THE CIA: AN OVERVIEW
THE OSS: FORERUNNER OF THE CIA
THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER OF 1945
CREATING THE CIA IN 1947
DESTABILIZATION AND ASSASSINATIONS
UNITED STATES ARMY SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CIA
THE WATERGATE CONNECTION
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE CIA
THE WAR ON CIVIL LIBERTIES
THE MARCHETTI CASE
INVESTIGATING THE CIA IN THE 1970s: THE HUSTON PLAN
THE CHURCH COMMITTEE
THE PIKE COMMITTEE
THE ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION
REAGAN UNLEASHES THE CIA
THE GEORGE HERBERT BUSH PRESIDENCY
THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY
"To those who say we no longer need a CIA, I say you're nuts. To those who want to dismantle CIA or put it under some other department ... you're nuts, too. And to those who feel the right to know takes precedence over legitimate classification of documents, or over protecting our most precious asset, our people, the same to you. You're nuts, and so's the horse you came in on. These crusading young zealots treated everyone that they encountered as renegades at best, criminals at worst." - George Bush at the 50th anniversary celebration of the CIA, 1997
"The law: it must be honored; may we honor it." - Daniel Webster, 1847
No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassinations." - Executive Order 12333 issued by President Reagan, December 4, 1981
"God and the politicians willing, the United States can declare peace upon the world, and win it." - Ely Culpertson, 1946
THE OSS: FORERUNNER OF THE CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency may be traced back to June 18, 1941 when President Roosevelt by executive order created the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI) and named William Donovan to head it. Donovan's obsession with secrecy led to the creation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan funded his office through secret government accounts which were controlled by Roosevelt. A year later, Roosevelt issued another executive order and placed the COI under the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and renamed the agency the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
The OSS consisted of two separate segments. One was the Operations Branch which was responsible for all subversive functions, and the other was the Research and Analysis Branch which involved itself in intelligence gathering. Allen Dulles was responsible for running secret operations in most of Europe, including Nazi Germany, during World War II. He was responsible for gathering intelligence on Germany's air defenses, submarine production, V-1 and V-2 missile experiments, and chemical and biological warfare research.
In September 1945, President Truman issued an executive order which dismembered the OSS effective October 1. However, this did not totally obliterate the agency. At the same time, Truman sent a letter to Secretary of State James Byrnes, instructing him to "take the lead in developing a comprehensive and coordinated foreign intelligence program for all federal agencies." Byrnes set out to gather "an interdepartmental group" which was to be headed by his State Department and which was to formulate intelligence plans. However, Byrnes never succeeded in assembling such a body.
Truman moved on and issued another executive order which created the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) in January 1946. The president appointed Rear Admiral Sidney Souers to direct the agency which became a non-voting member of the National Intelligence Authority (NIA) which was another entity which Roosevelt created as part of the same executive order. The panel consisted of the secretaries of War, State, Navy, and a presidential adviser.
Within a year Roosevelt replaced Souers with General Hoyt Vandenberg who enlarged the size and scope of the CIG, transforming it into an independent agency. His goal was to establish a secret budget and to enlarge its intelligence role. Within months, Vandenberg expanded the CIG into two bodies: the Office of Reports and Findings and the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service. More importantly, however, he transferred the Strategic Services Unit, which had been under the War Department, to the CIG. For the first time the emphasis of the CIG became clandestine intelligence operations.
THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER OF 1945 -- ARTICLE 51. When the United Nations was conceived in 1945, Article 51 of the charter permitted "the right of individual or collective self- defense" against "armed attack ... Until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security." Article 51 "permits states to respond militarily if they are threatened by a hostile power. It allows for the use of armed force "in self-defense against threats to one's nationals." The United States interpreted "aggression" as "political warfare or subversion" and thus justified numerous attacks.
In the summer of 1945, delegates at the Geneva Convention divided up Indochina after the French had been defeated at Dienbienphu. The new countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos became separate sovereign states. The United States immediately set out to undermine Article 15 and to justify American force in Southeast Asia. The Security Council met secretly and said that even in the case of "local communist subversion or rebellion constituting armed attack," the United States would consider the use of military force, including an attack on China if it was "determined to be the source" of the subversion. Thus, the United States was given the right to violate Article 51.
In 1975 the Security Council ordered Indonesia to withdraw its military forces from East Timor and said that "all states respect the territorial integrity of East Timor as well as the alienable right of the people to self-determination." But President Carter responded by stepping up the shipment of arms to the Jakarta regime.
In 1986 President Reagan launched an air war on several Libyan cities, and they were justified as "self-defense against future attacks" by the Tripoli government. American troops invaded Panama in 1989, and Ambassador Thomas Pickering stated that they were sanctioned under Article 51 since they provided "for the use of armed force to defend a country, to defend our interests and our people." According to Pickering, the United States was entitled to invade Panama to "prevent its territory from being used as a base for drug smuggling into the United States."
In 1993 President Clinton ordered missile attacks on Iraq. Secretary of State Madeline Albright cited Article 51, claiming that the attack was in "self-defense against armed attack," specifically for the alleged plot to assassinate former President Bush.
CREATING THE CIA IN 1947. Congress soon passed the National Security Act of 1947. This created the Defense Department -- which unified the Army, Navy, and Air Force; the National Security Council (NSC) -- which consisted of the president, vice president, and secretaries of defense and state; and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) -- which was an independent body which reported to the president through the NSC. However, the Military Intelligence Division (MID) and Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) continued to operate as intelligence-gathering groups.
Additionally, a super-secret unit known as the Gromach Organization continued to function. As part of the CIG, it was operated by Colonel John Gromach who opposed the creation of the CIA as another espionage group. For a short time it continued to secretly operate between 1942 and 1947 as a separate entity and outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. The Gromach Organization was jointly funded by several government agencies which included the State Department, War Department, and the FBI.
In December 1947, President Truman signed NSC-4/A, a directive which approved a secret propaganda program. Roscoe Hillenkoetter was named the CIA's first director, and he was specifically assigned the task of forming the Special Procedures Group that operated out of the Office of Special Operations. The Special Procedures Group was the agency's first overseas CIA covert operation. Later it was renamed the Office of Special Projects, and subsequently its title was changed to the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). Coordinated by deputy assistant secretary of state Frank Wisner who earlier had served in the OSS, the OPC was given a budget of $4.7 million in 1948. It consisted of 302 intelligence officers who operated out of seven stations.
In the summer of 1948, George Kennan suggested that the State Department play a more prominent role in covert operations. He proposed the formation of the Special Studies Group. Since Kennan was a senior official in the Department of State, his role was instrumental in expanding clandestine operations within the federal government. The Joint Chiefs of Staff lobbied as well for their office to enter into the area of foreign espionage.
The rivalries among the various governmental groups was settled when Truman signed NSC- 10/2 in June 1948. This directive expanded the scope of international spying within the CIA. The directive set up the Office of Special Projects (OSP) which was soon renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). Additionally, NSC-10/2 provided that the State and Defense Departments and the NSC participate in overseas espionage. Truman approved the expansion of espionage to include the tools of "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 anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world." For the first time, a mechanism to undertake covert operations was put in place.
By the early 1950s, the OPC had set up 47 foreign stations, a budget of $84 million, and 5,954 employees. Yet the CIA did not need to account for its spending, and its overall budget remained classified.
In March 1950, Truman rescinded NSC-4 and replaced it with NSC-59 which was a program designed to obtain information on foreign governments and to engage in psychological warfare planning. Under NSC-59, a committee was set up within the State Department and the Pentagon.
In early 1951, Truman signed NSC-74, "A Plan for National Psychological Warfare." By the spring of 1951, a Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) within the NSC was assembled. By approving NSC-10/5, Truman gave members of the PSB a voice on the 10/5 Panel which approved covert operations. Truman picked Gordon Gray, the son of the president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, to direct the PSB. Gray had been a member of the National Security Council while serving as Secretary of the Army. The first task of the PSB was to plan covert psychological operations in Germany. Then their attention shifted to Italy and France where the PSB focused on employing propaganda in an attempt to reduce the influence of those countries' communist parties. The PSB also encouraged citizens of Eastern bloc countries to flee to the West. And while the Korean War was in full swing, the PSB worked to negotiate a cease- fire.
