I did a fair bit of research into Allen Dulles for Dracula vs. Cthulhu (which is also spy fiction – it’s got a lot going on!). I did the study thinking that he would make a good villain. I even angst over whether I should use Dulles, personally, or just base a character on the man – deciding that I should use Dulles personally. His multifaceted incompetence and the extent to which he shaped foreign policy in the US demanded that, if I use the dude, I open a conversation into his legacy. Even in my sci-fi horror novel, such things are important to me.
As I’m writing background stories for DvC, though, it became clear why that wasn’t going to work: I don’t respect him enough to believe that he could be successful with the other villains and heroes in the story. Because he was so incompetent – indeed, one of the chief problems with the CIA then and now is that people are often promoted up from abject failure; it took a fuck-up as big as the Bay of Pigs and to get Dulles fired (and, frankly, since the lead up and cover-up to the Bay of Pigs had treasonous elements, Dulles got off light) – he makes a poor hero or villain for my style of writing. Chumps, broadly speaking, need not apply, or are, at best, minor villains and henchmen.
So, we’re back to the main villain being an ex-Nazi, ex-Communist sonofabitch based on two of the most evil men of the 20th century. Evil, but competent.