AN OVERVIEW OF THE CIA
Intelligence versus Secret Operations
What other agency of the U.S. Government has ever had as much blame heaped upon it as the CIA? President Truman wrote that it was being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue and a subject for Cold War propaganda. Arnold Toynbee wrote: "For the whole world, the CIA has now become the bogey that Communism has been for America." John F. Kennedy said, "Your successes are unheralded, your failures are trumpeted." Tibetans once supported by the CIA had been left to fend for themselves against the Chinese. Hungarians armed and urged to fight on for their freedom were left to fight by themselves. Cubans stranded on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs were left for Castro's jails. Tens of thousands of people who have contributed to Radio Free Europe and to CARE on the assumption that they were private organizations have learned that the CIA was using them for its own devices. And during the summer of 1971, Congress was faced with a ground swell of indignation over the actions of the CIA in the wake of events in Indochina and as a result of revelations contained in the Pentagon papers. The frequently asked questions are: How responsible is the CIA? How is the CIA permitted to operate independent of national policy and of the general standards of conduct expected of the U.S. Government?
In seeking to solve the dilemma of the CIA, it is important from the beginning to understand the intimate language of the Agency and of the intelligence profession. Intelligence professionals become so accustomed to using and living with cover stories, cover language, and code terms that they use them interchangeably with their normal, or dictionary, usage. Thus the outsider has little opportunity to break through this fabric to get to the real thing.
In the beginning, when Roosevelt assigned Donovan to the task of Coordinator of Information, there was a belief that the United States had within its resources reasonably adequate intelligence organizations in the Army, Navy, and Department of State, but that the gross intelligence product was sadly lacking in coordination. As a result, the President felt that he was not getting the best Intelligence. Thus his insistence that the new chief of intelligence should be a coordinator. This view of the role of the Director of Central Intelligence has persisted through the years, and it is still the primary statement of his mission and responsibility as contained in present law.
The other key word is "information". In 1941, President Roosevelt felt that he required coordinated information, and because of certain unacceptable connotations for the profession of Intelligence, the word "Intelligence" was not used at all. It was not too long before that time (1929) that the then Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson, had downgraded Intelligence, actually that special part pertaining to cryptoanalysis, with the statement: "Gentlemen don't read other people's mail."
The profession of Intelligence always is beset by one characteristic problem. It is a staff function. It is the kind of effort that can succeed only insofar as it is accepted and used by the leadership. If the commanding general trusts his Intelligence people and makes use of their product, he will generally have good intelligence. If a business leader uses his Intelligence people as a real adjunct to his operations and provides them with the resources they need, he will have good Intelligence. And if the President of the United States uses intelligence as intelligence, and demands a really professional product, he will get the best intelligence in the world. But leadership is often prone to disparage the intelligence product. At one time, in 1939, Winston Churchill said the following about Intelligence: "It seems to me that Ministers run the most tremendous risks if they allow the information collected by the Intelligence Department and sent them, I am sure, in good time, to be shifted and colored and reduced in consequence and importance, and if they ever get themselves into a mood of attaching weight only to those pieces of information which accord with their earnest and honorable desire that the peace of the world should remain unbroken." [Sanche de Gramont, The Secret War, New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, p. 29.]
The profession of Intelligence before World War II was not well thought of, and it was not very good. There can be no question that the two go hand in hand. Had there been more real demand for good Intelligence, there would have been more funds and personnel provided for its support, and as a consequence, intelligence services would have been better. But history is full of incidents citing very poor intelligence service, under Hitler, Stalin, and the Western powers.
I was at Fort Knox, Kentucky, at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This attack came as such a surprise and with so little preparation or understanding in the United States Army that although that attack occurred more than four thousand miles away, the Commanding General of the Armored Force headquarters at Fort Knox ordered tanks and heavy guns out in a perimeter defense of Fort Knox and of the U.S. gold reserves that were stored there. No one knew what to expect the Japanese to do next after they had hit Pearl Harbor.
A few years later, during World War 11, I was the pilot of a large transport plane being sent on an emergency mission deep into the heartland of Russia from Tehran, Iran. Since this was to be one of the first unescorted U.S. flights deep into the Soviet Union, I was called aside by a military intelligence staff officer and told that the maps he had to give me for the flight were of very little' value and would I please keep a careful log of everything I saw as I flew some eighteen hundred miles into Russia in order that mapping information and other data might be improved. Then, as I left this briefing, he more or less apologetically wished me well because I had to find my way into Russia without the aid of reliable maps. Before I left Tehran I managed to obtain the maps that had been used by Wendell Willkie's pilot and had been hand annotated. They were the best available at that time.
It was not surprising, then, that President Roosevelt directed that Colonel Donovan be Coordinator of Information (COl). By 1942, Donovan had made some headway, and the war had become better organized. He had built up the reputation of intelligence activities and he had been successful in refining the problem. At the same time, he had learned that the role of coordinator was unworkable, untenable, and undesirable - in other words, hopeless. General MacArthur had preempted the intelligence role in the Far East - that is, those intelligence activities which were not under the control of the Navy - and the FBI had been given the responsibility for intelligence operations in Latin America. As a result, in 1942 the COl became the Office of Strategic Services, (OSS), and the task of that new organization was broadened to include collecting and analyzing information and planning and operating special services. On that day Donovan no doubt put his intelligence hat on the shelf and concentrated on his first love, special services.
In pursuit of the business of definitions in this most elusive of professions, few terms have been so confused and misused as "special services". These two words simply mean clandestine operations. General Donovan's office was called Strategic Services, and his duties were described as special services. It was all the same clandestine operations. As the intelligence profession has labored through its first quarter-century since World War II, these terms have acquired additional synonyms. Clandestine operations are also known as covert operations, special operations, and peacetime operations or peacetime special operations, and secret operations.
There are two other terms that need clarification here in order that they not be confused with the above. Secret intelligence is the deep penetration of the enemy by secret agents and other devices. It is more specifically clandestine intelligence, as differentiated from the more open and more academic type of intelligence. This leads to intelligence operations, which mayor may not be clandestine, but are operations carried out to obtain intelligence, and not operations carried out to achieve a certain objective as a result of the gaining of certain intelligence input data. In the former, the operation is carried out to get intelligence, and in the latter the operation is carried out using intelligence input data.
Then there are secret intelligence operations, which are deeper and more clandestine operations carried out to get deep-secret intelligence data. It can be said that it is the business of secret intelligence operations to get information required in the making of foreign policy that is unavailable through routine and overt intelligence channels".
The fundamental dichotomy that has always divided Intelligence community and which in the long run has given it its bad reputation is that the Intelligence operator just cannot keep his hands and his heart out of operations. This same affliction leaves its mark on the entire community, not just on individual agents. Established for the legitimate business of intelligence, the Agency has become deeply involved in clandestine operations; yet to maintain its status and reputation in the structure of this open government, it must continually give the appearance of being nothing more than an Intelligence Agency while it keeps itself covertly occupied with special operations on an ever expanding scale.
Nowhere has this attempt to be legitimate been more apparent than in the revelations of the publication of the Pentagon Papers. One of the primary objectives of that inner group (who directed the compilation of that fantastic massive reconstruction of the history of the United States' role in Indochina) was, without doubt, to make certain that the role of the CIA always appeared in a most laudable and commendable manner, to. be that of an intelligence organization and no more. Thus the product of the intelligence staff has been extracted from the great mass of records available and portrayed most favorably, while at the same time the role of the CIA, special operations, or clandestine organization as a sinister and secret operational activity has been submerged. In retrospect, the CIA, that part which publishes intelligence reports, always appears to have come up with the correct analysis and evaluation.
On the other hand, this review as it appears in The New York Times publication, almost totally conceals or fails to identify the records of the covert activities of the clandestine organizations. When it does present accounts of that action it reveals them under the label of cover organizations either as part of the military establishment or of some other apparatus. Interestingly, the CIA can't help doing both things at the same time, and its leaders are seldom, if ever, concerned with the fact that what they are doing may be at cross purposes. They are duty bound to perform the former and they much prefer to become involved in the latter, secure in the knowledge that their control of security within this country even more than elsewhere is nearly absolute. In fact Allen Dulles and other following DCI's were fully aware of this discrepancy, yet would authorize the publication of intelligence reports saying one thing at the same time they were authorizing clandestine forces to do exactly the opposite.
One aspect of the Pentagon Papers that makes them suspect of not being exactly what they are purported to be, that is, an expose of the role of the Pentagon in the United States' involvement in Vietnam (this is an oversimplified definition of them, but it will serve here) is that they laud the role of the CIA and the overall intelligence community while they disparage the rest of the Government, especially the Pentagon. The following extract is from The New York Times' book of the Pentagon Papers, in an introductory and formative early chapter, page 6:
The Pentagon account discloses that most of these major decisions from 1950 on were made against the advice of the American intelligence community. Intelligence analysts in the CIA warned that the French, Emperor Bao Dai and Premier Diem were weak and unpopular and that the Communists were strong. In early August 1954, for example, just before the NSC decided to commit the U.S. to propping up Premier Diem, a national intelligence estimate warned: "Although it is possible that the French and Vietnamese even with firm support from the U.S. and other powers, may be able to establish a strong regime in South Vietnam, we believe that the chances for this development are poor and moreover, that the situation is more likely to continue to deteriorate progressively over the next year." The NIE continues. Given the generally bleak appraisals of Diem's prospects, they who made U.S. policy could only have done so while assuming a significant measure of risk."