In October 1950, General Walter Bedell Smith was sworn in as the new director of the CIA, and he was immediately faced with three unexpected crises. First, the Soviet Union orchestrated a coup in Czechoslovakia. Second, the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb. And third, North Koreans sent troops below the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea. The CIA had conducted shoddy intelligence gathering probes in these areas and was unable to make any such forecasts. Therefore, these events came as a total shock to the agency.
In its first three years of operation the CIA had merely drafted rough forecasts of potential global conflicts and problem areas, and then the agency passed them on to ONI, MID, and the State Department. Then the CIA received their responses. Thus, American intelligence actually revolved around a system of guessing and second guessing.
In addition, the CIA had no authority over the OPC, its sister agency, which also was supposed to function under the State and Defense Departments. The two groups overlapped in many areas. The OPC specialized in political warfare, psychological warfare, economic warfare, and paramilitary operations. The two agencies frequently clashed in areas such as competing to recruit overseas agents. During the Korean War the OPC established six offices in Japan in order to gather intelligence by sending guerrillas into North Korea and to organize networks to help downed pilots escape from the north. Operation Tropic was established to support Chinese guerrillas in the PRC but it turned out to be ineffective. Then Operation Paper involved the support of KMT remnant forces who had been driven out of the PRC and into northern Burma as a result of Mao's revolution. That too turned out to be a dismal failure except for the fact that many CIA operants filled their pockets with cash from the lucrative cocaine trade in the Golden Triangle.
In 1950, the National Security Council released NSC-68, a position paper which called for "a bold and massive program of rebuilding the West's defensive potential to surpass that of the Soviet world, and of meeting each fresh challenge promptly and unequivocally."
In August 1952, the OPC and OSO merged into a single clandestine force under Frank Wisner. His assistant was Richard Helms, a left-over from the OSS days. In January 1953 Smith was moved from the CIA to the State Department, and Truman replaced him with Allen Dulles, another OSS veteran. Dulles took advantage of the agency's ties to the British Secret Intelligence Service and the Gehlen Organization, the latter of which consisted of former Nazi Germany officers. Gehlen had been part of the German General Staff and headed the Foreign Armies East unit which provided Hitler with covert information on the Soviet Union. After World War II the Gehlen Organization was retained by the Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC), and then in 1949 it was transferred to the CIA. Gehlen agents recruited and trained agents from Eastern Europe and sent them back on covert intelligence operations.
Almost from its inception the CIA expanded its intelligence-gathering function to include other covert operations which involved rigging elections, manipulating labor unions, carrying out paramilitary operations, overthrowing governments, and assassinating foreign officials.
DESTABILIZATION AND ASSASSINATIONS. If a country did not cooperate with the United States, the CIA frequently emerged as a destabilization and assassination force. Its clandestine operations assumed a variety of forms:
The outright murder of political leaders -- the Congo's Lumumba and Salvador Allende of Chile were just two heads of state who were eliminated.
Eight documented attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, one of which occurred on the day John F. Kennedy was killed.
Direct conspiracies with terrorists and military forces to overthrow unfavorable countries such as the Congo, Indonesia, Chile, Greece, Guatemala, and Iran.
Funding of foreign politicians to overthrow democratically elected Goulart of Brazil in 1964; to elect Violetta Chamorro and her 15-party coalition and defeat the democratically elected Sandinista government in 1990.
In 1976, President Ford attempted to curtail the power of the CIA by issuing a presidential order that stated: "No employee of the United States shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." Two years later, President Carter strengthened Ford's order with another one which prohibited assassinations by the United States government. And on December 4, 1981 President Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 which was similar to Ford's decree: "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassinations."
However, Reagan reversed his policy on November 13, 1984. A month before, the CIA had paid hit-men to kill a Muslim sheik named Fadallah. The car bomb exploded, killing 80 people, but Fadallah was not among the dead. At the same time, Reagan was losing support among members of Congress and the American people for the Contra war in Nicaragua. As a result, he canceled his executive order from three years earlier that had banned assassinations. On August 11, 1985 Reagan reinstated the "license to kill" clause after the hijacking of an American TWA plane that summer. However, pressured by members of Congress, Reagan issued a new executive order on May 12, 1986.
Less than a year into President Bush's administration, he issued a "memorandum of law" that allowed "accidental" killing if it was a byproduct of legal action. On October 14, 1989 the Los Angeles Times reported the memo. It read: "A decision by the President to employ overt military force ... Would not constitute assassination if United States forces were employed against combatant forces of another nation, a guerrilla force, or a terrorist or other organization whose actions pose a threat to the security of the United States."
"The law: it must be honored; may we honor it." - Daniel Webster, 1847
UNITED STATES ARMY SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS. The CIA has been well known for training Latin American leaders on American soil. In 1946, Escuela de las Americas, the School of the Americas, was set up by the Pentagon. A military base was first used in Panama, but in 1984 operations were moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. By this time the school came under the control of the CIA. This obscure Pentagon operation has trained Latin American officers in U.S. weaponry and tactics including that of carrying out assassinations.
The School of the Americas has trained over 56,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency skills. The school's budget is $3 million annually. Some of its graduates include: 19 of the 27 Salvadoran officers implicated in the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests at San Salvador's Central American University; four of the five Honduran officers who were accused of organizing a secret death squad in the country; six Peruvian officers who were linked to a death squad which murdered nine Lima college students; 105 of the 246 Colombian officers who were accused of human rights violations; General Raoul Cedras, ousted from Haiti in 1994; General Hugo Banzer, dictator of Bolivia from 1971 to 1978; Manuel Noriega of Panama; Colonel Roberto D'Aubuisson, dictator of El Salvador and a death squad leader who carried out the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in 1980; the soldiers who raped the American nuns in El Salvador in 1980; and 10 officers who were implicated in the mass killings of 900 peasants at El Mozote in 1981.
In addition to Fort Benning, many Guatemalan officers are trained at the G-2 headquarters in the Guatemalan National Guard Palace. Since the 1960s, they have been trained by undercover CIA officers. This G-2/CIA operation has been corroborated by various Guatemalan officers, CIA officials, and former dictators of Guatemala. A former chief of staff, General Benedicto Lucas Garcia stated, "If the G-2 wants to kill you, they kill you. They send one of their trucks with a hit squad and that's it." Another former chief of staff, General Hector Morales, acknowledged that the CIA funds the G-2. Additionally, he said that the G-2 maintains files and "watches anyone who is an opponent of the Guatemalan state in any realm." Another G-2 officer maintained that it had a crematorium and "processed" abductees by chopping off limbs, singeing flesh, and administering electric shocks. When asked in 1994 how the country's death squads originated and their involvement with the CIA, General Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, military dictator from 1983 to 1986, replied, "in the 1960s by the CIA." General Efrain Rios Montt, in power in 1982 and 1983 and the president of Congress in 1996, stated that the CIA had agents with the G-2. He ordered the massacre of thousands of civilians and 662 villages destroyed in this time frame. When asked if he was guilty, he answered, "Yes, try me! Put me against the wall." He continued by saying that he would be tried if Americans would also be tried -- and specifically President Reagan.
In April 1997, the CIA declassified a training manual which was used at the School of Americas. Excerpts of the manual include:
Apprehension. "The manner and timing of the arrest can contribute substantially to the questioners' purpose and should be planned to achieve surprise and the maximum amount of mental discomfort. (A suspect) should therefore be arrested at a moment when he least expects it and when his mental and physical resistance is at its lowest. The ideal time to make an arrest is in the early hours of the morning. When arrested at this time, most subjects experience intense feelings of shock, insecurity, and psychological stress."
