Central Intelligence Agency
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed William Donovan as head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an organization that was given the responsible for espionage and for helping the resistance movement in Europe. He was helped in this by William Stephenson and Britain's MI6 chief, Stewart Menzies.
Donovan was given the rank of major general and during the Second World War he built up a team of 16,000 agents working behind enemy lines. The growth of the OSS brought conflict with John Edgar Hoover who saw it as a rival to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He persuaded President Harry S. Truman that the OSS in peacetime would be an "American Gestapo". At the end of the war, Truman ordered the OSS to be closed down leaving a small intelligence organization, the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) in the War Department.
After leaving the OSS Frank Wisner joined the Wall Street law firm, Carter Ledyard. However, in 1947, he was recruited by Dean Acheson, to work under Charles Saltzman, at the State Department's Office of Occupied Territories. Wisner moved to Washington where he associated with a group of journalists, politicians and government officials that became known as the Georgetown Set. This included Frank Wisner, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Stewart Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, David Bruce, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen, Cord Meyer, Richard Helms, Desmond FitzGerald, Frank Wisner, James Angleton, William Averill Harriman, John McCloy, Felix Frankfurter, John Sherman Cooper, James Reston, Allen W. Dulles, Walter Lippmann and Paul Nitze.
The group often meat the home of Chip Bohlen on Dunbarton Avenue. Most men brought their wives to these gatherings. Members of what was later called the Georgetown Ladies' Social Club included Katharine Graham, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Sally Reston, Polly Wisner, Joan Braden, Lorraine Cooper, Evangeline Bruce, Avis Bohlen, Janet Barnes, Tish Alsop, Cynthia Helms, Marietta FitzGerald, Phyllis Nitze and Annie Bissell.
The Office of Strategic Services provided a model for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was established in September 1947. Others have suggested that it was the British Security Coordination (BSC) that was really the important organisation. According to Joseph C. Goulden several of the "old boys" who were around for the founding of the CIA like repeating a mantra, “The Brits taught us everything we know - but by no means did they teach us everything that they know.” The role of the CIA was to evaluate intelligence reports and coordinate the intelligence activities of the various government departments in the interest of national security. Frank Wisner remained concerned about the spread of communism and began lobbying for a new intelligence agency. He gained support for this from James Forrestal, the Defense Secretary. In June 1948, George Kennan, drafted a directive that resulted in the Office of Special Projects.
Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world". Thomas Braden later recalled: "Wisner brought in a whole load of fascists after the war, some really nasty people. He could do that, because he was powerful. Harrison E. Salisbury commented: "He (Wisner) was the key to a great many things, a brilliant, compulsive man, of enormous charm, imagination, and conviction that anything, anything could be achieved and that he could achieve it."
Later that year Frank Wisner established Operation Mockingbird, a program to influence the American media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry. According to Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great): "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles."
Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, who was the Deputy Chief of Naval Intelligence, was appointed the first Director of Central Intelligence. Walter Bedell Smith took over the post in 1950 and held it until being replaced by Allen W. Dulles in 1953.
According to Deborah Davis, the CIA operative Cord Meyer became the "principal operative" of Operation Mockingbird. One of the most important journalists under the control of Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work.
After 1953 the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. These organizations were run by people with well-known right-wing views such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor).
The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers. Frank Wisner was constantly looked for ways to help convince the public of the dangers of communism. In 1954 Wisner arranged for the funding the Hollywood production of Animal Farm, the animated allegory based on the book written by George Orwell. According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts". Wisner was also able to restrict newspapers from reporting about certain events.
Another project started by Frank Wisner was called Operation Bloodstone. This secret operation involved recruiting former German officers and diplomats who could be used in the covert war against the Soviet Union. This included former members of the Nazi Party such as Gustav Hilger and Hans von Bittenfield. Later, John Loftus, a prosecutor with the Office of Special Investigations at the U.S. Justice Department, accused Wisner of methodically recruiting Nazi war criminals. As one of the agents involved in Operation Bloodstone, Harry Rositzke, pointed out, Wisner was willing to use anyone "as long as he was anti-communist".
Frank Wisner began having trouble with J. Edgar Hoover. He described the OPC as "Wisner's gang of weirdos" and began carrying out investigations into their past. It did not take him long to discover that some of them had been active in left-wing politics in the 1930s. This information was passed to Joseph McCarthy who started making attacks on members of the OPC. Hoover also passed to McCarthy details of an affair that Wisner had with Princess Caradja in Romania during the war. Hoover, claimed that Caradja was a Soviet agent.
In August, 1952, the Office of Policy Coordination and the Office of Special Operations (the espionage division) were merged to form the Directorate of Plans (DPP). Frank Wisner became head of this new organization and Richard Helms became his chief of operations. The DPP now accounted for three quarters of the CIA budget and 60% of its personnel.
At this time Frank Wisner began plotting the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. He had upset the US government by nationalizing Iran's oil industry. Mossadegh also abolished Iran's feudal agriculture sector and replaced with a system of collective farming and government land ownership.
On April 4, 1953, Frank Wisner persuaded Allen W. Dulles to approve $1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mossadegh." Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, was put in charge of what became known as Operation Ajax. According to Donald N. Wilber, who was involved in this CIA plot to remove Mossadegh from power, in early August, 1953, Iranian CIA operatives, pretending to be socialists, threatened Muslim leaders with "savage punishment if they opposed Mossadegh," thereby giving the impression that Mossadegh was cracking down on dissent. This resulted in the religious community turning against Mossadegh.
Iranians took to the streets against Mohammed Mossadegh. Funded with money from the CIA and MI6, the pro-monarchy forces quickly gained the upper hand. The military now joined the opposition and Mossadegh was arrested on August 19, 1953. President Dwight Eisenhower was delighted with this result and asked Wisner to arrange for Kermit Roosevelt to give him a personal briefing on Operation Ajax.
In March 1953, 209,842 acres of United Fruit Company's uncultivated land was taken by the government which offered compensation of $525,000. The company wanted $16 million for the land. While the Guatemalan government valued $2.99 per acre, the American government valued it at $75 per acre. Samuel Zemurray, United Fruit Company's largest shareholder, with the help of Tommy Corcoran, organized an anti-Arbenz campaign in the American media. This included the claim that Guatemala was the beginning of "Soviet expansion in the Americas".
A State Department policy paper published in August 1953 stated: “Our secret stimulation and material support of the overthrow of the Arbenz Government should subject us to serious hazards. Experience has shown that no such operation could be carried on secretly without great risk of its leadership and backers being fully known. Were it to become evident that the United States had tried a Czechoslovakia in reverse in Guatemala, the effects on our relations in this hemisphere, and probably the world at large, could be as disastrous as those produced by open intervention.”
The CIA decided that Jacobo Arbenz had to be removed from power. Frank Wisner, as head of the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), took overall responsibility for the operation. Also involved was Richard Bissell, head of the Directorate for Plans, an organization instructed to conduct covert anti-Communist operations around the world. The plot against Arbenz therefore became part of Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power).
Jake Esterline was placed in charge of the CIA's Washington task force in the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Tracy Barnes was field commander of what became known as Operation Success. David Atlee Phillips was appointed to run the propaganda campaign against Arbenz's government. According to Phillips he initially questioned the right of the CIA to interfere in Guatemala: In his autobiography Phillips claims he said to Barnes: "But Arbenz became President in a free election. What right do we have to help someone topple his government and throw him out of office?" However, Barnes convinced him that it was vital important that the Soviets did not establish a "beachhead in Central America".
The CIA propaganda campaign included the distribution of 100,000 copies of a pamphlet entitled Chronology of Communism in Guatemala. They also produced three films on Guatemala for showing free in cinemas. Phillips, along with E. Howard Hunt, was responsible for running the CIA's Voice of Liberation radio station. Faked photographs were distributed that claimed to show the mutilated bodies of opponents of Arbenz. William (Rip) Robertson was also involved in the campaign against Arbenz.
The CIA began providing financial and logistic support for Colonel Carlos Castillo. With the help of resident Anastasio Somoza, Castillo had formed a rebel army in Nicaragua. It has been estimated that between January and June, 1954, the CIA spent about $20 million on Castillo's army.
The Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Guillermo Toriello, asked the United Nations for help against the covert activities of the United States. Toriello accused the United States government of categorizing "as communism every manifestation of nationalism or economic independence, any desire for social progress, any intellectual curiosity, and any interest in progressive liberal reforms."
President Dwight Eisenhower responded by claiming that Guatemala had a "communist dictatorship.. had established... an outpost on this continent to the detriment of all the American nations". Secretary of State John Foster Dulles added that the Guatemala people were living under a "communist type of terrorism".
On 18th June, 1954, aircraft dropped leaflets over Guatemala demanding that Arbenz resign immediately or else the county would be bombed. CIA's Voice of Liberation also put out similar radio broadcasts. This was followed by a week of bombing ports, ammunition dumps, military barracks and the international airport.
Guillermo Toriello appealed to the United Nations to help protect Guatemalan government. Henry Cabot Lodge tried to block the Security Council from discussing a resolution to send an investigation team to Guatemala. When this failed he put pressure on Security Council members to vote against the resolution. Britain and France were both initially in favour but eventually buckled under United States pressure and agreed to abstain. As a result the resolution was defeated by 5 votes to 4. The UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was so upset by the actions of the USA that he considered resigning from his post.
Carlos Castillo and his collection of soldiers now crossed the Honduran-Guatemalan border. His army was outnumbered by the Guatemalan Army. However, the CIA Voice of Liberation successfully convinced Arbenz's supporters that two large and heavily armed columns of invaders were moving towards Guatemala City.
The CIA was also busy bribing Arbenz's military commanders. It was later discovered that one commander accepted $60,000 to surrender his troops. Ernesto Guevara attempted to organize some civil militias but senior army officers blocked the distribution of weapons. Arbenz now believed he stood little chance of preventing Castillo gaining power. Accepting that further resistance would only bring more deaths he announced his resignation over the radio.
Two weeks after the overthrow of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, Thomas C. Mann arrived in the country as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy. Castillo's new government was immediately recognised by President Dwight Eisenhower. Castillo now reversed the Arbenz reforms. In July 19, 1954, he created the National Committee of Defense Against Communism and decreed the Preventive Penal Law Against Communism to fight against those who supported Arbenz when he was in power. Over the next few weeks thousands were arrested on suspicion of communist activity. A large number of these prisoners were tortured or killed.
The removal of Jacobo Arbenz resulted in several decades of repression. Later, several of the people involved in Operation Success, including Richard Bissell and Tracy Barnes, regretted the outcome of the Guatemala Coup.
Frank Wisner managed to get a copy of the speech that Nikita Khrushchev made at the 20th Party Congress in February, 1956, where Khrushchev launched an attack on the rule of Joseph Stalin. He condemned the Great Purge and accused Stalin of abusing his power. He announced a change in policy and gave orders for the Soviet Union's political prisoners to be released.
Wisner leaked details of the speech to the New York Times who published it on 2nd June, 1956. Khrushchev's de-Stalinzation policy encouraged people living in Eastern Europe to believe that he was willing to give them more independence from the Soviet Union. Over the next few weeks riots took place in Poland and East Germany.
In Hungary the prime minister Imre Nagy removed state control of the mass media and encouraged public discussion on political and economic reform. Nagy also released anti-communists from prison and talked about holding free elections and withdrawing Hungary from the Warsaw Pact. Khrushchev became increasingly concerned about these developments and on 4th November 1956 he sent the Red Army into Hungary. Wisner expected the United States would help the Hungarians. As Thomas Polgar later pointed out: "Sure, we never said rise up and revolt, but there was a lot of propaganda that led the Hungarians to believe that we would help."
Frank Wisner, who had been involved in creating this propaganda, told friends that he felt the American government had let Hungary down. He pointed out that they had spent a great deal of money on Radio Free Europe "to get these people to revolt". Wisner added that he felt personally betrayed by this behaviour. During the Hungarian Uprising an estimated 20,000 people were killed. Wisner told Clare Boothe Luce, the American ambassador in Italy: "All these people are getting killed and we weren't doing anything, we were ignoring it."
