Other Notable Deaths


April 05, 2009


Commentator, ex-CIA agent

Tom Braden, a former CIA operative who became a syndicated newspaper columnist, liberal co-host of the CNN talk show Crossfire and author of Eight Is Enough, a 1975 memoir that inspired a popular television series, died of natural causes Friday at his Denver home, his family said. He was 92.

Mr. Braden was the father of eight children whose misadventures provided amusing grist for many of his newspaper columns and led to the ABC comedy-drama Eight Is Enough, which aired from 1977 to 1981 and starred Dick Van Patten.

But Mr. Braden was also prominent as one of the original co-hosts of Crossfire, the topical show that debuted in 1982 and pitted him against former Nixon aide and conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan.

His varied careers also included a Cold War-era stint with the CIA's International Organizations Division, which secretly funded anti-Communist front groups and promoted American culture in Europe by sponsoring visits of American symphonies and publishing Encounter magazine. He defended the covert operations in a controversial 1967 article in The Saturday Evening Post titled "Why I'm Glad the CIA is Immoral."

Mr. Braden was born in Greene, Iowa, on Feb. 22, 1917.

He is survived by his children David Braden of Taipei, Taiwan; Mary Poole of Alexandria, Va.; Susan Braden of Takoma Park; Joannie Braden, Nancy Basta and Elizabeth Braden, all of Denver; and Nicholas Braden of Washington. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren. Mr. Braden's wife died in 1999. His son Tommy died in 1994.

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