Covert Operations

Covert Operations

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Covert Operations

Covert operations are military or paramilitary operations that are carried out in secret and often involve activities which are legally if not ethically questionable. Although they do take place in wartime the heyday of covert operations was during the Cold War where both sides needed a way to strike at each other without diplomatic interference or public inquiry yet without sparking a major war. Covert operations cover a wide range of activities the US document NSC 10/2 published in June 1948 defined them as comprising of "Propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground movements guerrillas and support of indigenous anti communist elements" As this broad definition indicates the nature of covert operations can vary greatly as can their size and scale. For more information see The History of Covert Operations.

The 12 Top Secret Military Operations in History

It is not news that military outfits all over the world have large, sealed-off archives of highly classified information. Secret operations have been essential functions of military organizations right from the outset, with various objectives carried out behind both enemy and friendly lines.

These operations usually permit no publicizing. However, we know a number of them either because a disgruntled insider decided to leak information, or because a zealous reporter caught a scent and refused to stop sniffing, or perhaps government or military authorities decided to declassify them.

Despite those we do know about, so many more will remain secrets forever.

Here are the top 12 known secret operations in history.

Troops of the 51st (Highland) Division at the invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943

1. Operation Eiche

Following the Allied invasion of Sicily and bombing of Rome, The Grand Council of Fascism lost confidence in Mussolini and ultimately arrested him.

Hitler became concerned about the incident because of Mussolini’s usefulness in keeping Italy in the war. Italy would be beyond Hitler’s grasp if Mussolini got transferred to the Allies.

Thus, he gave the order for Operation Eiche to proceed.

Waffen-SS officer Otto Skorzeny was a major participant in this operation.

Mussolini’s captors moved him around to several different locations in a bid to make him untraceable. However, after several false starts, wrong turns, and dead ends, Skorzeny’s agents eventually narrowed down Mussolini’s location: Campo Imperatore Hotel, located in the Gran Sasso massif in the heights of the Apennine Mountains.

On 12 September 1943, Skorzeny and his team of sixteen commandos joined up with paratroopers, landing with gliders on the mountaintop. Within ten minutes, they had stormed the hotel, cut off all communication lines, subdued about 200 Carabinieri guards, and rescued Mussolini–all without firing a single shot.

Fieseler Fi 156 Storch used to rescue Mussolini.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-567-1503C-04 / Toni Schneiders / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Mussolini, surrounded by German and Italian officers and soldiers, heads for the plane.

2. Operation Orchard

This was a secret strategic bombing operation executed by the Israeli Mossad on an alleged nuclear reactor known as the Al Kibar site in the Deir Ez-Zor region of Syria.

In order to deny Syria nuclear weapons capability, the Israeli government decided to strike Syria’s secret nuclear facility in accordance with the 1981 Begin Doctrine. Serious concerns about Syria’s retaliation plagued the operation, but the Israeli government remained undeterred, and launched the mission on September 6, 2007.

For eleven years following the bombing of the Al Kibar site, the truth about the attack was not known.

On one hand, Syria denied having an ongoing nuclear program and did not cooperate with investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency. On the other hand, nobody came out to claim responsibility for the raid.

Evidence of a nuclear reactor emerged on the site in 2009, and in April 2011 it was confirmed that indeed, a nuclear reactor had been at that location.

However, Israel did not come out to claim responsibility for the attack until 2018.

3. Operation Gunnerside

This was a secret operation conducted by a group of nine British-trained Norwegian commandos on the evening of 27 February 1943. The commandos infiltrated Nazi Germany’s Vemork hydroelectric plant in Rjukan, Norway, where Germany was running an atomic bomb project using heavy water.

Vemork Hydroelectric Plant at Rjukan, Norway in 1935.

The Allies naturally didn’t want Germany to complete their atomic bomb project and thus decided to launch the raid.

The destruction of the facility crippled Germany’s atomic bomb project for months. When the Germans decided to move the remaining heavy water to Germany through Lake Tinn, Norwegian resistance fighters sank the ferry transporting the heavy water.

Heavy water made by Norsk Hydro. Photo: Alchemist

This mission is said to be the most successful sabotage operation in WWII.

4. Operation Wrath of God

This was a secret assassination campaign by the Israeli Mossad, aimed at eliminating all individuals involved in the killings at the 1972 Munich Olympics. That tragedy had resulted in the deaths of eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team.

Mossad identified members of the Palestinian Black September Organization, as well as members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as culprits of the massacre. In late 1972, Mossad began its secret mission of revenge. The first assassination took place on 16 October 1972, and it is said that the mission continued for over twenty years.

5. Operation Fortitude South

Just before D-Day, the Allies needed something to distract the Germans, to increase the Allies’ chances of a successful invasion.

D-Day was a large-scale operation, and no doubt one of the largest invasions in history. To fool the Germans, the Allies required a distraction of equal complexity.

Map of Operation Bodyguard subordinate plans. Photo: ErrantX / CC BY-Sa 3.0

Thus came Operation Fortitude South.

Through this mission, the Allies fed the Germans fake intelligence, making them believe that the Allies were actually heading for Pas de Calais.

The Allies went to great lengths: creating a fake invasion force, making realistic preparations, and even appointing the famous General George Patton as commander of the fictitious invasion force.

An inflatable “dummy” M4 Sherman.

Dummy landing craft used as decoys in south-eastern harbors

When D-Day finally came and the Allies stormed the shores of Normandy, there was a substantial concentration of German forces in Pas de Calais–waiting to repel an enemy force that was never coming.

6. Operation Greif

During the Battle of the Bulge, Adolf Hitler called upon Waffen-SS commando Otto Skorzeny to secure at least one of the bridges around the Meuse river before Allied forces destroyed all of them.

Skorzeny had earned Hitler’s trust following his remarkable successes in previous missions.

Battle of the Bulge, Meuse river at the lower left. Photo: Matthewedwards / CC BY-SA 3.0

As part of Operation Greif, Skorzeny deployed a handful of German soldiers who could speak English to infiltrate Allied lines. Their purpose was to start a wave of confusion from within the Allied lines in order to weaken morale.

These soldiers, thanks to falsified documents and convincing uniforms, wreaked havoc in Allied territory. They destroyed communication lines, switched road signs, spread false information, and began a storm of panic and confusion.

Otto Skorzeny.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-Alber-183-25 Alber, Kurt CC-BY-SA 3.0

Although Skorzeny’s main objective was ultimately unsuccessful, these German shenanigans caused a slowdown in operations as the Allies desperately searched for the phony troops, suspecting almost everyone, and sometimes mistakenly imprisoned their own soldiers.

7. Operation Anthropoid

Operation Anthropoid was a covert operation of the Czechoslovak army-in-exile in Prague on 27 May 1942. Its objective was the assassination of Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich.

Reinhard Heydrich in his office. By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Following the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, the British Special Operations Executive prepared the mission.

During the assassination attempt, Heydrich managed to escape with injuries, but would die from his wounds on 4 June 1942.

The car in which Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated

8. Project Azorian

With about 800 million dollars spent on this project, it was one of the most expensive, sophisticated, and secretive operations of the Cold War.

The 1974 mission was undertaken by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, to recover the Soviet submarine K-129 which had sunk in 1968.

Golf II-class ballistic missile submarine K-129, hull number 722

The CIA sanctioned the construction of a mission-specific ship, the USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer.

By the end of this secret operation, the U.S. was able to secure the submarine, along with confidential documents and nuclear missiles.

9. Project Iceworm

This was a codename for a highly classified Cold War project of the U.S. Army under Greenland’s ice sheet. The U.S. Army chose the Greenland ice sheet chiefly because it was convenient to targets located within the Soviet Union.

PM-2A Nuclear Power Plant

Without knowledge or permission from the government of Denmark, they placed several medium-range missiles in this hidden location. In order to verify the feasibility of conducting the project under ice, the U.S. Army launched a widely publicized “cover” project called Camp Century.

Thermal drill at Camp Century

Six years later, unsteady ice conditions threatened the project, forcing the U.S Army to call it off.

Details of Project Iceworm remained secret until 1995, following a thorough investigation by the Danish Foreign Policy Institute.

10. Operation Gold

The British government has been particularly stingy with details of this operation, keeping them classified from the outset. Any authoritative information concerning Operation Gold is largely scanty.

Operation Gold. US spy tunnel under GDR territory. View into the interception center with the amplifier system. By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Operation Gold was a combined effort in the 1950s by the British MI6 Secret Intelligence Service and the CIA, aimed at tapping into the Soviet army’s communication lines in Berlin.

They sought to achieve this by building a tunnel under the Soviet-occupied zone.

However, this mission became a failure when a mole, George Blake, revealed the information to the Soviets.

Operation Gold. US spy tunnel under GDR territory. By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

11. Operation Washtub (Nicaragua)

This operation’s objective was to frame then-President Jacob Arbenz of Guatemala by planting a fake Soviet arms cache in Nicaragua. The CIA wanted to portray the Arbenz administration as having a relationship with the Soviet Union, and thus facilitate overthrowing him.

Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán

In league with the Nicaraguan government, the CIA planted a cache of Soviet-made arms on the coast of Nicaragua on February 19, 1954. Nicaraguan President Somoza Garcia also confirmed photographing a Soviet submarine and alleged that the Soviet-made arms belonged to Guatemala.

The CIA, remaining in the background, ultimately did not follow through on the intention of this operation.

However, later that same year, a CIA-sponsored coup d’etat saw President Jacob Arbenz thrown out of power.

12. Operation MKOFTEN

Initiated in 1966 through a collaboration of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the CIA, MKOFTEN was aimed at determining the behavioral effects of certain drugs on humans and animals, as well as the toxicological effects of these drugs on the test subjects.

Declassified MKUltra documents

MKOFTEN came two years after the CIA launched the MKULTRA. In the book Secrets and Lies, author Gordon Thomas alleged that this bizarre mission went as far as employing the use of black magic on test subjects.


The Postal Inspection Service has the oldest origins of any federal law enforcement agency in the United States. It traces its roots back to 1772 [5] when colonial Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin first appointed a "surveyor" to regulate and audit the mails. Thus, the Service's origins—in part—predate the Declaration of Independence, and therefore the United States itself.

As Franklin was appointed Postmaster General under the Second Continental Congress, his system continued. One of Franklin's first acts as Postmaster General was to appoint William Goddard as the first Postal Surveyor of the newly founded American postal system, in charge of inspecting the integrity and security of postal routes, regulating post offices, and auditing their accounts. A letter from Franklin to Goddard, dated August 7, 1775, authorized a total of $170.00 for Goddard to carry out these duties, [6] and so August 7 is recognized as the "birthday" of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

In 1801, the title of "surveyor" was changed to special agent. In 1830, the special agents were organized into the Office of Instructions and Mail Depredations. The Postal Inspection Service was the first federal law enforcement agency to use the title special agent for its officers. Congress changed this title to inspector in 1880.

For some time, one of their primary duties was the enforcement of obscenity prohibitions under the Comstock Act, named after Postal Inspector Anthony Comstock.

As fact-finding and investigative agents, postal inspectors are sworn federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. Inspectors work closely with U.S. attorneys, other law enforcement agencies, and local prosecutors to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court. For example, on all international mail, postal inspectors work closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) while on domestic mail, postal inspectors work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies. There are approximately 1,200 postal inspectors stationed throughout the United States and abroad who enforce more than 200 federal laws covering investigations of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail and postal system.

The USPIS has responsibility to safeguard over 600,000 [7] Postal Service employees and billions of pieces of mail transported worldwide yearly by air, land, rail, and sea.

USPIS was at one time the only investigative agency of the Postal Service however, with the creation of the USPS Office of Inspector General in 1996, they assumed many duties previously carried out by the USPIS. The USPS OIG conducts independent audits and investigations. Audits of postal programs and operations help to determine whether the programs and operations are efficient and cost-effective. Investigations help prevent and detect fraud, waste, and misconduct and have a deterrent effect on postal crimes.

The OIG primarily took over the Postal Inspection Service's audit function, as well as fraud (against the USPS) waste and abuse.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, the USPIS has also investigated several cases where ricin, anthrax, and other toxic substances were sent through the mail. Although the USPIS has a wide jurisdiction, USPIS investigations can be categorized into these seven types of investigative teams and functions:

  1. Fraud: These types of investigation involve crimes that use the mails to facilitate fraud against consumers, business and government. Federal statutes that surround these types of investigations include, mail fraud, and other criminal statutes when they are tied to the mails such as bank fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, wire fraud, and Internet/computer fraud. Mail fraud is a statute that is used in prosecuting many white collar crimes, this would include, Ponzi schemes, 419 frauds, and other white collar crimes where the mail was used to facilitate the fraud including public corruption (under the "Honest Services" provision of the federal fraud statutes). In the 1960s and 70s, inspectors under regional chief postal inspectors such as Martin McGee, known as "Mr. Mail Fraud," exposed and prosecuted numerous swindles involving land sales, phony advertising practices, insurance ripoffs and fraudulent charitable organizations using mail fraud charges. [8] McGee is credited with assisting in the conviction of former Illinois governor Otto Kerner on mail fraud charges. [9]
  2. External Crime and Crime Teams: The External Crimes Function of USPIS is a function that investigates any theft of US mail by non employees, assaults of postal employees and theft and robberies of postal property. This function also investigates robberies of postal employees and postal facilities, burglaries of postal facilities, and assaults and murders against postal employees. This investigative function focuses on ensuring that the sanctity and trust in the U.S. Mail system is maintained.
  3. Prohibited Mailing Investigations: Prohibited mailing investigations are USPIS investigations that focus on the prohibited mailing of contraband including: narcotics, precursors and proceeds child pornography and other sexually prohibited materials and hazardous materials to include, mail bombs, and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The laundering of narcotics and other criminal proceeds through the use of postal money orders is sometimes categorized under this investigative function.
  4. Aviation and Homeland Security: USPIS investigations also include the securing and protecting of transportation of US Mail and any risk that might compromise the security of the homeland because of these mails. Security audits are conducted by these teams to ensure that postal service maintains facilities secure from not only theft and robberies but also natural and manmade disasters.
  5. Revenue Investigations: USPIS investigates cases where fraudulent practices are conducted by business and consumers that mail items without proper postage or with counterfeit postage and indicia or crimes that defraud the USPS of revenue. Recently, however, they have indicated that they have little interest in pursuing producers of counterfeit stamps. [10]
  6. International Investigations and Global Security: This investigative function ensures that international mail is secured and any international business decisions and campaigns remains safe, and secure. USPIS maintains investigators in the US and in posts around the world for protection, liaison, and intelligence.
  7. Joint Task Force Investigations: USPIS participates in joint task force investigations where laws applicable to the mail service are involved. These cases are often wide-ranging and involve every law enforcement agency of the federal government. For example, USPIS participated in the largest count indictment and conviction in NASA history, the Omniplan case, that put seven companies out of business and ended with the conviction of Omniplan owner, Ralph Montijo, on 179 federal crimes. [11][12]

The Postal Inspection Service's Technical Services Unit (TSU) provides investigative support through the use of new technology and the operations of two national communication centers known as the National Law Enforcement Control Centers (NLECC). In 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement renamed their national communication center, previously known as "Sector" to the "National Law Enforcement Communications Center" (also known as NLECC). USPIS NLECC and ICE NLECC are two independent federal law enforcement radio communications centers that coincidentally share the same acronym and an almost identical name.