In December, 1956, Frank Wisner had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed as suffering from manic depression. During his absence Wisner's job was covered by his chief of operations, Richard Helms. Wisner's friends believed the illness was triggered by the failure of the Hungarian Uprising. A close friend, Avis Bohlen said he "was so depressed about how the world was going... he felt we were losing the Cold War."
In January 1959 General Fulgencio Batista, the military dictator of Cuba, was ousted by Fidel Castro. In its first hundred days in office Castro's government passed several new laws. Rents were cut by up to 50 per cent for low wage earners; property owned by Batista and his ministers was confiscated; the telephone company was nationalized and the rates were reduced by 50 per cent; land was redistributed amongst the peasants (including the land owned by the Castro family); separate facilities for blacks and whites (swimming pools, beaches, hotels, cemeteries etc.) were abolished.
Some of Castro's new laws also upset the United States. Much of the land given to the peasants was owned by United States corporations. So also was the telephone company that was nationalized. The United States government responded by telling Castro they would no longer be willing to supply the technology and technicians needed to run Cuba's economy. When this failed to change Castro's policies they reduced their orders for Cuban sugar.
Castro refused to be intimidated by the United States and adopted even more aggressive policies towards them. In the summer of 1960 Castro nationalism United States property worth $850 million. He also negotiated a deal where by the Soviet Union and other communist countries in Eastern Europe agreed to purchase the sugar that the United States had refused to take. The Soviet Union also agreed to supply the weapons, technicians and machinery denied to Cuba by the United States.
In March 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States approved a CIA plan to overthrow Castro. The plan involved a budget of $13 million to train "a paramilitary force outside Cuba for guerrilla action." The strategy was organised by Bissell and Helms. An estimated 400 CIA officers were employed full-time to carry out what became known as Operation Mongoose.
Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA Technical Services Division was asked to come up with proposals that would undermine Castro's popularity with the Cuban people. Plans included a scheme to spray a television studio in which he was about to appear with an hallucinogenic drug and contaminating his shoes with thallium which they believed would cause the hair in his beard to fall out.
These schemes were rejected and instead it was decided to arrange the assassination of Fidel Castro. In September 1960, Richard Bissell and Allen W. Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), initiated talks with two leading figures of the Mafia, Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana. Later, other crime bosses such as Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky became involved in this plot against Castro.
Robert Maheu, a veteran of CIA counter-espionage activities, was instructed to offer the Mafia $150,000 to kill Fidel Castro. The advantage of employing the Mafia for this work is that it provided CIA with a credible cover story. The Mafia were known to be angry with Castro for closing down their profitable brothels and casinos in Cuba. If the assassins were killed or captured the media would accept that the Mafia were working on their own.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had to be brought into this plan as part of the deal involved protection against investigations against the Mafia in the United States. Castro was later to complain that there were twenty ClA-sponsered attempts on his life. Eventually Johnny Roselli and his friends became convinced that the Cuban revolution could not be reversed by simply removing its leader. However, they continued to play along with this CIA plot in order to prevent them being prosecuted for criminal offences committed in the United States.
When John F. Kennedy replaced Dwight Eisenhower as president of the United States he was told about the CIA plan to invade Cuba. Kennedy had doubts about the venture but he was afraid he would be seen as soft on communism if he refused permission for it to go ahead. Kennedy's advisers convinced him that Fidel Castro was an unpopular leader and that once the invasion started the Cuban people would support the ClA-trained forces.
On April 14, 1961, B-26 planes began bombing Cuba's airfields. After the raids Cuba was left with only eight planes and seven pilots. Two days later five merchant ships carrying 1,400 Cuban exiles arrived at the Bay of Pigs. The attack was a total failure. Two of the ships were sunk, including the ship that was carrying most of the supplies. Two of the planes that were attempting to give air-cover were also shot down. Within seventy-two hours all the invading troops had been killed, wounded or had surrendered.
After the CIA's internal inquiry into this fiasco, Allen W. Dulles was sacked by President John F. Kennedy and Richard Bissell was forced to resign. Richard Helms now took over the Directorate for Plans. He now introduced a campaign that involved covert attacks on the Cuban economy.
In 1962 the CIA became increasingly involved in the Vietnam War. By this time President John F. Kennedy was convinced that Ngo Dinh Diem would never be able to unite the South Vietnamese against communism. Several attempts had already been made to overthrow Diem but Kennedy had always instructed the CIA and the US military forces in Vietnam to protect him. Eventually, in order to obtain a more popular leader of South Vietnam, Kennedy agreed that the role of the CIA should change. Lucien Conein, a CIA operative, provided a group of South Vietnamese generals with $40,000 to carry out the coup with the promise that US forces would make no attempt to protect Diem. The generals had promised Diem that he would be allowed to leave the country they changed their mind and killed him.
At 11.00 a.m. on Friday, 27th September, 1963, a young American entered the Cuban consul's office. He told Silvia Duran that his name was Lee Harvey Oswald and that he needed a Cuban transit visa. Oswald told Duran that he planned to leave in three days' time and stay in Cuba for a couple of weeks. He then intended to move onto the Soviet Union. To establish his identity Oswald showed Duran her his passport, correspondence with the American Communist Party, his membership card for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a newspaper clipping about his activities in New Orleans and a photograph of Oswald in custody, accompanied by two police officers.
Silvia Duran was suspicious of Lee Harvey Oswald. She could not understand why Oswald had not applied in advance by contacting the Communist Party in Cuba. Duran told him that he would need a passport photograph to apply for a visa for Cuba. He returned an hour later with the photograph. Duran then told Oswald she could not issue a transit visa without confirmation that he had clearance for travel to the Soviet Union. Oswald was told it would be at least seven days before his transit visa could be issued. Oswald replied that he could only stay for three days.
Duran told Lee Harvey Oswald he would need to visit the Soviet embassy to get the necessary paperwork. This he did but Vice Consul Oleg Nechiperenko informed him that the visa application would be sent to the Soviet embassy in Washington and would take about four months. Oswald then returned to the Cuban consulate at 4.00 and told Duran that he had been to the Soviet Embassy and that they were willing to give him a visa straight away. Duran phoned the embassy and was told that Oswald was lying and that the visa would not be issued for some time. After a brief argument Oswald left the consulate. Six times Oswald needed to pass the newly installed CIA camera as part of the LIERODE operation.
The CIA surveillance program worked and on Monday, 30th September, Anne Goodpasture recorded details of Oswald’s visits to the Cuban consulate. As Goodpasture noted, the two types of “security” information that most interested the CIA station concerned “U.S. citizens initiating or maintaining contact with the Cuban and Soviet diplomatic installations” and “travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens or residents.”
The CIA tape of the Oswald call to the Soviet embassy was marked “urgent” and was delivered to the station within 15 minutes of it taking place. Winston Scott read Goodpasture’s report and next to the transcript of Duran’s call to the Soviet embassy, he wrote: “Is it possible to identify”.
It later emerged that the CIA station in Mexico was already monitoring Silvia Duran. According to Winston Scott and David Atlee Phillips, the CIA surveillance program had revealed that Duran was having an affair with Carlos Lechuga, the former Cuban ambassador in Mexico City, who was in 1963 serving as Castro’s ambassador to the United Nations.
When Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in Dallas shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Duran immediately recognized him as the man who visited the Cuban consul's office on 27th September. This was reinforced by the discovery of Duran's name and phone number in Oswald's address book. However, Eusebio Azcue, another man who met Oswald in the office, said the man had dark blond hair and had features quite different from those of the man arrested in Dallas.
The CIA surveillance program worked and on Monday, 30th September, Anne Goodpasture recorded details of Oswald’s visits to the Cuban consulate. As Goodpasture noted, the two types of “security” information that most interested the CIA station concerned “U.S. citizens initiating or maintaining contact with the Cuban and Soviet diplomatic installations” and “travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens or residents.”
The CIA tape of the Lee Harvey Oswald call to the Soviet embassy was marked “urgent” and was delivered to the station within 15 minutes of it taking place. Winston Scott read Goodpasture’s report and next to the transcript of Duran’s call to the Soviet embassy, he wrote: “Is it possible to identify”.
Soon after the assassination of John F. Kennedy Scott contacted Luis Echeverria and asked his men to arrest Silvia Duran. He also told Diaz Ordaz that Duran was to be held incommunicado until she gave all details of her contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald. Scott then reported his actions to CIA headquarters. Soon afterwards, John M. Whitten, the CIA head of the Mexican desk, called Scott with orders from Tom Karamessines that Duran was not to be arrested. Win told them it was too late and that the Mexican government would keep the whole thing secret. Karamessines replied with a telegram that began: “Arrest of Sylvia Duran is extremely serious matter which could prejudice U.S. freedom of action on entire question of Cuban responsibility.”
Silvia Duran, her husband and five other people were arrested. Duran was “interrogated forcefully” (Duran was badly bruised during the interview). Luis Echeverria reported to Winston Scott that Duran had been “completely cooperative” and had made a detailed statement. This statement matched the story of the surveillance transcripts, with one exception. The tapes indicated that Duran made another call to the Soviet embassy on Saturday, 28th September. Duran then put an American on the line who spoke incomprehensible Russian. This suggests that the man could not have been Oswald who spoke the language well.
Four days later she was arrested Richard Helms cabled Winston Scott: "We want to ensure that neither Silvia Duran nor Cubans get impression that Americans behind her rearrest. In other words, we want Mexican authorities to take responsibility for whole affair."
On 25th November, Gilberto Alvarado, a 23 year-old Nicaraguan man, contacted the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and said he had some important information about Lee Harvey Oswald. The U.S. ambassador, Thomas C. Mann, passed the information onto Winston Scott and the following morning, Scott's deputy, Alan White and another CIA officer interviewed Avarado. He claimed that during a visit to the Cuban Embassy he overheard a man he now recognised as Oswald, talking to a red-haired Negro man. According to Alvarado, Oswald said something about being man enough to kill someone. He also claimed that he saw money changing hands. He reported the information at the time to the U.S. Embassy but they replied: "Quit wasting our time. We are working here, not playing."
Winston Scott told David Atlee Phillips about what Gilberto Alvarado had said to Alan White. On 26th November, Phillips had a meeting with Alvarado in a safe-house. Avarado told Phillips that the red-haired black man had given Oswald $1,500 for expenses and $5,500 as an advance. Although he was not sure of the date, he thought it was about 18th September.
Thomas C. Mann and David Atlee Phillips believed Alvarado but Scott was not so sure. He argued that there was an "outside possibility" that it might be a set-up by the right-wing government in Nicaragua who wanted the United States to invade Cuba. However, as Jefferson Morley pointed out in Our Man in Mexico: "The unstated message emanating from the White House was by now clear to Win - though not to Mann. Speculation about Oswald's motives was to be cut off, not pursued."
On 27th November, Luis Echeverria told Scott that they had rearrested Silvia Duran because she was trying to leave Mexico for Cuba. Thomas C. Mann sent a message to Winston Scott that stated: "Duran should be told that as the only living non-Cuban who knew the full story, she was in exactly the same position as Oswald prior to the assassination. Her only chance of survival is to come clean with the whole story and cooperate fully. I think she'll crack when confronted with the details."
On 28th November, Scott contacted Luis Echeverria and told him that Washington wanted the Mexicans to interrogate Gilberto Alvarado. On 29th November, Winston Scott received a message from John M. Whitten saying: "Please continue to keep us filled in on status of interrogations of Slvia Duran, Alvarado and others implicated as fast as you can get info."