Handling. "Subject is brought into the facility and handcuffed and should remain so during the entire processing. Any time the subject is moved for any reason, he should be blindfolded and handcuffed. Subject should be required to comply immediately and precisely with all instructions. Subject is completely stripped and told to take a shower. Blindfold remains in place while showering and a guard watches throughout. Subject is given a thorough medical examination, including all body cavities. Total isolation should be maintained after the first questioning session."
Cells. "Cells should be nine feet long and six feet wide. Cell doors should be heavy steel. The slamming of a cell door impresses upon the subject that he is cut off from the rest of the world. Window should be set high in the wall, with the capability of blocking out light. Bedding should be minimal - cot and blanket. The idea is to prevent the subject from relaxing. The subject should have to ask to relieve himself; then he should either be given a bucket or escorted by a guard to a latrine."
Threats. "The threat of coercion usually weakens or destroys resistance more effectively than coercion itself. A threat should be delivered coldly. When a threat is used, it should always be implied that the subject himself is to blame by using such words as, ‘You leave me with no other choice but to...' If a subject refuses to comply once the threat is given, it must be carried out."
Coercion. "While we do not stress the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them and the proper way to use them. These techniques should be reserved for those subjects that have been trained or have developed the ability to resist non-coercive techniques."
Graduates of the School of the Americas have been responsible for a number of military coups and murders. Since there have been so many, the School of the Americas in known throughout Latin America as "escuela de golpes" or "coup school." In the 1980s, alumni from the School of the Americas were responsible for the Uraba massacre in Colombia, the El Mozete massacre in El Salvador, the assassination of Archbishop Romero in San Salvador, the rape and murder of American churchwomen and murder of six Jesuit priests and two others in El Salvador, the LaCantura massacre in Peru, the torture and murder of a United Nations worker in Chile, as well as numerous human rights violations in most Latin American countries. The United Nations Truth Commission revealed that 19 of the 26 Salvadoran military officers involved in the murder of the six Jesuit priests and two others in El Salvador had been trained by the School of the Americas.
The number of Mexican military personnel who attended the School of the Americas has grown over the years. In 1994, there were 15 members of the Mexican military enrolled at the military institute; in 1995, the number had grown to 24; in 1996 - 148; in 1997 - 333; and in 1998 - 219.
No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassinations." - Executive Order 12333 issued by President Reagan, December 4, 1981
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CIA. The director of the CIA oversees four directorates. The Directorate of Operations consists of approximately 5,000 of the CIA's 22,000 full time employees. Operations is responsible for espionage -- which means frequently breaking laws -- across the globe. Most of its activities are covert whether it be attempting assassinations, orchestrating coups, training foreigners in paramilitary operations, or disseminating propaganda.
The Directorate of Science and Technology consists of about 5,000 employees. It is responsible for satellites and other technical methods of espionage such as wiretapping and intercepting cables. It oversees the Office of SIGINT Signals Intelligence) Operations which does the actual monitoring of radar and sensors which pick up radio transmissions from missiles being tested. As a result, the directorate works alongside the National Security Agency (NSA). The National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) is part of this directorate. The NPIC is responsible for keeping updated maps on nearly every part of the globe. However, in the 1999 NATO air war against Yugoslavia, the NPIC erroneously identified a Belgrade building as a warehouse. Instead it was the Chinese embassy which was bombed by American war planes. The most advanced satellites used by the NSA and the Directorate of Science and Technology are the KH-11s which have the capability of reading letters and numbers on automobile license plates.
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service is also responsible to the Directorate of Science and Technology. One of its first projects after the inception of the CIA was to set up Radio Free Europe and broadcast into Eastern European countries. The directorate also monitors and interprets reports from foreign media The directorate also installs bugging devices and makes spying apparatus such as disguises, false passports, and speech-altering devices.
In 1974, it was Science and Technology which used the Glomar Explorer retrieved a sunken Soviet submarine. When most of the submarines was brought to the surface, half of it broke in half and sank to the ocean's bottom.
The Directorate of Administration is a support group in the CIA and consists of approximately 9,000 employees. It not only conducts the administrative work of the agency but it also conducts security checks, conducts polygraph tests, and operates with the FBI to investigate espionage. The directorate operates a psychological profiling unit which analyzes world leaders. In addition it analyzes such things as hair specimens of these heads of state to determine if they have such things as health problems. The Office of Training and Education falls under this directorate. It recruits and trains agents in such areas as foreign languages and conducting espionage operations.
The Directorate of Intelligence consists of approximately 3,000 people. It is responsible for consolidating all information which the CIA receives. The data comes from satellites, spies, media reports, and publications. The directorate then makes recommendations based on analyzing data. In 1950, the Directorate of Intelligence failed to predict that North Korea was about to launch an invasion into the south. In addition it did not warn of the possibility that Chinese troops would also sweep into the south. In 1962, the directorate concluded erroneously that the Soviets would equip their Cuban missiles with warheads after satellites detected them being transported across the Atlantic. The directorate predicted that Israel would not be attacked by Egypt and Syria in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. And in 1979, it did not foresee the Iranian revolution under Khomeini.
The CIA has maintained the largest news service in the world and has retained a budget larger than all the news agencies. The Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that the CIA owned "more than 200 wire services, and book publishing companies" and even subsidized more. It was revealed that more than 50 media outlets were run by the CIA both within and outside the United States. They involved 12 publishing companies, which marketed 1,200 books secretly written by the CIA. Some included books written in Russian, Chinese, and the languages of numerous Third World countries.
THE WATERGATE CONNECTION. Even though there was no substantial evidence linking the CIA to the Watergate break-in of Democratic National Headquarters in 1972, several of the burglars had ties to the agency. E. Howard Hunt just retired the same year from the Directorate of Operations. Two years before, James McCord left the Office of Security. Bernard Barker once was recruited by the CIA while a member of the Cuban police force. And Eugenio Martinez had been a CIA contact employee. The CIA supplied Hunt with a wig, camera, speech-altering device, and false identification papers used when he broke into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding in 1971. Fielding was a psychiatrist whom Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, had consulted on several occasions.
After 50 years of secrecy, the CIA finally divulged its budget but only as a result of a lawsuit. In October 1997 CIA information officer Lee Strickland made a one sentence announcement: "In response to the referenced Freedom of Information Act request, the total budget appropriation for intelligence for fiscal 1997 is $26.6 billion."
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE CIA. Perhaps the first blatant failure of the CIA was in the early 1950s when the agency first learned from the Associated Press that the Soviet Union had conducted its first atomic weapons tests. By misusing intelligence information, the CIA created an immense credibility problem of its own. The CIA's shoddy clandestine operations has become an anachronism that no longer protects the stability of the United States. Furthermore, the agency's operations frequently compromise the principles of a "democratic" country.
Numerous covert activities carried out by the CIA since its inception reflected the limits of intelligence in evaluating events across the globe. The agency unsuccessfully failed to overthrow Castro at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The agency also failed to decipher Leonid Brezhnev's intentions toward Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Anwar Sadat's toward Israel in 1973.
Under the Reagan administration, the CIA first issued an estimate in 1981 that highly exaggerated an alleged connection between the Soviet Union and international terrorism. Then the agency overestimated turmoil in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini and helped to persuade the White House to sell arms to Iran in exchange for 52 hostages taken from the American embassy as well as other Americans who had been swept off the streets by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. The kidnapping of CIA Station Chief William Buckley in Beirut in 1984 exposed the CIA's failure to enforce security measures for its senior staff. After months of searching for Buckley and willing to pay almost any price for his release, the agency was unable to locate him before his murder. Buckley's kidnapping led to a national security directive Reagan in 1984 that created a CIA counter-terrorism center where the agency's analysts and operations officers worked togther for the first time. The directive authorized for the first time the use of both covert action and military force in the war against radical Islamic guerrilla groups in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
In 1985, Casey wrote an intelligence memorandum to the White House. He urged the Reagan administration to begin negotiating with " moderate" Iranians since, he claimed, they had begun to limit their sponsorship of terrorism. This resulted in Iran-Contra which humiliated the White House after the story broke in 1986. Casey incorrectly concluded that the illegal sale of arms to Iran was justified because the Soviet Union was threatening Teheran. Casey also misused the CIA in order to try to corroborate former Secretary of State Alexander Haig's assertion that the Soviet Union was the sponsor of international terrorism. He charged that terrorism was "being played by the people in the basement of the Kremlin."