And The New York Times goes on to editorialize: "The Pentagon study does not deal at length with a major question. Why did the policy makers go ahead despite the intelligence estimates prepared by their most senior intelligence officials?"
These brief statements are truly amazing and in some respects may be among the most important lines in the entire New York Times presentation of the Pentagon Papers. They show how deeply the clandestine, operating side of the CIA hid behind its fIrst and best cover, that of being an intelligence agency. How can the Times miss the point so significantly? Either the Times is innocent of the CIA as an intelligence organization versus the CIA as a clandestine organization, a highly antagonistic and competitive relationship, or the Times somehow played into the hands of those skillfu1 apologists who would have us all believe that the Vietnam problem was the responsibility of others and not of the CIA operating as a clandestine operation. Let us consider an example:
A few pages after this statement, the Times version of the Papers tells us that Edward G. Lansdale went to Saigon with a team in August 1954. This date may be one of the correct dates, but the facts are that plans for Lansdale's move to Saigon from Manila, where he had engineered Magsaysay's rise from soldier to President, were laid long before he actually went there with his team. (The author was a frequent visitor to Manila and Saigon from 1952 through 1954 as the commanding officer of a Military Air Transport Service squadron which provided much of the military airlift between those cities in those days, and on more than one flight carried as special passengers members of the Lansdale team, both U.S. and Filipino personnel, to and from Saigon).
These plans, which were made for the development of a United States presence in Vietnam to replace the French after their defeat at Dien Bien Phu and to create a new leader to replace the French puppet, Bao Dai, had been primarily developed by the operational CIA, almost as a natural follow on of their production of Magsaysay.
Ngo Dinh Diem was a selection and creation of the CIA, as well as others such as Admiral Arthur Radford and Cardinal Spellman, but the primary role in the early creation of the "father of his country" image for Ngo Dinh Diem was played by the CIA - and Edward G. Lansdale was the man upon whom this responsibility fell. He became such a firm supporter of Diem that when he visited Diemjust after Kennedy's election he carried with him a gift "from the U.S. Government", a huge desk set with a brass plate across its base reading, "To Ngo Dinh Diem, The Father of His Country." The presentation of that gift to Diem by Lansdale marked nearly seven years of close personal and official relationship, all under the sponsorship of the CIA.
It was the CIA that created Diem's first elite bodyguard to keep him alive in those early and precarious days. It was the CIA that created the Special Forces of Vietnamese troops, which were under the tight control of Ngo Dinh Nhu, and it was the CIA that created and directed the tens of thousands of paramilitary forces of all kinds in South Vietnam during those difficult years of the Diem regime. Not until the U.S. Marines landed in South Vietnam, in the van of the escalation in 1964, did an element of American troops arrive in Vietnam that were not under the operational control of the CIA.
From 1945 through the crucial years of 1954 and 1955 and on to 1964, almost everything that was done in South Vietnam, including even a strong role in the selection of generals and ambassadors, was the action of the CIA, with the DOD playing a supporting role and the Department of State almost in total eclipse. Thus, when The New York Times asks, "Why. did the policy makers go ahead despite the intelligence estimates prepared by their most senior intelligence officials?" it has asked an excellent question, because it must include in the "most senior intelligence officials" the Director of Central Intelligence and others of the Agency. This makes one wonder at what point a man like Allen Dulles stops playing the role of intelligence official and sees himself in the mirror as CIA clandestine commander in chief.
These examples have to make certain aspects of the release and publication of the Pentagon Papers deeply suspect, especially since the man who says he released these vast volumes to the newspapers, Daniel Ellsberg, was ideally suited for this role by virtue of his Vietnam experience with the very same Edward G. Lansdale. No matter what one might wish to believe the intentions of Ellsberg were when he did this, it would be most difficult to accept that he of all people did not know all the facts. And if he did know all of the facts I have described, why did he want to make it appear that it was Pentagon policymakers who went ahead "despite the intelligence estimates prepared by their most senior intelligence officials"? Why has so much care been taken to make it appear that these are papers from the Pentagon that he has dumped on the news media's doorstep? Why has no one made the proper distinction that the majority of these documents were not really Pentagon originated at all, but were originated in, among other places, the CIA (Covert side)? Certainly if his facts, as well as those presented by The New York Times, are right, the CIA (Covert side) was in a much better position to heed its own CIA (Intelligence side) warnings and advice than any other department or agency in Washington.
The answer to these questions becomes obvious. The CIA uses its intelligence role as a cover mechanism for its operational activities. Furthermore it uses its own secret intelligence as an initiator for its own secret operations. This is what pleased General Donovan when President Roosevelt unleashed him with the OSS and it is what has been the driving force behind the hard core operational agents within the intelligence community since that time.
Allen Dulles himself helps us to define General Donovan's new title in 1942 in his own words: "Special Services was the cover designation for Secret Intelligence and Special Operations of all kinds and character." To the old pro the new designation was an important step forward in the evolution of the intelligence profession in the United States. One could almost see him hunching up to his desk to write a few more memoranda to the President about the development of the intelligence services. It was no mistake when Dulles entitled his book The Craft of Intelligence. He was the crafty professional in a fast-growing profession.
During 1943, General Donovan did his best to extend the OSS into all those parts of the world left to him by the Navy, General MacArthur, and J. Edgar Hoover. At one time in 1943 he got a bit overambitious and went to Moscow. There he met with his counterparts in the intelligence profession and was so won over by their good fellowship that he came back to Washington to propose that there be an exchange program between the Russians and the Americans. Donovan proposed that their hand-picked agents be brought to this country to learn all about Intelligence and special operations with Americans, utilizing new techniques and equipment that we had. To those who recall the same General Donovan on countless platforms ranting about the "communist threat" only a few years later, this proposal of his must seem to have been part of a soft-headed era. In any event, others such as J. Edgar Hoover and Admiral Leahy overruled Donovan's gesture of hospitality to the Russians.
The OSS did set up a Guerrilla and Resistance Branch, which operated from Europe to Burma and was patterned after the highly successful British Special Operations Executive (SOE) model. But General Donovan never got over the blows he suffered from MacArthur and Hoover. His wartime disappointment led him on many occasions to recommend that there be a single top intelligence director who would be placed within the immediate Office of the President and that this director be a civilian who would control all other intelligence services, particularly most of the military. By 1944, his views were so firm that he wrote to President Roosevelt:
"I have given consideration to the organization of our intelligence service for the postwar period.
"Once our enemies are defeated the demand will be equally pressing for information that will aid in solving the problems of peace.
"This requires two things:
1. That Intelligence control be returned to the supervision of the President.
2. The establishment of a central authority reporting directly to you."
On careful scrutiny, this is a most unusual memorandum to be written during time of war to the Commander in Chief of the greatest military force ever assembled. First there is the assumption, and perhaps even an implied criticism, that the control of Intelligence was not under the President, or that the President had lost control of that aspect of the military effort world wide. (Later historians may be able to probe the depths of Donovan 's feelings about General MacArthur by delving into the meaning of such papers as that memo.) The other veiled criticism was his proposal that the central authority be made to report directly to the President. By this, Donovan hoped that Roosevelt might establish such a central authority, that would be himself, and that he might thereby gain ascendancy over his arch rivals, 1. Edgar Hoover, the Navy, and most of all, General Douglas MacArthur.
The germ of these ideas lived throughout the following quarter century. Even today, there are those who still propose that the DCI be assigned to the immediate Office of the President. The zeal within the "silent arm of the President", as the intelligence service is fondly called by its own, is so strong that they have created a special meaning for the phrase, "the immediate Office of the President". It might generally be considered that the Cabinet is part of this office, but what the Intelligence buffs mean is that the DCI would be above or, to put it more precisely, equal to and separate from the Cabinet. From General Donovan's day down to the present time, it has been the goal of a good segment of the intelligence community to install their Director next to the President. They always claim that the reason for this is so that the President may always have at his elbow the best and most current intelligence available. This, too, is a master cover story. Just like General Donovan and his clan, what they really want is the place at the elbow of the President, unfettered by the Secretaries of State and Defense, in order to have their way with the function of Special Operations. Of course, what follows from this is what would amount to having the ability to make and to control the foreign policy and military policymaking machinery of this country. We shall have more to say about this. It suffices now to point out where and when the seed was planted.
Shortly after the war had ended, President Truman dissolved the ass. On September 20, 1945, certain functions of the ass were transferred to the Departments of State and of War. Although the United States did not delay in disbanding her military might as soon as the war had ended, no group was terminated faster than the ass. Some of the pressure to dissolve this agency came from the FBI, the Department of State, the Armed Forces, the Bureau of the Budget, and from President Truman's own belief that the "fun and games" was over. He felt that there would be no need for clandestine activities during peacetime, and he meant to devote his time to winning a peace of lasting duration for the generation which had fought its way through the worst depression in history and then through the most terrible war in history.