J. Edgar Hoover sent FBI agent, Larry Keenan, to Mexico City in order to have a meeting with Scott, Thomas C. Mann and David Atlee Phillips. Mann started the meeting by expressing the belief that Fidel Castro and the DGI were behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy and that it was just a matter of time before the United States invaded Cuba. However, Keenan replied that Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert Kennedy, all believed that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
Thomas C. Mann later told Dick Russell: "It surprised me so much. That was the only time it ever happened to me - We don't want to hear any more about the case - and tell the Mexican government not to do any more about it, not to do more investigating, we just want to hush it up.... I don't think the U.S. was very forthcoming about Oswald... it was the strangest experience of my life."
In reality, J. Edgar Hoover had not ruled out the possibility of a communist plot to kill John F. Kennedy. At 1.40 on 29th November, Hoover told Lyndon B. Johnson on the telephone: "This angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble because the story there is of this man Oswald getting $6,500 from the Cuban embassy and then coming back to this country with it. We're not able to prove that fact, but the information was that he was there on the 18th of September in Mexico City and we are able to prove conclusively he was in New Orleans that day. Now then they've changed the dates. The story came in changing the dates to the 28th of September and he was in Mexico City on the 28th. Now the Mexican police have again arrested this woman Duran, who is a member of the Cuban embassy... and we're going to confront her with the original informant, who saw the money pass, so he says, and we're also going to put the lie detector test on him."
That evening Fernando Gutiérrez Barrios told Winston Scott that Gilberto Alvarado had recanted and signed a statement admitting that his story of seeing Lee Harvey Oswald in the Cuban Embassy was completely false. He said his motive was to try to get the United States to take action against Fidel Castro.
A few days later Gilberto Alvarado reverted to his original story. He told his Nicaraguan handler that the only reason that he recanted was that his interrogators threatened "to hang him by his testicles". However, soon afterwards, he recanted again. David Atlee Phillips later claimed that Alvarado was "dispatched to Mexico City by the Somoza brothers... in what they considered a covert action to influence the American government to move against Cuba". Jefferson Morley argues that Phillips is being disingenuous: "Phillips knew all along about Alvarado's service as a CIA informant. Even the FBI knew all along he was under CIA control."
Silvia Duran was questioned about her relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald. Despite being roughed up she denied having a sexual relationship with Oswald. Luis Echeverria believed her and she was released. However, Duran later admitted to a close friend that she had dated Oswald while he was in Mexico City.
A week after the assassination Elena Garro reported that she had seen Oswald at a party held by people from the Cuban consulate in September 1963. The following week, June Cobb, a CIA informant, confirmed Oswald presence at the party. She also had been told that Oswald was sleeping with Duran. Winston Scott reported this information to CIA headquarters but never got a reply.
It emerged later that when Duran was interviewed by the Mexican authorities soon after the assassination she described the man who visited the Cuban consul's office as being "blond-haired" and with "blue or green eyes". Neither detail fits in with the authentic Oswald. But these details had been removed from the statement by the time it reached the Warren Commission.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Richard Helms was given the responsibility of investigating Lee Harvey Oswald and the CIA. Helms initially appointed John M. Whitten to undertake the agency's in-house investigation. After talking to Winston Scott, the CIA station chief in Mexico City, Whitten discovered that Oswald had been photographed at the Cuban consulate in early October, 1963. Nor had Scott told Whitten, his boss, that Oswald had also visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico. In fact, Whitten had not been informed of the existence of Oswald, even though there was a 201 pre-assassination file on him that had been maintained by the Counterintelligence/Special Investigative Group.
John M. Whitten and his staff of 30 officers, were sent a large amount of information from the FBI. According to Gerald D. McKnight "the FBI deluged his branch with thousands of reports containing bits and fragments of witness testimony that required laborious and time-consuming name checks." Whitten later described most of this FBI material as "weirdo stuff". As a result of this initial investigation, Whitten told Richard Helms that he believed that Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
On 6th December, Nicholas Katzenbach invited John M. Whitten and Birch O'Neal, Angleton's trusted deputy and senior Special Investigative Group (SIG) officer to read Commission Document 1 (CD1), the report that the FBI had written on Lee Harvey Oswald. Whitten now realized that the FBI had been withholding important information on Oswald from him. He also discovered that Richard Helms had not been providing him all of the agency's available files on Oswald. This included Oswald's political activities in the months preceding the assassination.
Whitten had a meeting where he argued that Oswald's pro-Castro political activities needed closer examination, especially his attempt to shoot the right-wing General Edwin Walker, his relationship with anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans, and his public support for the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Whitten added that has he had been denied this information, his initial conclusions on the assassination were "completely irrelevant."
Richard Helms responded by taking John M. Whitten off the case. James Jesus Angleton, chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence Branch, was now put in charge of the investigation. According to Gerald McKnight (Breach of Trust) Angleton "wrested the CIA's in-house investigation away from John Whitten because he either was convinced or pretended to believe that the purpose of Oswald's trip to Mexico City had been to meet with his KGB handlers to finalize plans to assassinate Kennedy."
President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Admiral William Raborn, head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Helms became Raborn's deputy but became increasingly influential over decisions being made in Vietnam. This included the covert action in neighbouring Laos and the formation of South Vietnamese counter-terror teams.
The following year Johnson promoted Richard Helms to become head of the CIA. He was the first director of the organization to have worked his way up from the ranks. His standing with Johnson improved when he successfully predicted a quick victory for Israel during the Six Day War in June, 1967. However, Helms information about the size of enemy forces in Vietnam was less accurate. Johnson was told in November, 1967, that the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces had fallen to 248,000. In reality the true figure was close to 500,000 and United States troops were totally unprepared for the Tet Offensive.
President Richard Nixon ordered Richard Helms to implement what became known as the Huston Plan. This was a proposal for all the country's security services to combine in a massive internal surveillance operation. In doing so, Helms became involved in a secret conspiracy as it was illegal for the Central Intelligence Agency to operate within the United States.
In 1966 Ted Shackley was placed in charge of the CIA secret war in Laos. He appointed Thomas G. Clines as his deputy. He also took Carl E. Jenkins, David Morales, Raphael Quintero, Felix Rodriguez and Edwin Wilson with him to Laos. According to Joel Bainerman it was at this point that Shackley and his "Secret Team" became involved in the drug trade. They did this via General Vang Pao, the leader of the anti-communist forces in Laos. Vang Pao was a major figure in the opium trade in Laos. To help him Shackley used his CIA officials and assets to sabotage the competitors. Eventually Vang Pao had a monopoly over the heroin trade in Laos. In 1967 Shackley and Clines helped Vang Pao to obtain financial backing to form his own airline, Zieng Khouang Air Transport Company, to transport opium and heroin between Long Tieng and Vientiane.
According to Alfred W. McCoy (The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade) Shackley and Clines arranged a meeting in Saigon in 1968 between Santo Trafficante and Vang Pao to establish a heroin-smuggling operation from Southeast Asia to the United States.
Ted Shackley employed David Morales to take charge at Pakse, a black operations base focused on political paramilitary action within Laos. Pakse was used to launch military operations against the Ho Chi Minh Trial. In 1969 Shackley became Chief of Station in Vietnam and headed the Phoenix Program. This involved the killing of non-combatant Vietnamese civilians suspected of collaborating with the National Liberation Front. In a two year period, Operation Phoenix murdered 28,978 civilians.
In 1970 it seemed that Salvador Allende and his Socialist Workers' Party would win the general election in Chile. Various multinational companies, including International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), feared what would happen if Allende gained control of the country. Richard Helms agreed to use funds supplied by these companies to help the right-wing party gain power. When this strategy ended in failure, Nixon ordered Helms to help the Chilean armed forces to overthrow Allende. On 11th September, 1973, a military coup removed Allende's government from power. Allende died in the fighting in the presidential palace in Santiago and General Augusto Pinochet replaced him as president.
Ted Shackley played an important role in the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile. As his biographer, David Corn points out: "Salvador Allende died during the coup. When the smoke cleared, General Augusto Pinochet, the head of a military junta, was in dictatorial control... Elections were suspended. The press was censored. Allende supporters and opponents of the junta were jailed. Torture centers were established. Executions replaced soccer matches in Santiago's stadiums. Bodies floated down the Mapocho river. Due in part to the hard work of Shackley and dozens of other Agency bureaucrats and operatives, Chile was free of the socialists."
During the Watergate Scandal President Richard Nixon became concerned about the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. Three of those involved in the burglary, E. Howard Hunt, Eugenio Martinez and James W. McCord had close links with the CIA. Nixon and his aides attempted to force the CIA director, Richard Helms, and his deputy, Vernon Walters, to pay hush-money to Hunt, who was attempting to blackmail the government. Although it seemed Walters was willing to do this, Helms refused. In February, 1973, Nixon sacked Helms. His deputy, Thomas H. Karamessines, resigned in protest. The following month Helms became U.S. Ambassador to Iran.
James Schlesinger now became the new director of the CIA. Schlesinger was heard to say: The clandestine service was Helmss Praetorian Guard. It had too much influence in the Agency and was too powerful within the government. I am going to cut it down to size. This he did and over the next three months over 7 per cent of CIA officers lost their jobs.
On 9th May, 1973, Schlesinger issued a directive to all CIA employees: I have ordered all senior operating officials of this Agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or might have gone on in the past, which might be considered to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency. I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same. Anyone who has such information should call my secretary and say that he wishes to talk to me about activities outside the CIAs charter.
There were several employees who had been trying to complain about the illegal CIA activities for some time. As Cord Meyer pointed out, this directive was a hunting license for the resentful subordinate to dig back into the records of the past in order to come up with evidence that might destroy the career of a superior whom he long hated.
Ted Shackley also brought others into his drug operation. This included Richard L. Armitage, a US Navy official based in Saigon's US office of Naval Operations, and Major General Richard Secord. According to Daniel Sheehan: “From late 1973 until April of 1975, Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines and Richard Armitage disbursed, from the secret, Laotian-based, Vang Pao opium fund, vastly more money than was required to finance even the highly intensified Phoenix Project in Vietnam. The money in excess of that used in Vietnam was secretly smuggled out of Vietnam in large suitcases, by Richard Secord and Thomas Clines and carried into Australia, where it was deposited in a secret, personal bank account (privately accessible to Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines and Richard Secord). During this same period of time between 1973 and 1975, Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines caused thousands of tons of US weapons, ammunition, and explosives to be secretly taken from Vietnam and stored at a secret "cache" hidden inside Thailand."
This money, with the help of Raphael Quintero, found its way into the Nugan Hand Bank in Sydney. The bank was founded by Michael Hand, a CIA operative in Laos and Frank Nugan an Australian businessman.
Saigon fell to the NLF in April, 1975. The Vietnam War was over. Richard Armitage was dispatched by Ted Shackley, from Vietnam to Tehran. In Iran, Armitage, set up a secret "financial conduit" inside Iran, into which secret Vang Pao drug funds could be deposited from Southeast Asia. According to Daniel Sheehan: “The purpose of this conduit was to serve as the vehicle for secret funding by Shackley's "Secret Team," of a private, non-CIA authorized "Black" operations inside Iran, disposed to seek out, identify, and assassinate socialist and communist sympathizers, who were viewed by Shackley and his "Secret Team" members to be "potential terrorists" against the Shah of Iran's government in Iran. In late 1975 and early 1976, Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines retained Edwin Wilson to travel to Tehran, Iran to head up the "Secret Team" covert "anti-terrorist" assassination program in Iran.”
When Ted Shackley was recalled in February, 1972, he was put in charge of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division. One of his major tasks was to undermine Philip Agee, an ex-CIA officer who was writing a book on the CIA. The book was eventually published as Inside the Company: CIA Diary, but did not include the information that would have permanently damaged the reputation of the CIA.
After Richard Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford brought in George H. W. Bush as Director of the CIA. This was followed by Ted Shackley being appointed as Deputy Director of Operations. He therefore became second-in-command of all CIA covert activity.
