CIA Past, Present and Future, Part I
by Ralph McGehee

The essential point I try to make through all of the effort in my computer data base, CIABASE, is that the CIA is a policy-implementing agency not (primarily) an intelligence agency — the CIA gathers desired data from selected agents to reinforce predetermined conclusions. In most situations it avoids overt information like the plague because such information frequently disproves the conclusions it wants you and I and itself to believe. The CIA claims to be an intelligence agency that spends only two to three percent of its money on covert operations. The only look into that classified deceit came during the 1975-1976 Senate Church Committee investigation which said the CIA in some years spent about 80 percent of its budget for covert operations — while all the time claiming an absurdly small covert action budget. A recent announcement reveals the Agency's plans for the future.

In October 1994, the Clinton administration officially announced its worldwide program of intervention via Morton Halperin, former head of the ACLU in D.C., who is now special assistant to the president and senior director for democracy at the National Security Council. The three foreign policy operating principals are the advancement of democracy, security and prosperity. Halperin said, "We divide the world in two, those countries who choose democracy, we those who do not choose it, we create conditions where they will choose it." Need there be any more specific statement re the CIA's role in the post Cold War period? The organization that for nearly 50 years installed dictators frequently under the guise of democracy now fights for democracy?

As noted in the last update notice — the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is the overt vehicle for political operations as it subsidizes and influences elections, political parties, think tanks, academia, business groups, book publishers, media, and labor, religious and women's and youth organizations. NED assumed this role from the CIA in 1983, but as indicated in a 1994 government study, NED is a front for operations of other government agencies. Here then, I believe is the CIA's role for the future — a continuation of its covert operations of the past.

In this period the CIA advised that it will gather economic intelligence via a new center to track economic espionage. The new center is made up of corporations and government agencies, and is designed to determine industry's needs for economic threat assessments. Comment: another threat to be used by the CIA to continue to justify its role in the post Cold War world. How soon after making economic counterintelligence a program of daily reporting to corporations, does economic counterintelligence become economic intelligence? Is there any difference between the two? To their credit many corporations rejected the CIA's help — they have a better appreciation of the quality of CIA intelligence than the Agency itself.


In addition to extracting information from such publications as Covert Action Quarterly, Intelligence Newsletter, Military Intelligence, Extra, Top Secret, Unclassified, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Nation, The Progressive, a new printed/computerized report, Intelligence, a new computer service with periodic printed analyses, Intelligence Watch Report, selected academic, think tank and government studies; and, other sources, CIABASE has added material from the following listed books and publications.

David Corn, BLOND GHOST: TED SHACKLEY AND THE CIA'S CRUSADES, published by Simon & Schuster in New York in 1994. This is one of the few excellent books on the CIA. Corn follows the career of Theodore Shackley from the environs of Cold War Berlin, to various other world hot spots as he tries to overthrow Castro's Cuba and we end up in a near nuclear conflagration with the Soviets; to Laos where he directs CIA's hilltribe Hmong guerrillas to act like regular troops — leading to their destruction; to Vietnam where after three years of Shackley-declared "intelligence successes" [one high-level officer says "it seems pretty obvious Saigon (CIA) doesn't know what the f...'s going on,"] he leaves for another adventure elsewhere. His can-do persona convinces the CIA's hierarchy of his ability and he progresses up the career ladder. Shackley's legacy lives today in the CIA's like-thinking, can-do, tunnel-visioned, rigid-thinking, team players. One of the more disturbing aspects of Corn's book is the claimed recognition at the time by various high-level CIA officials that our intelligence on Vietnam was at best, of little value, and at worst manipulated to show non-existent progress — yet none of these officials protested.

Mike Frost and Michael Gratton, SPYWORLD: INSIDE THE CANADIAN AND AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE ESTABLISHMENTS, by Doubleday, Canada. The book describes how the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is used as an arm of America's National Security Agency while also illegally monitoring Canadians. This book provides one of the most detailed and descriptive accounts of how close-in technical intelligence operations are conducted, their successes, and their threats to the security of us all.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, November 1, 1994. AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ALDRICH AMES ESPIONAGE CASE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. INTELLIGENCE. Amazing incompetence goes unpunished and uncorrected.

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. House of Representatives, November 30, 1994. REPORT OF INVESTIGATION: THE ALDRICH AMES CASE. As Senator Moynihan wrote, "Our stupid but permanent CIA, what will we do about it, nothing."

Wayne G. Jackson, Historical Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, declassified 6/22/94. ALLEN WELSH DULLES AS DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, 26 FEBRUARY 1953-29 NOVEMBER 1961: VOLUME V, INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT OF POLICY. This of course is the CIA's role — to support policy with slanted intelligence.

Wayne G. Jackson, Historical Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, declassified 6/22/94. ALLEN WELSH DULLES AS DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, 26 FEBRUARY 1953-29 NOVEMBER 1961: VOLUME III, COVERT ACTIVITIES. The book outlines the government's role in the unsuccessful operation in 1957-1958 in support of dissident military leaders attempting to overthrow Sukarno's government in Indonesia. The CIA coordinated the operation with relevant elements of the United States Government. The Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was so involved he acted as a "CIA case officer." A detailed description of a second operation — the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 is an extended mea culpa (not). The CIA invaded Cuba with 1,500 armed men and expected with an additional air strike to overturn Castro's dedicated and committed revolutionary army. The book makes little mention of CIA operations in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam during the Dulles era.