USPS Forensic Laboratory Edit

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service first established a crime lab in 1940. [13] Today, the main USPS Forensic Laboratory is located in Dulles, Virginia, [14] in a two-story, 44,000-square-foot facility. [15] The lab is staffed by forensic scientists and technical experts and consists of four units: the Questioned Documents Unit, the Fingerprint Unit, the Physical Sciences Unit, and the Digital Evidence Unit. [14] The laboratory is overseen by a laboratory director and each of the four units is overseen by an assistant laboratory director. [15] There are also four satellite offices, located in New York, Chicago, Memphis, and San Francisco. [16] In 2012, the entire U.S. Postal Inspection Service laboratory system had 65 employees (58 scientific staff and seven administrative staff), mostly based in the main Dulles lab. [15]

Police Force Edit

In addition to maintaining a staff of postal inspectors, the Postal Inspection Service has a uniformed force of Postal Police Officers who provide security service at major postal facilities throughout the United States, conduct perimeter security, escort high-value mail shipments, and perform other essential security functions. As of 2018 there were approximately 500 postal police officers nationwide.

USPIS Academy Edit

The Postal Inspection Service maintains a law enforcement academy (the Career Development Unit) based in Potomac, Maryland. It is a federally accredited law enforcement academy by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation. [17]

Fallen officers Edit

Fourteen US postal inspectors and postal police officers have died in the line of duty. [18] Their names have been etched on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall and to a Postal Inspection Service plaque at the agency's national headquarters, both located in Washington, D.C.

2 SMRT 4U Edit

In 2006 the Postal Inspection Service created the "2 SMRT 4U" campaign aimed at teenage girls, the group most targeted by online sexual predators. It established the website to educate teens about how to chat and post wisely online. [19] The website has been rebranded, but still provides educational information for teens. For its dedication to protecting children and fighting child exploitation, the United States Department of Justice honored the Postal Inspection Service with its Internet Safety Award. [20]

Internet Covert Operations Program Edit

The Postal Inspection Service's Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) is a surveillance program that monitors social media, cryptocurrency transactions, and USPS internal systems to facilitate "the identification, disruption, and dismantling of individuals and organizations that use the mail or USPS online tools to facilitate black market Internet trade or other illegal activities". [21] The initiative also claims to assess "threats to Postal Service employees and its infrastructure by monitoring publicly available open source information". [22] It is one of seven functional groups falling under the Postal Inspection Service's wider cybercrime program.

In 2019, iCOP produced over 200 intelligence reports for dissemination among USPIS officers. [21] iCOP intelligence products have lead to the seizure of at least $300,000 in cryptocurrency assets. [21]

In April 2021, a leaked bulletin labeled "law enforcement sensitive" was distributed through DHS fusion centers and detailed planned protests on March 20 for the World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy. [23] Public exposure of this bulletin raised questions about whether the monitoring of protests and protestors fell under USPIS's area of law enforcement jurisdiction. [22] [24]

Levels [ edit ]

Eight of the twelve levels are modified maps from Twilight Warrior. All levels by Sidearm Joe unless otherwise noted. (*) denotes a new original level.

  • MAP01: Killing Room
  • MAP02: Golden Triangle by Joe Zona
  • MAP03: Denied Area
  • MAP04: Navy SEAL
  • MAP05: Embassy (*)
  • MAP06: Maximum Prejudice by Kurt Kesler
  • MAP07: Immediate Action
  • MAP08: The Warehouse (*)
  • MAP09: Operation Phoenix by Kurt Kesler
  • MAP10: Siege (*)
  • MAP11: Highrise (*)
  • MAP12: Counter-Hijack

Enemies [ edit ]

  • Guard dog (from Wolfenstein 3D)
  • Desert soldier
  • Arctic soldier
  • Jungle soldier
  • Commando
  • Special force sniper
  • Bazooka guy
  • Terrorist
  • Helicopter gunship (base graphic and sounds from All Hell is Breaking Loose)

Weapons [ edit ]

The onscreen display of the new weapons are angled, similar to Duke Nukem 3D.

  • MK-23 9mm pistol
  • Mossberg 590 shotgun
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 (auto and triple burst)
  • Heckler & Koch MP5-SD (silenced version of MP5)
  • M-16 assault rifle / M-203 rocket launcher
  • Hand grenades
  • PSG-1 sniper rifle

Research Value of the Collection

CIA Covert Operations: From Carter to Obama, 1977-2010 provides a detailed account of the operational and diplomatic history of U.S. covert operations, encompassing the time period beginning with the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, and concluding with the George W. Bush administration, although a few Obama-era documents are also included. Containing 2,337 declassified documents from a wide range of sources, namely the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, the White House, the National Security Council, as well as a variety of others, the set provides a wide-ranging look into the intricacies of CIA covert action. The primary source material contained within this collection is dynamic in its ability to illuminate not only the specific aspects of individual covert operations, but also the CIA&rsquos role in U.S. policy more broadly.

Overall, the set concentrates on two distinct, but occasionally overlapping, thematic areas: the oversight and management of covert operations and the details of particular covert activities. Documents associated with the control and management of covert operations often showcase the tension between the CIA and the legislative branch. The collection, for instance, features the director of central intelligence nomination hearings for figures such as Stansfield Turner, James Woolsey, George Tenet, and Michael Hayden, among others, and notably includes the expansive Robert Gates hearings of 1991. It also highlights the Carter administration&rsquos attempts to overhaul the intelligence community through documents such as the National Intelligence Reorganization and Reform Act of 1978, as well as containing an assortment of various Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearings. The set includes extensive documentation on the effort between 1977 and 1981 to develop a legislative charter for the intelligence community, showing the Carter administration&rsquos internal deliberations, as well as Reagan administration efforts to revisit some of these issues.


During World War II, President Roosevelt was concerned about American covert intelligence capabilities, particularly in the light of the success of Churchill's Commandos. On the suggestion of a senior British intelligence officer, he asked Colonel William "Wild Bill" Donovan to devise a combined intelligence service modeled on the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and Special Operations Executive, centralizing, for instance, the separate cryptanalysis programs of the Army, and Navy. This resulted in the creation of the Office of Strategic Services. On September 20, 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9621, dissolving the OSS by October 1, 1945. [7] The rapid reorganizations that followed reflected not only routine bureaucratic competition for resources but also exploration of the proper relationships between clandestine intelligence collection and covert action (i.e., paramilitary and psychological operations). In October 1945, the functions of the OSS were split between the Departments of State and War:

New unit Oversight OSS functions absorbed
Strategic Services Unit (SSU) War Department Secret Intelligence (SI) (i.e., clandestine intelligence collection) and counter-espionage (X-2)
Interim Research and Intelligence Service (IRIS) State Department Research and Analysis Branch (i.e., intelligence analysis)
Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) (not uniquely for former OSS) War Department, Army General Staff Staff officers from Operational Groups, Operation Jedburgh, Morale Operations (black propaganda)

The three-way division lasted only a few months. The first public mention of the "Central Intelligence Agency" concept and term appeared on a U.S. Army and Navy command-restructuring proposal presented by James Forrestal and Arthur Radford to the U.S. Senate Military Affairs Committee at the end of 1945. [8] Despite opposition from the military establishment, the United States Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), [1] President Truman established the National Intelligence Authority [9] on January 22, 1946, by presidential directive [10] it was the direct predecessor to the CIA. [11] The National Intelligence Authority and its operational extension, the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), was disestablished after twenty months. [12] The assets of the SSU, which now constituted a streamlined "nucleus" of clandestine intelligence, were transferred to the CIG in mid-1946 and reconstituted as the Office of Special Operations (OSO).

Lawrence Houston, the first General Counsel of the CIG, and, later, the CIA, had many concerns about the lack of a congressional mandate. With the support of Director Hoyt Vandenberg he became a principle draftsman of the National Security Act of 1947 [13] which, on September 18, established both the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. [14] In 1949, Lawrence Houston, along with his two assistant general counsels, helped draft the Central Intelligence Agency Act, (Public law 81-110) which authorized the agency to use confidential fiscal and administrative procedures, and exempted it from most of the usual limitations on the use of Federal funds. It also exempted the CIA from having to disclose its "organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed." It also created the program "PL-110", to handle defectors and other "essential aliens" who fall outside normal immigration procedures, as well as giving those persons cover stories and economic support. [15] [16]

In July 1946 Vandenberg reorganized the Central Reports staff into the larger Office of Reports and Estimates. The ORE drew its reports from a daily take of State Department telegrams, military dispatches, and internal CIG reports that went to specialized analysts. The ORE's main products quickly became popular, they were the "Daily Summary", and the "Weekly Summary". The ORE also produced "Intelligence Highlights" for internal consumption, and "Intelligence Memorandums" for the DCI, who could distribute them at his discretion. [17] These reports dominated the work of the ORE at the expense of its work on Estimates.

Vandenberg quickly moved to the position as Commander of the newly formed Air Force that he had been waiting for. He was replaced by Roscoe Hillenkoetter. Under Hillenkoetter the ORE split into Global Survey, Current Intelligence, and Estimates. [17] The sharp focus on the grind of Current Intelligence, with its popular, widely distributed products continued to dominate the ORE leaving little room for the other sections to grow, but it did lead to slow improvements, and the ORE increased the number of products it offered, adding "Situation Reports" that would be used as handbooks for individual countries, and the monthly "Review of the World Situation". Like other organs of the CIA, the ORE received a regular stream of requests from the rest of the Government, including the NSC, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Department of State, and branches of the military. Problems with the early ORE recognized within the CIA itself were that, of its eleven regular publications, only one of them addressed strategic, or national intelligence questions, and that most of the sources of information relied on to produce ORE products were "open source", the CIA itself had little capability to produce intelligence on which to base its own reports and estimates. "The CIA had only a few officers in Korea before the June 1950 invasion, and none reported to Agency analytical branches." [17] Shortly after the invasion of South Korea Truman, on 21 August 1950, announced Walter Bedell Smith as the new Director of the CIA to correct what was seen as a grave failure of Intelligence. [17]

In the beginning, Central Intelligence was the beast of three masters: Truman, who, from his position under a mountain of state, DOD, and FBI reports (the FBI having jurisdiction in Latin America) [18] [19] quickly saw the need for a centralized outlet to organize the information that would reach his desk Defense, who wanted CI to both know everything about military adversaries, perform military sabotage, and foment partisans that would fight with the US if war came and the State Department, that wanted CI to bring global political change positive to the ends of the US. Organizationally, this gave CI two areas of responsibility Covert Action, and Covert Intelligence.

Office of Special Operations (Covert Intelligence) Edit

Sidney Souers (formerly Deputy Chief of Naval Intelligence), after a little more than a hundred days in his position as the first Director of the Central Intelligence Group during which "The Pentagon and the State Department refused to talk to [the CIG]", and "the FBI treated [the CIG] with the deepest disdain", left a top secret note simply stating "There is an urgent need to develop the highest possible quality of information on the USSR in the shortest possible time" before he completed the goal he set out in his first days of office. "[going] home". [18] [19] [20]

General Hoyt Vandenberg, Eisenhower's commander of air operations in Europe, and, later, his Intelligence Chief became the CIG's second director while waiting to be appointed the first Commander of the United States Air Force. One of his first actions was creating the Office of Special Operations, and the Office of Reports and Estimates. [19] In the beginning the OSO was tasked with spying and subversion overseas with a budget of $15 million, the largess of a small number of patrons in congress. Vandenberg's goals were much like the ones set out by his predecessor in the note he left leaving office, finding out "everything about the Soviet forces in Eastern and Central Europe – their movements, their capabilities, and their intentions" [21] in the shortest possible time. This task fell to the 228 overseas personnel covering Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. These men were plagued by a problem that always plagued the CIA, distinguishing the accurate from the inaccurate. Richard Helms, the man in charge, would later find that at least half of the information that made it into CIA files was inaccurate. In its early years, the CIA was caught flatfooted by several world events critical to the nation, blinded by, among other things, its inability to separate truth from fiction.

Office of Policy Coordination (Covert Action) Edit

The history of CI covert action had an ignominious start when, before the creation of the Office of Policy Coordination, The New York Times reported on CI's first covert action, noting the arrest of a CI agent in connection with his meeting with the Romanian National Peasants' Party, along with the arrest of the party's leaders on the charge of treason.

On June 18, 1948, the National Security Council issued Directive 10/2 [22] "[calling] for covert operations to attack the soviets around the world," [23] and giving the CIA the authority to carry out covert operations "against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and conducted that any U.S. government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them." To this end, the Office of Policy Coordination was created inside the new CIA. It is important to note, though, that the OPC was quite unique. Frank Wisner, the head of the OPC answered not to the DI, but to the secretaries of defense, state, and the NSC, and the OPC's actions were a secret even from the head of the CIA. Most CIA stations had two station chiefs, one working for the OSO, and one working for the OPC. [24] Their relationship was competitive, even poaching each other's agents, a lopsided competition, the better funded OPC often claiming victory.

Early successes and failures Edit

In the early days of the cold war, successes for the CIA were few and far between. The gradual Soviet takeover of Romania, the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet blockade of Berlin, CIA assessments of the Soviet atomic bomb project, the Korean War, [25] and then, when the 300,000 Chinese troops waiting at the Korean border entered the war, [26] all, arguably, failures of Central intelligence of the highest profile imaginable. The famous double agent Kim Philby was the British liaison to American Central Intelligence. Through him the CIA coordinated hundreds of airdrop operations inside the iron curtain, all compromised by Philby. American intelligence suffered from almost countless compromises of the networks it tried to set up. There were spies in the Manhattan project, and even Arlington Hall, the nerve center of CIA cryptanalysis was compromised by William Weisband, a Russian translator and Soviet spy. [27] The CIA reused the tactic of dropping plant agents behind enemy lines by parachute again on China, and North Korea. This too was fruitless.

Cryptanalysis was not the CIA's sole success story. In the 1948 Italian election the CIA quietly backed the Christian Democrats. [28] [29] James Forrestal and Allen Dulles passed a hat around Wall Street and Washington, D.C., then Forrestal went to the Secretary of the Treasury, John W. Snyder, a Truman stalwart. He allowed them to tap the $200 million Exchange Stabilization Fund which had been designed during the Depression to shore up the value of the dollar overseas, but was used during World War II as a depository for captured Axis Loot, and was, at that time, earmarked for the reconstruction of Europe. Funds moved from the fund into the bank accounts of wealthy Americans, many of whom had Italian heritage. Hard cash was then distributed to Catholic Action, the Vatican's political arm, and directly to Italian politicians. "A long romance between the party and the agency began. The CIA's practice of purchasing elections and politicians with bags of cash was repeated in Italy – and in many other nations – for the next twenty-five years." [30]

Korean War Edit

During the Korean War, on Yong-Do island in Busan, Hans Tofte had turned over a thousand North Korean expatriates into what the National Security Council hoped would become a fifth column. They were divided into three tasking groups. Intelligence gathering through infiltration, guerrilla warfare, and pilot rescue. Tofte would be filing reports indicating success in operations long after any hope for the infiltration teams was cold in the ground. [31]

In 1952, CIA covert action sent 1,500 more expatriate agents north. Seoul station chief, and Army Colonel Albert Haney openly celebrated the capabilities of those agents, and the information they sent. [31] Some Seoul State Department intelligence officers were skeptical, but the party lasted until Haney was replaced, in September 1952, by John Limond Hart, a Europe veteran with a vivid memory for bitter experiences of misinformation. [31] Hart was immediately suspicious of the parade of successes reported by Tofte and Haney.