As the CIA was conducting the Contra war in Nicaragua, it reported that El Salvador's FMLN guerrillas were dependent on Sandinista weapons from neighboring Nicaragua. However, the only piece of evidence to substantiate this accusation was a Volkswagen, carrying arms, had crossed over into Honduras, which was the staging ground for the United States-backed Contras. Meanwhile, the CIA ignored the fact that the Medellin cartel, operating out of Colombia, was involved with Mexico in drug trafficking. The agency also failed to report that the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was involved in money laundering and drug trafficking in Latin America.
In 1985, Casey and his successor, Robert Gates, warned of a nonexistent Soviet plot against Pope John Paul II. Gates later denied that he had any role in politicizing intelligence, but said that he watched Casey "on issue after issue sit in meetings and present intelligence framed in terms of the policy he wanted pursued."
Reagan's national security directive justified the use of force against Libya in 1986 when the CIA claimed that the Libyan government was responsible for the attack on a discotheque in Berlin. The bombing of Libya resulted in the terrorist attack on Pan American Flight 103 two years later with the deaths of nearly 300 civilians.
In 1986, Gates stated that the Soviets were deploying an underground laser defense system, aimed at incoming missiles. Presumably, this piece of disinformation was to stir up more fear of the Soviet Union in order to funnel more revenue into the military-industrial complex. Gates failed to predict that the Angolan Marxist nation of Angola, under President Jose dos Santos, would negotiate with UNITA guerrillas, funded by the United States.
Since the end of the Cold War, many of the covert activities of the CIA have been directed at allies rather than at rogue states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea. During the Bush administration, the CIA failed to accurately assess the threat of Iraq in the Persian Gulf area. The agency also failed to warn the Bush administration before Desert Storm that Iraq had stored sarin nerve gas at a depot known as Khamisiyah. Once the war erupted, General Norman Schwartzkopf stated that CIA intelligence reports were of little use to him. Even until the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CIA continued to upgrade the military and economic strength of the Soviet Union.
The CIA's The agency's reputation was damaged once again in 1998 when it did not anticipate a series of nuclear weapons tests in India. By failing to do so, the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was jeopardized.
The attacks on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, showed the limits of intelligence in America's war against terrorism. According to Melvin Goodman, who wrote in the August 27, 1998 edition of Intellectual Capital, Clinton relied on satellite imagery from the National Reconnaissance Office and communications intercepts from the National Security Agency. Additionally, CIA Director George Tenet provided Clinton with an analysis Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Afghanistan and justified the use of military force. The CIA relied heavily on Islamic informants, and the agency's reports led the Clinton administration to believe it was targeting bin Laden's leadership council in Afghanistan. However, most of the victims were Pakistanis near the city of Khost.
American missiles also hit the Sudanese city of Khartoum where the CIA maintained terrorists were building chemical weapons. After the attack, there was no evidence to corroborate that theory. Several Arab states requested that inspectors be sent to Khartoum to look for signs of chemicals related to nerve agents, but the Clinton administration refused to comply.
THE WAR ON CIVIL LIBERTIES . In 1967, CIA Director Richard Helms appointed Thomas Karamessines as deputy director of operations. Karamessines had been involved in covert operations to assassinate Patrice Lumumba of the Congo as well as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara of Cuba. With the United States heavily involved in the Vietnam, anti-war protests were escalating within the country.
Karamessines' first assignment was to take on the anti-war press. This task replaced domestic political espionage as the highest priority within the United States. Karamessines formed the Special Operations Group (SOG), a clandestine group, and placed Richard Ober in charge of coordinating the program. Ober expanded SOG to investigate and infiltrate the anti-war underground press which included over 500 newspapers. SOG was later renamed MHCHAOS, the "MH" for the world-wide area of operations and "CHAOS" for "chaos."
Helms later appointed Ober to the Intelligence Evaluation Committee (IEC), a secret interagency. Ober met with officials from the Justice Department, Defense Department, Secret Service, and the National Security Agency. The IEC reported directly to John Dean, President Nixon's White House counsel. The role of the IEC was to prevent better methods of preventing leaks while performing domestic intelligence operations.
One of the CIA's most embarrassing leaks was the publication of Daniel Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers in 1971, just prior to the Watergate break-in. Ellsberg had worked for the Rand Corporation, a conservative think-tank based in Santa Monica, California. In 1967 he was appointed to the Vietnam Study Task Force which produced the 47 volume U.S.-Vietnam Relations, 1945-68. The task force used secret documents in its study of American involvement in Vietnam. Subsequently, Ellsberg turned over some of the classified documents known as the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.
The Nixon White House ordered the IEC to recommend procedures to prevent leaks, since there was no such policy. The committee responded by writing The Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information, a secret document explaining how to prevent leaks. The IEC recommended that there were times that the it would be in the best interest of the government to deliberately leak classified information. It also concluded that it would be difficult to prosecute individuals who released secret documents, since those people could hold high positions in the government. The IEC also recommended that contacts with media personnel by federal officials be recorded and that procedures be clearly defined. The committee said that leakers should be fired and that laws should be enacted to prosecute them.
In 1996, Colby testified to the Senate that the CIA had infiltrated the peace movement in New York City and that the agency had collected approximately 10,000 files on Americans.
THE MARCHETTI CASE. In March 1972, Victor Marchetti, a former CIA agent, was finishing a book which disclosed clandestine CIA deceptions. Marchetti had been the executive assistant to the deputy director of the CIA. And had attended regular intelligence meetings with Helms. Marchetti also worked with Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) which gave him access to numerous documents which, if released, would be highly embarrassing to the agency. The CIA was most disturbed by Marchetti's opposition to operations to overthrow or destabilize democratic governments overseas.
Marchetti published an article in the April 3, 1972 edition of Nation entitled "The CIA: The President's Loyal Tool." He detailed stories explaining that the agency manufactured stories as part of carrying out covert operations and that labor and youth groups within the United States were infiltrated by the CIA. Marchetti also castigated Helms for performing sloppy work in overseeing intelligence analyses. Now Marchetti was looking for a publisher.
According to author Angus Mackenzie (Secrets), CIA Executive Director William Colby and CIA attorneys asked the federal court to force Marchetti to turn the manuscript over to the agency for censorship. The White House took Marchetti to court in its effort to censor his First Amendment rights. The prosecutors cited the 1947 National Security Act which protected intelligence sources and methods from "unauthorized disclosure." District Court Judge Albert Bryan issued an injunction on April 18 and Marchetti's trial began on May 15. Karamessines was the agency's top witness, stating that Marchetti's manuscript would compromise intelligence operations. For example he named the CIA agent who was instrumental in the capture and execution of Che Guevara in Bolivia. However, Karamessines did not mention two secret units -- MHCHAOS and the "Plumbers." The "Plumbers" were a White House group that carried out illegal operations, such as the May 1972 Watergate burglary, and were paid with funds from the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP).
Judge Bryan agreed that censoring Marchetti was a matter of contract law --- not a First Amendment case of censorship. All the government needed was a secrecy agreement and proof that he was trying to publish information which he learned in his work place. In the end, Bryan granted a permanent injunction that Karamessines had requested. Marchetti was required to submit all his writings to CIA censors prior to sending them to Alfred A,. Knopf Publishers.
Marchetti appealed the verdict. He showed how CIA censors had blacked out 339 portions of his book and tried to work a compromise by reducing that number to 168. But 27 censored areas dealt with satellite intelligence which CIA censors read in his book and then made the decision to classify those parts. Therefore, Karamessines realized that the case was not about truly classified information. It was about anything and everything which the CIA wanted to classify. Circuit Court Judge Clement Haynesworth ruled that Marchetti "effectively relinquished his First Amendment rights" when he signed a secrecy document. The CIA had won its case., and in a 6-3 vote the United States Supreme Court refused to accept the case. In the summer of 1974, Helms resigned his post with the CIA, and Nixon appointed James Schlesinger to succeed him.
