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

The primary news re the Central Intelligence Agency in early 1994 was the discovery and arrest of Aldrich Ames as a spy for Russia. The worst intelligence nightmare come true. I have not been surprised by the CIA's ability to rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of its many covert action and intelligence disasters — but will it survive the Aldrich Ames debacle? The question is academic, for if the CIA does not survive some new or re-designed intelligence agency will rise to take its role; e.g., implementing policy while supplying "intelligence" to justify policy goals. (Already the commission to investigate the intelligence community's deficiencies — the Warner/Aspin Commission has laid out the ground rules and will narrowly focus on non-substantive issues.)

As early as 1951, Walter "Beetle" Smith, director of the CIA under Truman, said covert action was distracting CIA from gathering and analysis of intelligence and asked whether the Agency would continue as an intelligence agency or had become a "cold war department." Allen Dulles, the director under Eisenhower, answered the question and chose the latter path and in some years spent up to eighty percent of the CIA's budget on covert operations. Covert dominance persisted until the Congressional investigations of the mid-1970s. Over the years the Agency increased expenditures for technical collection systems but CIA-supplied budget figures consistently understate its covert action costs.

For example, during the Afghanistan war the covert budget was nearly one billion dollars in one year, a figure openly discussed in Congress. At the same time the CIA claimed it spent only three percent of its money for covert operations. Those figures reflect an impossibly high amount but demonstrate how the CIA deceives the American people about the size and expense of its covert operations.

The CIA continues its role as the maker or breaker of governments while in the catbird seat of providing supportive intelligence. Critics of the Agency's egregious intelligence miss the point, its intelligence is designed to fail — it must produce politicized intelligence — that is its role, to provide information to justify policy. Occasionally presidents need real intelligence but the infrastructure is so distorted by this requirement, and so bloated by bureaucrats, that it is incapable of providing accurate, unbiased information. An insider's book, Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence, by Abram N. Shulsky, argues that seeking intelligence to support policy is a legitimate task of the CIA.

The move to transfer or augment or conceal the CIA's role in covert operations began over ten years ago with creation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and later with the establishment of the Joint Special Forces Command. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also play a role in foreign policy.

The Joint Special Forces Command assumes or supplements the Agency's role in paramilitary operations; low intensity conflicts; strategic reconnaissance; unconventional warfare, including covert or clandestine operations, subversion, sabotage, intelligence collection, and escape and evasion; psychological operations, counterterrorism and others. (Special Forces also collect demographic information on indigenous populations — a task similar to the much disputed "Project Camelot," of the 1960s.)

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also appear to to be involved in CIA covert actions. The degree to which they serve as cover for CIA operations, funding, or personnel is not known. The book, Holy War, Unholy Victory, one of the few substantive books on covert action in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s, says European NGOs that sprung up around CIA operations were so intertwined with CIA it was impossible to separate them.

The Clinton Administration pushes the theme of promoting democracy around the world. In October 1994, the administration confirmed 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. Halperin said, "We divide the world in two, those countries who choose democracy, we help ... in those who do not choose it, we create conditions where they will choose it." This statement indicates, of course, the CIA, or whatever, will continue the eternal, never-changing role of subverting other governments while reporting only policy-supportive intelligence.

The United States "promotes democracy" in the less accessible, restricted societies — Third World countries and the former Soviet States. The current democracy-promoting operations follow a pattern. The Administration, by influencing established human rights organizations and/or by creating new human rights groups, 12 in Africa alone, declares a country to be in violation of human rights. Propaganda damns these miscreants. Once a government has been appropriately demonized — diplomatic, political, propaganda, media operations and economic measures are applied to force the target country to honor human rights.

When the target nation lessens or abolishes political restrictions, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the United States Information Agency (USIA), the government-backed and guided Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Export-Import Bank, the State Department, the Agency for International Development (AID), and the CIA all begin overt or covert operations to modify or replace governing authority. When these methods fail, we have the Joint Special Forces Command to fight the "insurgency," with "counterinsurgency" operations.

