The culture we lost - Secretary of State Henry Stimson
refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, "Gentlemen
do not read each other's mail."
COI created - In preparation for World War II, President
Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI).
General William "Wild Bill" Donovan heads the new intelligence
OSS created - Roosevelt restructures COI into something more
suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
Donovan recruits so many of the nation's rich and powerful that
eventually people joke that "OSS" stands for "Oh, so social!" or
"Oh, such snobs!"
Italy - Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be
the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy.
This would prove to be one of America's most enduring
intelligence alliances in the Cold War.
OSS is abolished - The remaining American information
agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information
gathering and analysis.
Operation PAPERCLIP - While other American agencies are hunting
down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence
community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their
use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard
Gehlen, Hitler's master spy who had built up an intelligence
network in the Soviet Union.
With full U.S. blessing, he creates
the "Gehlen Organization," a band of refugee Nazi spies who
reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS
intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who
massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the "Butcher of
Lyon"), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked
with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend
The Gehlen Organization supplies the
U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next
ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the
"intelligence" the former Nazis provide is bogus.
Gehlen inflates Soviet military
capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its
devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to
the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen
almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the
West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a
fictitious "missile gap."
To make matters worse, the Russians
have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double
agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was
supposed to protect.
Greece - President Truman requests military aid to Greece to
support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the
rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious
Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.
CIA created - President Truman signs the National Security Act
of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National
Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president
through the NSC - there is no democratic or congressional
oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to "perform such other
functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from
time to time direct."
This loophole opens the door to covert
action and dirty tricks.
Covert-action wing created - The CIA recreates a covert
action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy
Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner.
to its secret charter, its responsibilities include "propaganda,
economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion
against hostile states, including assistance to underground
resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist
elements in threatened countries of the free world."
Italy - The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where
Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys
votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition
leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It
works -- the communists are defeated.
Radio Free Europe - The CIA creates its first major
propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several
decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time
it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the
- The CIA begins recruiting American
news organizations and journalists to become spies and
disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank
Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is
publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA
Eventually, the CIA's media assets
will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press,
United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers,
Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA's own
admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will
become CIA assets.
Iran - CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize
British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of
Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.
Operation MK-ULTRA - Inspired by North Korea's brainwashing
program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control.
notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other
drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against
their will, causing several to commit suicide.
However, the operation involves far
more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford
foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public
relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.
Guatemala - CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob
Arbenz in a military coup.
Arbenz has threatened to nationalize
the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA
Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a
series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will
kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.
North Vietnam - CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four
years trying to overthrow the communist government of North
Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts
to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam,
headed by Ngo Dinh Diem.
These efforts fail to win the hearts
and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is
opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction
measures. The CIA's continuing failure results in escalating
American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.
Hungary - Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by
broadcasting Khruschev's Secret Speech, in which he denounced
Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians
This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a
doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion.
The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.
Laos - The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year
trying to nullify Laos' democratic elections.
The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a
member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA
even creates an "Armee Clandestine" of Asian mercenaries to
attack the Pathet Lao.
After the CIA's army suffers
numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs
on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A
quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many
living in caves.
Haiti - The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become
dictator of Haiti.
He creates his own private police force, the
"Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes.
They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign.
The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.
The Bay of Pigs - The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade
Castro's Cuba. But "Operation Mongoose" fails, due to poor
planning, security and backing.
The planners had imagined that
the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -–
which never happens. A promised American air strike also never
occurs. This is the CIA's first public setback, causing
President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.
Dominican Republic - The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a
murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930.
Trujillo's business interests have grown so large (about 60
percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with
American business interests.
Ecuador - The CIA-backed military forces the democratically
elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos
Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice
presidency with its own man.
Congo (Zaire) - The CIA assassinates the democratically elected
Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba's politics
runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents
in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.
Dominican Republic - The CIA overthrows the democratically
elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a
repressive, right-wing junta.
Ecuador - A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President
Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have
become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes
command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human
Brazil - A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the
democratically elected government of Joao Goulart.
that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of
the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will
create Latin America's first death squads, or bands of secret
police who hunt down "communists" for torture, interrogation and
Often these "communists" are no more
than Branco's political opponents. Later it is revealed that the
CIA trains the death squads.
Indonesia - The CIA overthrows the democratically elected
Sukarno with a military coup.
The CIA has been trying to
eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted
assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his
declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General
Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians
accused of being "communist."
The CIA supplies the names of
Dominican Republic - A popular rebellion breaks out, promising
to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country's elected leader. The
revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the
military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the
Greece - With the CIA's backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to
vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.
Congo (Zaire) - A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese
Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his
desperately poor country for billions.
The Ramparts Affair - The radical magazine Ramparts begins a
series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles.
Among their scoops:
the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars
to hire "professors" to train South Vietnamese students in
covert police methods.
MIT and other universities have
received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the
National Students' Association is a CIA front. Students are
sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including
Greece - A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the
government two days before the elections.
The favorite to win
was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next
six years, the "reign of the colonels" - backed by the CIA
- will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against
When a Greek ambassador objects to
President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells
him: "Fuck your parliament and your constitution."
Operation PHEONIX - The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents
identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in
South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional
report, this operation killed about 20,000 "Viet Cong."
Operation CHAOS - The CIA has been illegally spying on
American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS,
President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort.
CIA agents go
undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus
organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for
Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will
eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.
Bolivia - A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary
guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for
interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to
prevent worldwide calls for clemency.
Uruguay - The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in
Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas
right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort,
Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread
"The precise pain, in the precise
place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect," is his
The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads
rival the Nazis'. He eventually becomes so feared that
revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.
Cambodia - The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly
popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam
War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately
throws Cambodian troops into battle.