THE McCOY CASE. The CIA also targeted Alfred McCoy when he was about to publish The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia in 1972. McCoy researched the CIA's role during the Vietnam war era and concluded that the agency was involved in heroin trade in Southeast Asia. He wrote how the CIA collaborated with right wing mercenaries and warlords in Laos and how "Air America" was used to transport heroin out of the country. McCoy explained that the CIA operated in Thailand with paramilitary units trained in Taiwan and that agents operated alongside mercenaries who controlled up to 90 percent of Burma's opium trade which was destined for the United States.
Mackenzie pointed out how Karamessines once again was assigned to block the book which was being published by Harper and Row. Karamessines had an inside connection with senior editor Cord Meyer who, despite heavy lobbying, refused to freeze McCoy's contract. Fearful that the book would jeopardize CIA operations abroad and damage the agency's credibility, Karamessines finally convinced McCoy to submit the manuscript to CIA censors who would be given ten days to make an evaluation.
Since the outset of the Cold War, the media had always taken a pro-administration, anti- communist stance. The country's print media and their journalists had faithfully worked with the CIA to help the agency further its objectives throughout the world. Some media groups provided "cover" for CIA personnel overseas by allowing the agency's personnel to pose as reporters. The CIA also provided monetary incentives to journalists in exchange for information.
However, Seymour Hersh, a reporter for the New York Times, had broken tradition and reported stories critical of the CIA. Earlier, he had run a story of CIA surveillance of dissidents in New York City during the anti-war and civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hersh also reported that the White House and the CIA lied to Congress about American involvement just two years before the 1973 coup that overthrew Salvador Allende in Chile.
Now Hersh got hold of the McCoy story on the very day that the whistle-blower turned his manuscript over to the CIA censors. Hersh had a front page story that explained how the CIA was trying to block the book. Days later, the CIA censors gave McCoy a list of their objections in a 20 page document. But since the agency had no contractual agreement with McCoy, it was impossible for the courts to prevent the book's publication.
Months later, beginning on December 22, 1972, Hersh wrote a series of 33 articles entitled "CIA Assails Asian Drug Charge." In the stories, he revealed that the CIA had gathered 10,000 files on American citizens and had conducted illegal break-ins, wiretaps, and mail openings. The New York Times also investigated and reported on the CIA's role in a reported scandal in Singapore which occurred nine years earlier in 1965. Two CIA agents were arrested when their polygraph machine was discovered in a Singapore hotel, and they were arrested. The CIA offered a $3.3 million bribe to the Singapore government for the release of the two agents. At first the State Department denied the allegations but later apologized for the incident. In addition New York Times journalist Ronald Kessler revealed that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had compiled files on the personal lives members of Congress and that two FBI agents said that they would testify to the validity of those allegations.
INVESTIGATING THE CIA IN THE 1970s: THE HUSTON PLAN. In 1955, President Eisenhower put together the 5412 Group to regulate covert operations. 5412 Group consisted of senior officials in the State and Defense Departments, the director of the CIA, and the national security adviser. In the Kennedy administration, the name was changed to the Special Group, President Johnson renamed it the 303 Committee, and Nixon called it the 40 Committee. When Nixon moved into the White House, he moved to increase the role and power of the CIA. The "Huston plan," named after Nixon's aide for internal security affairs, authorized intelligence organizations to open mail, examine cables, eavesdrop on conversations, and break into homes and businesses of Americans who disagreed with the administration's policies.
THE CHURCH COMMITTEE. Because of MHCHAOS and Watergate, Congress began investigating the CIA. Earlier in 1972, the Church Committee, headed by Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho, was set up as a subcommittee under the Foreign Relations Committee. On September 16, 1975, Senators Frank Church and John Tower subpoenaed Colby to testify.
One goal of the Church Committee was to investigate the death of President Kennedy. The committee also probed into various areas of the CIA. The agency ultimately concluded in 1975 that about 50 American journalists were entangled with CIA covert actions and that approximately have of them were paid off by the CIA. Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post maintained that the number was actually much higher and that between 1950 and 1966 alone, the New York Timesalone provided cover for 10 CIA officials. He also maintained that some New York Timesjournalists were paid CIA operatives.
The subcommittee never placed any blame on an American president. Church said that there was no evidence "that would directly link the CIA in this kind of activity to the President of the United States." Church never criticized Group 5412 or the "Huston plan." He said that he was sure that this was just another covert operation which indicated that the CIA was an out-of-control "rogue elephant." The committee reported that presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt had ordered intelligence groups to wiretap and to accumulate files on Americans suspected of being dissidents. When the committee tried to probe into the death of John Kennedy, the White House again set up roadblocks to stymie an investigation. Church threatened to resign from the subcommittee when President Ford said that he would refuse to release the subcommittee's findings on the assassination.
The Church Committee concluded that ITT had offered a bribe to the CIA in 1973 to overthrow the democratically-elected Allende government in Chile. The committee also uncovered evidence suggesting that the Nixon administration attempted to sabotage the hearings. When the committee wanted to hold hearings on covert activities during the Allende coup of 1973, the White House attempted to block progress by refusing to allow Director Colby and Secretary of State Kissinger to testify.
Church also learned that American corporations had bribed foreign leaders, and these allegations led to investigations in the Netherlands and Italy. Ultimately, the prime minister of Japan was arrested. Director Colby believed that he should report all the past abuses carried out by the CIA to the Church Committee. He believed that the CIA had "bad secrets" as well as "good secrets." Director Helms disagreed with Colby and believed that all the clandestine operations of the CIA should be withheld. Nevertheless, Colby told the subcommittee that when Nixon ordered the destruction of all biological and chemical weapons in 1969, a CIA scientist refused to comply to the orders. As a result of Colby's testimony, his tenure as CIA director was tenuous.
A series of scandals emerged in 1977 that further tarnished the image of the agency. The Church Committee's report was finally released on November 20, 1975. It contained several thousand pages. The report basically cleared the CIA of direct responsibility for assassinations carried out throughout the world. The report said that the CIA tried and failed on eight occasions to kill Cuba's Castro. It concluded that the CIA plotted to assassinate the Congo's Lumumba with a "lethal substance," but that he was killed by rebel soldiers. The report stated that the agency encouraged the assassination of the Dominican Republic's Trujillo but that rebels killed him without the use of CIA weapons. The report said that the CIA also encouraged the assassination of South Vietnam's Diem in 1963 but that Vietnamese coup plotters were responsible for his death. And the report concluded that the CIA plotted to kidnap Chile's General Schneider who supported the democratically-elected Allende.
The report did document the CIA's "excessive" use of covert action, and it included 900 projects and several thousand minor ones since 1961. It disclosed that the CIA:
Placed 1.5 million names of Americans, who were potential subversives, into a computer database.
Opened files on over 7,000 Americans during its domestic spying program.
Opened 38,000 letters along with help from the FBI.
And the report disclosed that the FBI conducted 500,000 investigations of dissidents, and they did not obtain one conviction.
The Church Committee recommended that the Senate form a permanent oversight committee. However, the Senate responded by passing legislation which created a "temporary" oversight committee which only had the jurisdiction to "study" the issue for a mere 15 months.
THE PIKE COMMITTEE. In the mid-1970s, the Pike Committee, headed by Democrat Otis Pike, investigated the CIA. The committee revealed the first official overview of CIA excesses. It uncovered evidence that the General Accounting Office had been prevented from auditing the CIA since 1962. The GAO had no idea of how much money had been funded to the CIA as well as how the agency had spent the money. The committee analyzed six cases, one of which involved American intelligence during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Pike learned that the CIA had predicted that there would not be a war just hours before it commenced. He said that the intelligence, which was provided to the White House, was "quite simply, obviously, and starkly wrong."