After a three month investigation, Hart determined that the entirety of the station's product from Korean sources was either an opportunist's lie, or the misinformation from the enemy, including reports hailed, by American military commanders, as "one of the outstanding intelligence reports of the war." [32] Another part of the problem was the isolation of the Hermit Kingdom, and its relative lack of importance compared to China, and Japan, which led to a deficiency in Korean language skills. After the war, internal reviews by the CIA corroborated Hart's findings. The CIA's Seoul station had 200 officers, but not a single speaker of Korean. [32] The NSC's $152 million a year covert war was one part meat grinder, and one part delivery system for enemy misinformation.

Hart reported to Washington that Seoul station was hopeless, and could not be salvaged. Loftus Becker, Deputy Director of Intelligence, was sent personally to tell Hart that the CIA, to save face, had to keep the station open. Becker returned to Washington, pronounced the situation to be "hopeless", and that, after touring the CIA's Far East operations, the CIA's ability to gather intelligence in the far east was "almost negligible". [32] He then resigned. While Allen Dulles was extolling the success of the CIA's guerrillas in Korea, AF Colonel James Kellis says Dulles had been informed that those guerrillas were under the control of the enemy. [33] Frank Wisner put the Korean failures down to a need "to develop the quantity and kind of people we must have if we are to successfully carry out the heavy burdens which have been placed on us." [33] A compounding factor was that, even at the height of the Korean war, the CIA kept its primary focus on Europe, and the Soviet Union, through the entire war, the Korean War was always seen as a diversion from Europe.

China Edit

With the Chinese push, the eyes of the NSC turned north. With no end to the avalanche of money, the CIA explored every option in China. From Chiang Kai-shek's promise of a million Kuomintang, [33] to the western Chinese Muslim Horsemen of the Hui clans who had ties to Chinese Nationalists. [34] The CIA ran operations from White Dog island with the nationalists for months until it was discovered that the nationalist commander's Chief of Staff was a spy for Mao. [34] $50 million went to Okinawa based Chinese refugees who wove tales of sizable support on the mainland. [35] In July 1952, the CIA sent a team of expatriates in. Four months later they radioed for help. It was an ambush. Two CIA officers, Jack Downey and Dick Fecteau, fresh out of Ivy League colleges, spent more than 19 years in captivity.

Finally the CIA turned to nationalist General Li Mi in Burma. When Li Mi's troops crossed the border into China an ambush awaited them too. The CIA later discovered that Li Mi's Bangkok radioman worked for Mao. [36] CIA supplies still flowed, but Li Mi's men retreated to Burma, and set up a global heroin empire in Burma's Golden Triangle.

Iran Edit

In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh, a member of the National Front rose to power campaigning for khal'-e yad(Law of repossession, ie oil nationalization). [37] This was against the Gass-Golsha`iyan (supplemental oil agreement), which Prime Minister Razmara supported. The supplemental oil agreement with Anglo-Iranian Oil Company got several concessions from the AIOC, including a 50/50 profit split, as well as other concessions for better Iranian representation within the company. Razmara is assassinated in March 1951. Khalil Tahmassebi, a member of a terrorist group that follows the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini is arrested, the next day over 8,000 members of the National Front, and the Marxist Tudeh party protest his arrest. The protesters threaten to kill the Shah, any Iranian legislator that opposes oil nationalization, and anyone responsible for the imprisonment of Tahmassebi. Mosaddeq is elected to replace the slain PM, but conditions his acceptance on the nationalization of oil, which went through unanimously.

Nationalization of the British funded Iranian oil industry, including the largest oil refinery in the world, is disastrous. A British naval embargo successfully shutters the British oil facilities. Iran has no skilled workers to operate the British facilities, and no way of exporting the product anyway. In 1952 Mosaddeq bucked against royal refusal to approve his Minister of War, aiming to take control of the military from the Shah. Mosaddeq resigned in protest, and the Shah installed Ahmad Qavam as PM. Again the National Front, and Tudeh took to the streets, again threatening assassinations (four Iran Prime Ministers had been assassinated in the last few years). Five days later the military feared losing control and pulled their troops back and the Shah gave in to Mosaddeq's demands. Mosaddeq quickly replaced military leaders loyal to the Shah with those loyal to him, giving him personal control over the military. Mosaddeq took six months of emergency powers, giving him the power to unilaterally pass legislation. When that expired, his powers were extended for another year.

A bitter irony was that Ayatollah Kashani, who once decried the unforgivable abuses of the British, and Mozzafar Baghai, Mosaddeq's closest political ally, and a man who personally took part in the physical takeover of the largest oil refinery in the world, now found that which they once saw in Mosaddeq in the British. Mosaddeq began manipulating the Iranian Parliament, but his supporters left quickly. To prevent the loss of his control of parliament, Mosaddeq dismissed parliament, and, at the same time, took dictatorial powers. This power grab triggered the Shah to exercise his constitutional right to dismiss Mosaddeq. Mosaddeq then started a military coup as the Shah fled the country. As was typical of CIA operations, CIA interventions were preceded by radio announcements on July 7, 1953 made by the CIA's intended victim by way of operational leaks. [38] On August 19 a CIA paid mob led by Ayatollahs Khomeini, and Kashani sparked what the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Tehran Embassy called "an almost spontaneous revolution.". [39] But Mosaddeq was protected by his new inner military circle, and the CIA had been unable to get any sway within the Iranian military. Their chosen man, former general Zahedi had no troops to call on. [38] General McClure, commander of the American military assistance advisory group would get his second star buying the loyalty of the Iranian officers he was training. An attack on Mosaddeq's house forced him to flee. He surrendered the next day, and his military coup came to an end. [40] The end result was a 60/40 oil profit split in favor of Iran (possibly similar to agreements with Saudi Arabia and Venezuela). [37]

Guatemala Edit

The return of the Shah to power, and the impression, cultivated by Allen Dulles that an effective CIA had been able to guide the nation to friendly and stable relations with the west triggered planning for Operation Success, a plan to replace Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz with Carlos Armas. [41] As was typical of CIA operations, the plan was exposed in major newspapers even before they started planning it in detail when the CIA agent liaison to Armas left plans for the coup in his Guatemala City hotel room. [42] Operation Success was buoyed by two great strokes of luck. When Guatemalan state radio went down for scheduled antenna replacement, the CIA's "Voice of Liberation" radio broadcast moved to replace it. Speaker of the House John McCormack called a Czech shipment of weapons bypassing the U.S. arms embargo on Guatemala an "atomic bomb planted in America's backyard." [43] Contrary to contemporary claims of the CIA, the shipment would reach Guatemala undetected, but the second stroke of luck would be that the shipment was mostly rusted junk from World War 2.

Armas struck on June 18th. While Armas' offensive was ineffectual, Arbenz was apprehensive about the possibility of future successful attacks, and about being betrayed by his military. On June 22 Allen Dulles walked into the Oval Office certain that only drastic measures could unseat Arbenz and salvage the situation. In the meeting they said that a filibuster by the chairman of Democrats for Eisenhower, one of Ike's richest, and most generous contributors was their last ditch hope, with a 20% chance of success. A withdrawal of $150,000 from Riggs Bank purchased three fully armed P-47 Thunderbolts. [44] On June 27, after days of the miniature bombing campaign, Arbenz, thinking his forces outmatched, and thinking that his grasp on the military was failing ceded power to Colonel Carlos Diaz. The CIA orchestrated several transfers of power, ending when the CIA finally placed Castillo Armas in the office of President.

Syria Edit

In 1949 Colonel Adib Shishakli rose to power in Syria in a CIA backed coup. Four years later he was overthrown by the military, Ba'athists, and communists. The CIA and MI6 started funding right wing members of the military, but suffered a large setback in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. CIA Agent Rocky Stone who had played a minor role in the Iranian revolution was working at the Damascus embassy as a diplomat, but was actually the station chief. Syrian officers on the CIA dole quickly appeared on television stating that they had received money from the "corrupt and sinister Americans" "in an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria" [45] Syrian forces surrounded the embassy and rousted Agent Stone, who confessed and subsequently made history as the first American diplomat expelled from an Arab nation. This strengthened ties between Syria and Egypt, helping establish the United Arab Republic, and poisoning the well for the US for the foreseeable future. [45] The inability to deny the complicity of the US government put this operation outside the charter of the CIA.

Indonesia Edit

The charismatic leader of Indonesia was President Sukarno. His declaration of neutrality in the cold war put the suspicions of the CIA on him. After Sukarno hosted Bandung Conference, promoting the Non-Aligned Movement. The Eisenhower White House responded with NSC 5518 authorizing "all feasible covert means" to move Indonesia into the Western sphere. [46] The CIA started funding the Masyumi Party. Sukarno confounded the CIA's Jakarta station, which had few speakers of native languages, and Al Ulmer, the new head of the CIA's Far East division, knew little about the country. Spooked by the communist PKI party moving into the third spot, the CIA's alarmed response was in contrast to that of the Ambassador, who maintained that Sukarno maintained an open door to the West.

The U.S. had no clear policy on Indonesia. President Dwight Eisenhower sent his special assistant for security operations F.M. Dearborn Jr. to Jakarta. His report that there was great instability, and that the U.S. lacked strong, stable allies, reinforced the domino theory. Indonesia suffered from what he described as "subversion by democracy". [47] The CIA decided to attempt another military coup in Indonesia, where the Indonesian military was trained by the U.S., had a strong professional relationship with the US Military, had a pro-American officer corps, which had strong support for the government, and a strong belief in civilian control of the military, instilled partly by its close association with the US Military. [48] Demonstrating an intolerance for dissent, the CIA instigated the transfer of the well respected Ambassador Allison, who had a strong background in Asia, to Czechoslovakia.

On September 25, 1957, Eisenhower ordered the CIA to start a revolution in Indonesia with the goal of regime change. Three days later, Blitz, a Soviet controlled weekly in India reported that the U.S. was plotting to overthrow Sukarno. The story was picked up by the media in Indonesia. One of the first parts of the operation was an 11,500 ton US navy ship landing at Sumatra, delivering weapons for as many as 8,000 potential revolutionaries. [49] The delivery drew a crowd of spectators, and, again, little thought was given to plausible deniability. Counter to CIA predictions, the Indonesian military, with some planning assistance from their colleagues in the US Military, the only people the CIA had successfully kept their involvement a secret from, reacted swiftly and effectively.

CIA Agent Al Pope's bombing and strafing Indonesia in a CIA B-26 was described by the CIA to the President as attacks by "dissident planes". Al Pope's B-26 was shot down over Indonesia on May 18, and he bailed out. When he was captured, the Indonesian military found his personnel records, after action reports, and his membership card for the officer's club at Clark Field. On March 9, Foster Dulles, the secretary of state, and the brother of DI Allen Dulles, made a public statement calling for a revolt against communist despotism under Sukarno. Three days later the CIA reported to the White House that the Indonesian Army's actions against CIA instigated revolution was suppressing communism. [50]

After Indonesia, Eisenhower displayed mistrust of the CIA and its Director, Allen Dulles. Allen Dulles too displayed mistrust of the CIA itself. Abbot Smith, a CIA analyst who would rise to the position of chief of the Office of National Estimates, said "We had constructed for ourselves a picture of the USSR, and whatever happened had to be made to fit into this picture. Intelligence estimators can hardly commit a more abominable sin." Something reflected in the intelligence failure in Indonesia. On December 16, Eisenhower received a report from his intelligence board of consultants that said that the agency was "incapable of making objective appraisals of its own intelligence information as well as its own operations." [51]

Congo Edit

In the election of Patrice Lumumba, and his acceptance of Soviet support the CIA saw another possible Cuba. This view swayed the White House. Eisenhower ordered that Lumumba be "eliminated". The CIA delivered a quarter of a million dollars to Joseph Mobutu, their favorite horse in the race. Mobutu delivered Lumumba to the Belgians, the former colonial masters of Congo, who executed him in short order. [52]

Gary Powers U-2 Shootdown Edit

After the Bomber gap came the Missile gap. Eisenhower wanted to use the U-2 to disprove the missile gap, but he had banned U-2 overflights of the USSR after the successful meeting at Camp David with Nikita Khrushchev. Another reason Eisenhower objected to the use of the U-2 was that, in the nuclear age, the intelligence he needed most was on their intentions, without which, the U.S. would face a paralysis of intelligence. Eisenhower was particularly worried that U-2 flights could be seen as the preparation for first strike attacks as he had high hopes for an upcoming meeting with Khrushchev in Paris. Conflicted, Eisenhower finally gave into CIA pressure to authorize a 16-day window for flights, which, because of poor weather, was later extended for another six days. On May 1, 1960 the USSR shot down a U-2 flying over the USSR. To Ike, the ensuing coverup destroyed one of his biggest assets, his perceived honesty, and the biggest hope he had, leaving a legacy of thawing relations with Khrushchev. It also marked the beginning of a long downward slide in the credibility of the Office of the President of the United States. Eisenhower later said that the U-2 coverup was the greatest regret of his Presidency. [5] : 160

Dominican Republic Edit

The human rights abuses of Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo had a history of more than three decades, but in August 1960 the United States severed diplomatic relations. The CIA's Special Group had decided to arm Dominicans in hopes of an assassination. The CIA had dispersed three rifles, and three .38 revolvers, but things paused as President John F. Kennedy assumed office. An order approved by Kennedy resulted in the dispersal of four machine guns. Trujillo died from gunshot wounds two weeks later. In the aftermath Robert Kennedy wrote that the CIA had succeeded where it had failed many times in the past, but in the face of that success, it was caught flatfooted, having failed to plan what to do next. [53]

Cuba Edit

The CIA welcomed Fidel Castro on his visit to DC, and gave him a face to face briefing. The CIA hoped that Castro would bring about a friendly democratic government, and planned to curry his favor with money and guns. On December 11, 1959, a memo reached the DI's desk recommending Castro's "elimination". Dulles replaced the word "elimination" with "removal", and set the wheels in motion. By mid August 1960, Richard Bissell (then CIA's Deputy Director for Plans) sought, with the blessing of the CIA, to hire the Mafia to assassinate Castro. [54] At the same time, his men were working on a parallel plan, recruiting a Cuban exile to assassinate him. A little while later, the FBI advised the CIA that it would be impossible to overthrow Castro with these chatty Cuban exiles. In the days before the Bay of Pigs, and during the invasion Richard Bissell lied to everyone. He lied to Adlai Stevenson, he lied to the people commanding the mission, guaranteeing them air support while he lied to the President, promising success, and minimal air support.

The Taylor Board was commissioned to determine what went wrong in Cuba. The Board came to the same conclusion that the January 1961 President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities had concluded, and many other reviews prior, and to come, that Covert Action had to be completely isolated from intelligence and analysis. The Inspector General of the CIA investigated the Bay of Pigs. His conclusion was that there was a need to drastically improve the organization and management of the CIA. The Special Group (later renamed the 303 committee) was convened in an oversight role.

Cuban Missile Crisis Edit

Subsequent to the shoot-downs of the may day U-2 reconnaissance plane, and a later shoot down in China, Kennedy ordered a 45-day cessation of U-2 flights, including flights over Cuba that had recently discovered the first Soviet high altitude Surface to Air Missile launcher site. There were fears of antagonism, and an election was around the corner. During this "photo gap" the CIA received a report from a source from Operation Mongoose, a road watcher describing covered tractor trailers moving that were shaped like large telephone poles. Control of U-2 flights was moved to the Air Force, and October 14 U-2 flights resumed. The Cuban Missile Crisis formally started the next day when American photo analysts identified R-12 1 Megaton MRBMs which could target parts of the east coast with its 2,000 km range. R-14s which could target most of the continental US, as well as 9M21 tactical nukes had also been deployed.