In this rapid divestiture of its clandestine wartime service, only two sections were saved. The Secret Intelligence Branch and the Analysis Branch were tucked away among the labyrinth of the departments of State and War, where a few dedicated veterans labored quietly through a precarious existence to preserve files and other highly classified materials. Had it not been for the professionalism and zeal of this group of responsible men, these files that had been created during the war would have been lost. Had they been lost or destroyed, or most serious of all, had they been compromised, they might have occasioned the deaths of hundreds of agents who had risked their lives for the United States and who lived in constant fear lest they be exposed in their homelands, which had fallen under Soviet control. Fortunately, these records, along with irreplaceable talent, were saved. Thus ended an era of war-time inspired clandestine activity, the contagion of which was sufficient to infect a new generation of intelligence professionals for the next twenty-five years.
Origins of the Agency and Seeds of Secret Operations
By the end of world war II it was abundantly clear that the U.S. must have a central intelligence authority. The mistakes which were made, more by omission than by commission, by the intelligence community during the war were serious. This country could never again afford the luxury of overlooking the need for reliable intelligence. The witch hunt that took place right after the war in an attempt to fix the blame for the disaster at Pearl Harbor was indicative of the depth of the problem. After the war, it became clear to many that we had seriously overestimated the strength of the Japanese and that we had as a result seriously overrated the task that confronted the Russians in moving their eastern armies across Manchuria against the Japanese at the end of the war.
In addition to these rather obvious criticisms, there was the fact of the atomic bomb. It had been developed in great secrecy under the Manhattan Project; but once it had been demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was no longer a secret. Scientists all over the world would be attempting to solve the bomb's problems, knowing now that it was entirely feasible and practical, and their own intelligence and spy networks would be trying to steal the secrets of the bomb from the United States. This put another serious burden upon the intelligence community.
Not long after the cessation of hostilities, the first measures toward the establishment of a central intelligence authority were announced. Less than six months after the end of the war the President set up the Central Intelligence Group. The New York Times on January 23, 1946, reported that President Truman established a National Intelligence Authority composed of the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy. It was to be headed by a Director of Central Intelligence. The DCI would have at his disposal the staffs and organizations of all government intelligence units, including those overseas, and would undertake "such services of common concern as the National Intelligence Authority determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally". This provision would enable the Director to operate his own staff for top secret and high priority missions, while utilizing the production of all other Agency staff operations for general intelligence production.
The plan was devised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a modification of one submitted by Major General William J. Donovan at the time of the dissolution of the OSS. It deviated from Donovan's suggestion in several important particulars, however. First, it placed the Central Intelligence Group and its Director under the jurisdiction of the Secretarial triumvirate. In the accepted plan this triumvirate retained authority over the Central Intelligence Group instead of placing the Group directly under the President. Second, it provided that operating funds for the organization would be obtained from the Departments of State, War, and Navy rather than directly from Congress as had been provided for by Donovan's plan. As a consequence, the Group was responsible not to Congress but to the Cabinet members making up the top authority. In his directive, the President ordered that "all Federal and foreign intelligence activities be planned, developed, and coordinated so as to assure the most effective accomplishment of the intelligence mission related to the National Security."
Thus, less than six months after the end of World War 11, the battle lines for a major internal war had been drawn.
Most of the problems and the failures of the past twenty-five years can be attributed directly to inadequate and improper decisions made during these struggles within the Government during this immediate postwar period and to the impact they have had upon the welfare of this country since that time.
On one side were the tradition experienced planners who believed in the power of this great nation, all who felt that our future course lay in the increase of our own strength and of the beneficent impact of this strength upon the rest of the world. These men believed in the American way of life and in the ability of our economy to cope with world competition and of American diplomacy to plan our course of action wisely and to carry out effective national policy. They further believed in the capabilities of American military might to back up our diplomats and businessmen. To put it bluntly, these men were not afraid of the Communist bogeyman. They respected Communism for what it was, and they respected the power and strength of the Russian people. At the same time, they were willing and ready to plan for a common world future and an undivided world at peace.
The other side, however, wished to create a sort of Maginot Line of intelligence people around the world, separating the Communist world from the Free World. Then they would peer out at the rest of the world through a veil of secrecy plugged in to data inputs of the intelligence gathering sources wherever they were and supported by a military machine in a defense posture, ready for "reaction" at all times. In essence, this latter point of view of foreign policy operations is passive and reactive, implemented not by plan but only by response to the initiatives of others.
This is well stated by Allen Dulles in his book, The Craft of Intelligence: "The military threat in the nuclear missile age is well understood, and we are rightly spending billions to counter it. We must similarly deal with all aspects of the invisible war, Krushchev's wars of liberation, the subversive threats orchestrated by the Soviet Communist party with all its ramifications and fronts, supported by espionage. The last thing we can afford to do today is to put our Intelligence in chains. Its protective and information role is indispensable in an era of unique and continuing danger." The key word, "counter", appears in the first sentence.
This final and summary paragraph of the old master's book is the best sample of the intelligence team's view of how to live in the modem nuclear age. They would have us establish the most extensive and expensive intelligence network possible and then develop a feedback capability that would automatically counter every threat they saw.
Although Allen Dulles does not say it in his book, his concept of Intelligence is about 10 percent real Intelligence and 90 percent clandestine operations. In other words, he would have us busy all around the world all of the time countering "all aspects of the invisible war". By this he means intervening in the internal affairs of other nations with or without their knowledge and permission. (This leads to a serious danger, which will be treated at some length later.) It is what the United States has been doing in an increasing crescendo of events, beginning with such actions as the involvement in Berlin and Iran in the 1940s and culminating in the terrible disaster of Vietnam that began as a major intelligence operation, went on into the clandestine operations stage, then got out of hand and had to become an overt activity during the Johnson era.
Traditionally, the foreign policy of the nation has been planned, and to the extent possible, has been openly arrived at. On those occasions when diplomacy has failed, the armed might of this country has been exploited overtly to back up foreign policy, or in the last resort to accomplish what diplomacy has been unable to do, by going to war. In the view of foreign policy action and the role of Intelligence as stated by Allen Dulles, however, intelligence would be the device used to set foreign policy actions in motion to "counter... all aspects of the invisible war." If this is not clear, he emphasizes, "The military threat in the nuclear missile age is well understood, and we are rightly spending billions to counter it." The idea is that intelligence is the catalytic element that triggers response and that this response will be covert, operational, and military as required.
With the advent of a strong Intelligence community and with the ascendancy of that voice in the higher echelons of the Government, the Government has slowly but positively moved from an active course of following plans and policies to the easier and more expedient course of the counter-puncher. The Government has become increasingly adept at reaction and response. A simple review of what this Government really found itself doing in the Congo or in Laos or Tibet during the sixties would be enough to clarify and support the argument that the Government responded to action inputs and "did something", instead of turning to plans and national objectives, which it did not have. Further support of this thesis that the Government has been weaned away from plans and policy in favor of the easier response mechanism activated by intelligence is apparent in even a cursory look at the degradation of the roles of the once prestigious Departments of State and Defense. Lately, the Army has found new worlds to conquer under the cloak of the Green Berets who operate with the CIA. Even the Air Force welcomes the utilization of the once proud B-52 strategic bomber in a function that is totally degrading - the blind bombardment of Indochina's forests and wastelands on the assumption that there are worthwhile targets on the Ho Chi Minh trail. The only reason State and Defense can give for what they have permitted themselves to become engaged in is that "the intelligence reports" say the "enemy" is there. No one asks, What is the national objective in Indochina? No one has a national plan for Indochina. We have become counter-punchers without a game plan, and we have become that because we take our cues from raw intelligence data.
In our form of government this is a fairly recent approach. In 1929, when Secretary of State Stimson said, "Gentlemen do not read other people's mail," he was voicing the conditions of another era. We have come a long way since the days of 1929, and nations do read each other's mail because it is easier to do now than it used to be and because the dangers that exist today are much closer to home. We need to know as much as it is possible to learn about Russian capabilities and Russian intent. Total destruction is only about forty-five minutes away.
But there was another reason Stimson made that statement. In an open society we do not develop the same wiles that are necessary in a world in which everyone reads everyone else's mail. Therefore, if you are going to defend yourself by reading the other man's mail, you had better know what he means by what he has written in his letters. He knows you are reading his mail, and he will bluff you right out of the game. And what is more important, we must carry out our own policies in such a way that he cannot keep us from our own goals.
It is this point that looms larger when a government such as ours carries out its foreign and military affairs on a response basis. Such action over a period of time denies us all initiative and leadership and virtually precludes the possibility of bluff or skillful design. One cannot very well bluff or use surprise when he has been set in the pattern of response for twenty- five years. In military terms, the employment of proper tactics and strategy must be tempered by surprise when needed. In the great contest that has been going on between the major powers today, one can see that our course in response to such things as "Communist-inspired subversive insurgency" has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives; it has cost the same Communists we proclaim we are "countering" almost nothing. The response method of anything is a trap. The most frustrating and debilitating thing about it is that we have no objectives, no goals. We simply have an inertial drift into whatever direction the men in the Kremlin lure us. It is important to realize that if the highest echelons in government become preoccupied and preempted by intelligence inputs, voluminous reports, and other briefings, they do not have the chance to get planning done to weigh alternatives and to see that policies are effective.