Donald Freed (Death in Washington: The Murder of Orlando Letelier) claims that on 29th June, 1976, Michael V. Townley had a meeting with Bernardo De Torres, Armando Lopez Estrada, Hector Duran and General Juan Manuel Contreras Sepulveda. The following month Frank Castro, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch and Guillermo Novo established Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU). CORU was partly financed by Guillermo Hernández Cartaya, another Bay of Pigs veteran closely linked to the CIA. He was later charged with money laundering, drugs & arms trafficking and embezzlement. The federal prosecutor told Pete Brewton that he had been approached by a CIA officer who explained that "Cartaya had done a bunch of things that the government was indebted to him for, and he asked me to drop the charges against him."
One Miami police veteran told the authors of Assassination on Embassy Row (1980): "The Cubans held the CORU meeting at the request of the CIA. The Cuban groups... were running amok in the mid-1970s, and the United States had lost control of them. So the United States backed the meeting to get them all going in the same direction again, under United States control." It has been pointed out that George H. W. Bush was director of the CIA when this meeting took place.
In 1975 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began investigating the CIA. Senator Stuart Symington asked Richard Helms if the agency had been involved in the removal of Salvador Allende. Helms replied no. He also insisted that he had not passed money to opponents of Allende.
Investigations by the CIA's Inspector General and by Frank Church and his Select Committee on Intelligence Activities showed that Richard Helms had lied to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They also discovered that Helms had been involved in illegal domestic surveillance and the murders of Patrice Lumumba, General Abd al-Karim Kassem and Ngo Dinh Diem. Helms was eventually found guilty of lying to Congress and received a suspended two-year prison sentence.
The committee looked at the case of Fred Hampton and discovered that William O'Neal, Hampton's bodyguard, was a FBI agent-provocateur who, days before the raid, had delivered an apartment floor-plan to the Bureau with an "X" marking Hampton's bed. Ballistic evidence showed that most bullets during the raid were aimed at Hampton's bedroom.
Church's committee also discovered that the CIA and FBI had sent anonymous letters attacking the political beliefs of targets in order to induce their employers to fire them. Similar letters were sent to spouses in an effort to destroy marriages. The committee also documented criminal break-ins, the theft of membership lists and misinformation campaigns aimed at provoking violent attacks against targeted individuals.
One of those people targeted was Martin Luther King. The FBI mailed King a tape recording made from microphones hidden in hotel rooms. The tape was accompanied by a note suggesting that the recording would be released to the public unless King committed suicide.
In its final report, issued in April 1976, the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities concluded: Domestic intelligence activity has threatened and undermined the Constitutional rights of Americans to free speech, association and privacy. It has done so primarily because the Constitutional system for checking abuse of power has not been applied. The committee also revealed details for the first time of what the CIA called Operation Mockingbird.
The committee also reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had withheld from the Warren Commission, during its investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, information about plots by the Government of the United States against Fidel Castro of Cuba; and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had conducted a counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) against Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
On 16th May, 1978, John M. Whitten appeared before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). He criticised Richard Helms for not making a full disclosure about the Rolando Cubela plot to the Warren Commission. He added " I think that was a morally highly reprehensible act, which he cannot possibly justify under his oath of office or any other standard of professional service."
Whitten also said that if he had been allowed to continue with the investigation he would have sought out what was going on at JM/WAVE. This would have involved the questioning of Ted Shackley, David Sanchez Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, Rip Robertson, George Joannides, Gordon Campbell and Thomas G. Clines. As Jefferson Morley has pointed out in The Good Spy: "Had Whitten been permitted to follow these leads to their logical conclusions, and had that information been included in the Warren Commission report, that report would have enjoyed more credibility with the public. Instead, Whitten's secret testimony strengthened the HSCA's scathing critique of the C.I.A.'s half-hearted investigation of Oswald. The HSCA concluded that Kennedy had been killed by Oswald and unidentifiable co-conspirators."
John M. Whitten also told the HSCA that James Jesus Angleton involvement in the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy was "improper". Although he was placed in charge of the investigation by Richard Helms, Angleton "immediately went into action to do all the investigating". When Whitten complained to Helms about this he refused to act.
Whitten believes that Angleton's attempts to sabotage the investigation was linked to his relationship with the Mafia. Whitten claims that Angleton also prevented a CIA plan to trace mob money to numbered accounts in Panama. Angleton told Whitten that this investigation should be left to the FBI. When Whitten mentioned this to a senior CIA official, he replied: "Well, that's Angleton's excuse. The real reason is that Angleton himself has ties to the Mafia and he would not want to double-cross them."
Whitten also pointed out that as soon as Angleton took control of the investigation he concluded that Cuba was unimportant and focused his internal investigation on Oswald's life in the Soviet Union. If Whitten had remained in charge he would have "concentrated his attention on CIA's JM/WAVE station in Miami, Florida, to uncover what George Joannides, the station chief, and operatives from the SIG and SAS knew about Oswald."
When he appeared before the HSCA Whitten revealed that he had been unaware of the CIA's Executive Action program. He added that he thought it possible that Lee Harvey Oswald might have been involved in this assassination operation.
Ted Shackley was hoping to eventually replace George H. W. Bush as director of the CIA. However, the election of Jimmy Carter was a severe blow to his chances. Carter appointed an outsider, Stansfield Turner, as head of the CIA. He immediately carried out an investigation of into CIA covert activities. Turner eventually found out about Shackley’s “Secret Team”. He was especially worried about the activities of Edwin Wilson and the Nugan Hand Bank.
One of the men Wilson employed was former CIA officer Kevin P. Mulcahy. He became concerned about Wilson's illegal activities and sent a message about them to the agency. Ted Shackley was initially able to block any internal investigation of Wilson. However, in April, 1977, the Washington Post, published an article on Wilson's activities stating that he may be getting support from "current CIA employees". Stansfield Turner ordered an investigation and discovered that both Shackley and Thomas G. Clines had close relationships with Wilson. Shackley was called in to explain what was going on. His explanation was not satisfactory and it was made clear that his career at the CIA had come to an end. Richard Helms, reportedly said: "Ted (Shackley) is what we call in the spook business a quadruple threat - Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder."
After leaving the CIA in September, 1979, Ted Shackley formed his own company, Research Associates International, which specialized in providing intelligence to business. He also joined with Thomas G. Clines, Raphael Quintero, and Ricardo Chavez (another former CIA operative) in another company called API Distributors. According to David Corn (Blond Ghost) Edwin Wilson provided Clines with "half a million dollars to get his business empire going". Shackley also freelanced with API but found it difficult taking orders from his former subordinate, Clines. Shackley also established his own company, Research Associates International, which specialized in providing intelligence to business (in other words he sold them classified information from CIA files).
According to Daniel Sheehan: “In 1976, Richard Secord moved to Tehran, Iran and became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of defense in Iran, in charge of the Middle Eastern Division of the Defense Security Assistance Administration. In this capacity, Secord functioned as the chief operations officer for the U.S. Defense Department in the Middle East in charge of foreign military sales of U.S. aircraft, weapons and military equipment to Middle Eastern nations allied to the U.S. Secord's immediate superior was Eric Van Marbad, the former 40 Committee liaison officer to Theodore Shackley's Phoenix program in Vietnam from 1973 to 1975.”
From 1977 until 1979, Richard Armitage operated a business named The Far East Trading Company. This company was in fact merely a "front" for Armitage's secret operations conducting Vang Pao opium money out of Southeast Asia to Tehran and the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia to fund the ultra right-wing, private anti-communist "anti-terrorist" assassination program and "unconventional warfare" operation of Theodore Shackley's and Thomas Cline's "Secret Team". (Daniel P. Sheehan’s affidavit).
In his book, The Crimes of a President, Joel Bainerman argues that the "Secret Team" still used the Nugan Hand Bank to hide their illegal profits from drugs and arms. The President of the Nugan Hand Bank was Admiral Earl P. Yates, former Chief of Staff for Strategic Planning of US Forces in Asia. Other directors of the bank included Dale Holmgree (also worked for Civil Air Transport, a CIA proprietary company) and General Edwin F. Black, (commander of U.S. troops in Thailand during the Vietnam War). George Farris (a CIA operative in Vietnam) ran the Washington office of the Nugan Hand Bank and the bank’s legal counsel was William Colby.
The bank grew and had offices or affiliates in 13 countries. According to Jonathan Kwitny, Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA, Crimes of Patriots), the bank did little banking. What it did do was to amass, move, collect and disburse great sums of money.
In 1980 Frank Nugan was found dead in his car. His co-founder, Michael Hand had disappeared at the same time. The Australian authorities were forced to investigate the bank. They discovered that Ricardo Chavez, the former CIA operative who was co-owner of API Distributors with Thomas G. Clines and Rafael Quintero, was attempting to take control of the bank. The Corporate Affairs Commission of New South Wales came to the conclusion that Chavez was working on behalf of Clines, Quintero and Wilson. They blocked the move but they were unable or unwilling to explore the connections between the CIA and the Nugan Hand Bank.
The Secret Team (Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines, Richard Secord, Ricardo Chavez, Rafael Quintero, Albert Hakim, Edwin Wilson, William Francis Buckley, and Richard L. Armitage set up several corporations and subsidiaries around the world through which to conceal the operations of the "Secret Team". Many of these corporations were set up in Switzerland. Some of these were: (1) Lake Resources, Inc.; (2) The Stanford Technology Trading Group, Inc.; and (3) Companie de Services Fiduciaria. Other companies were set up in Central America, such as: (4) CSF Investments, Ltd. and (5) Udall research Corporation. Some were set up inside the United States by Edwin Wilson. Some of these were: (6) Orca Supply Company in Florida and (7) Consultants International in Washington, D.C. Through these corporations the "Secret Team" laundered hundreds of millions of dollars of secret Vang Pao opium money.
Ted Shackley had still not given up hope that he would eventually be appointed director of the CIA. His best hope was in getting Jimmy Carter defeated in 1980. Shackley had several secret meetings with George H. W. Bush as he campaigned for the Republican nomination (his wife, Hazel Shackley also worked for Bush). Ronald Reagan won the nomination but got the support of the CIA by selecting Bush as his vice president. According to Rafael Quintero, during the presidential campaign, Shackley met Bush almost every week.
It is believed that Shackley used his contacts in the CIA to provide information to Reagan and Bush. This included information that Carter was attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran to get the American hostages released. This was disastrous news for the Reagan/Bush campaign. If Carter got the hostages out before the election, the public perception of the man might change and he might be elected for a second-term.
According to Barbara Honegger, a researcher and policy analyst with the 1980 Reagan/Bush campaign, William Casey and other representatives of the Reagan presidential campaign made a deal at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until Carter was defeated.
On 22nd September, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. The Iranian government was now in desperate need of spare parts and equipment for its armed forces. Carter now proposed that the US would be willing to hand over supplies in return for the hostages.
Once again, the CIA leaked this information to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. This attempted deal was also passed to the media. On 11th October, the Washington Post reported rumours of a “secret deal that would see the hostages released in exchange for the American made military spare parts Iran needs to continue its fight against Iraq”.
In October, 1980, Ted Shackley joined the company owned by Albert Hakim (he was paid $5,000 a month as a part-time “risk analyst”). Hakim was keen to use Shackley’s contacts to make money out of the Iran-Iraq War that had started the previous month.
A couple of days before the election Barry Goldwater was reported as saying that he had information that “two air force C-5 transports were being loaded with spare parts for Iran”. This was not true. However, this publicity had made it impossible for Jimmy Carter to do a deal. Ronald Reagan on the other hand, had promised the Iranian government that he would arrange for them to get all the arms they needed in exchange for the hostages. According to Mansur Rafizadeh, the former U.S. station chief of SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, CIA agents had persuaded Khomeini not to release the American hostages until Reagan was sworn in. In fact, they were released twenty minutes after his inaugural address (October Surprise).
The arms the Iranians had demanded were delivered via Israel. By the end of 1982 all Regan’s promises to Iran had been made. With the deal completed, Iran was free to resort to acts of terrorism against the United States. In 1983, Iranian-backed terrorists blew up 241 marines in the CIA Middle-East headquarters.