Early Cold War, 1953–1966 Edit

Concern regarding the Soviet Union and the difficulty of getting information from its closed society, which few agents could penetrate, led to solutions based on advanced technology. Among the first successes was the Lockheed U-2 aircraft, which could take pictures and collect electronic signals from an altitude thought to be above Soviet air defenses' reach. The CIA, working with the military, formed the joint National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to operate reconnaissance aircraft such as the SR-71 and later satellites. "The fact of" the United States operating reconnaissance satellites, like "the fact of" the existence of NRO, was highly classified for many years. [ citation needed ]

The CIA was credited with assisting in anti-Communist efforts in Burma, Guatemala, and Laos. [55] There have been suggestions that the Soviet attempt to put missiles into Cuba came, indirectly, when they realized how badly they had been compromised by a U.S.-UK defector in place, Oleg Penkovsky. [56] One of the biggest operations ever undertaken by the CIA was directed at Zaïre in support of Mobutu Sese Seko. [57]

Indochina, Tibet and the Vietnam War (1954–1975) Edit

The OSS Patti mission arrived in Vietnam near the end of World War II, and had significant interaction with the leaders of many Vietnamese factions, including Ho Chi Minh. [58] While the Patti mission forwarded Ho's proposals for phased independence, with the French or even the United States as the transition partner, the US policy of containment opposed forming any government that was communist in nature.

The first CIA mission to Indochina, under the code name "Saigon Military Mission" arrived in 1954, under Edward Lansdale. U.S.-based analysts were simultaneously trying to project the evolution of political power, both if the scheduled referendum chose merger of the North and South, or if the South, the U.S. client, stayed independent. Initially, the US focus in Southeast Asia was on Laos, not Vietnam.

The CIA Tibetan program consists of political plots, propaganda distribution, as well as paramilitary and intelligence gathering based on U.S. commitments made to the Dalai Lama in 1951 and 1956. [59]

During the period of U.S. combat involvement in the Vietnam War, there was considerable argument about progress among the Department of Defense under Robert McNamara, the CIA, and, to some extent, the intelligence staff of Military Assistance Command Vietnam. [60] In general, the military was consistently more optimistic than the CIA. Sam Adams, a junior CIA analyst with responsibilities for estimating the actual damage to the enemy, eventually resigned from the CIA, after expressing concern to Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms with estimates that were changed for inter-agency and White House political reasons. Adams afterward wrote the book War of Numbers.

Sometime between 1959 and 1961 the CIA started Project Tiger, a program of dropping South Vietnamese agents into North Vietnam to gather intelligence. These were a tragic failure the Deputy Chief for Project Tiger, Captain Do Van Tien, admitted that he was an agent for Hanoi. [61]

President Ngo Dinh Diem's Government, however, continued its unofficial policy of violently repressing the Buddhist majority. On August 23, 1963, after being approached by a South Vietnamese General, John F. Kennedy ordered the newly appointed 5th U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam to make detailed plans for Diem's replacement. The CIA's 4th DI John McCone compared Diem to a bad pitcher, saying that it would be unwise to get rid of him unless you could replace him with a better one. Kennedy's Cabinet was dubious about the coup, and JFK would come to regret it. This 5th U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., a longtime political opponent of JFK, was jealous that the CIA station had more money, power, and people than his own staff. The CIA Chief of Station Vietnam, John H. Richardson Sr, for his part, shared his director's skepticism, was still opposed to a coup. Thus developed the 'Lodge-Richardson Feud'. That feud came to a climax when Lodge revealed the name of his rival, John H. Richardson (CIA), to a reporter, Richard Starnes, branding him – and also 'outing' him – as an agent of the CIA after the 'outed' Richardson is recalled to Langley, Virginia, Lodge completed the feud by later moving into Richardson's Saigon house, which was larger than the one Lodge had been in.

The coup occurred on 1 November 1963.

Johnson Edit

The assassination of Diem sparked a cascade of coups in Saigon, and at the same time the city was wracked with assassinations. Lyndon B. Johnson, the new President, wanted to refocus the CIA on intelligence, rather than covert action, while the Kennedys were seen as relentless in their hounding of the CIA to produce results, Johnson soon gave them only the most minimal attention.

In the face of the failure of Project Tiger, the Pentagon wanted CIA paramilitary forces to participate in their Op Plan 64A, this resulted in the CIA's foreign paramilitaries being put under the command of the DOD, a move seen as a slippery slope inside the CIA, a slide from covert action towards militarization. [62] After touring Vietnam in 1964, DI McCone and Secretary of Defense McNamara had different views of the U.S. position. McCone believed that as long as the Ho Chi Minh trail was active the U.S. would struggle.

DI McCone had statutory control over all intelligence committees, but in reality, but the military had near total control of the DIA, the NRO, the NSA, and many other aspects. Importantly, President Johnson almost completely ignored the CIA. In effect, the military controlled the two-thirds of the CIA budget laid out for covert action. McCone, the unspoken hero of the Cuban Missile Crisis, submitted his resignation in the summer, but Johnson would not accept it until after the election.

On August 4, Secretary of Defense McNamara gave President Johnson the raw translation of intercepted Korean transmissions directly from the NSA which, ostensibly, reported to DI McCone, rather than to McNamara. It was later determined that the transmission took place before the weapon discharges that night which leads to the conclusion that the transmission refers to the events of the attack the day before, and that, although Destroyers Maddox, and Turner Joy fired hundreds of shells at intermittent radar contacts, they were firing at false returns.

A CIA analyst's assessment of Vietnam was that the U.S. was "becoming progressively divorced from reality. [and] proceeding with far more courage than wisdom". [63] The CIA had created an exhaustive report, "The Vietnamese Communist's Will to Persist". This created a key flashpoint in the US government, PAVN troop levels,. Was it 500k or more as the CIA believed, or 300k or less as the commanders of US forces in Vietnam believed. The argument went on for months, but Helms finally OK'd a report saying that PAVN troop levels were 299,000 or less. The DOD argument was that whatever the facts on the ground, to publicly admit any higher number could be the last nail in the coffin of the war for vietnam in the press.

Nixon Edit

In 1971 the NSA and CIA were engaged in domestic spying. The Department of Defense was eavesdropping on Henry Kissinger. The White House, and Camp David were wired for sound. Nixon and Kissenger were eavesdropping on their aides and on reporters. Nixon's "plumbers" included former CIA officials Howard Hunt and Jim McCord. On July 7, 1971, John Ehrlichman, Nixon's domestic policy chief, told DCI Cushman, Nixon's hatchet-man in the CIA, to let Cushman "know that [Hunt] was in fact doing some things for the President. you should consider he has pretty much carte blanche" [64] Importantly, this included a camera, disguises, a voice altering device, and ID papers furnished by the CIA, as well as the CIA's participation developing film from the burglary Hunt staged on the office of Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg's psychologist.

On June 17, Nixon's Plumbers were caught burglarizing the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate. On June 23, DI Helms was ordered by the White House to wave the FBI off using national security as a pretext. The new DCI, Walters, another Nixon hack, told the acting director of the FBI and told him to drop the investigation as ordered. [65] On June 26, Nixon's counsel John Dean ordered DCI Walters to pay the plumbers untraceable hush money. The CIA was the only part of the government that had the power to make off the book payments, but it could only be done on the orders of the CI, or, if he was out of the country, the DCI. The Acting Director of the FBI started breaking ranks. He demanded the CIA produce a signed document attesting to the national security threat of the investigation. Jim McCord's lawyer contacted the CIA informing them that McCord had been offered a Presidential pardon if he fingered the CIA, testifying that the break-in had been an operation of the CIA. Nixon had long been frustrated by what he saw as a liberal infection inside the CIA, and had been trying for years to tear the CIA out by its roots. McCord wrote "If [DI] Helms goes (takes the fall) and the Watergate operation is laid at the CIA's feet, where it does not belong, every tree in the forest will fall. It will be a scorched desert." [66]

On November 13, after Nixon's landslide re-election, Nixon told Kissinger "[I intend] to ruin the Foreign Service. I mean ruin it – the old Foreign Service – and to build a new one." He had similar designs for the CIA, and intended to replace Helms with James Schlesinger. [66] Nixon had told Helms that he was on the way out, and promised that Helms could stay on until his 60th birthday, the mandatory retirement age. On February 2, Nixon broke that promise, carrying through with his intention to "remove the deadwood" from the CIA. "Get rid of the clowns" was his order to the incoming CI. Kissinger had been running the CIA since the beginning of Nixon's presidency, but Nixon impressed on Schlesinger that he must appear to congress to be in charge, averting their suspicion of Kissinger's involvement. [67] Nixon also hoped that Schlesinger could push through broader changes in the intelligence community that he had been working towards for years, the creation of a Director of National Intelligence, and spinning off the covert action part of the CIA into a separate organ. Before Helms left office, he destroyed every tape he had secretly made of meetings in his office, and many of the papers on Project MKUltra. In Schlesinger's 17-week tenure, he fired more than 1,500 employees. As Watergate threw the spotlight on the CIA, Schlesinger, who had been kept in the dark about the CIA's involvement, decided he needed to know what skeletons were in the closet. He issued a memo to every CIA employee directing them to disclose to him any CIA activity they knew of past or present that could fall outside the scope of the CIA's charter.

This became the Family Jewels. It included information linking the CIA to the assassination of foreign leaders, the illegal surveillance of some 7,000 U.S. citizens involved in the antiwar movement (Operation CHAOS), the CIA had also experimented on U.S. and Canadian citizens without their knowledge, secretly giving them LSD (among other things) and observing the results. [68] This prompted Congress to create the Church Committee in the Senate, and the Pike Committee in the House. President Gerald Ford created the Rockefeller Commission, [68] and issued an executive order prohibiting the assassination of foreign leaders. DCI Colby leaked the papers to the press, later he stated that he believed that providing Congress with this information was the correct thing to do, and in the CIA's own interests. [69]

Congressional investigations Edit

Acting Attorney General Laurence Silberman learned of the existence of the family jewels, he issued a subpoena for them, prompting eight congressional investigations on the domestic spying activities of the CIA. Bill Colby's short tenure as DCI ended with the Halloween Massacre. His replacement was George H. W. Bush. At the time, the Department of Defense (DOD) had control of 80% of the intelligence budget. [70] With Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense communication and coordination between the CIA and the DOD suffered greatly. The CIA's budget for hiring clandestine officers had been squeezed out by the paramilitary operations in south-east Asia, and hiring was further strained by the government's poor popularity. This left the agency bloated with middle management, and anemic in younger officers. Yet again, with employee training taking five years, the agency's only hope would be on the trickle of new officers coming to fruition years in the future. The CIA faced another setback as communists took Angola. William J. Casey, a member of Ford's Intelligence Advisory Board, pressed Bush to allow a team from outside the CIA to produce Soviet military estimates as a "Team B". Bush gave the OK. The "B" team was composed of hawks. Their estimates were the highest that could be at all justified, and they painted a picture of a growing Soviet military when the reality was that the Soviet military was shrinking. Many of their reports found their way to the Press. As a result of the investigations Congressional oversight of the CIA evolved into a select intelligence committee in the House, and Senate supervising covert actions authorized by the President.

Chad Edit

Chad's neighbor Libya was a major source of weaponry to communist rebel forces. The CIA seized the opportunity to arm and finance Chad's Prime Minister, Hissène Habré after he created a breakaway government in Western Sudan, even giving him Stinger missiles.

Afghanistan Edit

In Afghanistan, the CIA funneled a billion dollars worth of weapons to Pakistani intelligence, which funneled them through Pakistani tribes, which funneled them to Afghan resistance groups, notably the Mujahideen. At each step, some of the weapons were held back.

Iran Contra Edit

Under President Jimmy Carter, the CIA was conducting covertly funding pro-American opposition against the Sandinista National Liberation Front. In March 1981, Reagan told Congress that the CIA would protect El Salvador by preventing the shipment of Nicaraguan arms into the country to arm Communist rebels. This was a ruse. The CIA was actually arming and training Nicaraguans Contras in Honduras in hopes that they could depose the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. [71] Through William J. Casey's tenure as DI little of what he said in the National Security Planning Group, or to President Reagan was supported by the intelligence branch of the CIA, so Casey formed the Central American Task Force, staffed with yes men from Covert Action. [71] On December 21, 1982, Congress passed a law restricting the CIA to its stated mission, restricting the flow of arms from Nicaragua to El Salvador, prohibiting the use of funds to oust the Sandinistas. Reagan testified before Congress, assuring them that the CIA was not trying to topple the Nicaraguan government.

During this time, with funding increases, the CIA hired 2,000 new employees, but these new recruits lacked the experience of the World War II vets they replaced, living in the theaters where the war was fought, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. [ citation needed ]

Hostage taking Edit

For more than a decade, hostage taking had plagued the Middle East. The CIA's best source of information there was Hassan Salameh, the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Chief of Intelligence, until Israel assassinated him. Through Salameh, the CIA gained a foothold in the world of Muslim extremism, and had entered a bargain where Americans would be safe, and the PLO and CIA would share information on mutual enemies.

Lebanon Edit

The CIA's prime source in Lebanon was Bashir Gemayel, a member of the Christian Maronite sect. The CIA was blinded by the uprising against the Maronite minority. Israel invaded Lebanon, and, along with the CIA, propped up Gemayel this got Gemayel's assurance that Americans would be protected in Lebanon. 13 days later he was assassinated. Imad Mughniyah, a Hezbollah assassin, targeted Americans in retaliation for the Israeli invasion, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and the US Marines of the Multi-National Force for their role in opposing the PLO in Lebanon. On April 18, 1983, a 2,000 lb car bomb exploded in the lobby of the American embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans and 7 CIA officers, among whom was Bob Ames, one of the CIA's best Middle East experts. America's fortunes in Lebanon only suffered more as America's poorly directed retaliation for the bombing was interpreted by many as support for the Christian Maronite minority. On October 23, 1983, two bombs were detonated in Beirut, including a 10-ton bomb at a US military barracks that killed 242 people. Both attacks are believed to have been planned by Iran by way of Mughniyah.

The Embassy bombing had taken the life of the CIA's Beirut Station Chief, Ken Haas. Bill Buckley was sent in to replace him. Eighteen days after the U.S. Marines left Lebanon, Bill Buckley was kidnapped. On March 7, 1984, Jeremy Levin, CNN Bureau Chief in Beirut. [ sentence fragment ] 12 more Americans were kidnapped in Beirut during the Reagan administration. Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Savak agent. [ sentence fragment ] He was an information seller, and the subject of a rare CIA burn notice for his track record of misinformation. He reached out to the agency offering a back channel to Iran, suggesting a trade of missiles that would be lucrative to the intermediaries. [72]

Nicaragua Edit

With the CIA's paramilitary forces overextended in Central America, they turned to former Special Forces soldiers, one of whom had an old comic book that had, in Vietnam, been used to teach natives how to take control of a village by assassinating the mayor, chief of police, and militia. The CIA translated this into Spanish, and distributed it to the Contras. This shortly became public. The CIA also mined the port of Corinto, an act of war that resulted in a public trial in the International Court of Justice. These two public incidents led Congress to clamp down on CIA funding even more, banning them from soliciting funds from third parties to fund the Contras.