This unpopular move
strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge,
which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own
Bolivia - After half a decade of CIA-inspired political
turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist
President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo
Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without
trial, then tortured, raped and executed.
Haiti - "Papa Doc" Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son
"Baby Doc" Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his
bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.
The Case-Zablocki Act - Congress passes an act requiring
congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this
should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only
Cambodia - Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret
war in Cambodia.
Wagergate Break-in - President Nixon sends in a team of burglars
to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members
have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard
Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars.
They work for the Committee
to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like
disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon's illegal
campaign contributions. CREEP's activities are funded and
organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.
Chile - The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende,
Latin America's first democratically elected socialist leader.
The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned
firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup
The CIA replaces Allende with General
Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his
own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political
CIA begins internal investigations - William Colby, the Deputy
Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any
and all illegal activities they know about. This information is
later reported to Congress.
Watergate Scandal - The CIA's main collaborating newspaper in
America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon's crimes long before
any other newspaper takes up the subject.
The two reporters,
Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA's many
fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that
Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House,
and knows many important intelligence figures, including General
Alexander Haig. His main source, "Deep Throat," is probably one
CIA Director Helms Fired - President Nixon fires CIA Director
Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate
scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The
new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open
to CIA reform.
CHAOS exposed - Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour
Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic
surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights
groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.
Angleton fired - Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic
spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA's chief of
counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns
and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result
in his dismissal from the CIA.
House clears CIA in Watergate - The House of Representatives
clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon's Watergate break-in.
The Hughes Ryan Act - Congress passes an amendment requiring the
president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the
relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.
Australia - The CIA helps topple the democratically elected,
left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam.
CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General,
John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his
constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The
Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by
the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use
of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.
Angola - Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after
its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war
in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger's assertions, Angola is a
country of little strategic importance and not seriously
threatened by communism.
The CIA backs the brutal leader of
UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and
drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union
for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA
is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is
This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000
"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" - Victor Marchetti and
John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes
and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually
becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of
Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence
official in the State Department.
"Inside the Company" - Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life
inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin
America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took
Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing - Public outrage compels
Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church
heads the Senate investigation ("The Church Committee"), and
Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite
a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike
are defeated in the next elections.)
The investigations lead to a number
of reforms intended to increase the CIA's accountability to
Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee
on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the
Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control,
deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.
The Rockefeller Commission - In an attempt to reduce the damage
done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the
"Rockefeller Commission" to whitewash CIA history and propose
toothless reforms. The commission's namesake, Vice President
Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure.
Five of the
commission's eight members are also members of the Council on
Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.
Iran - The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of
Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim
fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA's backing of SAVAK,
the Shah's bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims
take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Afghanistan - The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA
immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to
fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means
that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt.
Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art
weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become
involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.
El Salvador - An idealistic group of young military officers,
repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing
government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers
to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new
government. Soon, things are back to "normal" - the military
government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters.
Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding
themselves powerless, resign in disgust.
Nicaragua - Anastasio Somoza II, the CIA-backed dictator,
falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they
are initially popular because of their commitment to land and
anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal
army called the National Guard.
Remnants of the Guard will
become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against
the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.
El Salvador - The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero,
pleads with President Carter "Christian to Christian" to stop
aiding the military government slaughtering his people.
refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D'Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass.
The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in
the hills fighting against the military government.
The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply
the government with overwhelming military and intelligence
superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside,
committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they
massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children.
some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.
Iran/Contra Begins - The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at
high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the
Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that
the Sandinistas will be "pressured" until "they say ‘uncle.'"
The CIA's Freedom Fighter's Manual
disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic
sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail,
interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.
Honduras - The CIA gives Honduran military officers the
Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual - 1983, which
teaches how to torture people.
Honduras' notorious "Battalion
316" then uses these techniques, with the CIA's full knowledge,
on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.
The Boland Amendment - The last of a series of Boland
Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to
the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely.
Director William Casey is already prepared to "hand off" the
operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues
supplying the Contras through the CIA's informal, secret, and
This includes "humanitarian aid"
donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid
funded by Iranian arms sales.
Eugene Hasenfus - Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport
plane carrying military supplies to the Contras.
survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as
are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air
Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of
President Reagan's claims that the CIA is not illegally arming
Iran/Contra Scandal - Although the details have long been known,
the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media's attention
in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like
Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence
community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer
before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by
Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.
Haiti - Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that "Baby Doc"
Duvalier will remain "President for Life" only if he has a short
one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country,
flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a
The CIA then rigs the upcoming
elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman.
However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for
another four years.
The CIA tries to strengthen the military by
creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which
suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.
Panama - The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of
its own making, General Manuel Noriega.
Noriega has been on the
CIA's payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with
the CIA's knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega's
growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington…
so out he goes.
Haiti - Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy
candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68
percent of the vote.
After only eight months in power, however,
the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators
brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape
the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats.
As popular opinion calls for
Aristide's return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign
painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.
The Gulf War - The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq.
Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA.
With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During
this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein's forces
with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial
This cemented Hussein's power at
home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that
erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also
gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further
adventurism - in Kuwait, for example.
The Fall of the Soviet Union - The CIA fails to predict this
most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has
been so busy undermining governments that it hasn't been doing
its primary job: gathering and analyzing information.
The fall of the Soviet Union also
robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism.
This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to
predict the downfall of the Soviet Union.
intelligence community's budget is not significantly reduced
after the demise of communism.
Economic Espionage - In the years following the end of the
Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage.
This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing
foreign companies and giving them to American ones.
Given the CIA's clear preference for
dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of
serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.
Haiti - The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President
Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military
dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion.
occupiers do not arrest Haiti's military leaders for crimes
against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich
Aristide is returned to power only
after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the
country's ruling class.