The Pike Committee approved subpoenas, requesting documents from the CIA, NSC, State Department, NSA, and DIA. While the CIA, NSA, and DIA turned over information to the committee, the NSC and State Department refused to comply. Within the State Department, Kissinger refused to turn over documents involving proposed and approved covert operations. Kissinger was hit with a contempt citation which accused him of failing to turn over information on arms control verification. Kissinger maintained that the files would "raise serious questions all over the world of what this country is doing to itself and what the necessity is to torment ourselves like this month after month."
Ford tried to reach a compromise with the Pike Committee. He promised that a State Department official would read aloud the recommendations but that the committee would not be able to see the actual documents. This way the committee would hear the information, and Ford would still be upholding his executive privilege invocation. Eventually, the members of the Pike Committee were allowed to see the documents.
In January 1976 the New York Times slowly leaked some of the conclusions drawn by the Pike committee. According to the stories, the CIA systematically undervalued the aid which it gave to Angola, and the CIA possibly permitted the 1974 Greek coup in Cyprus which led to the Turkish invasion. The New York Times also reported that 11 CIA agents posed as journalists while conducting covert operations in other countries. And the newspaper reported that the CIA was heavily involved on spying on dissidents in American colleges and universities.
Finally, the Pike Committee published its official findings. Just as the Church committee concluded, the Pike Committee likewise asserted that the CIA was not a "rogue elephant," that it was not out of control. The report read that the CIA "had been utterly responsive to the instructions of the President and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs." The committee agreed that it was the presidency -- not the CIA -- which needed to be reformed. They said that many abuses were not merely the fault of Nixon or various CIA personnel, but that secret tools were available for them to use. President Ford invoked executive privilege for the first time since Nixon claimed it when refusing to turn over his tapes in Watergate. Ford said that the documents "revealed to an unacceptable degree the consultation process involving advice and recommendations to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon." However, The Pike committee did condemn the FBI, the CIA, and Secretary of State Kissinger. It noted that Kissinger had "a passion for secrecy" and that he did not fully cooperate with their investigation.
The committee concluded that the CIA along with the FBI ran large propaganda operations and incurred over $10 billion in expenses that were unsupervised. It said that top CIA officials overspent their budget by 400 percent on foreign operations and 500 percent on domestic espionage. The committee also determined that the size of the agency military operations was larger than that of most foreign governments. And it said that the CIA planted propaganda articles in the foreign media, pamphlets, and books.
The committee recommended several ways to account for covert operations. It recommended:
Increasing the members on the 40 Committee which approved covert activities.
Requiring the president's signature when approving covert operations.
Prohibiting assassinations and paramilitary operations.
Requiring the president to notify congressional overseeing committees within 48 hours after the beginning of covert operations.
The House establish a nine to 13 member permanent oversight committee which could declassify information by a majority vote.
ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION.Ford ordered his vice president to create the Rockefeller Commission to investigate the death of President Kennedy and to probe into the charges that the CIA was out of control. Ford initially released only the part of the Rockefeller report which did not involve the Kennedy assassination. The report listed only a few abusive activities which had been carried out by the CIA. The most explosive charge was that the agency had conducted drug tests on unsuspecting Americans between 1955 and 1966. Ultimately, the Rockefeller Commission merely suggested that the CIA make modest organizational changes. Nothing was stated about criminal sanctions except in the case of the agency's officials who disclosed secret information. The members of the Rockefeller Commission made the decision to pass the Kennedy assassination inquiry to the Senate.
OTHER PROPOSALS. Senate Majority leader Mike Mansfield attempted to use the allegations that the CIA and White House conspired to cover up American involvement in Chile as a way to increase oversight by Congress of the CIA. Democratic Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota and Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman of New York worked to ban all covert operations carried out by the intelligence community. However, their proposals were defeated. Only the Hughes-Ryan Amendment became law. The amendment provided for the expansion of the number of congressional committees -- from six to eight -- which had to be notified on intelligence operations. It also required the president to make a "finding" on covert activities and to report them "in timely fashion" which was interpreted as meaning within 48 hours.
However, Hughes-Ryan did not allow members of Congress to object to any covert objections undertaken by the intelligence community. To circumvent the problem, Iowa Senator Dick Clark sought a public ban on aid to Angola. Additionally, leaks began to pour out of the Pike committee. When it was discovered that the United States intended to give $5 million to Italian anti-communist parties during an election, the congressmen responsible for the leak on the committee contended that they were providing a public service.
As a result of the findings of the congressional committees, Ford recommended only a minor reorganization of the CIA. He proposed the creation of a new executive branch oversight board and increasing the power of the director of the CIA. He said that he favored new procedures whereby the executive board would approve covert operations. Finally, Ford hoped to pass legislation which would make it a criminal offense for federal employees to disclose intelligence "sources and methods" to unauthorized persons.
But both the Pike and Church committees condemned Ford's proposals. Church maintained that they would provide the CIA with a "bigger shield and a longer sword with which to stab it."
In 1980, Congress passed the Intelligence Oversight Act which superseded the Hughes-Ryan Amendment. This legislation drastically reduced the number of congressional committees which oversaw intelligence operations to two. Even though President Carter imposed stricter controls on the CIA by issuing an executive order, that was quickly dumped months after President Reagan was inaugurated in 1981. Reagan quickly gave more autonomy to both the CIA and FBI. He allowed for the CIA to engage in domestic spying and allowed for the surveillance of Americans in other countries. Reagan also permitted some covert CIA actions to be implemented within the United States.
CIA DIRECTOR GEORGE BUSH. Ironically, the same year that congressional committees investigated the CIA and concluded that the agency was out of control, President Ford fired Director Colby and replaced him with George Bush. He testified at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Bush maintained that the CIA needed to stay out of the business of domestic intelligence -- such as Operate CHAOS --and that its jurisdiction was only in foreign affairs. Colby had been criticized for not suppressing books which attacked the CIA.
He also wanted to appear tough by endorsing a strict policy on secrecy to make it almost impossible to allow critical books on the CIA to be published. In January 1977 the Senate confirmed Bush to head the CIA. His primary objective was to pressure Congress to stop investigating the agency. Bush appeared several times before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in March 1976. His strategy was to turn the tables on congressional committees, attacking them and not the CIA for being responsible for security leaks. Bush said that eight congressional committees and 11 subcommittees were responsible in overseeing the CIA, and he proposed that that power be consolidated in one joint committee overlook the agency.
His proposal was successful. Congress reduced the number of committees overseeing the CIA to two: the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Then President Ford issued executive orders which gave Bush the authority to spread secrecy contracts throughout the executive branch and increased his control over all intelligence budgets.
Bush also testified before the House Subcommittee on Information and Individual Rights in 1976. Democratic chairman Bella Abzug focused on MHCHAOS, the CIA's surveillance policy of anti-war activists, as well as the FBI's counterpart called COINTELPRO. Bush naturally defended the tactics employed by MHCHAOS, but he did acknowledge that its operations resulted in some improper accumulation of documents. He maintained that the program was not designed to identify anti-war dissidents but that it was intended to identify foreigners who were infiltrating the movement. But it would be extremely unusual for the CIA to operate undercover without piecing together the names of activists. Bush proposed giving more autonomy to the CIA, allowing the agency to destroy information which MHCHAOS accumulated.
Bush finally agreed to allow individuals request their CIA files under the Freedom of Information Act. But as time elapsed, it became evident that the CIA worked to conceal individual records, fighting their civil liberties the entire way.
REAGAN UNLEASHES THE CIA. NSDD 84. When Reagan took office in 1981, he had to contend with some of the moderate reforms that President Jimmy Carter had made. In June 1978 Carter had created the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) with Executive Order 12065. Its purpose was to eliminate excess secrecy by balancing the public's interest in accessing government information with the need to protect national security. The ISOO determined what type of information could damage American security. "Top secret" leaks could cause exceptionally grave damage; "Secret" leaks could lead to serious damage; and "Confidential" leaks could cause identifiable damage. Richard Willard was placed in charge of assembling the ISOO. Steven Garfinkel was named director, and he met regularly with officials from the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, and Defense, and others from the CIA.