John Heidenry. THEIRS WAS THE KINGDOM: LILA AND DEWITT WALLACE AND THE STORY OF THE READER'S DIGEST. New York, W. W. Norton. This is an informative book that portrays the close relationship between the CIA and the Reader's Digest — as the latter frightened everyone with Cold War tales. The book names individuals, publications and books authored as part of CIA's propaganda. Much information from this book has been entered in CIABASE.

Peter Grose, GENTLEMAN SPY: THE LIFE OF ALLEN DULLES. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1994. The book covers the life of Allen Dulles from his early childhood to President of the Council on Foreign Relations, to being the impetus behind the creation of the CIA, to the Director of the Agency, to his post Bay of Pigs dismissal by Kennedy, and his life thereafter. The book, although generally understated, reviews some of major covert operations (with the exceptions of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) undertaken during the Dulles era and sums up by saying "The most damaging long-term legacy of Ajax (the CIA's overthrow of the government of Iran in 1953) was the hubris that CIA through a covert political action, could so easily...change the politics of the world, shaping foreign societies to the American design." Hopefully, someone in our foreign policy mechanism will recognize that the "promotion of democracy" policy of the Clinton Administration is merely a rehash of the Cold War actions that so often failed at tremendous cost to the American people. GENTLEMAN SPY notes the incompatibility of covert operations and intelligence, "you can't get intelligence from advocates" — now if someone would only tell the President and Congress.

Irving Horowitz, (Ed). THE RISE AND FALL OF PROJECT CAMELOT: STUDIES IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIAL SCIENCE AND PRACTICAL POLITICS. Published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press in 1967. An interesting sidelight to this publication is [that] MIT's Center for International Studies was funded by CIA. Project CAMELOT was a military counterinsurgency project with a first year budget of eight million dollars that envisioned an alliance of the Pentagon and the academic community on a scale similar to the Manhattan Project.

Robert Manning, (Editor-in-Chief, 1988). WAR IN THE SHADOWS: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE. Boston Publishing Company, Boston, MA. A number of scholars and participants in the war wrote individual chapters of WAR IN THE SHADOWS. The book in many aspects is the most informative, concise and accurate of many of the books on Vietnam re the clandestine operations of the Special Operating Groups (SOGs) and the CIA's various programs.

The United States' leading wartime writer/scholar on the Vietcong, Douglas Pike, wrote the chapter, "The Vietcong Secret War." He states the liberation associations of the VC were villagers molded into tight-knit, self-controlled, self-contained associations. Mao Tse-tung of China and Vo Nguyen Giap of Vietnam called liberation associations the initial phase and the sine qua non of their revolutions. In 1963, the VC announced that seven million South Vietnamese (generally rural civilians) had joined these associations. Pike's article avoids numbers but the existence of those associations and their massive numbers was the intelligence community's greatest secret or most egregious failure (one that I have rallied against for a quarter of a century). If the CIA had known and/or reported the seven-million-person-strong association structure, it would have invalidated all U.S. justifications for the war; hence, no war. Liberation association members — or to put it another way — most of the South Vietnamese — and their dedication, caused our defeat in Vietnam. Victory was never a possibility. William Colby, the CIA's main man on Vietnam, called the liberation associations the skeletal organizations of no real power that came into existence late in the fighting.

In WAR IN THE SHADOWS, Pike outlines the spy networks of the Vietnamese communists — his coverage of counterespionage operations where I had a direct role are generally accurate and detailed. The communists penetrated the Thieu Government at every level and a CIA study written by the courageous intelligence analyst who fought the CIA at every step, Sam Adams, said the communists had 30,000 spies in Thieu's government with a target of 50,000 in a few years. The Chapters, "Dawn of the War," and "Operation Phoenix," are also detailed. CIABASE includes much information from the WAR IN THE SHADOWS.


John Loftus and Mark Aarons, St. Martin's Press, 1994. THE SECRET WAR AGAINST THE JEWS: HOW WESTERN ESPIONAGE BETRAYED THE JEWISH PEOPLE. The authors are far too rhetorical to be considered reliable. I added no entries in CIABASE from this book.

JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY — numerous recent issues have been entered in CIABASE. Sponsored foreign authors — and their plans for democracy in their countries.

SURVEILLANT, Volume 3, Number 6. This once impressive magazine's issue took months to come out and even so it is quite disappointing. It appears to have little information not available from newspapers and magazines. Prior to receiving this issue, I had already read and entered in CIABASE all of the relevant books listed. However, Surveillant's reviews of those books are helpful. The magazine has few references to Aldrich Ames other than noting a number of books about him are in the works.

Mark Reibling, WEDGE: THE SECRET WAR BETWEEN THE FBI AND CIA, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1994. Upon first glance this seemed to be an impressive book with considerable new information about CIA/FBI operations and the problems between the two organizations. But on closer examination it appears to be so rife with unsupported data and conclusions, it loses all credibility. I did not add any citations to CIABASE from this book.

This report was copied from Ralph McGehee's CIABASE website as at 2001-11-14 CE.

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