The Iranians once again began taking American hostages in exchange for arms shipments. On 16th March, 1984, William Francis Buckley, a diplomat attached to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was kidnapped by the Hezbollah, a fundamentalist Shiite group with strong links to the Khomeini regime. Buckley was tortured and it was soon discovered that he was the CIA station chief in Beirut.
Ted Shackley was horrified when he discovered that Buckley had been captured. Buckley was a member of Shackley’s Secret Team that had been involved with Edwin Wilson, Thomas Clines, Carl E. Jenkins, Raphael Quintero, Felix Rodriguez and Luis Posada, in the CIA “assassination” program.
Buckley had also worked closely with William Casey (now the director of the CIA) in the secret negotiations with the Iranians in 1980. Buckley had a lot to tell the Iranians. He eventually signed a 400 page statement detailing his activities in the CIA. He was also videotaped making this confession. Casey asked Shackley for help in obtaining Buckley’s freedom.
Three weeks after Buckley’s disappearance, President Ronald Reagan signed the National Security Decision Directive 138. This directive was drafted by Oliver North and outlined plans on how to get the American hostages released from Iran and to “neutralize” terrorist threats from countries such as Nicaragua. This new secret counterterrorist task force was to be headed by Shackley’s old friend, General Richard Secord. This was the beginning of the Iran-Contra deal.
Talks had already started about exchanging American hostages for arms. On 30th August, 1985, Israel shipped 100 TOW missiles to Iran. On 14th September they received another 408 missiles from Israel. The Israelis made a profit of $3 million on the deal.
In October, 1985, Congress agreed to vote 27 million dollars in non-lethal aid for the Contras in Nicaragua. However, members of the Ronald Reagan administration decided to use this money to provide weapons to the Contras and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.
The following month, Ted Shackley traveled to Hamburg where he met General Manucher Hashemi, the former head of SAVAK’s counterintelligence division at the Atlantic Hotel. Also at the meeting on 22nd November was Manuchehr Ghorbanifar. According to the report of this meeting that Shackley sent to the CIA, Ghorbanifar had “fantastic” contacts with Iran.
At the meeting Shackley told Hashemi and Ghorbanifar that the United States was willing to discuss arms shipments in exchange for the four Americans kidnapped in Lebanon. The problem with the proposed deal was that William Francis Buckley was already dead (he had died of a heart-attack while being tortured).
Ted Shackley recruited some of the former members of his CIA Secret Team to help him with these arm deals. This included Thomas Clines, Rafael Quintero, Ricardo Chavez and Edwin Wilson of API Distributors. Also involved was Carl E. Jenkins and Gene Wheaton of National Air. The plan was to use National Air to transport these weapons.
In May 1986 Wheaton told William Casey, director of the CIA, about what he knew about this illegal operation. Casey refused to take any action, claiming that the agency or the government were not involved in what later became known as Irangate.
Wheaton now took his story to Daniel Sheehan, a left-wing lawyer. Wheaton told him that Tom Clines and Ted Shackley had been running a top-secret assassination unit since the early 1960s. According to Wheaton, it had begun with an assassination training program for Cuban exiles and the original target had been Fidel Castro.
Gene Wheaton also contacted Newt Royce and Mike Acoca, two journalists based in Washington. The first article on this scandal appeared in the San Francisco Examiner on 27th July, 1986. As a result of this story, Congressman Dante Facell wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, asking him if it "true that foreign money, kickback money on programs, was being used to fund foreign covert operations." Two months later, Weinberger denied that the government knew about this illegal operation.
On 5th October, 1986, a Sandinista patrol in Nicaragua shot down a C-123K cargo plane that was supplying the Contras. Eugene Hasenfus, an Air America veteran, survived the crash and told his captors that he thought the CIA was behind the operation. He also provided information on two Cuban-Americans running the operation in El Savador. This resulted in journalists being able to identify Rafael Quintero and Felix Rodriguez as the two Cuban-Americans mentioned by Hasenfus. It gradually emerged that Thomas Clines, Oliver North, Edwin Wilson and Richard Secord were also involved in this conspiracy to provide arms to the Contras.
On 12th December, 1986, Daniel Sheehan submitted to the court an affidavit detailing the Irangate scandal. He also claimed that Ted Shackley and Thomas Clines were running a private assassination program that had evolved from projects they ran while working for the CIA. Others named as being part of this assassination team included Rafael Quintero, Richard Secord, Felix Rodriguez and Albert Hakim. It later emerged that Gene Wheaton and Carl E. Jenkins were the two main sources for this affidavit.
It was eventually discovered that President Ronald Reagan had sold arms to Iran. The money gained from these sales was used to provide support for the Contras, a group of guerrillas engaged in an insurgency against the elected socialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Both the sale of these weapons and the funding of the Contras violated administration policy as well as legislation passed by Congress.
On 23rd June, 1988, Judge James L. King ruled that Sheehan's allegations were "based on unsubstantiated rumor and speculation from unidentified sources with no firsthand knowledge". In February, 1989, Judge King ruled that Sheenan had brought a frivolous lawsuit and ordered his Christic Institute to pay the defendants $955,000. This was one of the highest sanction orders in history and represented four times the total assets of the Christic Institute.
In 1993 Cleveland Cram completed a study carried out on behalf of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). Of Moles and Molehunters: A Review of Counterintelligence Literature was declassified in 2003. Cram, who investigated the activities of James Angleton, argues that several senior CIA officers, including Clare Edward Petty, Angleton's assistant, were convinced that the former Chief of Counterintelligence, was a KGB agent.
In his book, Oswald and the CIA (2008), John Newman argued: "In my view, whoever Oswald's direct handler or handlers were, we must now seriously consider the possibility that Angleton was probably their general manager. No one else in the Agency had the access, the authority, and the diabolically ingenious mind to manage this sophisticated plot. No one else had the means necessary to plant the WWIII virus in Oswald's files and keep it dormant for six weeks until the president's assassination. Whoever those who were ultimately responsible for the decision to kill Kennedy were, their reach extended into the national intelligence apparatus to such a degree that they could call upon a person who knew its inner secrets and workings so well that he could design a failsafe mechanism into the fabric of the plot. The only person who could ensure that a national security cover-up of an apparent counterintelligence nightmare was the head of counterintelligence."
(1) William Donovan, Primary Blueprint memo (25th June, 1942)
Espionage is not a nice thing, nor are the methods employed exemplary. Neither are demolition bombs nor poison gas, but our country is a nice thing and our independence is indispensable. We face an enemy who believes one of his chief weapons is that none but he will employ terror. But we will turn terror against him - or we will cease to exist.
Espionage is mentioned in the Bible and was employed by the Greeks and Romans. In 1870 thirty thousand German spies operated in France and the machinations of the espion in the World War are well known. But the League of Nations hoped to diminish secret intelligence by the simple expedient of publishing the military and naval strength of the forces of all nations so that all people would know about each other. Here we fell into the traps by which the honest man usually is trapped. The League knew the strength and intentions of the decent powers; the others kept theirs hidden.
Today our unpreparedness, born of the evangelical idealist's desire to see things the way he wishes them to be, and encouraged by clever secret foreign agents, also abridged our secret gathering of essential intelligence. We are, then, faced with the almost impossible task in time of war of creating a system of secret intelligence that could only have been efficiently established by painstaking preparation over long years of peace. The task would be hopeless except that we have scores of thousands of willing helpers, who, not deceived, maintained their intelligence services.
The Eastern European theatre is at once one of the most promising of all the scenes of future military action but also is a disjointed empire peopled by 100,000,000 aggressive willing friends and corruptible Axis dupes. By employment of the one and the seduction of the other, by cross-checking with the professional operators of our Allies, we can and must make up for lost time, speedily obtain the fullest intelligence and encourage the 'silent peoples' whose courage gained for us time while losing their own freedom and their lives.
On the one hand we must freely use stratagem and on the other, we must be frugal in civilized scruple. We are in a nasty business, facing a nastier enemy.
(2) William Donovan, speech in New York (13th April, 1946)
Intelligence service that counts isn't the kind you read about in spy books. Women agents are less often the sultry blonde or the dazzling duchess than they are girls like the young American with an artificial leg who stayed on in France to operate a clandestine radio station; girls like the thirty-seven who worked for us in China, daughters of missionaries and of businessmen, who had grown up there. I hope that the story of the women in OSS will soon be written.
Our men agents didn't fit the traditional types in spy stories any more than the women we used. Do you know that one of our most notable achievements was the extent to which we found we could use labor unions? Our informer in this war was less often a slick little man with a black moustache than a transport worker, a truck driver, or a freight train conductor.
In war you've got to get two things - your long-range information and your immediate operational information. We did this kind of thing - from bases in Sweden, Spain, Turkey, and Switzerland, we sent agents into the interior of enemy and enemy-occupied territory. We got a man into the German Foreign Office. He had access to cables coming in from the commanding generals in the field and from German ambassadors all over the world. Then we had a man in the Gestapo itself, in a leading position. We even had one of our own men in a Gestapo training school. By such means we were able to get the first information on the V-l and V-2 weapons, and the use of the island of Peenemunde as a testing area.
We had to know about German tank production. How would you find out about it? Well, we sent some of our young scholar economists in the OSS out on patrols. They examined captured German tanks. Each tank had a factory serial number. We knew that these numbers were consecutive and didn't vary - because we already knew that was the German system. We did the same thing with airplanes. And when we had looked at a sufficient number, we could estimate what production was. When the war was over, we checked. And we found we were only about 4 percent off. How were German casualties running? That was important to know, not merely to tell us about the forces that could be put into the field but also about available manpower for their internal economy. The names of German dead weren't published in the press. But in every little town we found that the local paper carried obituaries of German officers who had been killed. By various means we got the local papers from all the little towns and villages in Germany. We read these obituaries. As in all armies, we knew that there was a rather fixed proportion of men to officers. We knew that there was also a certain ratio between enlisted men and officers killed. So, in that way, our research men skilled in such techniques were able to make an estimate of the strength of the German Army in 1943 that was found to be curiously exact.
Besides obtaining information this way, we also had to fight for it. We did this by sending in small units to seize radio stations or to work with resistance groups. As far as we were able, we went to the minority groups of different nationalities in this country and trained volunteers for hazardous work. Most of these were American citizens of the racial origin and of the language of the country which we were seeking to liberate. Thus we had units going to Greece, Yugoslavia, France, Italy, China, Indochina, and Siam.
(3) Ray S. Cline, Secrets, Spies and Scholars: Blueprint of the Essential CIA (1976)
The one thing that Army, Navy, State, and the FBI agreed on was that they did not want a strong central agency controlling their collection programs. Admiral Ernest J. King, an efficient but narrowly partisan military man, voiced a fear that has always been present; King told Navy Secretary Forrestal he "questioned whether such an agency could be considered consistent with our ideas of government." Truman himself repeatedly said, more with reference to the FBI, that "this country wanted no Gestapo under any guise or for any reason." These expressions of doubt are legitimate concerns, but they all served as bars to necessary centralization of intelligence tasks. The fact is that it is possible to introduce checks and balances that render central intelligence accountable to our constitutional government; it is not possible for the government to cope with the problems that beset it abroad without an efficient, coordinated central intelligence system.
(4) David Wise and Thomas Ross, Invisible Government (1964)
In I948, after the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, James Forrestal, as the first Secretary of Defense, became alarmed at signs that the Communists might win the Italian elections. In an effort to influence the elections to the advantage of the United States, he started a campaign among his wealthy Wall Street colleagues to raise enough money to run a private clandestine operation. But Allen Dulles felt the problem could not be handled effectively in private hands. He urged strongly that the government establish a covert organization to conduct a variety of special operations.
Because there was no specific provision for covert political operations spelled out in the 1947 Act, the National Security Council - in the wake of the events in Czechoslovakia and Italy - issued a paper in the summer of 1948 authorizing special operations. There were two important guide lines: that the operations be secret and that they be plausibly deniable by the government.