Hostage trades Edit

At Reagan's second inaugural, the two most pressing issues for the CIA were the Contras and the hostages. On June 14, 1985, Hezbollah took TWA Flight 847, and executed an American Navy diver on the tarmac of Beirut Airport. Reagan negotiated a trade of prisoners for hostages. This paved the way for a trade of 504 TOW missiles to Iran for $10,000 each, and the release of Benjamin Weir, a captive of Islamic Jihad, the group that claimed responsibility for the Beirut bombings which later became Hezbollah. This broke two of the public pillars of Reagan's foreign policy: no deals with terrorists, and no arms to Iran.

Ghorbanifar sent word that the six remaining hostages in exchange for thousands of Hawk missiles. [ sentence fragment ] A Boeing 707 with 18 Hawk missiles landed at Tehran from Tel Aviv with Hebrew markings on the crates. The CIA realized on that day, October 25, that they needed a signed presidential order to authorize the shipment. A month later Reagan would sign an order retroactively authorizing it. $850,000 of the transaction went to Contras. In July 1986, Hezbollah was holding four American hostages, trading them for arms. Six months later, they had 12 American hostages. On October 5, 1986, an American C-123 full of weapons was shot down by a Nicaraguan soldier. The sole survivor was an American cargo handler who said that he was working for the CIA. On November 3, anonymous leaflets were scattered in Tehran revealing the Iran connection. The Iran Contra Affair broke. Oliver North and John Poindexter had been shredding documents for weeks, but a memo about suspicions that Secord [ who? ] was taking more than his agreed cut surfaced. DI Bill Casey had a seizure and was hospitalized, to be replaced by Judge Webster, clearly brought in to clean house.

Operation Desert Storm Edit

During the Iran-Iraq war, the CIA had backed both sides. The CIA had maintained a network of spies in Iran, but in 1989 a CIA mistake compromised every agent they had in there, and the CIA had no agents in Iraq. In the weeks before the Invasion of Kuwait the CIA downplayed the military buildup. During the war CIA estimates of Iraqi abilities and intentions flip-flopped and were rarely accurate. In one particular case, the DOD had asked the CIA to identify military targets to bomb. One target the CIA identified was an underground shelter. The CIA didn't know that it was a civilian bomb shelter. In a rare instance the CIA correctly determined that the coalition forces efforts were coming up short in their efforts to destroy SCUD missiles. Congress took away the CIA's role in interpreting spy-satellite photos, putting the CIA's satellite intelligence operations under the auspices of the military. The CIA created its office of military affairs, which operated as "second-echelon support for the pentagon. answering. questions from military men [like] 'how wide is this road?'" [73] At the end of the war, the CIA reported that there could be an uprising against Saddam, based on intelligence gained from exiles. Former DI, and current President Bush called on the Shiites and Kurds to rise up against Saddam, while, at the same time, withdrawing any support against Saddam. Saddam crushed the uprisings brutally. After the war, Saddam's nuclear program was discovered. The CIA had had no information about it.

Fall of the USSR Edit

Gorbachev's announcement of the unilateral reduction of 500,000 Soviet troops took the CIA by surprise. What's more, Doug MacEachin, the CIA's Chief of Soviet analysis said that even if the CIA had told the President, the NSC, and Congress about the cuts beforehand, it would have been ignored. "We never would have been able to publish it." [74] All the CIA numbers on the USSR's economy were wrong. Too often the CIA relied on people inexperienced with that which they were supposed to be the expert. Bob Gates had preceded Doug MacEachin as Chief of Soviet analysis, and he had never visited Russia. Few officers, even those stationed in country spoke the language of the people they were spying on. And the CIA had no capacity to send agents to respond to developing situations. The CIA analysis of Russia during the entire cold war was either driven by ideology, or by politics. William J Crowe, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that the CIA "talked about the Soviet Union as if they weren't reading the newspapers, much less developed clandestine intelligence." [75] The CIA was even caught unprepared when the Berlin Wall fell. Once again, CNN had scooped the CIA. [ citation needed ]

One of the first acts of Bob Gates, the new DI, was National Security Review 29, a memo to each member of the Cabinet asking them what they wanted from the CIA. Starting in 1991 the CIA faced six years of budget cuts. The CIA closed 20 stations, and cut its staff in some major capitals by 60%. The CIA could still not shake the perennial analysis, that it was five years away from being able to perform its basic duties satisfactorily.

President Clinton Edit

On January 25, 1993, there was a shooting at the headquarters of the CIA in Langley Virginia. Mir Qazi killed two agents and wounded three others. On February 26, Omar Abdel Rahman bombed the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six people, and wounding a thousand. Of Rahman, the "Blind Sheik"'s seven applications to enter the United States, the CIA had given the OK six times.

In Bosnia the CIA ignored signs within and without of the Srebrenica massacre. Two weeks after news reports of the slaughter, the CIA sent a U-2 to photograph it, a week later the CIA completed its report on the matter. During Operation Allied Force, the CIA had incorrectly provided the coordinates of the Chinese Embassy as a military target resulting in its bombing.

In France, the CIA had orders for economic intelligence, a female CIA agent revealed her connections to the CIA to the French. Dick Holm, Paris Station Chief, was expelled. In Guatemala, the CIA produced the Murphy Memo, based on audio recordings made by bugs planted in the bedroom of Ambassador Marilyn McAfee placed by Guatemalan intelligence. In the recording, Ambassador McAfee verbally entreated "Murphy". The CIA circulated a memo in the highest Washington circles accusing Ambassador McAfee of having an extramarital lesbian affair with her secretary, Carol Murphy. There was no affair. Ambassador McAfee was calling to Murphy, her poodle. [76] The CIA was still bucking the reigns of Congress, Presidents, and DCIs that had ordered that ties of the CIA to harsh regimes that had stood for decades be broken. In Iraq, under Clinton's orders, the CIA was trying to form a coup. The plot was compromised, Saddam arrested over 200 of his own officers, executing over 80. Again this was a case where the NSC wanted CI to give them answers they didn't have, and to make decisions for the NSC that neither the NSC, nor CI could make. Clinton wanted a coup in Iraq, and wanted him to be replaced by someone aligned with the US, but if that US friendly officer existed, neither the CIA nor NSC knew him.

Harold James Nicholson burned several serving officers and three years of trainees before he was caught spying for Russia. In 1997 the House wrote another report, which said that CIA officers know little about the language or politics of the people they spy on, the conclusion was that the CIA lacked the "depth, breadth, and expertise to monitor political, military, and economic developments worldwide." [77] There was a new voice in the CIA to counterpoint the endless chant that the CIA was five years away from success. Russ Travers said in the CIA in-house journal that in five years "intelligence failure is inevitable". [78] In 1997 the CIA's new director George Tenet promised a new working agency by 2002. The CIA's surprise at India's detonation of an atom bomb was a failure at almost every level. After the 1998 embassy bombings by Al Qaeda, the CIA offered two targets to be hit in retaliation. One of them was a chemical plant where traces of chemical weapon precursors had been detected. In the aftermath it was concluded that "the decision to target al Shifa continues a tradition of operating on inadequate intelligence about Sudan." It triggered the CIA to make "substantial and sweeping changes" to prevent "a catasrophic systemic intelligence failure." [79] Between 1991 and 1998 the CIA had lost 3,000 employees.

Somalia Edit

Half a million people had starved in Somalia when President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. troops to enter the country on a humanitarian mission. [ when? ] As clans started fighting over the aid, the humanitarian mission quickly became a struggle against Mohamed Farah Aideed. The CIA station in Somalia had been shuttered for two years. The CIA was given an impossible mission in Somalia, as was the military. Casualties came quickly and were high in the eight man team the CIA sent. A post mortem carried out by now FISA member Admiral Crowe stated that the National Security Council had expected the CIA to both make decisions, and give them the intelligence to base those decisions on. The NSC couldn't understand why intelligence didn't advise them correctly on what to do. Bill Clinton entered the ranks of Presidents unhappy with the results of the CIA Clinton's inattention to the CIA did not help the matter.

Aldrich Ames Edit

Between 1985 and 1986 the CIA lost every spy it had in Eastern Europe. The details of the investigation into the cause was obscured from the new Director, and the investigation had little success, and has been widely criticized. In June 1987, Major Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, the chief of Cuban Intelligence in Czechoslovakia drove into Vienna, and walked into the American Embassy to defect. He revealed that every single Cuban spy on the CIA payroll was a double agent, pretending to work for the CIA, but secretly still being loyal to Castro. On February 21, 1994, FBI agents pulled Aldrich Ames out of his Jaguar. If there was a posterboy for failing upwards inside the CIA, he was it. [80] In the investigation that ensued, the CIA discovered that many of the sources for its most important analyses of the USSR were based on soviet disinformation fed to the CIA by controlled agents. On top of that, it was discovered that, in some cases, the CIA suspected at the time that the sources were compromised, but the information was sent up the chain as genuine. [81] This prompted a congressional committee in 1994 to address what was widely seen as a fundamentally broken institution. The committee quickly became a quagmire. When the committee submitted its toothless report, the CIA had 25 recruits entering its two-year training program, the smallest class of recruits ever. As it had for most of its existence, the CIA suffered from poor management, poor morale, and a lack of employees familiar with the people they were spying on. [82]

Yugoslavia Edit

Kosovo Edit

The United States (and NATO) directly supported the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). [83] The CIA funded, trained and supplied the KLA (as they had earlier the Bosnian Army). [84] As disclosed to The Sunday Times by CIA sources, "American intelligence agents have admitted they helped to train the Kosovo Liberation Army before NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia". [85] [86] [87] In 1999, a retired Colonel told that KLA forces had been trained in Albania by former US military working for MPRI. [85] James Bissett, Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, wrote in 2001 that media reports indicate that "as early as 1998, the Central Intelligence Agency assisted by the British Special Air Service were arming and training Kosovo Liberation Army members in Albania to foment armed rebellion in Kosovo. (. ) The hope was that with Kosovo in flames NATO could intervene . ". [88]

The KLA was largely funded through narcotics trafficking. When the US State Department at first listed the KLA as a terrorist organization in 1998 (later revoked), it noted its links to the heroin trade, [89] and a briefing paper for the US Congress stated: "We would be remiss to dismiss allegations that between 30 and 50 percent of the KLA's money comes from drugs." [90] By 1999, Western intelligence agencies estimated that over $250m of narcotics money had found its way into KLA coffers. [91] After the NATO bombing of 1999, KLA-linked heroin traffickers again began using Kosovo as a major supply route in 2000, an estimated 80% of Europe's heroin supply was controlled by Kosovar Albanians. [92]

Alex Roslin of the Montreal Gazette summarized evidence indicating CIA complicity to KLA's funding from heroin trade. Former DEA agent Michael Levine said "…They (the CIA) protected them (the KLA) in every way they could. As long as the CIA is protecting the KLA, you've got major drug pipelines protected from any police investigation". [93]

Osama Bin Laden Edit

Agency files show that it is believed Osama Bin Laden was funding the Afghan rebels against the USSR in the '80s. [94] Allegations of CIA assistance to Osama bin Laden in the early 80s have been presented by some sources [95] and politicians, including UK foreign secretary Robin Cook. [96] Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, has also stated that bin Laden once expressed appreciation for the United States' help in Afghanistan. [97] However U.S. government officials and a number of other parties maintain that the U.S. supported only the indigenous Afghan mujahideen. [98]

In 1991, Bin Laden returned to his native Saudi Arabia protesting the presence of troops, and Operation Desert Storm. He was expelled from the country. In 1996 the CIA created a team to hunt Bin Laden. They were trading information with the Sudanese until, on the word of a source that was later found to be a fabricator, the CIA closed its Sudan station later that year. In 1998 Bin Laden declared war on America, and, on August 7, strike in Tanzania and Nairobi. On October 12, 2000, Al Qaeda bombed the USS Cole. In 1947 when the CIA was founded, there were 200 agents in the Clandestine Service. In 2001, of the 17,000 employees in the CIA, there were 1,000 in the Clandestine Service. Of that 1,000 few accepted hardship postings. In the first days of George W. Bush's Presidency, Al Qaeda threats were ubiquitous in daily Presidential CIA briefings, but it may have become a case of the boy who cries wolf. The agency's predictions were dire, but carried little weight, and the attentions of the President, and his defense staff were elsewhere. The CIA arranged the arrests of suspected Al Qaeda members through cooperation with foreign agencies, but the CIA could not definitively say what effect these arrests had hat, and it could not gain hard intelligence from those captured. The President had asked the CIA if Al Qaeda could plan attacks in the US. On August 6, Bush received a daily briefing with the headline, not based on current, solid intelligence, "Al Qaeda determined to strike inside the U.S." The U.S. had been hunting Bin Laden since 1996 and had had several opportunities, but neither Clinton, nor Bush had wanted to risk their skin taking an active role in a murky assassination plot, and the perfect opportunity had never materialized for a trigger-shy DI that would have given him the reassurances he needed to take the plunge. That day, Richard A. Clarke sent National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warning of the risks, and decrying the inaction of the CIA. [99]

Al-Qaeda and the "Global War on Terrorism" Edit

The CIA had long been dealing with terrorism originating from abroad, and in 1986 had set up a Counterterrorist Center to deal specifically with the problem. At first confronted with secular terrorism, the Agency found Islamist terrorism looming increasingly large on its scope.

In January 1996, the CIA created an experimental "virtual station," the Bin Laden Issue Station, under the Counterterrorist Center, to track Bin Laden's developing activities. Al-Fadl, who defected to the CIA in spring 1996, began to provide the Station with a new image of the Al Qaeda leader: he was not only a terrorist financier, but a terrorist organizer, too. FBI Special Agent Dan Coleman (who together with his partner Jack Cloonan had been "seconded" to the Bin Laden Station) called him Qaeda's "Rosetta Stone". [100]

In 1999, CIA chief George Tenet launched a grand "Plan" to deal with al-Qaeda. The Counterterrorist Center, its new chief Cofer Black and the center's Bin Laden unit were the Plan's developers and executors. Once it was prepared Tenet assigned CIA intelligence chief Charles E. Allen to set up a "Qaeda cell" to oversee its tactical execution. [101] In 2000, the CIA and USAF jointly ran a series of flights over Afghanistan with a small remote-controlled reconnaissance drone, the Predator they obtained probable photos of Bin Laden. Cofer Black and others became advocates of arming the Predator with missiles to try to assassinate Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders. After the Cabinet-level Principals Committee meeting on terrorism of September 4, 2001, the CIA resumed reconnaissance flights, the drones now being weapons-capable.

Soon after 9/11, The New York Times released a story stating that the CIA's New York field office was destroyed in the wake of the attacks. According to unnamed CIA sources, while first responders were conducting rescue efforts, a special CIA team was searching the rubble for both digital and paper copies of classified documents. This was done according to well-rehearsed document recovery procedures put in place after the Iranian takeover of the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979. While it was not confirmed whether the agency was able to retrieve the classified information, it is known that all agents present that day fled the building safely.