In 1981, Reagan immediately set out to change the ISOO and to loosen congressional controls of the CIA by granting more autonomy to the agency. He appointed William Casey director of the CIA. Only two months into his presidency, Reagan gave the CIA director the green light to prepare a clandestine war in Nicaragua. Additionally, both Reagan and Casey were obsessed with classified leaks on the home front. The CIA went to work to provide more secrecy for the CIA in carrying out domestic operations. Willard recommended that the FBI be allowed to pursue leakers of classified documents even if the CIA violated the law.
The Willard report recommended National Security Decision Directive 84 (NSDD 84). It amounted to a government-wide secrecy program. According to the orders, the actions of government employees in the executive branch could be directed even if they were never made public. Reagan quickly authorized Willard's program -- NSDD 84 -- which became a law in itself.
The directive called for mandatory secrecy contracts -- non-disclosure agreements -- to be signed by government workers who were involved with classified materials. It also forced employees to abide by prepublication censorship. NSDD 84 mandated that news leaks be evaluated by the appropriate agency involved. Then steps would be taken to investigate the responsible party so he or she could be prosecuted.
However, NSDD 84 created an intramural problem in the intelligence community. The General Accounting Office estimated that of the government's 5,137,280 civilian and military personnel working in 47 federal agencies, over 4 million would be required to sign the secrecy contract. Because of this extraordinary burden and expense, the House Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security approved an amendment that placed a six month moratorium on expenditures for more secrecy contracts.
Nevertheless, the Pentagon continued to lobby for more restrictions on personnel operating in intelligence agencies. In 1984, Samuel Morison, grandson of American historian Samuel Eliot Morison, was prosecuted for turning over a classified document of a Soviet aircraft carrier to Jane's Defence Weekly. He pled not guilty on the grounds that the Espionage Act was intended to punish only those who divulged secrets to foreign hostile governments. Morison's attorney maintained that he neither stole the document nor passed it on to another government. Morison was convicted and was sentenced to two years, and then he was released after serving eight months.
Although NSDD 84 was a victory for the CIA, the agency also continued to lobby to amend the Freedom of Information Act by hiding classified information. But this would take an act of Congress. In June 1983, CIA lawyers compiled a list of 23 FOIA lawsuits against the agency, hoping to dismiss them under the new exemption. Twelve of the 23 cases involved requests under the FOIA to obtain files involving the assassination of John Kennedy. Additionally, there were requests to see the 372 pages of files on the National Student Association which the CIA had infiltrated in the 1960s. The bill, entitled the CIA Information Act, easily passed Congress in September 1984.
BUSH'S TASK FORCE. During Reagan's second term, the CIA continued to pursue its goal of pushing Congress to pass more secrecy laws so it could continue spy on liberal groups despite the fact that the number of terrorist incidents had dropped from 29 in 1980 to just seven by 1985. The agency found an advocate in Vice President Bush who chaired the Task Force on Combating Terrorism. The CIA's major focus was on liberal groups in the United States that opposed funding for the Contras.
In 1986, Bush's committee published the Public Report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combating Terrorism. The 34 page report recommended that the country's intelligence agencies needed more latitude in penetrating domestic terrorist groups. While Bush lobbied for more powers to conduct espionage, the FBI reported that terrorism was virtually non-existent in the United States. FBI documents showed that the agency conducted 8,450 domestic terrorism investigations in 1986, even though there were only 17 such incidents that year.
The CIA proceeded to use MHCHAOS to infiltrate domestic groups which wanted to cut congressional funding for the Contras. The agency defended its clandestine operations by claiming that such groups were terrorists. Some FBI agents refused to spy against American citizens and were immediately dismissed. Agents were fired in Buffalo, New York for not conducting surveillance on anti-Contra groups. And an FBI agent in Peoria, Illinois was dismissed for refusing to conduct "terrorist" investigations.
Bush's task force also attacked the FOIA and especially the 1974 amendments which were added because of Nixon's White House intelligence operations during the Watergate era. The FBI proposed the B-7 exemption which would allow intelligence agencies to determine if records should be released. In effect, this would exempt political espionage files from being released under the FOIA. The bill also included an amendment that permitted the government to dismiss all pending FOIA lawsuits.
The FOIA bill was promoted by Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Dole who tacked it on to a popular anti-drug bill. The Republican proponents of the bill convinced Democrats to support the legislation by adding a provision that eliminated FOIA fees for the news media, but a similar provision already existed. The bill breezed through both houses in October 1986 and was signed into law by Reagan.
As a result, a class action lawsuit by Frank Wilkinson of California was dismissed. The FBI had 130,000 pages of documents on this suspected communist, and all he could obtain were heavily censored pages which were of no use. Wilkinson claimed that the FBI had disrupted meetings where he had spoken; discredited the National Committee against Repressive Legislation which he had founded; sent "poison pen" letters about the group; sabotaged his fund-raisers; and intervened in the legislative process.
FORM 189. The CIA also went after Lucille Manko who was an amateur writer employed by the Defense Mapping Agency. Manko had a top secret clearance which allowed her to access charts in mapping foreign waters. She was asked to sign Form 189 which would force her to turn over her manuscripts before sending them on to a publisher. Manko was in a dilemma. If she refused to sign the form, her security clearance would be lifted and she would be fired. So she signed Form 189 in order to keep her position, even though she had to abandon her plan to publish her book.
The 150,000 member National Federation of Federal Employees, 40 percent of whom worked in the Defense Department, sued the government in August 1987 to stop implementation of Form 189. The lawsuit was joined later by the 200,000 member Federation of Government Employees. The CIA tried to have the lawsuit dropped by saying that no employees would have their security clearances revoked solely for refusing to sign Form 189. However, agencies still continued to ask for signed secrecy pacts from their employees.
The plaintiffs -- the government employees and several members of Congress -- argued in federal court that the executive branch acted in defiance of a congressional ban on Form 189 and Form 4193, the latter of which banned the publication of a book until CIA censors approved a manuscript. Attorneys for the Reagan administration claimed that the president had the power to control national security information. The federal judge, Oliver Gasch ruled in favor of the White House, stating that Congress had unconstitutionally violated the president's sovereign power to preserve government secrets.
But the CIA and the Reagan administration were rocked when Congress approved an amendment that outlawed the spread of Form 189 and Form 4193. The rider was attached to an appropriations bill which easily passed both houses. Reagan was forced to sign the legislation into law in December 1987 or funds to the executive branch would have been cut off. Then Congress passed another ban on the spread of secrecy contracts as part of another appropriations bill in another attempt to prevent censorship. As a result the CIA replaced Form 189 with Form 312 from which the general term "classified" was removed.
The Committee of Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and 200 other anti- Reagan groups also were targeted by the intelligence community. FBI Director William Sessions - - who eventually moved over to head the CIA -- denied that these operations were ordered by the Reagan White House or that they were politically motivated. When the General Accounting Office attempted to investigate CISPES, the FBI refused to allow the files to be reviewed. However, the GAO did obtain files on 18,144 FBI international terrorism cases between 1982 and 1988.
THE GEORGE HERBERT BUSH PRESIDENCY. After Bush won the November general election, he immediately forced his transition to team to sign secrecy documents, the first American president to do so. Towards the end of Bush's first year in the White House, Congress passed legislation that had limits on secrecy contracts and tacked it on to another appropriations bill that was sure to pass. Then it went to the White House where Bush reluctantly had to pass it into law. The president objected to the bill, saying that he objected to Section 618 which forbade the implementation or enforcement of certain non-disclosure agreements. Bush said the bill jeopardized the national security by illegally interfering with his ability to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of information relating to intelligence activities.
But unlike the Reagan years, Bush indirectly instructed his subordinates to ignore the law. The White House tried to negotiate a compromise over secrecy oaths with Congress. The CIA agreed to change the secrecy contracts to protect government employees who informed Congress. The agency added Form 312 to the Whistleblower Protection Act in January 1991, so those employees were protected.