General Donovan and Allen Dulles made a career of trying to have the Director of Central Intelligence assigned to the immediate Office of the President for just the reason outlined above. They wanted to be placed in the dominant position in this Government. They knew that with modem techniques, with modern communications and effective controls, all supported by money and equipment wherever needed, Intelligence was capable of running the Government and its foreign affairs. The Kissinger example is a case in point. This was the danger that the legislators saw in Donovan's early proposal. It is why the President, acting on his own authority, placed the Director under the jurisdiction of the three Secretaries.
To emphasize his intent and to make sure that it would work his way, President Truman directed that "operating funds for the organization would be obtained from the Departments of State, War, and Navy instead of directly from Congress." The Donovan plan had proposed the opposite. If the DCI was required to get his money each year through these other departments, he would be subservient to them and he would carry out their wishes.
These were the surface reasons for this decision. The real reason for this relegation of the DCI to a subordinate position was to prevent the Director and his organization from participating in clandestine operations without the express direction and authority of the Secretaries and the White House. As we have noted, President Truman planned for the CIA to be the "quiet intelligence arm of the President". He and those of his Administration never intended that it become an autonomous operational agency in the clandestine field.
Because of the general secrecy that surrounds such things, this debate did not become public. The establishment of a "National Intelligence Authority" by Truman was considered an interim arrangement. The day after he set up the group, the President announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Sidney Souers as the first Director of Central Intelligence. At the same time, the President established a precedent that has continued to this day, by designating Admiral William D. Leahy to represent him as a member of the National Intelligence Authority. Before his appointment to his new job, Admiral Souers had been the deputy chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
It was learned concurrently that President Truman had ordered that "all federal and foreign intelligence activities be planned, developed and coordinated so as to assure the most effective accomplishment of the intelligence mission related to the national security." [Note that from the beginning the Agency was considered a coordination center, and that it was not empowered to be a collection agency. The original plan was that the agency simply coordinate all of the intelligence that was readily available from other government departments. As the agency grew during the following twenty-five years, it expanded its role bit by bit from this first limited charter, and it did so by its own zeal and initiative, not by law or direction.]
The President's directive contained further instructions to the Director of Central Intelligence. They were:
1. Accomplish the correlation and evaluation of intelligence relating to national security and provide for appropriate dissemination within the government of the resulting strategic and national intelligence.
2. Plan for the coordination of such of the activities of the intelligence agencies of all departments as relate to the National Security and recommend to the National Intelligence Authority the establishment of such overall policies and objectives as will assure the most effective accomplishment of the national intelligence mission.
A few weeks later, The New York Times published an article by Hanson Baldwin, its Military Affairs columnist, saying: "The establishment of a National intelligence Authority is a very important move. It is more important than the proposed merger of the War and Navy Departments. In all parts of the world today intelligence is most emphatically the first line of defense." This is an interesting use of this term "first line of defense". It appears many times later in the writings and speeches of such men as Allen Dulles and General Donovan. To them, intelligence was not limited to information. It was very much an operational organization and function.
Baldwin went on to say that the new Intelligence Authority under Admiral Souers "will at most just collate and analyze intelligence. Later on it may take over the job of collection of intelligence, and later its agents will supplement the normal intelligence sources of the military services." He added, "The State Department's new Intelligence service under Colonel Alfred McCormick will continue but will probably be somewhat more restricted in scope than it has been." Both of these statements were prophetic and indicate that Baldwin had obtained his information from Donovan-Dulles sources. It was the "party line" that Intelligence would take over the task of collection, whether Congress and the Administration had that function in the law or not.
In the heat of this major behind-the-scenes power play, there was bound to be an explosion. It is quite possible that this development, which occurred during the first week of March 1946, did not carry with it at that time the same significance that it does in retrospect. On the first day of March 1946, General Donovan gave an impassioned and hard-hitting speech before the Overseas Press Club in New York City. He stated that there had been numerous times when faulty and inaccurate intelligence had done great damage to this country's prosecution of the war. But the main burden of his speech concerned the new intelligence Authority. He said that experience had shown that we could obtain tested knowledge only through a coordinated, centralized, civilian directed intelligence service independent of other departments of the Government. Here he was taking a direct slap at General MacArthur and the JCS as well as at the Administration. He agreed that the new Central Intelligence Group established by the President was an advance over anything we had previously had in peacetime, but it lacked civilian control and independence.
Donovan voiced displeasure over any intelligence setup that did not dominate the scene. While Admiral Souers was setting up his new organization, Congress was working on the National Defense Act. The public was interested in and aroused over the provisions of this Act as it pertained to a new Department of Defense. The big word at that time was "unification". Feeling had run strong during World War H that the military services should have been more unified. It was claimed that they would have been more efficient, and there might have been less confusion and waste. At the same time, there were a number of advocates of an independent Air Force. Up to that time, the Air Force had always been a part of the Army. What was called unification at that time seems more like separation today, because the new law, when it was enacted, established a separate Army and Navy and a new Air Force. As we know them today they are still far from unified. In the heat of all this discussion, there was little public airing of the provision for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Those were troubled and confused times. The war was less than one year past, and people who looked back at it forgot all of the worldwide campaigns and remembered only the shock and terror of the atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With fear of the unknown always more deadly than fear of a conventional shooting war, there was no chance to relax from the tensions of world struggle, safe in the knowledge that another war could not start up at any time, as we had believed after World War I. On the contrary, the threat of atomic warfare, even though it might be sometime in the future, was so terrifying that many felt the potential danger of nuclear weapons in the hands of the Soviet Union represented a graver peril than all the battles of World War H. As a result, with the war only six months behind them, Congress and the Administration turned to the serious problems of defense.
Thus, on the same day that General Donovan had spoken to the Overseas Press Club, Secretary of State James Byrnes also addressed that group. It is most revealing to look back at the major differences between the two speeches. Addressing this group as the official spokesman of the administration, he said that there was one thing that was very important: "The question is what can we do to make certain that there will never be another war?" Then, citing problems of the war, he went on, "Our relief and our gratitude for victory are mixed with uncertainty. Our goal now is permanent peace, and certainly we seek it even more anxiously than we sought victory. The difficulty is that the path to permanent peace is not so easy to see and to follow as was the path to victory." He said that "because we know that no nation can make peace by itself, we have pinned our hopes to the banner of the U.S." Bymes added, "If we are going to do our part to maintain peace in the world, we must maintain our power to do so. We must make it clear that we will stand united with the other great states in defense of the charter of the UN. If we are to be a great power, we must act as a great power, not only in order to insure our own security but in order to preserve the peace of the world." Continuing, he said, "It is not in accord with our traditions to maintain a large professional standing army, but we must be able and ready to provide an armed contingent that may be required on short notice. We must have a trained citizenry ready to supplement those of the armed contingents." After making these statements, Bymes added a very interesting comment that has special significance and applicability today. He said, "Our tradition as a peaceloving, law-abiding democratic people should be an assurance that our forces will not be used except as they may be called into action by the Security Council, and cannot be employed in war without the consent of Congress. We need not fear their misuse unless we distrust the representatives of the people."
In view of what has transpired in the Vietnam war, Byrnes' last statement takes on special meaning. As he continued his speech he made another most interesting remark: "So far as the United States is concerned, we will gang up against no state. We will do nothing to break the world into exclusive blocks or spheres of influence in this atomic age. e will not seek to divide a world which is one and indivisible." This "oneworld" view, this idea that no nation should do that which would destroy hopes for world unity and harmony, was the official policy of the Administration at that time. It was the national policy of a people dedicated to the proposition that this country was strong and able enough to stand upon its own feet and make its own way in the world. It was a positive and active policy that would plan for the future; yet only five days later another speech of another kind did more to turn the minds of the world, and especially of the United States, and to blight our future than any other speech in the following quarter century.
It is startling and most significant to recall that the then leader of the Loyal Opposition in the British House of Commons, Sir Winston Churchill, only five days after Secretary Byrnes' speech made a speech that was just the opposite. He declared: "Beware... the time may be short... from Staten in the Baltic to Truest in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent."
In this famous Iron Curtain speech Churchill, like many others, was driving the tip of the wedge between the great powers of the world, while at almost the same time the Secretary of State had said, "We will do nothing to break the world into exclusive blocks or spheres of influence in the atomic age. We will not seek to divide a world which is one and indivisible." Here again was the classic contest. The active overt planner, Byrnes, versus the passive covert reactivist, Churchill.
These were not simply the comments of one man. They were typical, and they were indicative of the thinking and of the intentions of the official, elected leaders of the United States right after the end of World War 11, and of their deep-seated opposition. Great forces were working to divide the world - to set up one half as Communist, and the other half Free World and anti-Communist. There was the inertial drift that was transferring the initiative to the Kremlin.
The source of most of our problems of the past twenty-five years and certainly of the grave problems that beset our country today, lies in this schism between those who believed in the traditional school of national planning and overt diplomacy and those who believed in a passive role of reaction to a general enemy (Communism). This latter school would operate in response to intelligence inputs, without plans and without national objectives, would hide everything it did in secrecy, and would justify its actions in all instances as being anti -Communist. On the other hand, there were those who believed that the United States was the new leader of the world and that its responsibility to its own people and to those of the rest of the world lay in making a better world for all mankind along the lines of the example of the United States' tradition. At its best, this represented the dreams of free men for liberty and individual freedom under law and justice.
