Senior U.S. statesman Vernon Walters dies at 85
CNN National Security Correspondent
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Ambassador Vernon Walters -- a trusted adviser of many presidents, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a lieutenant general -- has died at age 85.
Walters died Sunday in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to U.S. officials.
Fluent in seven languages besides English, Walters was a translator for President Dwight Eisenhower in meetings with French President Charles de Gaulle. He served as ambassador at large in the Reagan administration, and later as ambassador to the United Nations and to Germany.
He spent much of his life in the world of political and strategic secrets. He was in Tehran when the CIA staged a coup supporting the shah of Iran in 1953, and in Brazil when a group of generals staged a coup in 1964.
During the Nixon administration, he helped Henry Kissinger conduct secret negotiations with the North Vietnamese before the United States withdrew from Vietnam.
Walters was deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1972 to 1976.
In a written statement, CIA Director George Tenet said of Walters: "His was an exceptionally rich life of service to country and humanity. A natural leader, he rose to excellence in every profession he entered -- soldier, intelligence officer, diplomat."
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