in the world of covert operations.
Q. How did you feel about your job with Casey when you first started and how did those feelings change?
A. When I first got involved in the covert world, I was a naive kid looking at things from a romantic perspective. I was going to be James Bond. But after awhile, I became disenchanted and fed up when the agency bureaucracy had to overlook what I thought were real crimes. Eventually, I lost interest in just protecting the shadowy entity known as "The Agency". I wasn't trying to be a vigilante but I didn't want to stand by and be a voyeur of human suffering. When I learned about a group of Asian-based slave traders who bought or sold children from impoverished families and forced them into a life of indentured servitude on fishing boats operating in the South China Sea, I created a fictional tie-in between the slavers and an assignment that I was already carrying out for Casey. I knew the CIA wouldn't risk foreign entanglements concerning enslavement of kids unless some mission tie-in existed.
Q. Why did you write this book now?
A. In 1993, when I began writing this memoir, neither monetary gain nor fame seemed relevant at the time, as I was extremely ill, due to a brain tumor. Suspiciously like William Casey, considering the timing and the peculiarities of the tumor. Ultimately, I would become comatose due to surgical complications resulting in a spinal fluid leak that led to spinal meningitis. When I recovered, I realized I wasn't living up to that responsibility which outweighs personal gain. What needed to be said could have died with me, so I tossed my completed first book and wrote this book instead, fully aware that if I lived I would be subjecting myself to criticism by envious and would be compromising my personal safety. My candor could be setting me up, possibly as a target by unscrupulous human vampires who live under cover of darkness. It is my hope that the light this book sheds is seen by humanity's enemies as an unacceptable exposure of the truth. No regrets.
Q. Who was the Fish and why were you trying to track him down?
A. "Fish" is the name I gave to a man who was working for the CIA while carrying out his own personal agenda. He was what is known as a "sheep dipper", a member of the military who retires or resigns for a limited period of time in order to carry out dirty tricks for the intelligence community. While working as a covert operative, Fish used his intelligence contacts to set himself up as a major drug trafficker. He also committed a string of brutal murders and made it seem like he had done so while under orders from the CIA. This was his insurance policy. I'd discovered, he could blackmail the agency by claiming he was simply carrying out CIA-assigned missions. The international press would have seized upon the story, true or not.
Q. What happened to Fish?
A. I don't think he realized there was a force out there prepared to come after him. If any investigation was to take place he thought it would be through normal channels. What shocked him, and threw a monkey wrench into his plans, was that I was a freelance agent. I wasn't bound by the rules and regulations that governed the actions of the other operatives. After our initial encounter, he offered to stop operating and leave the country. That gave us enough time to clean up his mess, destroy evidence and police records, and remove any information that could link him to the agency. When I learned that he had simply moved his operations elsewhere in the world and was involved in the child slave trade, Casey delegated to me the responsibility to put a terminal end to his criminal career.
Q. In what way is the CIA involved in training police officers in the US?
A. The CIA is technically not allowed to carry out domestic operations. It circumvents such restrictions by using non-CIA personnel for operations in the United States. From what I was told by Bill Casey and others, there isn't a police department in the United States that doesn't have at least one person who serves as a CIA liaison or can help carry out activities on behalf of the agency.
Q. How did you get involved in the no-holds-barred Kumite tournament that served as the basis for the movie Bloodsport?
A. My involvement in that tournament was part of a plan, launched in 1975, to infiltrate the criminal organizations that organized the fights. The original idea was to participate in the Kumite tournament and make a few contacts. We initially assumed I would lose, but eventually I became one of the best Kumite fighter to ever participate in the event. Because of my accomplishments, I was viewed as being beyond suspicion and able to gain the respect and trust of Asian Criminal elements that very few Westerners have been able to observe in a one on one basis. This helped me immensely in my work for Bill Casey.
Q. You served as a flight coordinator and technical advisor for films starring Jean Claude Van Damme. Are you still involved in the movie business?
A. I'm currently a technical advisor and consultant for the upcoming file "Rogue Warrior", which is based on the exploits of SEAL team 6, the US Navy's elite anti-terror unit.
Q. What other kind of work are you currently involved in?
A. I was as an advisor to elite units and law enforcement agencies worldwide. My most recent assignment was with the Danbury Connecticut SWAT team. They had completed the advanced FBI training course for room entry and house cleaning, but were having a problem working up a specific tactic for clearing certain kinds of housing in their area. I helped them develop a solution to their problem.
Q. What do you want readers to get out of this book?
A. I want readers to walk away knowing some of the realities of the spy business. There are dedicated people out there who have given up a good portion of their lives, and who live in isolation, for the benefit of others. They lead a thankless existence and are often the subject of ridicule if they try to tell their stories. I also want people to understand that the act of spying is not as dirty a business as they think it is. In reality, it is probably the toughest soldiering a person can do for their nation and for their fellow man.
Other Reprints available:
Summer Issue: Frank Thiboutot - Creator of the Cardio Kickboxing Workout
Spring Issue:Kim Taylor - Swordsman Extraordinaire
Premiere Issue: Tony Interdonato, President of the Martial Arts Network