“Nobody in their right mind would go to work for them again” if Bell gives up the names, Lemmer contended. “The guarantee of anonymity had a lot to do with my going to work for them under deep cover. I would expect the attorney general to go to jail for them if he has to — nothing less.”

And then, as an afterthought, his eyes lighting up, Lemmer asked, “If they reveal the names, do you know who would sue next?” He laughed. “The informants would, of course.”

For all of his resentment of the Justice Department, Lemmer said he never seriously considered exploring whether he had any grounds for a suit of his own. “Frankly, I got tired,” he said, focusing on a point somewhere out over his visitor’s left shoulder. “I wanted to get on with my business, which is hard enough as it is.”

The reading matter in his bathroom consisted of a couple of volumes of the Church Committee’s report on its investigation into activities of the FBI and CIA; Lemmer conceded that he retains a lively interest in the clandestine arts. At one point, he argued strenuously that the CIA and FBI have had their hands tied by all the exposes, investigations and new oversight legislation. Later, he said that the “new right,” and the “far right” are the greatest danger to the country today. Included in the latter, he said, is the National Caucus of Labor Committees, also known as the US Labor Party. “Really, people just walk up to me on the street and give me information,” Lemmer said of his collection of documents about the Party.

He said that since the trial he had been offered jobs by intelligence services he refused to name. The only offer that he would conceivably accept, he said, would be from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. But he asked, laughing again, “Do they need a cartoonist?”

Lemmer admitted that he had had second thoughts about becoming an FBI informant; in the particular the case of the Gainesville Eight, though, he said, “I’d do it again.”

Insisting that the VVAW members did in fact plan to attack Miami, Lemmer said, “They weren’t right. They only won the court decision. If they were right, I would have picked their side.”

“But that doesn’t mean Justice was right either. I had to pick a side, an available option.”

Drawing on another Kool, planting one foot on the porch railing and peering out over the backyard, Lemmer stopped for a moment to reflect. “Most people,” he finally said, “if they see they’re making a mistake, can turn around. But in my case,” he said, flicking the butt into the air, “I had to play it out to the end.”

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