A decision was reached to create an organization within the CIA to conduct secret political operations. Frank G. Wisner, an ex-OSS man, was brought in from the State Department to head it, with a cover title of his own invention. He became Assistant Director of the Office of Policy Coordination.
Under this innocuous title, the United States was now fully in the business of covert political operations. (A separate Office of Special Operations conducted secret actions aimed solely at gathering intelligence.) This machinery was in the CIA but the agency shared control of it with the State Department and the Pentagon. On January 4, 1951, the CIA merged the two offices and created a new Plans Division, which has had sole control over secret operations of all types since that date.
It is doubtful that many of the lawmakers who voted for the I947 Act could have envisioned the scale on which the CIA would engage in operational activities all over the world. President Truman later maintained that he had no idea that this was going to happen. In a syndicated newspaper article, date-lined December 2 I, 1963, he wrote: "For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government.... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue - and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda."
It was under President Truman, however, that the CIA began conducting special operations. Although the machinery was not established until i948, one small hint of what was to come was tucked away in a memorandum which Allen Dulles submitted to Congress back in 1947. It said the CIA should "have exclusive jurisdiction to carry out secret intelligence operations."
(5) Ray S. Cline, Secrets, Spies and Scholars: Blueprint of the Essential CIA (1976)
The second great man Smith brought back to the intelligence profession was Allen Dulles. Although in private law practice, Dulles had kept his Washington connections alive and was often called on for informal as well as formal advice on intelligence issues. He had participated with William H. Jackson and Matthias F. Correa in an NSC study during 1948 that lambasted CIA as then constituted for failure to draft authoritative national estimates and failure to coordinate intelligence activities of other agencies. Much of the same kind of criticism was incorporated in the Hoover Commission study of the CIA in early 1949 and in an NSC study (NSC 50) of July 1949, so Smith turned to Dulles and Jackson to carry out the recommendations. Jackson became general administrative officer for the reorganization, with the title of Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and served 10 months in this capacity.
Dulles also accepted Smith's bid but found to his dismay that Smith was unwilling to proceed at once with the integration of OSO and OPC, the clandestine collection and covert action offices, as the Dulles, Jackson, Correa report had recommended. Dulles nonetheless took on the arduous task of reducing the clandestine and covert activities to some semblance of order, accepting an assignment on January 2, 1951 as a Deputy Director responsible for both OPC and OSO. While Smith and Dulles never really hit it off too well personally, they respected each other's skills. Dulles stayed on duty in CIA for 10 tumultuous years, moving up to replace Jackson as Deputy Director after Jackson left. In due course, when Eisenhower took office as President in 1953 and Allen's older brother, Foster, became Secretary of State, he became the first professional intelligence officer to be Director of Central Intelligence. No other man left such a mark on the Agency.
One managerial problem of consequence was solved immediately by Smith. As soon as he took office he simply stated that he would take over the administrative responsibility for and control over OPC covert action operations. Thus Defense and State would exert policy guidance through the DCI rather than deal directly with Frank Wisner, the OPC Chief. The new arrangement was accepted formally by State, Defense, and the Joint Chiefs on October 12, 1950. Smith delegated some of the job of coordinating OPC and OSO operations to Dulles, whom he designated as Deputy Director for Plans in January 1951. Thus Smith brought covert action into a clean line-of-command position in the Agency and, through Dulles, kept an eye on these units' activities. By 1952 Smith accepted the logic of Dulles' position on the awkwardness and frequent embarrassment of having separate OPC and OSO units doing secret work in the same place at the same time, competing for resources and personnel. In August 1952 he formally set up what came to be called the Directorate of Plans, usually referred to as the DDP, in which the two were combined.
Gradually the two offices, OPC and OSO, began to coordinate activities at least to the point of not competing for the services of the same agents by offering higher wages and better privileges. In time some individuals in the field began to perform dual functions, collecting information and maintaining covert political relations and often using the same sources for both purposes. The merger did not really become effective across the board until Dulles became DCI, but in its Directorate of Plans CIA already, by the end of the Smith reform era, had consolidated the clandestine and covert functional tasks sufficiently for the generic term "clandestine services" to come into use to describe the two operational elements of the agency assigned to duty under the DDP. When in August 1952 the old OSO and OPC merged into a complex semi-geographical, semi functional structure, the intelligence collectors retained, psychologically and bureaucratically, a separate identity from the operators-the covert action specialists.
The general character of the initial merger was reflected in the fact that the Deputy Director for Plans was Frank Wisner of OPC, while his second in command, with a newly created title of Chief of Operations (COPS), was Richard Helms of OSO. Over time the lines gradually blurred as the supervisory echelons of the clandestine services were required to handle both espionage and covert action cases.
(6) David Wise and Thomas Ross, Invisible Government (1964)
The CIA is, of course, the biggest, most important and most influential branch of the Invisible Government. The agency is organized into four divisions: Intelligence, Plans, Research, Support, each headed by a deputy director.
The Support Division is the administrative arm of the CIA. It is in charge of equipment, logistics, security and communications. It devises the CIA's special codes, which cannot be read by other branches of the government.
The Research Division is in charge of technical intelligence. It provides expert assessments of foreign advances in science, technology and atomic weapons. It was responsible for analyzing the U-2 photographs brought back from the Soviet Union between 1956 and 1960. And it has continued to analyze subsequent U-2 and spy-satellite pictures. In this it works with the CIA in running the National Photo Intelligence Center.
Herbert "Pete" Scoville, who headed the Research Division for eight years, left in August of 1963 to become an assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He was replaced as the CIA's deputy director for research by Dr. Albert D. Wheelon.
The Plans Division is in charge of the CIA's cloak-and-dagger activities. It controls all foreign special operations, such as Guatemala and the Bay of Pigs, and it collects all of the agency's covert intelligence through spies and informers overseas.
Allen Dulles was the first deputy director for plans. He was succeeded as DDP by Frank Wisner, who was replaced in 1958 by Bissell, who, in turn, was succeeded in 1962 by his deputy, Richard Helms.
(7) Cord Meyer, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (1983)
Looking back, I think that the impression Allen Dulles made on me was the decisive factor in my final decision to join the CIA. Behind his jovial and bluff exterior, he struck me as having a searching and undogmatic mind and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated knowledge of the world.... It seemed to me that an organization that had such a man in one of its top positions was one well worth working for. In the years that followed, I was to learn that in addition to his other qualities, he was a loyal and courageous friend in time of trouble.
(8) Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great (1979)
In 1952 Cord Meyer showed up as a CIA official in Washington knowing the names and activities of these same trade union and national liberation organizations, and the public story was that he had defected from the one-world movement because he had suddenly seen that world government was in danger of being Communistic. This transformation, so out of character for a man of his methodical intellect, caused people within the movement to believe that World Federalism may have been a lengthy intelligence assignment.
It is 1956, then, and Ben Bradlee's brother-in-law is stationed as a covert operations agent in Europe. He travels constantly, inciting "student" demonstrations, "spontaneous" riots and trade union strikes; creating splits among leftist factions; distributing Communist literature to provoke anti-Communist backlash. This localized psychological warfare is ultimately, of course, warfare against the Russians, who are presumed to be the source of every leftist political sentiment in Italy, France, the entire theater of Meyer's operations. In Eastern Europe his aim on the contrary is to foment rebellion. Nineteen fifty-six is the year the CIA learns that the Soviets will indeed kill sixty thousand agency-aroused Hungarians with armored tanks.
All of this goes on quite apart from his marriage. Mary does not have a security clearance, so he cannot tell her what he is doing most of the time. They begin to drift apart, and Mary draws closer to her sister and to Ben. When in the late fifties her marriage to Cord ends, she goes to live with Tony and Ben in Washington, where Newsweek has transferred him, and sets up her apartment and art studio in their converted garage...
It is only a matter of time, Angleton feels, until Bradlee makes a serious mistake, as he eventually does with the publication of Conversations with Kennedy, in which he mentions that Mary Meyer was murdered, but only in a footnote. A former Post editor named James Truitt is enraged at this; according to Truitt, Bradlee has forced him out of the paper in a particularly nasty fashion, with accusations of mental incompetence, and now Truitt decides to get back at Bradlee by revealing to other newspapers his belief that Bradlee's story on the Cord Meyers in Conversations with Kennedy was not the whole story; that Mary Meyer had been Kennedy's lover and that the day of her murder, James Angleton of the CIA searched her apartment and burned her diary. Their feud unnecessarily implicates Angleton, to his disgust and bitterness.
(9) Cord Meyer, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (1983)
My participation in this struggle provided a unique opportunity to learn at first hand the strengths and weaknesses of Communist organizational strategy. As nothing else could, it gave me an understanding of how formidable is that dedicated man, the Communist true believer, and it taught me never to underestimate the potential strength of a disciplined Communist minority. It revealed the techniques of covert infiltration and control, through which Communists have too often captured organizations from those who awoke too late to these dangers. In microcosm, our struggle was an extension of the political battle being waged then in Western Europe between the democratic left and the mass Communist parties of Italy and France. My role in this small skirmish made me realize how much was at stake on the larger stage.
(10) Hayes Johnson and Manuel Artime, The Bay of Pigs (1964)
Sometimes a more sinister explanation for the failure is given: "someone" wanted the Cubans to fail and deliberately scuttled a good plan with a good chance of success. This assumption is equally spurious for, if anything, the Bay of Pigs was a classic tragedy of good intentions. No one wanted the invasion to fail -from the Eisenhower administration to the Kennedy administration, from the Cubans to the Americans who trained them and ardently believed in them. Yet fail it did. The fault was shared by all who had a hand in it.
In the assignment of responsibility for the failure the military, and specifically, the joint Chiefs of Staff carries a heavy burden. They selected the Bay of Pigs - Zapata Swamp area for the invasion, and they did so taking into account the alternative plan for guerilla action. If that area was unsuited to a guerilla operation, and it most certainly was - they must take the blame for the blunder. They blundered, too, in failing to recognize how devastating the T-33 jet trainers could be in battle when armed with rockets. The result of that failure led to the virtual destruction of the Brigade airforce and the loss of the supply ships. But in the larger sense the military bore less responsibility in the overall Bay of Pigs operation than the CIA. And, finally, the responsibility must rest with the CIA.
The CIA, by its nature, remains in the shadows: it lends itself to the role of the villain, however frayed the cloak and however bent the dagger. Even this is not a fair generalization: the CIA has brilliant, dedicated men and women who perform thankless and dangerous jobs throughout the world that help to safeguard the United States and the free world. It is a cliche of the agency that its successes never get reported and its U-2 flights and Bay of Pigs invasions become causes celebres. The CIA is necessary to the survival of the United States and it shall remain necessary for as long a time as can be anticipated. Acknowledging these as truths, however, does not make the CIA sacrosanct, nor does it relieve the agency of its responsibilities or hide the dangers that are inherent in such an organization.
The gathering of intelligence, with all that is implied in that general term, is the lifeblood of the agency. However, in the Cuban invasion the CIA went far beyond this function. The CIA's men in the field tended to take matters into their own hands, to cross over the line from intelligence to the formation of policy. They did this in Miami when they picked and groomed men and then dictated to the Frente. They acted for the United States - or implied that they did - when dealing with the Cubans and led them to believe much that was not true. Later there was no way for the Cubans to prove they had been promised anything. In American terminology, they were left holding the bag.
"You begin to understand what it is like when they run the show," a Cuban said. "They say, 'Meet me at the corner of Thirty-second and Flagler in a car.' They say, 'My name is Bill, my number is P1-6-9945. Call me.' When they want you, you come, you call. When you want them, they are gone; you never see them again. So what happens? Who has the responsibility? So someone says, `What are you doing here?' You say, 'Bill sent me: 'Bill. What Bill? What is his last name? Where does he live?' And you say, `Bill, P1-6-9945.' There is no Bill at that number. To hell with them, I say. That is no way to run anything."
