Ventura had it right: CIA was here Are they still?

The secret is out – sort of.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura met with a group of Central Intelligence Agency officers in 1999 shortly after he was elected, he claims in his soon-to-be-released book ” Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me.”

“There were 23 CIA agents waiting in a conference room for me. I counted,” says the book, co-written with author Dick Russell. “I got the gist of what they were after. All their questions centered around how we campaigned, how we achieved what we did, and did I think we truly could win from the start? In short, how had the independent wrestler candidate pulled this off?”

A CIA spokeswoman, who – as is the intelligence agency’s custom – did not want to be identified by name, confirmed the meeting. But not the rest of his statement.

“It was part of a training class apparently so, yes,” said the spokeswoman. “I can’t comment on the content of the meeting. I wasn’t there. I can just say that yes, he did have this meeting but it was part of a training exercise.”

As to the number of agents in attendance: “Our population is actually classified,” she said. “So we don’t usually comment on numbers.”

Ventura also said in the book that: “there is a CIA operative inside every state government…They are not in executive positions – in other words, not appointed by the governor – but are permanent state employees. Governors come and go, but they keep working – in a legitimate job with a dual identity. In Minnesota, this person was at a deputy commissioner level, fairly high up.”

That claim, the spokeswoman did not confirm.

“We are federal employees so that, I think, is a little bit off. We are federal employees we are not anywhere near being state employees,” she said.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger can be reached at