By Loch K. Johnson
In 1975, after The big apple Times released a devastating critique of the CIA, 3 executive panels--the Rockefeller, Church, and Pike Committees--were shaped to check those allegations extensive. What they uncovered--assassination plots, opened mail, drug experiments opposed to unsuspecting topics (two of whom died from aspect effects)--shocked the yank humans and moved Senator Frank Church to name the CIA "a rogue elephant rampaging out of control." sincerely, the USA wishes a powerful, potent intelligence attempt, yet simply as truly, this attempt needs to function in the bounds of an open, democratic society.
according to countless numbers of interviews with CIA officers, nationwide protection specialists, and legislators, in addition to an intensive culling of the archival list, America's mystery Power bargains an illuminating and up to date photograph of the important Intelligence enterprise, stressing the tough stability among the true wishes of nationwide protection and the security of person liberties. Loch Johnson, who has studied the workings of the CIA at the start hand as a legislative overseer, provides a complete exam of the employer and its family with different American associations, together with Congress and the White apartment (he bargains rather astute analyses of the CIA's use of newshounds and teachers to collect intelligence) and he illuminates the CIA's 3 significant missions--intelligence research, counterintelligence, and covert action--providing bright descriptions in their objective and their pathologies. for instance, he deals a desirable research of the "Seven Sins" of intelligence paintings, revealing how the easiest intelligence stories could be distorted or overlooked (in the mid-1960s, the facts opposed to a brief American victory in Vietnam used to be dismissed); how covert activities can spin uncontrolled regardless of wide safeguards, as within the Iran-Contra scandal; and the way the CIA has spied on americans in transparent violation of its constitution. additional, he offers an intensive evaluation of legislative efforts to decrease those abuses, suggesting a number of vital how you can in attaining the fragile stability among nationwide safety and democratic beliefs.
Vividly written and meticulously documented, America's mystery Power attracts the strands of an enormous quantity of study right into a balanced critique of our intelligence networks. it's a paintings that stands by myself in its thoroughness and objectivity, a considerate and sobering portrait of the modern CIA.
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Extra info for America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society
Publications that strike the fancy of its board, for instance, are purchased in bulk and distributed to opinion leaders throughout the United States and abroad. While the objective remains the same for both the CIA and AFIO—to advance the viewpoint of intelligence professionals—the latter's approach has the virtue of being an activity widely viewed as legitimate and, indeed, protected by the First Amendment. Propaganda operations conducted by the United States overseas come in various shades, depending upon whether the source is accurately revealed ("white" propaganda), unattributed ("gray"), or deceptively attributed to an enemy ("black").
The Iran-contra affair thus renewed public concern over the danger that secret intelligence agencies might run out of control. With the echoes of the 1975 intelligence investigations still faintly lingering, the nation took up the debate once more between those who advocated increased democratic controls over the CIA and its sister agencies and those who favored a grant of special discretionary authority for intelligence—indeed, ideally, a turning back of the clock to the Era of Trust. This tension between the desire to supervise the intelligence agencies and a willingness to let them operate in full secrecy lies at the heart of the dilemma addressed in this book, for democracy and intelligence represent values that remain in conflict, pulling one against the other.
In another more recent—and notorious—example, the Reagan administration turned to the NSC in 1984 as a means for carrying out a secret arms sale to Iran in exchange for that nation's influence over the release of American hostages held in the Middle East. -backed contras in Nicaragua—an action now known as the Iran-contra affair. Both of these operations fit the standard definitions of covert action, for they involved secrecy, the use of the CIA, and the goal of influencing another country; yet subsequently the Reagan administration attempted to argue that since the NSC was the prime mover in this operation, not the CIA (though it participated) or some other intelligence agency, the normal decision procedures for covert action became unnecessary, even irrelevant.
America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society by Loch K. Johnson