The American Empire: The CIA As Agent of Clandestine Aggression

In this essay we look at the history of the CIA, not for its intelligence-gathering directive  but for its clandestine operations in subverting foreign governments. Much has been written on this topic so our intention is to provide enough background to readers to allow them to assess the likelihood of CIA involvement in current and future global insurrections.

The Legislative Basis of the CIA

The CIA was created by the National Security Act of 1947 for “the purpose of coordinating the intelligence activities of the several Government departments and agencies”, specifically, from section 102 (d), emphasis added[1]:

(1) to advise the National Security Council [NSC] in matters concerning such intelligence activities of the Government departments and agencies as relate to national security;
(2) to make recommendations … for the coordination of such intelligence activities … ;
(3) to correlate and evaluate intelligence … and provide for the appropriate dissemination of such intelligence … : PROVIDED, That the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the departments and other agencies of the Government shall continue to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence … ;
(4) to perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies, such additional services of common concern as the National Security council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally;
(5) to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.

In short, thew CIA was created to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence to the NSC. Points 4 and 5 allow for unspecified other activities as may be delegated by the NSC.

The Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 [2] details the administration of the CIA but does not discuss authorized activities.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 in section 104A (d) [3] reiterates the responsibilities of the Director of the CIA as laid out in the 1947 act as to

collect … correlate … evaluate … and provide appropriate dissemination of …
intelligence; perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the Director of National Intelligence may direct.

Note that the president has now been given authority to specify the CIA operations. It further instructs the

Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, shall develop joint procedures to be used by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency to improve the coordination and deconfliction of operations that involve elements of both

improve communication and coordination in the planning, execution, and sustainment of operations …[3]

This reference to joint operations with the DOD may be significant in the field.

Overall, the agency was created as a foreign intelligence gathering agency. If there is any legislative basis for subversion of foreign governments through coups, assassinations, and the provision of intelligence and material support to organizations acting subversively in foreign countries, I haven’t found it.

Off the Reservation?

While one might think, given the above background, that the CIA is strictly an intelligence gathering and processing entity, it has a much darker side. This section lists CIA operations that have been identified that have had significant geopolitical impact. How big the skeleton closet is we may never know.

As we go through, we will try and identify at what level these ‘other functions and duties’ are sanctioned.

The Coup in Iran in 1953

In August, 1953, the CIA organized operation TPAJAX, a military coup against the government of Iran over the issue of state control of Iranian oil and the possibility of a tilt towards the USSR.

As a declassified CIA document says:

the military coup …  was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest level of government[7].

The coup was carried out by the U.S. administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower in a covert action advocated by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and implemented under the supervision of his brother Allen Dulles, the Director of Central Intelligence.[82]

It was a last resort after all normal rational methods of international communication and commerce had failed. The document states that Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq

had become so committed to the ideals of nationalism that he did things that could not have helped his people … [1]

The Americans believed that Mosadeq’s actions could not have conceivably helped helped his people. As well,

the professional politicians of the British government … believed, with good reason, that cheap  oil for Britain, and high profits for the [Anglo Iranian Oil] company were vital to their national interests.

When the British couldn’t get their way they were prepared to wait until the Iranians, needing money, came back to the table. The U.S., however, was afraid that the Iranians would turn to the USSR.

So the motivation behind the coup was to further American strategic interests and British economic interests with a token reference to assumed Iranian interests.

The Methodologies of Subversion

Author Nicolas J.S. Davies  gives extensive descriptions of three techniques for fomenting violence for overthrowing foreign governments. These are[11]:

  1. Creating and strengthening opposition forces;
  2. Violent street demonstrations; and
  3. The coup d’etat.

 

References

  1. National Security Act of 1947. Google. July, 1947.
  2. Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
  3. Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
  4. History of the Central Intelligence Agency. Wikipedia.
  5. Central Intelligence Agency. Wikipedia.
  6. 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Wikipedia with an extensive reference list.
  7. Declassified CIA document. Source not established.
  8. “Review of All the Shah’s Men by CIA staff historian David S. Robarge”. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  9. 35 countries where the U.S. has supported fascists, drug lords and terrorists,
  10. Mapped: The 7 Governments the U.S. Has Overthrown. J. Dana Stuster
  11. America’s Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953. Nicolas J.S. Davies, AlterNet, April 8, 2014.
  12. Oliver Stone: CIA Fingerprints All Over Ukraine Coup. Daniel McAdams, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Thursday January
  13. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II William Blum, July, 1995.
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