The maintenance of such a world and the expansion of such conditions to other parts of the world would require planning and great effort. The original concept of the Marshall Plan was an example of the best that such endeavors can accomplish in the face of Communist threats and opposition. Communism was met head on in Europe right after World War 11 and was defeated in France and Italy without resort to war and without response mechanisms. Communism was beaten by superior U.S. planning and policy. However, this kind of international effort requires dedicated leadership and great effort. One of the most difficult things for any government to do is develop and carry out long-range plans. That takes a certain inspired vision and rare leadership that is not often available.
On the other hand, it is easier and more typical to react and respond to outside pressures than to act in accordance with approved plans. In a modern government vested with immense capacity and advanced communications, it can be made to look more effective to set up and operate from a feedback system that will respond almost automatically to inputs, most of which are derived from a new style comprehensive intelligence information system fed by bits of data from everything including agents to satellite photography and other sophisticated sensors. The government in this case defines a threat, real or imagined, and responds to each data input from the threat and the danger.
This is what has been developed, and at this stage of the system this has become the normal course. Therefore, since it was all but inevitable that there would be a power struggle of some kind between the two great power centers on earth, even without declared hostility, the intelligence community proponents said that it would be easier to begin our national defense posture by delineating the source of all concern and danger, i.e. world communism, and then to draw lines for a never-ending battle, sometimes called the Cold War. The line so constructed was, in the beginning, the Iron Curtain. Although one might expect that the battles would be waged by our forces on their side of the curtain, and the skirmishes by their forces would be on our side, it has not turned out that way. The battles that have been fought since 1947 for the most part have been fought on our side of the Iron Curtain. It had to happen this way because the intelligence community has gained the initiative, and the response technique will not work on the other side. This was the great contest and although the principals on both sides of the argument, which was of such vital concern to the foreign policy and defense posture of this country, might deny it, this was the basis for the contention that the Central Intelligence Group should be assigned to a position subordinate to the Secretaries of State and Defense and under their direction.
These two pressure groups have vied for power repeatedly since 1946. It is entirely possible that the leak of the "Anderson Papers" in December 1971, and January 1972, was current evidence of an outbreak of this continuing struggle. Henry Kissinger is the titular head of the intelligence community's clandestine operations reaction faction. His appearance as a one-man power center is simply due to the fact that he fronts for the Secret Team and the secret intelligence community. Thus, he vies with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and certain others in the "traditionalist" group, who would like to see a return to national planning, strong diplomacy, and moves toward peace through successful conferences between the United States and other countries of the world.
The traditionalists had finally found a long-awaited opportunity to exploit Kissinger's weakened position in the India-Pakistani War, to expose him. Such events will occur repeatedly with the ebb and flow of power between these two positions.
As we continue with the development of the CIA and the ST in the following chapters, we shall see many more examples of the "active" versus "passive" contest.
A Simple Coup d 'Etat to a Global Mechanism
For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything
secret that shall not be known and come to light... take heed then how you hear... [Luke 8: 17-18]
A MODERN PARABLE. . . .
The jet airliner had just left the runway with the ex-president of Gandia aboard and was winging its way high over the snowballed Andes. In less than two hours it would land in the capital of Pegoan, where the ex-president had been assured of asylum and safety.
In a remote office in Washington the watch officer awaited the expected word from the agent who had arranged this flight, confirming that the departure had taken place. It was too soon to expect the collateral news that General Alfredo Elciario Illona had secured the reins of the Government of Gandia. This news he would get as soon as a second agent arrived in the capital with the new president. Desk officers had worked all night preparing releases for the news media and sending instructions to its operatives, readying them to support General Elciario's new government.
In distant Gandia all was quiet in spite of the sudden coup d'etat. It may have been the quiet before the storm. For the time being all had gone well.
In the cabin of an old converted transport C47 (DC-3) General Elciario was sleeping off the effects of a heavy drinking bout, on an army style cot that had been fitted into his modest VIP airplane. As soon as the plane had landed on its return from the frontier outpost, the pilot had parked it behind the U.S. Air Force surplus World War II hangar. The General and his closest friends had not even left the plane. Their party had continued on through the night in the plane. The pilot and friend of the General, a U.S. Air Force Major, had sent the others home while he stayed until the General had slept it off.
As he tidied up the plane he recalled similar days in Greece and Iran, where he had worked as the mission commander on other exercises for "Acme Plumbing" [ One of the most frequently used unclassified code names for the CIA; in general conversation by employees and those familiar with their intimate jargon. Note how the White House/Watergate Affair Group called themselves "the Plumbers," showing their CIA lineage.] But this was the first time that he himself had been the key agent in the making of a President. It had been hard work, and now all he could do was wait for the brilliant mountain sunrise and word from the embassy that all was well and that the city was under control. In a few hours the General would be awakened and prepared to enter the capital as the new President. Now, as he lay there on that crude cot he did not even know that the coup d'etat had already taken place and that it had been completely successful.
The Major had been in Gandia for slightly more than one year. He had come to join the D.S. Air Force mission there after six months of accelerated training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He had flown little since his duty in Korea, but it had come back quickly with the intensive program the CIA had scheduled for him there. At Eglin he had learned new paradrop techniques and had worked closely with the newly formed Special Air Warfare Squadrons. One squadron had been sent to South Vietnam, another had gone to Europe, and the one he was to join had flown to Panama. There he had received further operational training exercises with the D.S. Army Special Forces troops in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Other operations had taken him on an earthquake mercy mission to Peru and a medical team paradrop exercise into a mining town in Bolivia. It was while he was in Bolivia that the western hemisphere division (WH) had contacted him through the embassy and told him to report to Gandia.
Not long after he had arrived in Gandia, he met General Elciario. The General had been working with a specially equipped transport plane doing paradrop work over the mountain forests of the eastern frontier. The General was from a leading family of Gandia and could trace his ancestry back to the days of Simon Bolivar. Yet he was proud of the fact that he was Gandian and made slight reference to his Castilian ancestry. He loved the squat, barrel-chested mountain people. He was one of them. He was a man of the people, and he was the most famous flyer in the country. He had flown serum to stricken villages during an epidemic, and he had airdropped tons of relief supplies after an earthquake. The people of the villages loved the General, even though he was not a favorite in the capital. As in most Latin American countries, the government was centered in the capital. What took place in the capital was important; what took place in the villages could be ignored. When the General was made the chief of staff of the Gandian Air Force, the old President thought he had made a safe assignment. The General was part of no clique in the city, and he was no threat to anyone.
From the first, the General and the D.S. Major got along fine. The Major preferred the men of the villages to those in the capital, and in no time at all he was popular. Wherever he went the General, too, was popular. In this remote site the Major had become the friend of everyone in the village and in the Gandian Air Force unit. The General had noticed that the units the Major worked with always seemed able to get supplies and favors, which had been hard to get before from military aid channels. The Major must have had some special influence with Washington. On the other hand, whenever the Major distributed these hard to get items, he always credited the General with getting them. This "magic" was simply a part of the long reach of the Secret Team.
The "major" was on a CIA cover assignment, and although everything he did had the appearance of normal D.S. Air Force duty, he was in Gandia to gather intelligence. He was part of a very normal inside operation. He knew who was on General Elciaro's team, and he knew who was not. He knew which elements of the government worked with the Air Force and which were aloof or antagonistic. When his routine reports, which he filed daily through his contact in the embassy and not through Air Force channels, revealed that he was getting quite close to the General, they were passed on by the Deputy Director of Intelligence to the Deputy Director of Plans, and thence to Western Hemisphere. From that date on, WH monitored all traffic to and from the "major", and from time to time would feed him special instructions and other data. WH wanted to know exactly whom the General trusted and who in the government he worked with on official matters. In Gandia as in many other countries this could mean, "Who does he share his cut of government funds with and who shares theirs with him?"
One day, General Elciario told the major of his growing displeasure with the Government of the old President. This was passed on to WH.. Day by day the Major increased the scope and coverage of the civic action training exercises that the D.S. Air Force and the D.S. Army Special Forces troops were interested in and that gave special credit to General Elciario. He was seen everywhere with new projects to build rural schools. He was seen delivering water pipe to a remote village from an Air Force transport. His fighters roared over distant cities and towns, letting the people know that the Air Force was everywhere. General Elciario opened the new D.S. satellite tracking station, and he was at the dedication ceremony of a new U.S. mining company's mountain airfield. And everywhere the General went the Major was somewhere in the background.
The Major found ways to be helpful to the General, and he gave the General an opportunity to widen the gap between himself and his government. before long, the General was led to believe that the V.S. Government also was displeased with the old President. Although nothing was ever said, General Elciario was quite certain that if he made a move to take over the government, the V.S. Government would not make a move to support the present regime.
Note the formula: There was no commitment of any kind to support a coup d' etat. On the contrary, the formula calls only for tacit agreement not to support the incumbent. As a matter of fact, the "major" had been sent to Gandia to look out for subversive insurgency. The possibility of a coup had developed quite spontaneously. And once it became a possibility, it was nurtured. As soon as the General realized this, he began to see himself as the person in power. The lure was undeniable. He began to create his own team, and he began to count his chances.
