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The Secret History of the CIA

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"All the operations, all the billions spent, all the bodies we left around the world, all the lies to our countrymen, our friends, our families, our allies -- in the end we failed at the mission...Our problem was that we could not discern what mattered." --Dr. William R. Corson, American Counterintelligence Officer

The Secret History of the CIA covers the struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, beginning even before World War II was completed. We're in Chapter Six, "The Battle to Control American Intelligence," before we encounter the National Security Act of 1947 and the agency it created, the Central Intelligence Agency.

Published in 2001, too early to include any mention of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, The Secret History of the CIA discusses CIA's history against the Soviet Union in enough detail to let the reader understand how the United States could be so utterly unprepared for what was (retrospectively, in any case) an obvious threat.

The book carries a caveat quoted from CIA mole hunter James Angleton, "Truth, when talking about the CIA, is relative." Despite this note, The Secret History of the CIA comes complete with many end notes identifying sources where possible, painting a picture that is as credible as it is disturbing. Joseph J. Trento's present work is quite different from The Main Enemy, documenting many failures, and some utter disasters funded by American tax dollars. Ultimately, both accounts might well turn out to be right.

Even before CIA was formed, the American intelligence community was plagued by penetrations from Soviet agents. As the agency started to take shape under the guidance of Alan Dulles, he and sixty of his closest friends from OSS, CIA's WWII forerunner, managed to escape the very security measures that they placed on others -- including standard polygraph testing.

As political forces realized the power of CIA's clandestine operations, they came to be exercised with greater frequency. Perhaps surprisingly, the peak of CIA clandestine activity was not during the presidency of former CIA head George H.W. Bush or even his predecessor Ronald Reagan. In his three years in office, John F. Kennedy oversaw more covert operations than Reagan managed in eight. Also of interest is how Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, was so heavily involved in these black ops.

Shedding light on everything ranging from KGB's connections with the Kennedy assassinations to the fall of democratically-elected governments around the world, The Secret History of the CIA is well worth consideration.

Created by cmcurtin
This article originally appeared on Sunshine Poultry.
Last modified 2004-11-14 08:57 AM
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