(11) Leroy Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team (1973)
The Secret Team (ST) being described herein consists of security-cleared individuals in and out of government who receive secret intelligence data gathered by the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) and who react to those data, when it seems appropriate to them, with paramilitary plans and activities, e.g. training and "advising" - a not exactly impenetrable euphemism for such things as leading into battle and actual combat - Laotian tribal troops, Tibetan rebel horsemen, or Jordanian elite Palace Guards.
Membership on the Team, granted on a "need-to-know" basis, varies with the nature and location of the problems that come to its attention, and its origins derive from that sometimes elite band of men who served with the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under the father of them all, General "Wild Bill" William J. Donovan, and in the old CIA.
The power of the Team derives from its vast intragovernmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses. The Secret Team has very close affiliations with elements of power in more than three-score foreign countries and is able when it chooses to topple governments, to create governments, and to influence governments almost anywhere in the world.
Whether or not the Secret Team had anything whatsoever to do with the deaths of Rafael Trujillo, Ngo Dinh Diem, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Dag Hammerskjold, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and others may never be revealed, but what is known is that the power of the Team is enhanced by the "cult of the gun" and by its sometimes brutal and always arbitrary anti-Communist flag waving, even when real Communism had nothing to do with the matter at hand.
At the heart of the Team, of course, are a handful of top executives of the CIA and of the National Security Council (NSC), most notably the chief White House adviser to the President on foreign policy affairs. Around them revolves a sort of inner ring of Presidential officials, civilians, and military men from the Pentagon, and career professionals of the intelligence community. It is often quite difficult to tell exactly who many of these men really are, because some may wear a uniform and the rank of general and really be with the CIA and others may be as inconspicuous as the executive assistant to some Cabinet officer's chief deputy.
(12) (12)Harry S. Truman, Washington Post (21st December, 1963)
For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
(13) (13)Arnold Toynbee, The New York Times (7th May, 1970)
To most Europeans, I guess, America now looks like the most dangerous country in the world. Since America is unquestionably the most powerful country, the transformation of America's image within the last thirty years is very frightening for Europeans. It is probably still more frightening for the great majority of the human race who are neither Europeans nor North Americans, but are Latin Americans, Asians and Africans. They, I imagine, feel even more insecure than we feel. They feel that, at any moment, America may intervene in their internal affairs with the same appalling consequences as have followed from American intervention in Southeast Asia.
For the world as a whole, the CIA has now become the bogey that Communism has been for America. Wherever there is trouble, violence, suffering, tragedy, the rest of us are now quick to suspect the CIA had a hand in it. Our phobia about the CIA is, no doubt, as fantastically excessive as America's phobia about world Communism; but in this case, too, there is just enough convincing guidance to make the phobia genuine. In fact, the roles of America and Russia have been reversed in the world's eyes. Today America has become the world's nightmare.
Assassination is big business. It is the business of the CIA and any other power that can pay for the "hit" and control the assured getaway. The CIA brags that its operations in Iran in 1953 led to the pro-Western attitude of that important country. The CIA also takes credit for what it calls the "perfect job" in Guatemala. Both successes were achieved by assassination. What is this assassination business and how does it work?
In most countries there is little or no provision for change of political power. Therefore the strongman stays in power until he dies or until he is removed by a coup d'etat - which often means by assassination...
The CIA has many gadgets in its arsenal and has spent years training thousands of people how to use them. Some of these people, working perhaps for purposes and interests other than the CIA's, use these items to carry out burglaries, assassinations, and other unlawful activities - with or without the blessing of the CIA.
(15) E.Howard Hunt, interviewed for the television programme, Backyard (21st February, 1999)
Interviewer: What part did the American ambassador, Purefoy, play in this business?
E. Howard Hunt: Well, Purefoy was very, very helpful. He was sort of a prisoner (Laughs) of ours, of CIA and of the Department of State. He owed his ambassadorship to Eisenhower, and he understood that co-operation with us was part of the deal, and so he bent over backward to do everything he could. He had had one or two private conversations with Arbenz, trying to persuade... first of all, to determine to his own satisfaction that Arbenz was a communist, and secondly, to tell Arbenz that he was on a very sticky wicket and ought to change his direction. Of course, that did nothing at all, because Arbenz I don't think had a free will in all of this, I think that his wife was giving him the directions; she was a lot smarter, and between her and Fortuny, he was the low man on the totem pole. But Purefoy was very, very helpful. I won't say that we couldn't have done it without him, but it would just have been a little harder, a little more difficult. And then in Honduras we had Whitey Willard as ambassador, and he'd been a Flying Tiger in China at a time when I was in China, and although I didn't know him over there, everybody thought well of him, and he was the one who had to oversee all the black flights in and out of Honduras, the building of the radio station, all the transmission to keep...
Interviewer: Mr. Hunt, we'll go back over just the last bit that we were talking about before we ran out of tape. We were talking about the ambassador, John Purefoy, sometimes called Jack Purefoy, and his importance in the operation. He was an ardent anti-Communist, I have read, but could you just repeat some of the things that you said, how he was involved in PB Success?
E. Howard Hunt: Well, I never thought of Jack Purefoy as being an ardent anti-Communist. He'd been director of security for the Department of State at a time when Mr. Truman denied that we had any communists in the Department of State, and Purefoy backed him up, and his pay-off for that was to be made ambassador to Greece. Of course, over in Greece he'd seen a great deal of communist-anti-communist bloody struggle, so that may have made a convert of him, but he didn't start out as an ardent anti-Communist. He was useful to us, to the Department of State, to the Eisenhower Administration and to the nation because he was expendable: if he did well for us, if he co-operated and accomplished things that we wanted done, then he had a chance to complete a career as a diplomat; and if he screwed up, he was gone, and he knew it. I suppose that somebody told him in just so many words. John Foster Dulles could easily have... told him that and gotten away with it. But Purefoy, once he got into the hang of the thing, once he got the feel of it, and the surge took place mentally and physically, then he did everything he could to co-operate with us and help bring Arbenz down.
(16) G. Robert Blakey was interviewed by Frontline in 1993.
Q: Did the CIA and FBI give you access to the necessary files?
A: CIA clearly did lie about the case. For example, Helms lied about the case. The CIA appear to have been not cooperative, to have put out false photographs of Oswald, to have claimed they had no photographs of Oswald, there were many cases where they seem to have tried to cover their tracks,. How do you know that you found the underlying cause of this? You have to draw a distinction between the FBI and the Agency in the 1960s - and the substantial lack of candor between them and the Warren Commission - and the subsequent behavior of the agencies as they dealt with the congressional committee (in 1977).
Q: Is there significance in the fact that the military intelligence file on Oswald disappeared? What happened? Many people would see a far more sinister significance to the fact that the military destroyed a file of obvious historic significance.
A: In 1972, largely as a result of the investigations into military intelligence activities in the United States, the Defense Department destroyed all of the military intelligence files that they had about American citizens and things in the United States, which was shocking from the point of view of the committee. This general order resulted in the destruction of historically very valuable files.
Most disturbing was the destruction by the Army intelligence of Oswald's Army intelligence file. The suspicion immediately was that this was part of a cover up. We interviewed all of the officers who were responsible for the order to destroy it, and while we have the testimony of these individuals, we do not have the file.
Again, our ultimate conclusion was that in the United States, more often than not, the better explanation for government action is not hob nailed boots, but Keystone Cops. It's incredible how our bureaucracy simply responds in a mindless way without any regard to the historical significance of what they have.
(17) Christopher Sharrett, Fair Play Magazine, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy as Coup D'Etat (May, 1999)
It occurs to me that two lines of discourse currently affect public understanding of the John Kennedy assassination. Both narratives obscure the reality of the assassination as a state crime carried out by the official enforcement apparatus, a coup d'etat.
One narrative that informs numerous conspiracy books details a plot to kill Kennedy consisting of some small, marginal grouping, usually including the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans (although at times including pro-Castro Cubans), occasionally with support of one or two "renegade" CIA agents. This narrative, which has been in circulation at least since the 1970s, seems to me to have a particular function in shaping our perception of the assassination and events surrounding it.
The second narrative, which is becoming steadily more dominant, acknowledges that there was indeed an official cover-up of the assassination, but that this cover-up was "benign," in the interests of the American people, and spontaneously constructed in order to avoid a confrontation with the Soviet Union or Cuba, who were suspected by some in state power of being the real assassins. One recent variation of this narrative argues that this cover-up was put in place largely to protect the public from the consequences of the Kennedy brothers' depraved foreign policy. This narrative also argues that while Oswald was the lone assassin, Castro perhaps influenced him. But the whole affair comes down to the ruthless prosecution of the Cold War by the Kennedys, often against the sober counsel of others within state power.
The small-scale conspiracy model indeed dates to the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate period, when state power suffered one of many profound legitimation crises. The cover-ups of the assassinations of the 1960s had already unraveled; an issue for many who wished to relegitimate the state was the most efficient way to acknowledge the public's skepticism, and in so doing reconstruct the state's authority and credibility. The small-scale cabal is most efficient at the task, even as it defies reason. It offers a conspiracy that addresses many concerns, at least for those people who do not wish to look at the particulars of the assassination, its historical moment, and its context within similar acts known to history. The exposure of a conspiracy of the Mafia and some Cubans would have only further legitimated the state, since it offered a conspiracy that is an unfortunate, arcane aberration unrepresentative of true state interests. The CIA agents involved are described as "renegade" and "rogue elephants" for the same reasons. These agents are portrayed not as functionaries of the state, not as representatives of policy interests held by others in authority, but as loners working out of personal, pathological impulse or overzealous ideology. This is often suggested to be the case in the matter of David Atlee Phillips - whose involvement in the assassination has been incontrovertibly demonstrated by Gaeton Fonzi - even when we know that Phillips, the renegade, was given a major promotion within the executive ranks of the CIA. Another function of this form of narrative is the erasure of the historical moment and the presentation of the Kennedy period as ideologically seamless. The historical record tells us that the period leading up to the assassination was filled with conflict within the halls of state...
There is nothing arcane about the murder of John F. Kennedy. It is no more cabalistic than the political-economic system we have come to accept. Calling the assassination a coup d'etat does not necessitate the notion that the plot was overwhelmingly massive, or that everyone within the state agreed that Kennedy should be dismissed. On the contrary, there is rarely uniform consensus within state or private power about any policy issue. But this does not mean that the crime is any less a function of ruling authority. We should not view the assassination as a coup in the traditional sense --- obviously there was no imposition of martial law, no prolonged period of bloodletting (discounting murdered witnesses and such). Such a blow against the public would have been intolerable in a major Western democracy after European fascism, and the issue in any event was not about suppressing a popular movement (here we can refer to the effect of the Martin Luther King and Black Panther assassinations on the civil rights movements), but about resolving a disagreement within the state at a time when financial stakes were extremely high.
Only if we choose to shed our denial about the assassination's historical context - and refuse to immerse ourselves in further endless ruminations about oddball plotters and Dealey Plaza minutiae - can we come to terms with the assassination's meaning to our present circumstances, its relationship to the murderous path of the state as it continues to enforce the greed of the few.
(18) Stansfield Turner, Secrecy and Democracy (1985)
Immediately following World War II, Iran had become a testmg ground in the cold war struggle between the Soviet bloc and the Western democracies. Mohammed Mossadegh's accession to the prime ministership in 1951 was viewed in Washington; and London as a threat. Mossadegh was more anti-Shah than procommunist, but he became increasingly dependent on the communists. Two of the major power elements in Iran, the clergy: and the merchants of the bazaar, were still supporting the Shah.
This left Mossadegh dependent on the masses. Only the communists were able to rally them on his behalf. The more Mossadegh maneuvered against the Shah, the more isolated he became from the noncommunists. In May 1951 Mossadegh nationalized British oil interests in Iran. Later, when the British felt he was vulner- able, they urged the United States to join in an effort to topple him. We agreed.