While the CIA insists that those who conducted the attacks on 9/11 were not aware that the agency was operating at 7 World Trade Center under the guise of another (unidentified) federal agency, this center was the headquarters for many notable criminal terrorism investigations. Though the New York field offices' main responsibilities were to monitor and recruit foreign officials stationed at the United Nations, the field office also handled the investigations of the August 1998 bombings of United States Embassies in East Africa and the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. [102] Despite the fact that the CIA's New York branch may have been damaged by the 9/11 attacks and they had to loan office space from the US Mission to the United Nations and other federal agencies, there was an upside for the CIA. [102] In the months immediately following 9/11, there was a huge increase in the number of applications for CIA positions. According to CIA representatives that spoke with the New York Times, pre-9/11 the agency received approximately 500 to 600 applications a week, in the months following 9/11 the agency received that number daily. [103]

The intelligence community as a whole, and especially the CIA, were involved in presidential planning immediately after the 9/11 attacks. In his address to the nation at 8:30pm on September 11, 2001 George W. Bush mentioned the intelligence community: "The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts, I've directed the full resource of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice." [104]

The involvement of the CIA in the newly coined "War on Terror" was further increased on September 15, 2001. During a meeting at Camp David George W. Bush agreed to adopt a plan proposed by CIA director George Tenet. This plan consisted of conducting a covert war in which CIA paramilitary officers would cooperate with anti-Taliban guerillas inside Afghanistan. They would later be joined by small special operations forces teams which would call in precision airstrikes on Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. This plan was codified on September 16, 2001 with Bush's signature of an official Memorandum of Notification that allowed the plan to proceed. [105]

On November 25–27, 2001 Taliban prisoners revolt at the Qala Jangi prison west of Mazar-e-Sharif. Though several days of struggle occurred between the Taliban prisoners and the Northern Alliance members present, the prisoners did gain the upper hand and obtain North Alliance weapons. At some point during this period Johnny "Mike" Spann, a CIA officer sent to question the prisoners, was beaten to death. He became the first American to die in combat in the war in Afghanistan. [105]

After 9/11, the CIA came under criticism for not having done enough to prevent the attacks. Tenet rejected the criticism, citing the Agency's planning efforts especially over the preceding two years. He also considered that the CIA's efforts had put the Agency in a position to respond rapidly and effectively to the attacks, both in the "Afghan sanctuary" and in "ninety-two countries around the world". [106] The new strategy was called the "Worldwide Attack Matrix".

Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American U.S. citizen and al-Qaeda member, was killed on September 30, 2011, by an air attack carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command. After several days of surveillance of Awlaki by the Central Intelligence Agency, armed drones took off from a new, secret American base in the Arabian Peninsula, crossed into northern Yemen, and fired a number of Hellfire missiles at al-Awlaki's vehicle. Samir Khan, a Pakistani-American al-Qaeda member and editor of the jihadist Inspire magazine, also reportedly died in the attack. The combined CIA/JSOC drone strike was the first in Yemen since 2002 – there have been others by the military's Special Operations forces – and was part of an effort by the spy agency to duplicate in Yemen the covert war which has been running in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [107] [108]

Use of vaccination programs Edit

The agency attracted widespread criticism after it used a doctor in Pakistan to set up a vaccination program in Abbottabad in 2011 to obtain DNA samples from the occupants of a compound where it was suspected bin Laden was living. [109] Subsequently in May 2014 a counterterrorism advisor to President Obama wrote to deans of 13 prominent public health schools giving an undertaking the CIA would not engage in vaccination programs or engage U.S. or non-U.S. health workers in immunization arrangements for espionage purposes. [ citation needed ]

Failures in intelligence analysis Edit

A major criticism is failure to forestall the September 11 attacks. The 9/11 Commission Report identifies failures in the IC as a whole. One problem, for example, was the FBI failing to "connect the dots" by sharing information among its decentralized field offices.

The report concluded that former DCI George Tenet failed to adequately prepare the agency to deal with the danger posed by al-Qaeda prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. [110] The report was finished in June 2005 and was partially released to the public in an agreement with Congress, over the objections of current DCI General Michael Hayden. Hayden said its publication would "consume time and attention revisiting ground that is already well plowed." [111] Tenet disagreed with the report's conclusions, citing his planning efforts vis-à-vis al-Qaeda, particularly from 1999. [112]

Abuses of CIA authority, 1970s–1990s Edit

Conditions worsened in the mid-1970s, around the time of Watergate. A dominant feature of political life during that period were the attempts of Congress to assert oversight of the U.S. Presidency and the executive branch of the U.S. government. Revelations about past CIA activities, such as assassinations and attempted assassinations of foreign leaders (most notably Fidel Castro and Rafael Trujillo) and illegal domestic spying on U.S. citizens, provided the opportunities to increase Congressional oversight of U.S. intelligence operations. [68]

Hastening the CIA's fall from grace were the burglary of the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic Party by former CIA officers, and President Richard Nixon's subsequent attempt to use the CIA to impede the FBI's investigation of the burglary. [ citation needed ] In the famous "smoking gun" recording that led to President Nixon's resignation, Nixon ordered his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, to tell the CIA that further investigation of Watergate would "open the whole can of worms about the Bay of Pigs". [113] [114] In this way Nixon and Haldemann ensured that the CIA's No. 1 and No. 2 ranking officials, Richard Helms and Vernon Walters, communicated to FBI Director L. Patrick Gray that the FBI should not follow the money trail from the burglars to the Committee to Re-elect the President, as it would uncover CIA informants in Mexico. [ citation needed ] The FBI initially agreed to this due to a long-standing agreement between the FBI and CIA not to uncover each other's sources of information, though within a couple of weeks the FBI demanded this request in writing, and when no such formal request came, the FBI resumed its investigation into the money trail. Nonetheless, when the smoking gun tapes were made public, damage to the public's perception of CIA's top officials, and thus to the CIA as a whole, could not be avoided. [115]

Repercussions from the Iran-Contra affair arms smuggling scandal included the creation of the Intelligence Authorization Act in 1991. It defined covert operations as secret missions in geopolitical areas where the U.S. is neither openly nor apparently engaged. This also required an authorizing chain of command, including an official, presidential finding report and the informing of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which, in emergencies, requires only "timely notification."

2004, DNI takes over CIA top-level functions Edit

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 created the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who took over some of the government and intelligence community (IC)-wide functions that had previously been the CIA's. The DNI manages the United States Intelligence Community and in so doing it manages the intelligence cycle. Among the functions that moved to the DNI were the preparation of estimates reflecting the consolidated opinion of the 16 IC agencies, and preparation of briefings for the president. On July 30, 2008, President Bush issued Executive Order 13470 [116] amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the DNI. [117]

The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) used to oversee the Intelligence Community, serving as the president's principal intelligence advisor, additionally serving as head of the CIA. The DCI's title now is "Director of the Central Intelligence Agency" (D/CIA), serving as head of the CIA.

The CIA now reports to the Director of National Intelligence. Prior to the establishment of the DNI, the CIA reported to the President, with informational briefings to congressional committees. The National Security Advisor is a permanent member of the National Security Council, responsible for briefing the President with pertinent information collected by all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration, etc. All 16 Intelligence Community agencies are under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence.

Iraq War Edit

72 days after the 9/11 attacks President Bush told his Secretary of Defense to update the U.S. plan for an invasion of Iraq, but not to tell anyone. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked Bush if he could bring DCI Tenet into the loop, to which Bush agreed. [118]

Feelers the CIA had put out to Iraq in the form of 8 of their best officers in Kurdish territory in Northern Iraq hit a goldmine, unprecedented in the famously closed, almost fascist Hussein government. By December 2002 the CIA had close to a dozen good networks in Iraq [118] : 242 and advanced so far that they penetrated Iraq's SSO, and even tap the encrypted communications of the Deputy Prime Minister, even the bodyguard of Hussein's son became an agent. As time passed, the CIA became more and more frantic about the possibility of their networks being compromised, "rolled up". To the CIA, the Invasion had to occur before the end of February 2003 if their sources inside Hussein's government were to survive. The rollup would happen as predicted, 37 CIA sources recognized by their Thuraya satellite telephones provided for them by the CIA. [118] : 337

The case Colin Powell presented before the United Nations (purportedly proving an Iraqi WMD program) was wishful thinking. DDCI John E. McLaughlin was part of a long discussion in the CIA about equivocation. McLaughlin, who would make, among others, the "slam dunk" presentation to the President, "felt that they had to dare to be wrong to be clearer in their judgements". [118] : 197 The Al Qaeda connection, for instance, was from a single source, extracted through torture, and was later denied. Curveball was a known liar, and the sole source for the mobile chemical weapons factories. [119] A postmortem of the intelligence failures in the lead up to Iraq led by former DDCI Richard Kerr would conclude that the CIA had been a casualty of the cold war, wiped out in a way "analogous to the effect of the meteor strikes on the dinosaurs." [120]

The opening days of the Invasion of Iraq would see successes and defeats for the CIA. With its Iraq networks compromised, and its strategic and tactical information shallow, and often wrong, the intelligence side of the invasion itself would be a black eye for the Agency. The CIA would see some success with its "Scorpion" paramilitary teams composed of CIA Special Activities Division agents, along with friendly Iraqi partisans. CIA SAD officers would also help the US 10th Special Forces. [118] [121] [122] The occupation of Iraq would be a low point in the history of the CIA. At the largest CIA station in the world agents would rotate through 1–3 month tours. In Iraq almost 500 transient agents would be trapped inside the Green Zone while Iraq Station Chiefs would rotate with only a little less frequency. [123]

Operation Neptune Spear Edit

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden was killed earlier that day by "a small team of Americans" operating in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during a CIA operation. [124] [125] The raid was executed from a CIA forward base in Afghanistan by elements of the U.S. Navy's Naval Special Warfare Development Group and CIA paramilitary operatives. [126]

It resulted in the acquisition of extensive intelligence on the future attack plans of al-Qaeda. [127] [128] [129]

The operation was a result of years of intelligence work that included the CIA's capture and interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammad (KSM), which led to the identity of a courier of Bin Laden's, [130] [131] [132] the tracking of the courier to the compound by Special Activities Division paramilitary operatives and the establishing of a CIA safe house to provide critical tactical intelligence for the operation. [133] [134] [135]

Reorganization Edit

On 6 March 2015, the office of the D/CIA issued an unclassified edition a statement by the Director, titled 'Our Agency's Blueprint for the Future', as a press release for public consumption. The press release announced sweeping plans for the reorganization and reform of the CIA, which the Director believes will bring the CIA more in line with the Agency doctrine called the 'Strategic Direction'. Among the principal changes disclosed include the establishment of a new directorate, the Directorate of Digital Innovation, which is responsible for designing and crafting the digital technology to be used by the Agency, to keep the CIA always ahead of its enemies. The Directorate of Digital Innovation will also train CIA staff in the use of this technology, to prepare the CIA for the future, and it will also use the technological revolution to deal with cyber-terrorism and other perceived threats. The new directorate will be the chief cyber-espionage arm of the Agency going forward. [136]

Other changes which were announced include the formation of a Talent Development Center of Excellence, the enhancement and expansion of the CIA University and the creation of the office of the Chancellor to head the CIA University in order to consolidate and unify recruitment and training efforts. The office of the Executive Director will be empowered and expanded and the secretarial offices serving the Executive Director will be streamlined. The restructuring of the entire Agency is to be revamped according to a new model whereby governance is modelled after the structure and hierarchy of corporations, said to increase the efficiency of workflow and to greatly enable the Executive Director to manage day-to-day activity. As well, another stated intention was to establish 'Mission Centers', each one to deal with a specific geographic region of the world, which will bring the full collaboration and joint efforts of the five Directorates together under one roof. While the Directorate heads will still retain ultimate authority over their respective Directorate, the Missions Centers will be led by an Assistant Director who will work with the capabilities and talents of all five Directorates on mission-specific goals for the parts of the world which they are given responsibility for. [136]

The unclassified version of the document ends with the announcement that the National Clandestine Service (NCS) will be reverting to its original Directorate name, the Directorate of Operations. The Directorate of Intelligence is also being renamed, it will now be the Directorate of Analysis. [136]

Timeline of US Covert Actions

Reports in the United States suggest the Obama administration has begun covert operations in Libya to help rebels trying to dislodge the government of Moammar Gadhafi. These reports have raised questions such as how to define covert action or covert operations. Also, how do covert activities differ from clandestine action or clandestine operations?

The accepted convention among those working in the intelligence field defines covert action or covert operations as a government effort to change the economic, military, or political situation in a foreign country or territory in a hidden way. Clandestine action is the more ?traditional? form of espionage or intelligence activity.

In this country the difference is not just one of words but of legal status. Since 1974, U.S. law has required that any covert action by intelligence operatives must be justified in advance by presidential authorization, as detailed in a document called a ?finding.? There also must be ?timely? notification to key members of Congress, such as the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees. Neither of those conditions apply to clandestine operations.

Most covert action by the United States is carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, which has its own paramilitary branch. However, members of the military?s special-forces units also take part in such activities in many instances.

History US military Overt and Covert Global Interventions

A. Congressional Research Service (CRS). (February 2, 2009). Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2008. Washington, D.C.: CRS Report for Congress. Annotation : 167 interventions from “1798-1800” (undeclared naval war with France) to 1941-45 (WWII) plus 163 interventions from 1945 (China) to 2008 (Kosovo/Afghanistan).

Total: 330 interventions , (163 + 167), 1798-2001

B. Blechman, B.M., and Kaplan, S.S. (1978). Force Without War: U.S. Armed Forces as a Political Instrument, Appendix B. Wash., D.C.: The Brookings Institution. Annotation : This study covers the period from Jan. 1, 1946, through Dec. 31, 1975 where the U.S. used its armed forces “as a political instrument” on 218 occasion s. Of these 218 occasions, 22 are already included in the CRS report of 330 interventions, leaving 196 additional distinct interventions. Thus the combined distinct interventions recorded by CRS and Blechman is 330 + 196 = 526.

The Blechman “political” incidents varied widely in the size & composition of US military forces which became involved, ranging from a visit to a foreign port by a single warship to the development of major ground, air & naval units against a backdrop including the mobilization of reserves & the placing on alert of strategic nuclear forces. They varied in their political context. Sometimes they were tense int’l confrontations at other times minor disturbances in int’l relations, and at times there was no conflict but the forces were utilized to strengthen ties between the U.S. and other nations in the larger political, hostile context. Many of these uses of military forces are not listed elsewhere.

C. Collins, J.M. (1991). America’s Small Wars: Lessons for the Future. Washington: Brassey’s (US), Inc. Annotation : Figure 4 on page 14 lists sixty (60) “Foremost U.S. LICs (Low Intensity Conflicts) from 1899 to 1990. Of these 60, thirty-seven (37) are not included in the 330 instances identified in CRS 2008 (thus are additional). Of these 37 not included in CRS, three (3) however are included in Blechman’s list of 218. Thus, from these sources one can identify: 330 (CRS) + 196 (Blechman minus overlap with CRS) + 34 (Collins minus overlap with CRS and Blechman) = 560 US overt military interventions between 1798 – 2001 .

D. Makhijani, Arjun. (May 2, 2003). Press Release: Secret First Atomic Weapon Targeting Decision Sixty tears Ago Subverted Purpose of the Bomb Project, New Assessment Reveals. Takoma park, MD: Institute For Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). Annotation : Makhijani quote: “U.S. goal of preventing world domination by Hitler turned to hope of a U.S. Bomb monopoly to shape world politics.” Wartime bomb project created a moral & military monstrosity.”

E. Makhijani, Arjun. (2003). “Nuclear Targeting: The First 60 Years.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 59, No. 3, May/June. This author disputes those arguing that nuclear weapons have produced peace. The U.S. & the USSR fought proxy wars because they were too afraid to fight one another in Europe. Nuclear weapons did not stop violence but shifted it to the “Third World” where “millions have been killed in proxy wars ” whose violence continues. “Problem of global terrorism, which threatens to go nuclear, is a direct result of some of those wars.”