It was not long before he came to the Major with the outline of a well planned scheme that purported to see a real and immediate requirement for a big civic action exercise in a remote province. This exercise would require a special consignment of weapons, ammunition, and perhaps silver bullion to buy off some of the dissident tribesmen. General Elciario made a good case for his plan and assured the Major that the natives would be properly stirred up at the right time to make it seem to everyone that this exercise was not only the real thing for training purposes but that a government show of force in that area would help put down rampant "Communist inspired subversion" in the area. The only problem would be the weapons. The General had no way to get that much material without arousing suspicion. The incumbent government kept all munitions under close control in secured magazines. Otherwise, not a word was said about even the remote possibility ofa coup d'etat. But both men, the V.S. Major and the ambitious General, understood each other.
That night the messages from the embassy to WH were highly classified and loaded with instructions to include the requests for munitions and airlift. WH was quick to respond. The neighboring country, Pegoan, had been scheduled to receive a normal, large shipment of military assistance munitions. The CIA arranged to have these delivered ahead of schedule and to seed the order with extra items for General Elciario. The V.S. Air Force was directed to make available four medium transport aircraft for the Gandian Air Force's "Civic Action" timing exercise. When all was in readiness, two large C-130 heavy four engine transport planes took off from Panama, bound for Pegoan. However, they filed a devious flight plan in order to make some "upper altitude weather tests for NASA". This gave them extra time en route. They landed in Pegoan on schedule; but unknown to that Government they had touched down on a remote mountain airstrip long enough to dump off a number of pallets loaded with munitions for Gandia. The two C-130s were able to get back in the air with only a thirty minute delay and to make their scheduled arrival time at their original destination. No one knew that they had delivered this cache of arms for the rebels in Gandia.
At the barren air strip, there had been only four men, all from the USAF. They had arrived unnoticed and unannounced in one of the U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare U-10 "Helio" light aircraft. This rugged light plane was especially designed to land in short distances on rough terrain. Yet it could carry six men, or four men and a cargo of special equipment. These men had set up panel signals to show the C-130s where to land. Then they had driven a number of heavy crowbars into the ground. To each one they affixed the loop end of a long nylon rope with a hook at the end. As soon as the first C-130 had landed, they directed it to turn around and open its huge rear end cargo doors. The lines were passed in to the crew and attached to pallets on which ammunition was firmly strapped. Then, as the C-130 gunned its engines for takeoff, the ropes pulled each pallet out of the plane and left a string of cargo on one side of the clearing. The process was repeated with the other C-130 on the other side of the clearing. No sooner had the C-130s left than four smaller C-123 medium transports arrived from Gandia, flying low over the mountain ridges to escape detection. The first plane landed short and spun around ready for take-off. It carried a small forklift unit that was used to load all four planes. The whole operation had taken less than an hour, and just before the four men left in their Helio, one of them drove the forklift over the cliff at the edge of the runway. The C-123s hedgehopped to the remote airfield in preparation for the civic action exercise.
Two U.S. Army Special Forces "advisers", working with the tribes in the exercise area, staged a pre-dawn "attack" using "fire fight" packages, along with a team of Gandian Army Special Forces who were told that they were on a training exercise.
The villagers were told this was a hostile attack, and the chieftain dutifully reported subversive insurgency to the district police headquarters in the nearest town. News spread to the capital, and this sector was reported to be in rebellion. General Elciario's field headquarters reported they would put down the trouble and that all would be under control. The increased activity was overlooked in the capital as one of those occasional native outbreaks. Then, under the cover of this "emergency", the incumbent government was served with an ultimatum. A well armed force of paratroopers disembarked at the main airport and began to take over the national radio station and other government centers. Since they were heavily armed, the president assumed that they included men upon whom he had relied and who had keys to the ammunition magazines. He called in his United States CIA friend who "reluctantly" confirmed that this was the case and that safe passage could be arranged for the president and his immediate family in a Fawcett Airlines plane, which "happened" to be at the airport. In a matter of hours, the old president was on his way, and a courier drove onto the Gandian Air Force Base to inform the Major that he could prepare Elciario for his victory march into the capital and to the Presidential Palace.
Elciario served his country for several years, and he may have been replaced in the same manner. Meanwhile the "major" has left for other duties. If the General had had the opportunity to visit the Guatemalan airfield, which was constructed on the ranch at Retalhuleu for the purpose of training Cuban air crews, he would have seen his old friend the "major" busy with those ex -Cuban airline pilots, trying to teach them how to fly the latest and most lethal model of the old B-26. Or he could have seen the "major" a while later at his primary support base in Arizona, where T -28s and other aircraft were being outfitted for Laos. Such men are members of a small and highly competent group of professionals who prepare the way for the operations dreamed up by the ST in any part of the world.
The real day to day operational work of the ST and of its principle action organization, the CIA, is so different from that of any ordinary arm of the Government that it would be worth the time and space here to define it and explain it as it is revealed in the scenes just outlined. The coup d' etat described was a composite of real ones although the names of the countries involved and the name of the General are changed. Oddly enough, the General did become president after an all night party, and the "major" did have his hands full trying to get him ready for his victorious entry into town.
The CIA had a full-time man in the embassy who was responsible for what might be called routine intelligence. It was noted that there was increasing opposition to the incumbent President, so an Agency man was introduced into the country as an Army Colonel. He was a Special Forces officer and well known in the V.S. Army as an instructor at Fort Bragg. Actually, he had been at Fort Bragg in the John F. Kennedy Center on a CIA cover assignment. He had been in the Army during World War 11 and he had a bona fide Reserve commission. Technically, he was recalled to active duty; but he was paid by the CIA, and he was not on the basic Army roles except as a cover assignment.
When this special requirement in Gandia arose, the CIA got him transferred to the Army mission in Gandia by suggesting that the incumbent Army colonel be called back to attend the National War College. This excuse satisfied the Army headquarters in Panama and enabled the "cover" colonel to take over the mission without delay.
No sooner had this Colonel reported for duty than the ambassador began a buildup program for him so that he would have a chance to meet the president frequently and to talk with him sufficiently to win him over to the U.S. Army doctrine on civic action and to convince him that this could be applied to the "rebellious" areas in the border outposts. In this manner he became a confidant of the president and was very useful later during the coup d' etat.
At about the same time that the "Army Colonel" arrived in Gandia, an American businessman, who was president of a small independent airline with its main offices in Panama, came into the capital city to open a oneman office to represent his airline. He rented a small space at the airport and hired a clerk and a young mamma who had been working with the well known Latin American airline, Fawcett Airways. Ostensibly to assure the success of his new venture, this man remained in Gandia for several months and visited all major companies in an attempt to sell them special air services which his company, by using small aircraft and one or two old World War 11 Flying Boat PBY s, could provide for them. He became a regular figure in town and was accepted as a hardworking, friendly businessman who knew Latin America and who could speak fluent Spanish. Otherwise, he stayed in the background and was rarely seen in the official American community. He seemed to know no one at the embassy, and they were never seen with him. He was gathering intelligence, and he was an old professional. He had a drop for routine messages, which the Agency communications man sent through the special CIA transmitter in the embassy; but even the CIA people in Gandia did not know that he had his own network for highly classified messages out of Pegoan. He would fly there frequently, so that when he had important messages his sudden departure would not be noticed by the Gandians or the Americans.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force "major" had been introduced through Air Force channels. He was technically an "overage" in Gandia and was carried on temporary duty status there for the duration of the civic action exercises, which were scheduled to last throughout the year. He was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare unit in Panama. He was a longtime CIA employee who had served in many countries and was one of their best career pilots and blackflight specialists.
Although firm intelligence had shown the possibility that the old president was apt to be overthrown because of incipient developments, there were no reliable indications which would identify a possible successor. This left the Agency with the option of waiting to see who might rise to power by his own ability, or of stepping in with an attempt to create a man who could take over when the president's position became dangerously weakened. The former choice was poor because it left the door open for other interests, always considered to be Castroite or Communist, to step in with their own man. Since the Agency believed the fall of the present government to be about as certain as such a thing can be, it was decided to use the "Magsaysay formula" and to create the next president by making him the hero of the people throughout the country as a first step. It would be the job of the major to groom the man they had selected for the role.
The "major" did not know the American businessman who was president of the small airline, and had never come across him during his Agency career. The airline president did not know him either. The Agency planned to keep them working independently so that it could cross-check their reports. The "major" had met the Army Colonel during airdrop exercises at Fort Bragg, but he thought he was a real Army Special Forces instructor and did not know that he, too, was a CIA career man. The Agency gave him clearance to work with the Colonel very closely and cleared the Colonel similarly. The "major" did not know of the Colonel's role with the old President and the Colonel did not know the "major's" assignment. Each man was to play his role straight.
The ambassador was fully informed of the Agency's plan, since he was the recipient of its secret intelligence reports, and he knew that one of the men in his communications room was an Agency man. He had never made an attempt to determine which man it was because he thought his charge d' affaires knew; also, it would be better for him to keep his fingers out of that kind of thing. He did not know that the "major", the Colonel, and the airline president were CIA men. He did not see their message traffic, although the Agency took pains to make sure that he received "cleaned" copies of their dispatches, which he assumed had been culled from attach reports and other more or less normal sources. The ambassador was not interested in intelligence; he had been in the country only one year, and if he could keep things calm, he hoped to be transferred at the end of the second year. He was a political appointee and not a career man.