The CIA swung into action by attempting to persuade the Shah to dismiss Mossadegh, which was his constitutional prerogative. But the Shah was uncertain whether he could survive the public protests that might result. It took some time and numerous emissaries to persuade him to adopt this course, but he did dismiss Mossadegh, early in August 1953. Mossadegh's supporters, largely from the left, took to the streets and demonstrated. The situation became so tense that the Shah briefly left the country. Meanwhile, the CIA encouraged the merchants and Muslim clergy to organize counterdemonstrations. Using both persuasion and bribery, the bazaar people brought onto the streets enough demonstrators to force Mossadegh's demonstrators to back down. As the tide turned, the CIA urged its contacts in the army to come down on the side of the Shah. When they did, the CIA helped bring together a more friendly government, which was waiting in the wings. The Shah appointed General Fazlollah Zahedi as Prime Minister, and Mossadegh was finished. During the entire operation the CIA employed very few people and not much money. The main point, though, is that conditions inside Iran were ripe for a change. The Mossadegh government's political base was weak and was susceptible to being toppled. The CIA simply gave it the final push.
The Agency pulled off still another successful political action the following year. A prototype of the Castro revolution of 1956-1959 was developing in Guatemala under Jacobo Arbenz. The CIA was directed to prevent Arbenz from consolidating his communist-oriented regime. It did so by convincing the Guatemalans that a "popular rebellion" was sweeping the country in support of Carlos Castillo Armas, an anticommunist army colonel then in exile. The CIA supplied Armas with enough arms for a ragtag army of fewer than two hundred men plus a few old bomber and fighter aircraft, most of them flown by mercenaries.
On D-Day,June 18, 1954, a CIA radio station, masquerading as the rebels' station, broadcast word that Colonel Armas had invaded from Honduras. It continued to give reports of the movement of a supposed five-thousand-man force toward the capital. A bomber dropped a single bomb on a parade field in the capital, without loss of life. A day and a half later, as the nearly imaginary invasion force was reported by its own radio broadcasts to be nearing Guatemala City, Arbenz resigned. Armas and his few men were flown to the outskirts of the city and marched in triumphantly. Again, this favorable political outcome required only a small effort, and, again, the government that was overthrown was so weak that only a little push was needed.
The public inevitably learned that the CIA was behind these decisive political actions in Iran and Guatemala. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a political campaign speech in Seattle, boasted of the Iranian operation as an indication of his administration's dynamism and prowess. Such publicity began to raise concerns, especially in the Congress, about how many covert actions were being carried out and under whose control they were. And then the Congress and the public began to learn about covert efforts that were not very successful.
The most adverse exposure was a series of revelations about more than ten years of CIA interference in Chile, from 1963 to 1973. This was one of the most massive campaigns in U.S. intelligence annals. The earliest effort was an attempt to shape the outcome of the 1964 presidential election in Chile, when the CIA underwrote more than half of the expenses of the Christian Democratic Party's campaign. This support was directed at defeating the communist candidate, Salvador Allende. It was probably not known to the Christian Democratic candidate, Eduardo Frei. In
(19) Tosh Plumlee, interviewed on 6th April, 1992.
Q: Where were you on November 22, 1963?
A: I was observing the attempt on Kennedy's life. I was at Dealey Plaza on the South Knoll.
Q: Did you have occasion on that day to see John Roselli?
A: Yes, I did. I saw John Roselli. John Roselli was on board the flight coming out of Houston. We had taken a flight out of Tampa, Florida and went through New Orleans, New Orleans to Houston and Roselli had boarded the flight at Tampa, Florida, and he was staying at the Congress Inn the night before he boarded the flight. Our team flew out of West Palm Beach, a place called Lantana, and to Tampa and then Roselli and a couple of other people got on board in Tampa. We flew to New Orleans where two people got off, three other people got on, Roselli stayed on board. We flew to Houston and then the next morning, we had some weather, and we left for Dallas, and we had to... we were heading for Thunderbird, I mean for Redbird Airport, and we had to make a stop a Dallas/Garland because of weather. We did not have an IFR flight plan filed at that point. We did not want to file a flight plan. The impression I was under at that time is we were flying a team into Dallas to abort the assassination and John Roselli was on board that flight as well as a couple of other Cubans and people that were connected with organized crime in New Orleans.
Q: Did this flight have any association with the CIA or do you know?
A: No, well, the CIA acted as support. Our flight was a military intelligence flight. How this flight originated was a few months prior to the Kennedy matter, there was a couple of Cubans that was CIA operations (Jim Wade) was to fire a bazooka on Castro in the Palace. That was aborted and then these same Cubans came back into Southern Florida, this was around the 15th/16th of November, and they were going to attempt to fire the bazooka on Air Force One which was parked at West Palm Beach at that particular time, November 17th, and as a result of that information coming out, that team, those Cubans, were picked up and from the interrogation of those Cubans that was the beginning of finding out about an attempt on Kennedy's life.
Q: On the morning of November 22, 1963, did the flight that arrived in Garland, Texas, just outside of Dallas, have anything to do with the CIA?
A: The CIA was... yes it did, the CIA was our support people. We were military intelligence. The CIA was running support and coordinating certain flights, making different arrangements, or necessary arrangements, for us...
Q: Could you explain to the layman, like myself, how the CIA would go about hiring a team like yours in this kind of situation?
A: Well, they would never do it direct for one thing. It would be done through intermediaries. And then it would be like what I call the "good old boy" network. One guy knows this guy, this guy knows this guy, eventually this guy's tied in with this guy and then he comes up and gets busted and then immediately hollers "I work for the CIA". Does that answer your question?
Q: Ah, yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that I think it would be surprising to a layman that the CIA would, how can I put this, that the CIA would hire a group like yours knowing that there was an assassination attempt coming and that they would use a team like yours to thwart the assassination, can you explain the thinking behind that?
A: Well, number one, the CIA would have absolutely nothing to do with the actual planning because their position at that point was to gather intelligence and assimilate that to the proper people. In our particular case, that intelligence would be passed back to military intelligence operatives so CIA would be acting as a support level for our particular operations. As far as the CIA being involved in the planning stages as a upper level agency, I find that very difficult to believe because the method of operation on recruiting agents and operatives or recruiting operatives doesn't work that way., The CIA would gather this information, assimilate it, decipher it, and then pass it back to appropriate authorities, in this case, I would say it would be military intelligence even though some of the information had came from operatives in military ranks which were involved in Mafia.
Q: Has it ever crossed your mind that there could have been, I don't know how to put this, let me rephrase it, has it crossed your mind that they could have told you you were there for one purpose but actually you might have been there for the opposite purpose?
A: Yes, that's crossed my mind many times, that when we say the anonymous "they", they could have told us anything, but the people that would be "they" would be special interest groups within the agency, in my opinion.
Q: So, could you just take that scenario of what that might have been, you know, what you might have been thinking over the years as you look back on this for a possibility?
A: The possibility would be, I'd go back all the way back to William Bill Harvey, old Wild Bill, and his operations and coming out of the OSS and the beginning of the "good old boy" network and the formation of the CIA. The CIA at that point was pretty well closely related. Everybody sort of knew everybody. Everybody knew what teams that other members had been on, even back in Germany's days when Colby was with the OSS, so we had a family. And then when the Cuban matter came, because of intelligence gathering in the vast network of the Cuban community, it was imperative that the CIA recruit those people that knew something and knew how to make the contacts and the roadways into the Cuban community in order to, which these people could be used to implement a form of foreign policy. Am I answering your question or am I rambling?
Q: No, but that's all right. This is difficult, but what I"m saying is that somewhere in this last 29 years, if it's crossed your mind maybe if they told you you were going in to thwart the assassination, but actually you were there to be part of the assassination, if you could articulate that....
A: Yes, this question has come up a lot. Maybe a part of the team could have been an actual "hit" team. But, if we go back to "they", when we say "they", CIA implemented that "hit" team, I say CIA as an agency did not implement that "hit" team" but perhaps as we call them now, rouges, or special interest groups within the agency because of the "good ol' boy" network could have certainly been involved in an operation to assassinate the President. Maybe I'm not making myself clear on this. For instance, like we all work for a particular company. Some of us are loyal and some of us aren't. It takes time to spot those people. If a guy's got a particular tremendous asset, then he'll be utilized. As soon as he breaches that asset he'll be eliminated. I mean as soon as he no longer becomes an asset, he'll be eliminated. I guess what I'm saying in answer to your question that I believe that within the agency itself and the vast Cuban network that was recruited for covert operations at that time, that became the nuclei that led up to the Kennedy assassination and not from the White House, even though they may have had prior knowledge and may have had motives, and not from the CIA, and definitely not from the military intelligence community as a whole. But, people within that operation and those operations could certainly have conspired, aligned themselves, because of all the gun running that was going on, because of all the "dirty tricks" that were being pulled in many, many hot spots of the World, including the Dominican Republic at that time, I definitely believe that rouge operatives within the agency orchestrated the whole events that we are now getting into, in my opinion.
(20) Stansfield Turner, Secrecy and Democracy (1985)
The most adverse exposure was a series of revelations about more than ten years of CIA interference in Chile, from 1963 to 1973. This was one of the most massive campaigns in US intelligence annals. The earliest effort was an attempt to shape the outcome of the 1964 presidential election in Chile, when the CIA underwrote more than half of the expenses of the Christian Democratic Party's campaign. This support was directed at defeating the communist candidate, Salvador Allende. It was probably not known to the Christian Democratic candidate, Eduardo Frei. In addition to funding Frei, the CIA waged an extensive anticommunist propaganda campaign, using posters, the radio, films, pamphlets, and the press, to convince the Chileans that Allende and communism would bring to their country Soviet militarism and Cuban brutality. As part of this campaign, hundreds of thousands of copies of an anticommunist pastoral letter of Pope Pius XI were distributed. Frei won handily, but allegations of CIA involvement seeped out.
As a result, the CIA was reluctant to play as large a role in the next Chilean presidential election, in 1970. Not only was its role smaller; it did not support a specific candidate. The effort was directed strictly against Allende and was based primarily on propaganda, employing virtually all Chilean media and some of the international press as well. The program failed when Allende won a plurality, though not a majority, of the popular vote.
Under Chilean electoral law, that threw the choice to a joint session of the legislature some seven weeks later. At the direction of the White House, the CIA moved to prevent the selection and inauguration of Allende. It attempted to induce his political opponents to manipulate the legislative election up to and including a political coup. Some 726 articles, broadcasts, editorials, and similar items were sponsored in the United States and Chile, and many briefings were given to the press. One of those, to Time magazine, reversed the magazine's attitude toward Allende. The overall effort failed, however, because of the unwillingness of the appropriate Chilean politicians to tamper with the constitutional process. Complementing the CIA effort, the US government exerted economic pressure on Chile, again to no avail. A second approach, entirely under CIA auspices, encouraged a military coup.
President Richard Nixon directed that neither the Departments of State and Defense nor the US Ambassador to Chile be informed of this undertaking. During a disorganized coup attempt that took place on October 22, the Chief of Staff of the Chilean Army was murdered. The CIA had originally encouraged the group responsible, but sensing that this group was likely to get out of control, the Agency had withdrawn its support a week earlier.
Allende was installed as President on November 2. Over the next three years, until 1973, the National Security Council authorized the CIA to expend some $7 million covertly to oppose Allende with propaganda, financial support for anti-Allende media in Chile, and funding for private organizations opposed to Allende. Other agencies of the US government applied economic and political pressure. On September 11, 1973, the Chilean military staged a coup in which Allende died, reportedly by suicide. The CIA did not sponsor this coup, but how much its encouragement of the 1970 coup and its continued liaison with the Chilean military encouraged the action is honestly difficult to assess. With Allende gone, the decade-long covert action program was phased out.
More was at stake, though, than covert action in Chile. The coup-related deaths in both 1970 and 1973 and the exposure of the role of the United States in helping to topple a democratically elected government, albeit a Marxist one, brought intense scrutiny to the ethics of using covert action to change the political complexion of other countries. As a result, such covert action came to a near halt by the mid 1970s.