F. Gerson, J. and Birchard, B., eds. (1991). The Sun Never Sets… Boston: South End Press, 12. Annotation : Quote: “By one count, 70 nations hosted U.S. bases and installations immediately following World War II….While U.S.-Soviet conflicts in this period were limited to nuclear threats and proxy wars, the global network of U.S. foreign military bases was employed to support more than 200 U.S. military interventions in the Third World by the United States” (italics in original), 1945-1991. And according to Makhujani (above) millions have been killed in these proxy “Cold Wars.”

G. Gerson, J. and Birchard, B., eds. (1991). The Sun never Sets…Boston: South End press, 360-61. Annotation: Citing Discriminate Deterrence, Report of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (Wash., D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988, p. 14), Gerson and Birchard quote the report: “In the past forty years all the wars in which the United States has been involved have occurred in the Third World ” (emphasis and italics added), again with millions killed.

H. Barnaby, F., ed. (1988). The Gaia peace Atlas. New York: Doubleday, 56-57. Annotation : Chart lists 60 countries that have been a victim of at least one major war since 1945 with estimated casualty figures (120 wars in which deaths have averaged more than 1,000 per year). In these major wars at least “twenty million people have died.” Altogether there have been about 200 proxy, “undeclared” wars in period following WWII through the late 1980s. The territory of some 80 countries and the armed forces of about 90 states have been involved.

J. The U.S. Guano Island Acts , 1856 (under President Franklin Pierce), authorized expeditions of U.S. citizens that had been undergoing long before 1856, and for another 50 years thereafter, engaged in the guano trade (seeking rich fertilizer from bird droppings found on many Pacific Islands). This was commercially important and financially lucrative due to the rapid depletion of soil nutrients in the United States from industrialized capitalist agriculture that increasingly robbed fertility without returning it to the local soils. Under authority of the Guano Acts, the U.S. sent out ships searching for Guano deposits, and between 1856 and 1903 U.S. American entrepreneurs explored 103 locations, of which ninety-four islands, rocks, and keys were claimed/seized. Of these, sixty-six in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean were at least temporarily recognized by the U.S. State Department as U.S. American legal properties. However, fewer than two-dozen were ever mined.

Today, nine of these locations remain U.S. Possessions: Baker Island – 1857 – by U.S. and British Companies Howland Island – 1857 – by U.S. and British Companies Jarvis Island – 1858 by the U.S., United Kingdom after 1889, U.S. again after 1935 Johnston Atoll – 1858 – U.S. and Kingdom of Hawaii Kingman Reef – 1922 – U.S. military purposes (Island of Palmyra Copra Co., Ltd., landed on May 10, 1922 and took formal possession of this island, called Kingman Reef, on behalf of the United States) Midway Atoll Islands – 1867 – U.S lays Trans-Pacific cable Palmyra Atoll – 1859 – American Guano Company, Kingdom of Hawaii, U.S. after 1898 Wake Island – 1899 – U.S. Cable Station Navassa Island, 1857 – in Caribbean, Peter Duncan of Navassa Phospahte Company/Baltimore Fertilizer Company, disputed with Haiti.

[Jimmy M. Skaggs. (1994). The Great Guano Rush: Entrepreneurs and American Overseas Expansion. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, pp. 200-236 John Bellamy Foster, “The Ecology of Destruction,” pp. 9-10, Monthly Review, Vol. 58, No. 9, February 2007].

K. Between 1869 and 1897 , U.S. sent warships into Latin American ports a nearly unbelievable 5,980 times (average 206 U.S. warship calls to Latin America ports per year, or about one every other day for 29 years) [William Appleman Williams. (1980). Empire As A Way Of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 122, citing: S.S. Roberts, “An Indicator of Informal Empire: Patterns of U.S. Navy Cruising on Overseas Stations, 1869-1897,” available at the Center for naval Analysis, Alexandria, Virginia].

L. From the mid-nineteenth century into the twentieth century the U.S. military had conquered all lands and original inhabitants to the western edge of its continent, stolen half of Mexico, invaded Korea, annexed Hawaii, conquered the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba. As it pushed south, by 1930, Washington had sent military gunboats into Latin American ports over six thousand times , in addition to having invaded Cuba and Mexico once again, Guatemala, Honduras, and taken Panama from Columbia, fought protracted wars in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Haiti, all enabling U.S. corporations and financial houses to dominate the economies of most of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and much of South America [Grandin, Greg. (2006). Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, And The Rise of the New Imperialism. New York: Metropolitan Books, p. 3].

Conclusion : A total of 560 overt U.S. military interventions, 1798- 2008 . At least 170 interventions occurred between 1798 and the end of WWII in 1945 (167 in CRS and 3 in Collins). Post-WWII to 1990, all US military interventions were in the “Third World,” of which, according to each of Gerson’s and Barnaby’s essays, there have been 200. But looking at total post-WWII interventions: CRS (163 interventions post-WWII to 2009) and Blechman (196 additional between 1946 and 1975) and Collins (31 additional between 1945 and 1990) = 390 overt US military interventions occurred since the end of WWII to 2008 with at least 20 million killed . TOTAL: 170 + 390 = 560

This does NOT count several thousand military uses of U.S. Naval ships to intimidate various nations in the Pacific, Caribbean, and Latin America.

In addition, the US has conventionally bombed 28 countries since the end of World War II [Blum, William. (2000). Rogue State. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, pp. 92-95].

II. U.S. External Covert Interventions

On 18 June 1948, US Pres. Harry Truman signed National Security Directive 10/2 (NSC-10/2), in which covert operations were specifically, and broadly, defined. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), created less than a year earlier, and directly answerable to the President through the newly established National Security Council (NSC), was given primary responsibility for carrying out the covert actions as the NSC may from ‘time to time direct.’ There was an important stipulation, however, that ‘the US government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them.’

This vaguely worded authority has been utilized thousands of times to carry out covert actions, from assassination attempts, government overthrows, & paramilitary operations, to concerted propaganda efforts, interference in free elections, & economic destabilization campaigns, in every corner of the world. The first indication of numbers of operations was revealed in 1976 when the Church Committee Report on CIA activities was published, & its chair, US Sen. Frank Church (D-ID), stated that from 1961 to 1974 he had identified 900 major & 3,000 minor operations [Prados, J. (1996). President’s secret wars: CIA and pentagon covert operations from World War II through the Persian Gulf. Chicago: Elephant paperbacks, Ivan R. Dee, 336]. If the period from 1947, when the CIA was first created, to 1960 witnessed covert actions at the same rate, one can estimate 1,800 major & 6,000 minor covert operations through 1974. Former CIA officer John Stockwell extrapolated in 1990 that the CIA likely had initiated & overseen about 3,000 major & over 10,000 minor covert operations up to that time [Stockwell, J. (1991). The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. role in the new world order. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 70 1976 Church Committee: The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents Final Report of the Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, Book I, Foreign and Military Intelligence.

Increasingly, the Special Operations components of the various military services work very closely, almost as associates, with the CIA. The Pentagon has acknowledged that Special Operations Forces have been deployed on thousands of missions to more than a hundred countries. In addition, the US has either an embassy or interests section in the vast majority of the world’s 200-plus nations. At virtually all of these stations are assigned CIA case officers working under State Department cover.

The US government has historically provided military and/or economic aid to more than 150 countries, and regularly protects the assets and operations of thousands of transnational corporations, and trillions of dollars worth of investments, throughout the globe. This policy has regularly established the need for ‘stable’ economic climates, free of any ‘threatening’ insurgent activities by a nation’s citizens — the majority of whom, more often than not, are aggrieved and suffering.

Identification of the nature and specific locations of the various secret US activities is made more difficult by the institution of ‘plausible deniability.’ However, by perusing various sources, one can identify more than a hundred countries from 1947 to the present where the CIA has chosen, from its vast menu of covert options, to interfere with the sovereignty of indigenous groups and nation-states. Almost without exception, every one of these actions has violated both domestic and international laws (Barnaby, F. (1988). The Gaia peace atlas. New York: Doubleday, 56-7, chart Blum, W. (1995). Rogue State: A guide to the world’s only superpower. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press Herman, E.S., and Chomsky, N. (2002 [1988]). Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. New York: Pantheon Third World Guide. (1986). New York: Grove Press, 1986: 489-96 Center For National Security Studies (CNSS). (1977). 30 years of covert action. Washington, DC: CNSS.

“The CIA and the Gulf War” – A Speech by John Stockwell, February 20, 1991, Louden Nelson Community Center, Santa Cruz, CA:

[Extracts] The Church Committee of 1975 investigated CIA action and found that we had run — they could extrapolate the figures at about, 13,000-plus since we’ve had the CIA, since World War II. A lot of these are fairly benign, and some of them fairly trivial, but a lot of them are very violent and some of them lead into wars. A long destabilization-propaganda campaign led into the Korean War and another one into the Vietnam War. Now, scholars including myself reading these things — and we have so many of them in the public record that it’s obviously very difficult to know exactly how many people died in Vietnam or Korea or Nicaragua or in the Congo — but still, working with conservative figures we come up with a minimum figure of six million people killed in the secret wars of the CIA, its destabilizations over these 40 years .

These … are all part of the Cold War in which probably about 20 million people were killed . And that makes it the second or third bloodiest war in all of human history, which is saying a lot. I call it also the Third World War, you could call it the Forty Years War of the twentieth century. I call it the Third World War because when you analyze these things and read through them in the public record, which again is massively documented — and by the way the last third of this book [The Praetorian Guard] is a bibliography of the best 120 books on the subject organized to make it easy to access each one with a mini-review, so you can decide which book will be most interesting and useful to you and what this theme is all about — you find that we do not do these massive bloody things against the Soviet Union. Torture and death squads we do not run in England or Canada or Belgium or Sweden or Switzerland. They’re virtually all of them done against countries of the Third World where the governments of those countries are not strong enough to prohibit us, to prevent us from brutalizing their people. The six million dead are people of the Third World.

I came … writing about the Angola war, with my thesis the title of my first book, In Search of Enemies [(1978). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.]. We were taking this war in Angola to people who did not want to be our enemies. As we did in Vietnam. As we did in Cuba and other places. The point of the CIA’s activities is they — 10,000, 13,000 operations, 3,000 major gory bloody operations killing six million people — have made the world unstable. The six million people each leave behind an average of perhaps five loved ones who are traumatically conditioned to violence, who will go on continuing violence and keeping the world unstable and violent for the rest of their lives. [End of Stockwell quote]

Conclusion : U.S. has conducted about 3,000 major and as many as 10,000 minor covert operations from 1947 to 1990, killing at least 6 million, with some estimates claiming 20 million, and even 50 million deaths due to small wars within the Cold War since the end of WWII. Countless covert interventions since 1990 have not been carefully tabulated as yet.

Grand Conclusion:

1. 560 overt U.S. military interventions, 1798 – 2001. [170 interventions occurred between 1798 & the end of WWII in 1945] 390 overt US military interventions occurred since the end of WWII to 2008 with at least 20 million killed (Stockwell), maybe 50 million (see Keegan in Section III below)]

2. 13,000 covert operations, 1947 – 1990 (post-1990 number unknown)

[3,000 major and 10,000 minor covert operations, killing at least 6 million]

III. Cold War Deaths

The generally agreed statistics are that some 1,000 soldiers, and 5,000 civilians, die per day, every day, for a total of over two million deaths per year, for a total of 75 million deaths over the past 35 years. The conservative English military historian John Keegan stated that 50 million people have been killed by war since the peace began in 1945 . Either way these are record numbers. They make World War One into a sideshow. They make the Black Death into a small joke. [Saul, John Rauston. (1997). The Unconscious Civilization. New York: Penguin, p. 11].

Brian’s note: actually the 14 th century Black Death (Bubonic or Black Plague) that began in 1334 in China and reached Europe in 1347, Moscow by 1352, had by the end of the century reportedly killed an estimated 75 million people [James Trager. (1992). The People’s Chronology. New York: Henry Holt and Co., pp. 126-1356 Wikipedia].

The 1918 influenza pandemic took a range of 20 million (Gina Kolata. (1999). Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It. NEW YORK: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, to 40 million lives (CDC, Vol. 9, No. 10, Oct. 2003, Research: � Influenza Pandemic Caused by Highly Conserved Viruses with Two Receptor-Binding Variants”), with some sources suggesting as many as 50-100 million (Wikipedia). There were probably 20 million people killed during the Cold War [Stockwell: 1991 speech, Santa Cruz], or 50 million [Keegan].

History [ edit | edit source ]

Early years [ edit | edit source ]

The Security Service is derived from the Secret Service Bureau, founded in 1909 and concentrating early activities on the activities of the Imperial German government as a joint initiative of the Admiralty and the War Office. The Bureau was split into naval and army sections which, over time, specialised in foreign target espionage and internal counter-espionage activities respectively. This specialisation was a result of the Admiralty intelligence requirements related to the maritime strength of the Imperial German Navy. This specialisation was formalised prior to 1914 and the beginning of World War I, with the two sections undergoing a number of administrative changes and the home section becoming Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5), the name by which it is known in popular culture to this very day.

The founding head of the Army section was Captain Vernon Kell of the South Staffordshire Regiment, who remained in that role until the early part of the Second World War. Its role was originally quite restricted existing purely to ensure national security through counter-espionage. With a small staff and working in conjunction with the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police, the service was responsible for overall direction and the identification of foreign agents, whilst Special Branch provided the manpower for the investigation of their affairs, arrest and interrogation.

On the day after the declaration of war, the Home Secretary Reginald McKenna announced that "within the last twenty-four hours no fewer than twenty-one spies, or suspected spies, have been arrested in various places all over the country, chiefly in important military or naval centres, some of them long known to the authorities to be spies", ⎘] a reference to arrests directed by the service. These arrests have provoked recent historical controversy. According to the official history of MI5, the actual number of agents identified was 22 and Kell had started sending out letters to local police forces on 29 July giving them advance warning of arrests to be made as soon as war was declared. Portsmouth Constabulary jumped the gun and arrested one on 3 August, and not all of the 22 were in custody by the time that McKenna made his speech, but the official history regards the incident as a devastating blow to Imperial Germany which deprived them of their entire spy ring, and specifically upset the Kaiser. ⎙]

This view has been challenged by Nicholas Hiley who has asserted that it is a complete fabrication. In 2006 his article "Entering the Lists" was published in the journal Intelligence and National Security outlining the products of his research into recently opened files. ⎚] Hiley was sent an advance copy of the official history and objected to the retelling of the story. He later wrote another article, "Re-entering the Lists", which asserted that the list of those arrested published in the official history ⎛] was concocted from later case histories. ⎜]

Inter-war period [ edit | edit source ]

After this auspicious start, the history of MI5 becomes darker. It was consistently successful throughout the rest of the 1910s and the 1920s in its core counter-espionage role. Germany continued to attempt to infiltrate Britain throughout the war, but using a method that depended on strict control of entry and exit to the country and, crucially, large-scale inspection of mail, MI5 was able to identify most of, if not all of, the agents dispatched. In post-war years attention turned to attempts by the Soviet Union and the Comintern to surreptitiously support revolutionary activities within Britain, and MI5's expertise combined with the early incompetence of the Soviets meant the bureau was successful once more in correctly identifying and closely monitoring these activities.