NED is the primary overt vehicle for political operations — in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and in the former states of the USSR. NED subsidizes and influences elections, political parties, think tanks, academia, business groups, book publishers, media, and labor, religious, women's, and youth organizations. NED assumed this role from CIA beginning in 1983, and uses many of the same institutions but operates more openly. While NED is in the open drawing all the attention, it is in part a smoke screen for operations by other organizations. As proof we cite a government study that states the United States through AID and USIA, "and other agencies," is a huge and primary source of funding for democracy promotion programs.

An explicit demonstration of all of these processes was revealed recently when Russia's Federal Counterintelligence Service reported in early 1995 that American research centers, institutes and aid organizations, were in fact spying on Russia and working to undermine it as a competitor to the U.S. "Through their special services [CIA] and scientific centers, the U.S. is penetrating deeply into all spheres of our country's life, occupying strategic positions and influencing the development of political and economic processes in Russia ... The use of scientific centers in intelligence and sabotage activities against Russia acquires a total character."

The report named the Soros Foundation and dozens of other U.S. organizations that it says are using Russia's open atmosphere to engage in subversive activity designed to steal secrets or restrain Russia as a competitor to the "one and only superpower."

The report names groups from Harvard, Columbia and Duke Universities and their involvement in the December 1993 parliamentary elections. The university groups organized large polling samples and asked many detailed questions. Comment: This sort of activity was part of the social conditioning programming of the notorious Project Camelot, a Pentagon counterinsurgency project that envisioned an alliance of the Pentagon and the academic community on a scale similar to the Manhattan project. Camelot was used in Chile in the sixties but the resulting outcry forced its cancellation.

Another good example of U.S. interference is China. Prior to the Tiananmen Square incident, NED maintained two offices inside China and conducted regular seminars on Democracy. NED also sponsored various Chinese writers and publications. Probably NED or CIA, recruited numerous Chinese students studying in the United States; and, when Tiananmen Square erupted, either sent of helped fax thousands of letters to recipients in China, inflamed opinion via the Voice of America; and sheltered a leading dissident in the U.S. Embassy, which also arranged for many dissidents to flee China. NED continues to support Chinese activists and awards Tiananmen's "Goddess of Democracy," to noted dissidents of all nations.

In the early part of 1994 the United States tried to force the Chinese to allow U.S.-backed Chinese and Tibetan activists freer rein in exchange for continuation of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status and called China a violator of human rights. (In May 1994, Chinese police detained four members of a local Association for Human Rights as one of their number boarded a flight for the United States.) In late May 1994 Clinton, bowing to pressure from business interests, separated human rights from China's Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status.

The other more prominent NED operations in 1993 and early 1994 in Asia, were Vietnam and Burma. In the case of Burma, the Administration announced a diplomatic campaign in March 1994, to isolate the Burmese government while proclaiming we were considering economic sanctions to force Burma to improve its human rights. Some of the activities sponsored in Burma by NED as listed in NED's 1993 annual report, include the Democratic Voice of Burma, the National League for Democracy/Liberated Area; the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB); and the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma.

We continue operations to promote democracy in Vietnam. Such operations first began in the early 1950s, and became the Vietnam War. As a tragic footnote to history, the Vietnamese Government in mid-June 1994 announced their death toll: three million people — one million North Vietnamese and two million soldiers and civilians of the South. In addition more than four million sustained injuries and over two million people were made invalids.

There appears to be a great deal of ambiguity on the part of domestic political ideologies as to whether promoting democracy is good or bad, should be condoned or condemned, or supported or opposed selectively. In South Africa, the former Soviet Republics, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, China, Burma, and some other countries there is support, even pressure, for U.S. interference, but in other countries, many object to the U.S. role. In my experience with, and research on the CIA, the majority of United States political operations have had disastrous consequences for the target countries and in many cases also for the United States.

Where the U.S. has operated to change governments, it frequently replaced popular administrations with military dictatorships, or with elected governments that fronted for military rule, or with very conservative civilian rule. From Iran in 1953 to the 1994 election in El Salvador CIABASE records dozens of examples of the tragic consequences of U.S. intervention.