In February 1990, the first meeting of the new Information Security Committee (ISC) of the Advisory Group for Security Countermeasures was held. The committee was under the direction of the CIA with officials represented from the Secretary of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency, VCIA, NSA, NSC, FBI, Justice Department, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as four other Cabinet posts. The ISC discussed security education and training so that the amount of classified information could be reduced. The CIA proposed a data board so that all official documents could be traced in all sensitive government agencies.
In May 1991 Bush nominated Robert Gates to replace Webster as director of the CIA. At the confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Committee, CIA official Melvin Goodman testified that Gates operated secretly and conducted unethical practices as the agency's deputy director. Goodman said that Gates purposely ignored memos that the Soviet Union was on the verge of crumbling. Other witnesses testified that Gates shaped intelligence reports when weapons were being shipped illegally to Iran in 1986.
But Gates desperately wanted the promotion, so he promised the committee that as director he would operate a more open agency. He was approved by the committee and confirmed by the Senate. Gates first move was to appoint Joseph DeTrani to set up the CIA Openness Task Force. Gates claimed that he was attempting to improve accessibility to CIA information by the American public. The task force came up with 21 recommendations to counter the impression that the agency operated in secrecy. A public relations campaign was implemented in order to persuade members of the congressional intelligence committees not to cut the agency's $30 million a year budget. The task force also recommended that the agency reach out to improve relations with American universities which had been infiltrated by agents in the 1960s. The CIA's officer-in- residence program was expanded in the 13 universities where the CIA had offices.
The public release of the findings of the Openness Task Force was set for April 1992. But the report was made public when the New York Times revealed the existence of the secret report three months earlier in January. Gates approved the recommendations and claimed that he would work to improve the image of the agency. Gates also approved direct CIA articles to the media detailing the positive work of the agency. The director continued to try to paint the CIA in a positive manner by ordering a review of historical and FOIA records. He claimed that he would try to release as many documents as possible.
THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY. While Reagan and Bush did their best to increase the role of the CIA, Clinton tried to open up the agency. He issued an executive order directing federal agencies to declassify millions of pages of documents which had been secret since the 1970s. As government agencies pushed to declassify historic papers, they inadvertently allowed about 1,000 documents containing nuclear weapons secrets to be available to the public. While the documents contained information that was in some cases 30 to 40 years old, the report said it still could be useful to someone seeking to build a crude nuclear device. The papers also contained information from the Vietnam War and UFO research to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
In December 1999, the Clinton administration informed Congress in a classified report that detailed the findings of a DOE audit of 948,000 pages of nuclear weapons related documents. During the review, auditors found that 14,890 pages containing secret weapons information were mistakenly declassified and made available for public view at the National Archives. The report said that only one of the files -- on nuclear weapons deployment in foreign countries in the 1950s - - was actually examined by any outsiders before the mistakes were discovered. The classified report which the Clinton administration sent to Congress.
According to a DOE official who refused to be recognized, the material covered about 1,000 documents, many of which originated in the old Atomic Energy Commission but had been transferred to other agencies and declassified there. Although none was declassified by the Energy Department, the mistakes were found in DOE audits of the declassification process required by a law passed by Congress in 1998. According to an unclassified report, the documents included information on nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s that provided insight in weapons design technology as well as yields on specific weapon and their deployment and storage.
After 50 years of secrecy, the CIA finally divulged its budget but only as a result of a lawsuit. In October 1997 CIA information officer Lee Strickland made a one sentence announcement: "In response to the referenced Freedom of Information Act request, the total budget appropriation for intelligence for fiscal 1997 is $26.6 billion."
RECRUITING. While Clinton moved to open up the CIA by ordering the declassification of numerous documents, he also tried to increase the agency's size. Since the crumbling of communism in the early 1990s, the number of CIA employees gradually diminished. The CIA stepped up its largest recruitment drive under the Clinton administration since the early 1980s. The agency sent recruiters to American colleges in search of students who trained to be analysts, computer programmers, engineers, linguists, and scientists. Even though the Cold War came to a close in the early 1990s, CIA Director George Tenet claimed that the world was more dangerous by the close of the twentieth century because of new and changing global alignments. Tenet contended that past decades -- when communism existed in Europe -- were more predictable and that the future was less predictable. However, the CIA always warned of a dangerous world while communism existed in the European countries up until 1991. Tenet said, "I believe the potential for surprise is greater than at any time since the end of World War II."
A newly recruited linguist at the end of the century earned about $30,000, while a computer scientist brought in approximately $38,000. The agency can also offer signing bonuses and other perks as incentives for mid-level and experienced positions. New recruits could come in with a salary as high as $50,000 a year. The CIA also worked to hire 30 percent more covert agents and case officers. For those positions, the agency reached out to lawyers, bankers, and other mid- career professionals who were looking for other kinds of opportunities. The recruits had to be American citizens under the age of 35, able to speak an obscure foreign language, and willing to work a day job as cover for nocturnal espionage.
As early as the 1980s, under CIA Director William Casey, the agency initiated the NOC (Non- official Cover) program. NOCs are placed undercover in American businesses abroad. When a large station might have had hundreds of agents, then the number was reduced to double digits.
Most of the CIA agents recruited in the 1990s were NOCs rather than diplomatic corps. CIA operants began to hide under NOC cover. During the Cold War, CIA case officers under embassy cover overtly made contacts with foreigners.
To recruit business people and professionals as NOCs, the CIA used front companies and places newspaper advertisements. The agency recruited business-school graduates who could put in a day's work with the firm and then spy during their off-hours. The CIA primarily recruited mid-level corporate executives who hoped to work overseas, and then the agency placed them in overseas firms as "NOCs of convenience" to penetrate a target for several years. When the mission was over, the executives returned to the business world in the United States. However, while they were NOC officers, the CIA continued to pay their salary. Their overseas company also paid them a corporate salary -- usually much larger -- to keep up the cover, but that money was quietly returned to the company.
In the 1980s, Director Casey began by enlisting 150 companies for the project. Senior CIA officials approached American corporations which provided covers for CIA case officers. These included energy companies, import-export firms, banks with foreign branches and high-tech corporations. Usually, only the company president and perhaps another corporate officer were the only ones who know of arrangement and were the only ones who can identity of NOC agents.
The next step was to recruit and train NOCs. They are expensive and difficult to train and place. NOCs no longer could attend diplomatic receptions and could not mingle with foreign officials, since they were operating under the mask of business people. NOC recruits were four times as expensive as assigning officers were under an embassy cover. The CIA installed expensive communication systems with the NOC. The agency also assigned a staff member to handle a NOC officer's personal affairs and kept his personal bills paid while he operated under cover. NOC officers could not count on just being expelled from countries like officers with diplomatic immunity. They were more likely to be killed in areas such as Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. It was easier to spot CIA agents operating out of embassies than it was to single out NOCs.
Approximately 110 CIA officers served as NOCs. Corporations that were used include: RJR Nabisco, Prentice-Hall, Ford Motor Company, Proctor and Gamble, General Electric, IBM, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, Pan American Airlines, Rockwell International, Campbell Soup, and Sears Roebuck.
In the NOC program, corporations allowed the CIA to plant operatives among their personnel abroad to spy on competitors. NCOs were serving in Japan, Western Europe, and key developing nations such as Mexico, Brazil and India, and countries in the Middle East.
A spy scandal in France exposed four diplomats and a NOC. The NOC was a woman supposedly working in public relations for a Dallas market center, owned by an international real estate corporation. She was accused of trying to recruit and bribe French corporate officials to pass technology secrets to the CIA which was particularly interested in France's telecommunications advanced ATM switching technology. By the end of the twentieth century, it was estimated that approximately 80 CIA agents were operating in France. Of that number, about 30 were NOCs.
Japan was a prime target of the CIA because of its high technology industry. The CIA's Tokyo office was one of the largest in the world. The agency used NOCs to attempt to penetrate Japan's scientific, technological and commercial institutions. In the mid-1980s, 13 NOCs were stationed in Japan. Eventually Japan's public security counterintelligence unit learned of the role of the NOCs. The unit broke into the homes and offices of NOCs, stealing their communication equipment. This led the CIA to recall the NOCs.