However, in the meantime MI5's role had been substantially enlarged. Due to the spy hysteria, MI5 was formed with far more resources than it actually needed to track down German spies. As is common within governmental bureaucracies, this meant it expanded its role in order to use its spare resources. MI5 acquired many additional responsibilities during the war. Most significantly, its strict counter-espionage role was considerably blurred. It became a much more political role, involving the surveillance not merely of foreign agents but of pacifist and anti-conscription organisations, and organised labour. This was justified on the basis of the common (but mistaken) belief that foreign influence was at the root of these organisations. Thus by the end of the war, MI5 was a fully-fledged investigating force (although it never had the powers of arrest), in addition to being a counter-espionage agency. This expansion of its role continued after a brief post-war power struggle with the head of the Special Branch, Sir Basil Thomson. ⎝]

MI5's operations during the Irish War of Independence were an unmitigated disaster. Due to MI5's penchant for sharing intelligence with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, its Irish operations were easily penetrated by the Irish Republican Army. ⎞] Using D.M.P. Detectives Ned Broy and David Nelligan, Michael Collins was able to learn the names and lodgings of the MI5 agents of the Cairo Gang. On Bloody Sunday (1920), Collins ordered his private death squad to assassinate 14 MI5 agents at their lodgings throughout Dublin. That afternoon, a mixed force of the British Army the Royal Irish Constabulary, and the Black and Tans retaliated by shooting up a Gaelic Football match at Croke Park. ⎟]

In the aftermath, MI5 ceased sharing intelligence with the Dublin Metropolitan Police. In response, Collins persuaded Detective Nelligan to let himself be recruited into MI5. Although MI5's agents were shocked that a Catholic Irishman desired to work for them, Nelligan was formally sworn into the British Secret Service. He then memorized the oaths, codes, and lodgings of his fellow agents and passed the information on to Collins. Nelligan further delivered falsified reports stating that the IRA was far more numerous and better supplied with guns and ammunition than was actually the case. Nelligan would later recall in his memoirs that Collins was planning another Bloody Sunday style purge at the time a ceasefire ended the War. ⎠]

MI5 operated in Italy during inter-war period. MI5 helped Benito Mussolini get his start in politics with the £100 weekly wage. ⎡]

MI5's decline in counter-espionage efficiency began in the 1930s. It was to some extent a victim of its own success it was unable to break the ways of thinking it had evolved in the 1910s and 1920s, in particular, to adjust to the new methods of the Soviet intelligence services the NKVD and GRU. It continued to think in terms of agents who would attempt to gather information simply through observation or bribery, or to agitate within labour organisations or the armed services, while posing as ordinary citizens. The NKVD, however, had evolved more sophisticated methods it began to recruit agents from within the British nobility, most notably from Cambridge University, who were seen as a long-term investment. They succeeded in gaining positions within the Government (and, in Kim Philby's case, within British intelligence itself), from where they were able to provide the NKVD with sensitive information. The most successful of these agents—Harold "Kim" Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross—went undetected until after the Second World War, and were known as the Cambridge Five. ⎢]

Second World War [ edit | edit source ]

MI5 experienced further failure during the Second World War. It was chronically unprepared, both organisationally and in terms of resources, for the outbreak of war, and utterly unequal to the task which it was assigned—the large-scale internment of enemy aliens in an attempt to uncover enemy agents. The operation was poorly handled and contributed to the near-collapse of the agency by 1940. One of the earliest actions of Winston Churchill on coming to power in early 1940 was to sack the agency's long-term head, Vernon Kell. He was replaced initially by the ineffective Brigadier A.W.A. Harker, as Acting Director General. Harker in turn was quickly replaced by David Petrie, an SIS man, with Harker as his deputy. With the ending of the Battle of Britain and the abandonment of invasion plans (correctly reported by both SIS and the Bletchley Park Ultra project), the spy scare eased, and the internment policy was gradually reversed. This eased pressure on MI5, and allowed it to concentrate on its major wartime success, the so-called "double-cross" system. ⎣]

This was a system based on an internal memo drafted by an MI5 officer in 1936, which criticised the long-standing policy of arresting and sending to trial all enemy agents discovered by MI5. Several had offered to defect to Britain when captured before 1939, such requests were invariably turned down. The memo advocated attempting to "turn" captured agents wherever possible, and use them to mislead enemy intelligence agencies. This suggestion was turned into a massive and well-tuned system of deception during the Second World War. ⎣]

Beginning with the capture of an agent named Owens, codenamed Snow, MI5 began to offer enemy agents the chance to avoid prosecution (and thus the possibility of the death penalty) if they would work as British double-agents. Agents who agreed to this were supervised by MI5 in transmitting bogus "intelligence" back to the German secret service, the Abwehr. This necessitated a large-scale organisational effort, since the information had to appear valuable but actually be misleading. A high-level committee, the Wireless Board, was formed to provide this information. The day-to-day operation was delegated to a subcommittee, the Twenty Committee (so called because the Roman numerals for twenty, XX, form a double cross). ⎣]

The system was extraordinarily successful. A postwar analysis of German intelligence records found that of the 115 or so agents targeted against Britain during the war, all but one (who committed suicide) had been successfully identified and caught, with several "turned" to become double agents. The system played a major part in the massive campaign of deception which preceded the D-Day landings, designed to give the Germans a false impression of the location and timings of the landings (see Operation Fortitude). ⎣]

All foreigners entering the country were processed at the London Reception Centre (LRC) at the Royal Patriotic School which was operated by MI5 subsection B1D, 30,000 were inspected at LRC. Captured enemy agents were taken to Camp 020, Latchmere House, for interrogation. This was commanded by Colonel Robin Stephens. There was a Reserve Camp, Camp 020R, at Huntercombe which was used mainly for long term detention of prisoners. ⎤]

Post-war: The Troubles in Northern Ireland [ edit | edit source ]

The Prime Minister's personal responsibility for the Service was delegated to the Home Secretary Maxwell-Fyfe in 1952, with a directive issued by the Home Secretary setting out the role and objectives of the Director-General. The service was subsequently placed on a statutory basis in 1989 with the introduction of the Security Service Act. This was the first government acknowledgement of the existence of the service. ⎥]

The post-war period was a difficult time for the Service with a significant change in the threat as the Cold War began, being challenged by an extremely active KGB and increasing incidence of the Northern Ireland conflict and international terrorism. Whilst little has yet been released regarding the successes of the service there have been a number of intelligence failures which have created embarrassment for both the service and the government. For instance in 1983 one of its officers, Michael Bettaney, was caught trying to sell information to the KGB. He was subsequently convicted of espionage. ⎦]

Following the Michael Bettaney case, Sir Philip Woodfield was appointed as a staff counsellor for the security and intelligence services. His role was to be available to be consulted by any member or former member of the security and intelligence services who had "anxieties relating to the work of his or her service" ⎧] that it had not been possible to allay through the ordinary processes of management-staff relations, including proposals for publications. ⎨]

The Service was instrumental in breaking up a large Soviet spy ring at the start of the 1970s, with 105 Soviet embassy staff known or suspected to be involved in intelligence activities being expelled from the country in 1971. ⎦]

One episode involving MI5 and the BBC came to light in the mid-1980s. MI5 officer, Brigadier Ronnie Stonham, had an office in the BBC and took part in vetting procedures. ⎩]

Controversy arose when it was alleged that the service was monitoring trade unions and left-wing politicians. A file was kept on Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson from 1945, when he became an MP, although the agency's official historian, Christopher Andrew maintains that his fears of MI5 conspiracies and bugging were unfounded. ⎪] As Home Secretary the Labour MP Jack Straw discovered the existence of his own file dating from his days as a student radical. ⎫]

One of the most significant and far reaching failures was an inability to conclusively detect and apprehend the "Cambridge Five" spy ring which had formed in the inter-war years and achieved great success in penetrating the government, and the intelligence agencies themselves. ⎢] Related to this failure were suggestions of a high-level penetration within the service, Peter Wright (especially in his controversial book Spycatcher) and others believing that evidence implicated the former Director-General himself, Roger Hollis. The Trend inquiry of 1974 cleared Hollis of that accusation, but it was later corroborated by the former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky. ⎬] Another spy ring, the Portland Spy Ring, exposed after a tip-off by Soviet defector Michael Goleniewski, led to an extensive MI5 surveillance operation. ⎭]

The Security Service's role in counter-terrorism [ edit | edit source ]

The end of the Cold War resulted in a change in emphasis for the operations of the service, assuming responsibility for the investigation of all Irish republican activity within Britain ⎮] and increasing the effort countering other forms of terrorism, particularly in more recent years the more widespread threat of Islamic extremism. ⎯]

Whilst the British security forces in Northern Ireland have provided support in the countering of both republican and loyalist paramilitary groups since the early 1970s, republican sources have often accused these forces of collusion with loyalists. In 2006, an Irish government committee inquiry found that there was widespread collusion between British security forces and loyalist terrorists in the 1970s, which resulted in eighteen deaths. ⎰] ⎱]

The Security Service took responsibility for all security intelligence work in Northern Ireland from 2007 from the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Both Nuala O'Loan, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, and Al Hutchinson, the Oversight Commissioner of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, expressed reservations. ⎲] During April 2010 the Real IRA detonated a 120 lb. car bomb outside Palace Barracks in County Down which is the headquarters of MI5 in Northern Ireland and also home to the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment. ⎳]

Executive Liaison Groups enable MI5 to safely share secret, sensitive, and often raw intelligence with the police, on which decisions can be made about how best to gather evidence and prosecute suspects in the courts. Each organization works in partnership throughout the investigation, but MI5 retain the lead for collecting, assessing and exploiting intelligence. The police take lead responsibility for gathering evidence, obtaining arrests and preventing risks to the public. ⎴]

Serious crime [ edit | edit source ]

In 1996, legislation formalised the extension of the Security Service's statutory remit to include supporting the law enforcement agencies in their work against serious crime. ⎵] Tasking was reactive, acting at the request of law enforcement bodies such as the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), for whom MI5 agents performed electronic surveillance and eavesdropping duties during Operation Trinity. ⎵] This role has subsequently been passed to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

Surveillance [ edit | edit source ]

In July 2006, Norman Baker MP accused the British Government of "hoarding information about people who pose no danger to this country", after it emerged that MI5 holds secret files on 272,000 individuals—equivalent to one in 160 adults. ⎶] It was later revealed that a "traffic light" system operates: ⎷] ⎸]

  • Green: active—about 10% of files
  • Amber: enquiries prohibited, further information may be added—about 46% of files.
  • Red: enquiries prohibited, substantial information may not be added—about 44% of files


Law enforcement has carried out undercover work in a variety of ways throughout the course of history, but Eugène François Vidocq (1775-1857) developed the first organized (though informal) undercover program in France in the early 19th century, from the late First Empire through most of the Bourbon Restoration period of 1814 to 1830. At the end of 1811 Vidocq set up an informal plainclothes unit, the Brigade de la Sûreté ("Security Brigade"), which was later converted to a security police unit under the Prefecture of Police. The Sûreté initially had eight, then twelve, and, in 1823, twenty employees. One year later, it expanded again, to 28 secret agents. In addition, there were eight people who worked secretly for the Sûreté, but instead of a salary, they received licences for gambling halls. A major portion of Vidocq's subordinates comprised ex-criminals like himself. [1]

Vidocq personally trained his agents, for example, in selecting the correct disguise based on the kind of job. He himself went out hunting for criminals too. His memoirs are full of stories about how he outsmarted crooks by pretending to be a beggar or an old cuckold. At one point, he even simulated his own death. [2]

In England, the first modern police force was established in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel as the Metropolitan Police of London. From the start, the force occasionally employed plainclothes undercover detectives, but there was much public anxiety that its powers were being used for the purpose of political repression. In part due to these concerns, the 1845 official Police Orders required all undercover operations to be specifically authorized by the superintendent. It was only in 1869 that Police commissioner Edmund Henderson established a formal plainclothes detective division. [3]

The first Special Branch of police was the Special Irish Branch, formed as a section of the Criminal Investigation Department of the MPS in London in 1883, initially to combat the bombing campaign that the Irish Republican Brotherhood had begun a few years earlier. This pioneering branch became the first to receive training in counter-terrorism techniques.

Its name was changed to Special Branch as it had its remit gradually expanded to incorporate a general role in counter terrorism, combating foreign subversion and infiltrating organized crime. Law enforcement agencies elsewhere established similar Branches. [4]

In the United States, a similar route was taken when the New York City Police Department under police commissioner William McAdoo established the Italian Squad in 1906 to combat rampant crime and intimidation in the poor Italian neighborhoods. [5] Various federal agencies began their own undercover programs shortly afterwards – Charles Joseph Bonaparte founded the Bureau of Investigation, the forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 1908. [6] [7]

Secret police forces in the Eastern Bloc also used undercover operatives. [8]

There are two principal problems that can affect agents working in undercover roles. The first is the maintenance of identity and the second is the reintegration back into normal duty.

Living a double life in a new environment presents many problems. Undercover work is one of the most stressful jobs a special agent can undertake. [9] The largest cause of stress identified is the separation of an agent from friends, family and his normal environment. This simple isolation can lead to depression and anxiety. There is no data on the divorce rates of agents, but strain on relationships does occur. This can be a result of a need for secrecy and an inability to share work problems, and the unpredictable work schedule, personality and lifestyle changes and the length of separation can all result in problems for relationships. [10]

Stress can also result from an apparent lack of direction of the investigation or not knowing when it will end. The amount of elaborate planning, risk, and expenditure can pressure an agent to succeed, which can cause considerable stress. [11] The stress that an undercover agent faces is considerably different from his counterparts on regular duties, whose main source of stress is the administration and the bureaucracy. [12] As the undercover agents are removed from the bureaucracy, it may result in another problem. The lack of the usual controls of a uniform, badge, constant supervision, a fixed place of work, or (often) a set assignment could, combined with their continual contact with the organized crime, increase the likelihood for corruption. [11]

This stress may be instrumental in the development of drug or alcohol abuse in some agents. They are more prone to the development of an addiction as they suffer greater stress than other police, they are isolated, and drugs are often very accessible. [11] Police, in general, have very high alcoholism rates compared to most occupational groups, and stress is cited as a likely factor. [11] The environment that agents work in often involves a very liberal exposure to the consumption of alcohol, [13] which in conjunction with the stress and isolation could result in alcoholism.

There can be some guilt associated with going undercover due to betraying those who have come to trust the officer. This can cause anxiety or even, in very rare cases, sympathy with those being targeted. This is especially true with the infiltration of political groups, as often the agent will share similar characteristics with those they are infiltrating like class, age, ethnicity or religion. This could even result in the conversion of some agents. [10]

The lifestyle led by undercover agents is very different compared to other areas in law enforcement, and it can be quite difficult to reintegrate back into normal duties. Agents work their own hours, they are removed from direct supervisory monitoring, and they can ignore the dress and etiquette rules. [14] So resettling back into the normal police role requires the shedding of old habits, language and dress. After working such free lifestyles, agents may have discipline problems or exhibit neurotic responses. They may feel uncomfortable, and take a cynical, suspicious or even paranoid world view and feel continually on guard. [11] Other risks include capture, death and torture.

Undercover agents should not be confused with law enforcement officers who wear plainclothes. This method is used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. To wear plainclothes is to wear civilian clothes, instead of wearing a uniform, to avoid detection or identification as a law enforcement officer. However, plainclothes police officers typically carry normal police equipment and normal identification. Police detectives are assigned to wear plainclothes by wearing suits or formal clothes instead of the uniform typically worn by their peers. Police officers in plainclothes must identify themselves when using their police powers however, they are not required to identify themselves on demand and may lie about their status as a police officer in some situations (see sting operation).

Sometimes, police might drive an unmarked vehicle or a vehicle which looks like a taxi. [15]

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