The "major" spent a considerable amount oftime setting up elaborate civic action exercises in all areas of the country. These were staged like carnivals, and at the climax of every operation, General Elciario would fly in and address the village and local tribesmen. There had been a few native uprisings, and some operations were directed into those areas to impress the villagers with the power of the new air force. The "major" found a few villages that lived in fear of bandit tribes. Here he took a page from the Magsaysay book and rigged some early morning "attacks" by what he called the Red team. These attacks were always repulsed by a Blue team, which just happened to be in the area. In every case, Elciario would show up leading the victorious "anti-guerrillas". The unwitting natives took this as the real thing, and the fame of General Elciario as the greatest guerrilla fighter since Simon Bolivar spread throughout the country.
This kind of script calls for the utilization of equipment "borrowed" from the U.S. Armed Forces, along with personnel to carry out such missions. It also calls for the liberal use of a blank checkbook, which the General is urged to use to win over those who might be useful.
Up to this stage of the action, most of what the CIA has been doing falls in the category of intelligence, with only a preparatory stage of clandestine operations. As its agents report a worsening position for the old President and general disillusionment on the part of key businessmen and other leaders, along with a growing national awareness of General Elciario, WH puts together the outline of a proposed operation to be briefed to the DD/P (clandestine services) and thence to the DCI. Following this briefing, and with the approval of these men, the Agency will brief selected key people in Defense and State to see how they feel about the situation and whether or not they are ready to see a change of government in Gandia.
Throughout this period, the Agency will have been sending special messages to its man in the embassy. He will use these to brief the ambassador, or perhaps to have the Army Colonel brief the ambassador to guide him in this situation. Some of the very messages the Agency will have sent to Gandia will come back over the embassy network as intelligence input, and at the same time will be transmitted by the attaches to the Defense Department. Thus a wave of messages, all corroborating one another, will fill the "In" baskets in State, Defense, and the White House. In his role as intelligence coordinator the DCI will prepare his own analysis of all of this and will prepare to place this business on the agenda of the next NSC Special Group meeting; he will present the current situation only, and propose a special operation.
By this time, the Agency and a number of the Secret Team operatives will have just about decided that the only thing to do in Gandia is to go along with General Elciario and permit him to exploit the situation. They will have convinced themselves that if the government is that shaky in the first place, they had better be on the winning side rather than on the "Communists". A special group meeting will be held, and the designated substitute for each NSC member will attend. The consensus of the meeting will be to go ahead with the "major's" program but to hold up until each member has had an opportunity to inform his principal of the action.
The DCI will offer to visit the President and will get his approval; this makes the visit to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense purely informational.
This account of developments may seem somewhat unreal. Anyone who has carefully read the Pentagon Papers will recognize most of the above. In fact, most people who have read the Pentagon Papers will see that this is what was done in the case of the Diems in South Vietnam. The significant point is that the CIA may have sent the "major" to Gandia in the first place simply to see how things were going there and perhaps to have him ready for action in a neighboring country if needed. But the "major" is an old firehorse, and when he hears the bell, he cannot help getting into harness. The scenario is somewhat like the movie Fahrenheit 451, in which the firemen were the men who started fires rather than the men who put them out.
It is so easy to topple over a government in most small countries simply by finding the key to control. If all arms and equipment are kept under close control, then the armed forces and the police have few useful weapons at any given time. Thus, if the leader of the rebellion all of a sudden shows up with a large and unaccounted for supply of weapons, he may be able to take the government over without a shot, simply by the fact that he has them outgunned before they start. Thus it is not too difficult for a man with boundless resources such as the "major" could command to be able to arrange things almost effortlessly. At that point, all he has to know, and all the man he is supporting has to know, is that the United States will not make a move to support the incumbent. Then, when the tide begins to turn, the incumbent finds himself alone with no one in a position to help him. Like so many things the ST does, this is more a negative coup d'etat than a positive action.
It is not to be presumed that a program such as this can be fully implemented in a short time, or that it is set in motion with the objective of causing and supporting a coup d' etat. As a matter of fact, the characteristic of the ST that supersedes all others in such a situation as this is that events should take their natural course, with some covert help.
A document that was circulated from the CIA through other government agencies and extra governmental organizations such as the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Defense Analysis shows how this is done. Once a country is included on the "counterinsurgency" list, or any other such category, a move is made to develop a CIA echelon, usually within the structure of whatever U.S. military organization exists there at the time. Then the CIA operation begins Phase I by proposing the introduction of some rather conventional aircraft. No developing country can resist such an offer, and this serves to create a base of opera~ions, usually in a remote and potentially hostile area. While the aircraft program is getting started the Agency will set up a high frequency radio network, using radios positioned in villages throughout the host country. The local inhabitants are told that these radios will provide a warning of guerrilla activity.
Phase II of such a project calls for the introduction of medium transport type aircraft that meet anti-guerrilla warfare support requirements. The crew training program continues, and every effort is made to develop an in-house maintenance capability. As the level of this activity increases, more and more Americans are brought in, ostensibly as instructors and advisers; at this phase many of the Americans are Army Special Forces personnel who begin civic action programs. The country is sold the idea that it is the Army in most developing nations that is the usual stabilizing influence and that it is the Army that can be trusted. This is the American doctrine; promoting the same idea, but in other words, it is a near paraphrase of the words of Chairman Mao.
In the final phase of this effort, light transports and liaison type aircraft are introduced to be used for border surveillance, landing in remote areas, and for resupplying small groups of anti-guerrilla warfare troops who are operating away from fixed bases. These small specialized aircraft are usually augmented by helicopters.
When the plan has developed this far, efforts are made to spread the program throughout the frontier area of the country. Villagers are encouraged to clear off small runways or helicopter landing pads, and more warning network radios are brought into remote areas.
While this work is continuing, the government is told that these activities will develop their own military capability and that there will be a bonus economic benefit from such development, each complementing the other. It also makes the central government able to contact areas in which it may never have been able to operate before, and it will serve as a tripwire warning system for any real guerrilla activities that may arise in the area.
There is no question that this whole political economic social program sounds very nice, and most host governments have taken the bait eagerly. What they do not realize, and in many cases what most of the U.S. Government does not realize, is that this is a CIA program, and it exists to develop intelligence. If it stopped there, it might be acceptable but intelligence serves as its own propellant, and before long the agents working on this type of project see, or perhaps are a factor in creating, internal dissension. Or they may find areas of ancient border contacts, or they may run into some legitimate probing and prodding from a neighboring country, which mayor may not have its origins in Moscow, just as our program had its origins in Washington. In any event, the intelligence operator at this point begins to propose operations, and use clandestine operations lead to minor "Vietnams" or other such bleeding ulcer type projects that drain United States resources, wealth, and manpower on behalf of no meaningful national objective.
The CIA maintains hundreds of U.S. military units for its own purposes. Many of these units become involved in this type of operation. After these cover units have been in existence for several years, the military has a hard time keeping track of them. The military system is prone to try to ignore such abnormalities, and the CIA capitalizes on this to bury some units deep in the military wasteland.
The CIA also maintains countless paramilitary and pseudo business organizations that weave in and out of legitimacy and do business much as their civilian counterparts would. The small airline alluded to in the Gandia example actually exists and very capably operates in Latin America. It operates as a viable business and competes with other airlines of its type" The only difference is that the officials of the other airlines, who have a hard time meeting the payroll at times, wonder how their competition is able to stay in business year after year with no more volume than they have. At such a point, most of the competition will rationalize that the cover airline must be in some illegitimate business like smuggling and the drug trade, or else that it is connected with the CIA. They could be right on both counts. Most of these cover businesses have to be closed out and reestablished from time to time to support their usefulness. (It may be interesting to note that in September 1963, none other than the Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, got mixed up with one of these cover airlines, Fairways Incorporated, without knowing it, and that the exposure resulting from his accidental charter of this small airline played a part in bringing down his house of cards.
Part of the Gandia coup d'etat demonstrates that the ambassador will be briefed on most things that happen in his country, and if he is alert and insistent, he may be on top of most of the things the ST is doing there. In actual practice, however, there may be quite a bit of communications traced that he will know nothing about. The CIA will have its own communications network, and in addition to that, agents who come and go will be sending messages outside of the country that he may never know about. It would be an unusually adept ambassador who would catch all of the by-play in the incoming messages and the outgoing traffic. Most ambassadors would be surprised to learn that some of the staff messages that are proposed to them for authorization to transmit were received from the ST almost verbatim in the form which his "staff" have given him to send back to Washington. This is a useful device for the ST because it gets a message of unquestioned authority from the ambassador into the Department of State and usually into Defense via attache channels.
By this innocent appearing device, the ST is able to create intelligence inputs that are then used for clandestine operations feedback. This becomes a possible ploy, because the Team can separate the people who know about the outgoing messages from those who know about the incoming messages by the "need to know" and "eyes only" restrictive methods. Such methods are not commonly used, but they are used when someone on the ST feels that the desired end will justify this means.
