Friday, December 1, 2006
Tony Lapham, a mentor of mine at Shea & Gardner back in the day, died on Nov. 11. I worked for Tony as a young associate and learned much from him.
Anthony Abbot Lapham, 70, a former general counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency and a dedicated environmentalist, died of a heart attack Nov. 11 while trout fishing with his son on the Cane River near Asheville, N.C.
Mr. Lapham was the third general counsel in the agency's history and the first brought in from outside.
That period came in the mid-1970s in the wake of congressional hearings chaired by U.S. Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho). The Church committee investigated the alleged involvement of the nation's intelligence agencies in assassination attempts against foreign leaders, spying on U.S. citizens and other illegal activities.
Appointed general counsel in 1976 during the tenure of Director George H.W. Bush, Mr. Lapham served until 1979 under Bush's successor, Adm. Stansfield Turner.
According to John Rizzo, the CIA's acting general counsel, Mr. Lapham was the first agency general counsel to actually sit in on meetings of CIA agents. "He insisted that there be an operational presence," Rizzo said. "To establish that beachhead was critical. He was responsible for that.