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Obits in Brief: Larry Devlin

Larry Devlin, who died on 6 December 2008 at the age of 86, was a CIA field officer who spent many years stationed in Africa, during which time he was ordered to assassinate the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, a mission he refused to carry out.

Born in June 1922, he served in the US Army in the Second World War, joining the CIA in 1949. He became Station Chief in DR Congo in 1960, 10 days after the country achieved independence from Belgium. Later that year he received instructions from an agent he knew as "Joe from Paris" to assassinate Lumumba with a tube of poisoned toothpaste. Believing it to be "morally wrong" he made deliberately fruitless attempts. Lumumba was later killed by his enemies. Devlin went on to serve in Laos, and finished his career as chief of the CIA's Africa division.