In this example we saw that the Agency had operatives working in Gandia who were unaware of each other's presence. It is entirely possible that the ambassador may not have known either that all of the CIA men working on this project were CIA men. He would have had available to him a list of all Americans in Gandia if he had wanted to research it; but in operational exercises such as this, it is most likely that he would not know all the agents. This is a most touchy area, and there have been times when the CIA's own chief of station, its senior man in the country, was not aware of the fact that other CIA men were working in his country. This can create some very complex problems. In one case of record it resulted in a very serious altercation between two CIA factions, with the result that the chief of station demanded that the other men leave or that he would leave. In that instance, the chief of station left.
Another way the ST gets around the special operative problem is to employ non U.S. citizens to assist in countries where an over scrupulous ambassador or cautious chief of station have given trouble. A number of such personnel have been used by the CIA -in Indochina in a variety of roles, and in some exceptional cases, they have been used on special assignments in Latin America.
The Gandia incident shows another special facility in the hands of the ST. In order to equip General Elciario with an abundance of arms and ammunition, the CIA arranged with the Air Force to airlift these munitions to a remote site. In order to do this the two large C-130 aircraft had to depart from the U.S. Air Force base in Panama with cargo manifests that showed only the actual cargo that was being delivered to the final destination in the capital of Pegoan. This meant that a deal had to be made with customs in order to get out of Panama. The landing in Pegoan had to be clandestine, and the chance of discovery had to be gambled. There have been incidents where such illicit cargo drops were made and then discovered before they could be picked up. In such cases, the cargo had to be abandoned, and the finder was so much the richer; the V.S. Government could not make a move to identify itself as owner of the property.
The pickup flights also had to be clandestine in that they left Gandia and entered Pegoan without clearance or flight plan, made their landing, pickup, and return with no manifested cargo in Gandia. This part of the operation may not seem important, but should there have been exposure of any of those illicit flights, it could have led to exposure of the entire plot, and a coup d' etat by the opposite side may have taken place or the old President may have had sufficient warning to take strong measures to remain in power. Certainly ifhe did learn of this business, he would no longer be a friend of the United States.
We have mentioned the Magsaysay incident before. The way in which the ST was able to build up Magsaysay from an unknown Army captain to a national hero and eventually to president was so appealing that the technique has been attempted in other countries. One of the gambles with that game is that a situation has to be developed, preferably in some remote area where it can be alleged that there is a pro-Communist activity - in the case in point, Huk (Communist sympathizers) activities. In the beginning there may be an incipient outbreak of banditry caused by crop damage or other hardship. The natives will attack other villages for food and other plunder, usually for the sole purpose of staying alive. As this situation continues and spreads it will come to the attention of the national police or the border patrol. They may not have the means to cope with the uprising and may ask the government to help them. At this point the armed forces may recall their civic action training at Fort Bragg or in Panama and they may ask the V.S. military mission personnel to assist them. No country likes to admit that it has some internal problems, so they quite readily call the banditry "subversive insurgency" and imply that it may be Communist-inspired.
This puts the flame to the wick. Nothing will get a rise out of Special Forces - both Army and Air Force - faster. In short order they will be on the spot to see what can be done, and in every case the CIA will have men seeded in the units. At this point this is still a CIA effort, and it may stay in that category as far as the ST is concerned until the disorders have receded or have flared higher. Usually, the breakpoint occurs when it is discovered that the rioting is being blamed upon the incumbent administration. Then the CIA looks for the possibility of a coup, from there on it is the familiar pattern. Such events - and there have been so many during the past fifteen to twenty years - show how easily intelligence becomes clandestine operations, and how clandestine operations are usually the result of a reaction or a response mechanism and are not a part of any planning or policy.
This is the great danger. The leaders of CIA and important members of the ST have protested countless times that the CIA does not enter into policy making. In this they are correct on most counts. The problem lies in the fact that they are not policy making, and on top of that, the operations they carry out are not in support of policy, either. They simply grow like Topsy, arising out of a feedback from intelligence data inputs; in some cases there is no reason at all for the action. In other words, there may be no national objective other than the loose coverall or blanket observation that the operation is anti-Communist.
Another special area in which the ST excels is that of logistics support of clandestine operations. They always seem to operate out of a boundless horn of plenty. In the Gandia example, the CIA was able to call for and have delivered a large quantity of munitions, and to have it delivered in heavy aircraft, all of which cost someone a lot of money. We shall have a general discussion of logistics support in a later chapter and will not go unto detail here, but it should be noted that it is one thing to be able to move such a cargo in and out of various countries without customs and other controls, and it is another thing to get the cargo in the first place. Most of us have been led to believe that the Armed Forces are required to account for each and every item they have procured with the taxpayer's dollar. Then how does the CIA manage to get so much, so easily? All munitions have to be transferred from control depots to transportation points, and all such transactions are under control and regulation. To get around this, the ST has developed a system of its own storage depots and has them so interlaced with the military system that not even the military can track down some of the transactions.
These transactions are often written off with the comment, "It's all in the government"; but there is one area of imbalance that adds appreciably to the cost of such extracurricular activities. In the foreign aid program, there are very careful balances in aid maintained between different countries, especially neighboring countries or countries in the same sphere of influence. If we give one country a new series of Army tanks, then we must be prepared to give the neighbor the same. This will repeat itself like a row of dominoes, and the next thing we know we have to re-equip a whole series of countries with the newer equipment, because we started with one. This situation is expensive, and it is hard to control. A delivery to Pakistan of equipment not delivered to India will set off a most unpleasant round of talks with India. During India's border problems in 196~., offers were made to deliver a large shipment of arms to India. Although Pakistan was also involved to a lesser degree in the border problem, this was forgotten in the argument over the imbalance which the former delivery would create between India and Pakistan. In the end, Pakistan did increase its contact with China and became less friendly to the United States.
This system is very complicated and few would have the temerity to interfere with it. However, the CIA has from time to time created situations where munitions delivered to one country, ostensibly for a clandestine operation have ended up in the hands of the central government and have created a gross imbalance within the same sphere. An example of this occurred after the Bay of Pigs operation, when Nicaragua took possession of aircraft and other valuable munitions that had been stockpiled at Puerto Cabezas and had not been used. The advanced model of the B-26 bomber being prepared for the use of the Cubans was a much more lethal aircraft than any neighbor of Nicaragua had in its own inventory. This set off a whole round of arguments about increasing the aircraft inventory of the other countries. Though these examples are limited and incomplete, they serve to point out the nature of clandestine operations.
The principle reason why the creation of the CIA within the framework of our free society has caused very serious problems is because the intelligence function, as it has been operating under the DCI and the rest of the community, almost inevitably leads to clandestine operations. The law intended otherwise, but general practice during the past twenty-five years has served to erode the barriers between Intelligence and clandestine operations to the point where today this type of thing, unfortunately, has become rather commonplace. And why has it become so commonplace? The most basic reason is because nations' ills of all kinds are highlighted by instant global communications and then are generally attributed to the Communist bogeyman. This is not to say, of course, that some ills may not be caused by Communist pressures, just as some are caused by American pressures. (In fact, the benefits of being charged with so many actions are so tremendous for the men in the Kremlin that they would be less than skillful if they did not stir up a few obvious cases now and then to keep the pot boiling. When a small contribution to the effort in Indochina on the part of the men in the Kremlin can get fifty-five thousand Americans killed and $200 billion wasted versus no Russians killed and only a few billion dollars invested, the Kremlin cannot be blamed for using this tactic to its advantage.)
In the Philippines, lumbering interests and major sugar interests have forced tens of thousands of simple, backward villagers to leave areas where they have lived for centuries. When these poor people flee to other areas, it should be quite obvious that they in turn then infringe upon the territorial rights of other villagers or landowners. This creates violent rioting or at least sporadic outbreaks of banditry, that last lowly recourse of dying and terrorized people. Then when the distant government learns of the banditry and rioting, it must offer some safe explanation. The last thing that regional government would want to do would be to say that the huge lumbering or paper interests had driven the people out of their ancestral homeland. In the Philippines it is customary for the local regional government to get a 10 percent rake-off on all such enterprise and for national politicians to get another 10 percent. So the safe explanation becomes "Communist-inspired subversive insurgency". The word for this in the Philippines is Huk.
In the piece of real estate we now call South Vietnam, the refugee problem that resulted in rioting and incipient banditry was derived from three sources. The huge French rubber plantation holdings and lumbering interests, the mass movement of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese from north of the 17th parallel, and the complete collapse of the ancient rice economy, which included the destruction of potable water resources during the early years of the Diem regime - all came at about the same time to create a terroristic situation among millions of people in what would otherwise have been their ancestral homeland. Again this was attributed to subversive insurgency inspired by Communism.
This is a familiar formula in Latin America, too, and is found to be at the root of the problem in the emerging nations of Africa. In following chapters we shall see how the new U.S. Army doctrine that has been developed at the White House by a special Presidential committee is designed expressly to meet such situations and to create in those countries a military center of power bracketing all political-economic and social activity.
In the context of "Army" policy this committee's two major contributors and authors were both U.S. military generals who were actually the spokesmen for the CIA. The policy that they developed has become the CIA's most effective tool during the "Counterinsurgency era", which began in about 1960-61.