Eric H. Biddle Jr., 84; ex-CIA worker fought work rules

WASHINGTON — Eric H. Biddle Jr., who served in the CIA during the early Cold War period and became an outspoken critic of the discrimination he said he faced in later employment because of his espionage career, died Oct. 21 in Falls Church, Va. He was 84.

He had pneumonia and dementia, said his son, Michael.

Mr. Biddle served in the CIA from 1952 to 1960, specializing in Soviet intelligence.


‘‘I wanted to serve my country,’’ he told the Washington Star in 1975. ‘‘The CIA was considered to be the most exciting place in Washington.’’

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Mr. Biddle said that he became disillusioned with the spy service because he fell in love with a Greek woman while working in Greece, but CIA employees are prohibited from marrying foreign nationals. The policy was a factor in his 1960 resignation, though he did not marry the woman.

While working with an agency that includes the Peace Corps, Mr. Biddle said he endured a pattern of discrimination because of his CIA career. In 1974, he was demoted.

Mr. Biddle pursued legal action against the government. In 1979, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Biddle’s rights had not been violated and that the procedures had been legal.

Eric Harbeson Biddle Jr. was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa. He graduated from Harvard in 1950 and George Washington University law school in 1977.