Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is CIA


Fifty years ago, exactly one month after John Kennedy was killed, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled "Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” The first sentence of that op-ed on Dec. 22, 1963, read, "I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”

It sounded like the intro to a bleat from some liberal professor or journalist. Not so. The writer was former President Harry S. Truman, who spearheaded the establishment of the CIA 66 years ago, right after World War II, to better coordinate US intelligence gathering. But the spy agency had lurched off in what Truman thought were troubling directions.

Sadly, those concerns that Truman expressed in that op-ed ” that he had inadvertently helped create a Frankenstein monster ” are as valid today as they were 50 years ago, if not more so.

Truman began his article by underscoring "the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be "charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ˜treatment™ or interpretations.”
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While Truman saw CIA's attempted mousetrapping of President Kennedy as a particular outrage, his more general complaint is seen in his broader lament that the CIA had become "so removed from its intended role … I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. … It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government.” Not only shaping policy through its control of intelligence, but also Å“cloak and dagger” operations, presumably including assassinations.

Truman concluded the op-ed with an admonition that was as clear as the syntax was clumsy: "I would like to see the CIA restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field “ and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.” The importance and prescient nature of that admonition are even clearer today, a half-century later.
http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/the-only-thing-we-have-to-fear-is-cia/

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, December 28th, 2013.]

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