POWER AND PRINCIPLE: MEMOIRS OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER 1977-1981, by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Published in New York by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Brzezinski implies that in his position in the Trilateral Commission in the mid 1970s, he chose Jimmy Carter to be the Democrat's presidential candidate. After the election, Carter named Trilateralists to all top national security and foreign policy positions. We note Trilateralists and members of the Trilateral Commission's sister organization, the Council on Foreign Relations, occupy all top level foreign policy positions in the Clinton Administration.

HOLY WAR, UNHOLY VICTORY: EYEWITNESS TO THE CIA'S SECRET WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, by Kurt Lohbeck, published by Regnery Gateway, Washington, D.C., 1993. The author who worked for various U.S. new organizations at different periods of the war had unique access to U.S.-backed participants in the war. He had personal discussions with the Director of CIA, William Casey, and President Ronald Reagan and at least once delivered money to one of the mujahaddin group leaders supported by the CIA. Lohbeck also went on many attack missions into Afghanistan with the mujahaddin. Despite his close associations, Lohbeck is essentially critical of the persecution and outcome of the war. The CIA insisted on giving the majority of its support to Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, a fanatic resistance leader who is also vehemently anti-American and supports the extremist Pan-Islam movement. Hekmatyar's power is now a major concern of our policymakers who consider the primary enemy in the area to be radical Islamic fundamentalism. Lohbeck also records and names some of the humanitarian aid organizations that sprung up around the covert operations of the CIA and frequently became so intertwined with them that they were inseparable — particularly the various European NGOs. Holy War is an informative and worthwhile book.

WAR OF NUMBERS: AN INTELLIGENCE MEMOIR, by Samuel Adams, published in 1994 by Steerforth Press. Sam Adams was a junior CIA analyst who for years fought the CIA's and the military's deceitfully low estimates of Vietnamese Communist strengths. Sam died in 1988, but Steerforth Press posthumously brought out his nearly complete manuscript. "War of Numbers" is a masterpiece of articulate exposition about the battle in the trenches of the Agency's Intelligence Directorate over the Vietnam War. Adams' explanations of the processes he used to make his determinations, the meticulous attention to detail, and the seemingly inexplicable deficiencies of the CIA's Intelligence Directorate that did not assign anyone full-time to count the Viet Cong until the mid-1960s, all make this book essential reading. "Numbers" says CIA estimates virtually ignored what should have been its primary source — captured enemy documents. If the Agency had used those documents it would have had to increase the numbers of the enemy to their real numbers, making the war an American invasion, which it was.

THE INDOCHINA STORY: A FULLY DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT, by the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, published by Pantheon Books in New York in 1970. It is difficult to read this book and understand how the American people could believe the lies about the war by our Government. The book put forth in 1970 — five years before the war ended — a documented version of what had happened and would happen in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

THE CIA UNDER HARRY TRUMAN: CIA COLD WAR RECORDS, by Dr. Michael Warner, published by the History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C. The book contains a compilation of Top Secret Documents outlining the transition of the OSS to the CIA; the CIA under DCI Hillenkoetter: and, the Smith Years 1950 to 1952. There is a minimum of editorializing with the flow of the book supported by copies of Top Secret documents. The Agency's (required) view of the world threatened by the International Communist Conspiracy and the falling dominoes, comes through vividly in the various position papers and intelligence estimates.


Foreign Policy magazine, Winter 1993-1994, an article by Marvin Ott, "SHAKING UP THE CIA." An establishment criticism of the CIA's intelligence with recommendations for reform. The criticisms and recommendations have been around for years but now the atmosphere may be ripe for accomplishing some change.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY: 1993 ANNUAL REPORT. The document outlines NED activities throughout the world in Latin American and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the republics of the former Soviet Union. The report gives a nation-by-nation account of the various institutions and their leaders funded by NED and should be required reading for political activists and policymakers for all countries and persuasions. The names of all supported institutions have been entered into CIABASE.

JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY, a quarterly published by the National Endowment for Democracy and John Hopkins University Press. The Journal includes writings by many who are apparently subsidized writers. Names of authors and titles of some writings contained in issues of the Journal have been entered into CIABASE. We may assume that some of these persons are on the U.S.-National Endowment for Democracy payroll — or to put it another way — agents of the United States. The July 1992 issue contains the startling announcement of a new "underground" movement in China — the Free Trade Union of China. This announcement was published by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions — a long time CIA labor front organization.

PROMOTING DEMOCRACY: FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND DEFENSE AGENCIES FUNDS AND ACTIVITIES — 1991 TO 1993, General Accounting Office report GAO/NSAID-94-83, January 1994. The report breaks down support for democracy in the regions of the world by agency or department with dollar totals for 1991, 1992 and 1993.

NED AT 10, Foreign Affairs Magazine, Summer 1994, by Thomas Carothers.

THE BIG WHITE LIE, by Michael Levine, published in 1993 by Thunder's Mouth Press. Many of the book's claims are apparently valid, but the manner of their presentation and hyperbole make it difficult to separate fact from dramatic license. Collateral reporting, including a 60 Minutes segment, shows the CIA was duped into facilitating drug shipments to the United States to authenticate penetration operations.

SPIES AND PROVOCATEURS: A WORLDWIDE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PERSONS CONDUCTING ESPIONAGE AND COVERT ACTION, 1946-1991, by Wendell L. Minnick, published in North Carolina in 1992 by McFarland & Company, Inc. The book contains a very useful and comprehensive inventory of known espionage cases and personalities — from the KGB to the CIA. The book also lists key events in a chronology at the back of the book. Its alphabetical catalog of agents and officials, with brief descriptions, makes it a one-of-a-kind resource. In some cases Minnick's 's details seem over simplified but can be an important aid to further research. CIABASE entries from the book include names of cases related primarily to CIA, plus a few entries about other major operations and operators.

MARITA: ONE WOMAN'S EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF LOVE AND ESPIONAGE FROM CASTRO TO KENNEDY, by Marita Lorenz with Ted Schwarz, published by Thunder's Mouth Press in New York in 1993. A lover of Fidel Castro sent by CIA to kill him. The book seems to be a mixture of fact and fiction and it is difficult to determine which is which. Marita asserts that she rode with anti-Castro Cubans and Lee Harvey Oswald to Dallas in November 1963 — but left before the assassination of Kennedy.

IN OUR IMAGE: AMERICA'S EMPIRE IN THE PHILIPPINES, by Stanley Karnow, published by Random House, Inc., in 1989. In Our Image details the role played by the United States as it involved itself in Philippine politics — particularly after World War Two — and gives a good account of events that led to the removal of Marcos and the installation of Cory Aquino. Karnow describes the blow-by-blow battle in Washington to get President Reagan to accept Marco's removal. The book also provides a clear and precise account of the role OPC/CIA played in lionizing and electing Magsaysay in the 1950s and the Agency's failed efforts in a later election.

SILENT WARFARE: UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD OF INTELLIGENCE, Second Edition Revised. The book was originally written by Abram N. Shulsky, with the revision prepared by Gary Schmitt. This is the bible of the pro-intelligence set. Its definitions and descriptions of the processes of intelligence seem precise and could by used as a primer for CIA trainees. The book details the scope of intelligence: human intelligence operations, technical collection, open-source collection, the analysis of intelligence, counterintelligence, counterespionage, and covert action — but as is always true, pro-CIA discussions of covert actions are useless. Surprisingly the book badly makes an argument for politicized intelligence, "In a supportive role, intelligence must concentrate its efforts on finding and analyzing information relevant to the implementations of policy." This practice accurately describes CIA's intelligence from its inception to today.

SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES: FORCE STRUCTURE AND READINESS ISSUES, GAO/NSIAD-94-105, March 1994. A General Accounting Office study of Special Forces that criticizes and discusses the "unified" command of United States' special operations. For those wishing to understand the background, effectiveness, command relationships and force structures this is an essential document. Although treating special operations only in general terms, it does summarize the plans and uses of the Special Forces.

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

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