Deadly Deceits

a book by Ralph McGehee

Gung Ho!
Japan and the Philippines
China, Langley, Headquarters
In Search of Reds,
Headquarters: Ghosts in the Halls
CIA in Vietnam
Down and Out in Thailand
Light at the End of the Tunnel


... the CIA is the covert action arm of the Presidency. Most of its money, manpower, and energy go into covert operations that, as we have seen over the years, include backing dictators and overthrowing democratically elected governments. The CIA is not an intelligence agency. In fact, it acts largely as an anti-intelligence agency, producing only that information wanted by policymakers to support their plans and suppressing information that does not support those plans. As the covert action arm of the President, the CIA uses disinformation, much of it aimed at the U.S. public, to mold opinion. It employs the gamut of disinformation techniques from forging documents to planting and discovering "communist" weapons caches. But the major weapon in its arsenal of disinformation is the "intelligence" it feeds to policymakers. Instead of gathering genuine intelligence that could serve as the basis for reasonable policies, the CIA often ends up distorting reality, creating out of whole cloth "intelligence" to justify policies that have already been decided upon. Policymakers then leak this "intelligence" to the media to deceive us all and gain our support...

Gung Ho!

The most revealing test we had to take was the personality/intelligence test. The Agency used this test to identify the basic Externalized, Regulated, Adaptive individual - the ERA personality-that it prefers to hire. Years later I was able to get a copy of the test. If you read it carefully, you begin to see that the strengths and weaknesses of the CIA start with the selection of its people.

Basically, the test analyzes three different aspects of personality-intellectual, procedural, and social. In the intellectual mode the Agency is looking for an externalizer rather than an internalizer. This individual is active, more interested in doing than thinking. He must exert considerable effort when compelled to work with ideas, to be self-sufficient, or to control his natural tendencies towards activity. He is practical and works by "feel" or by trial and error. In the procedural mode, the Agency prefers a rigid (regulated) person to a flexible one. This person can react only to a limited number of specific, well-defined stimuli. Such a person learns by rote because he does not insist upon perspective. He is psychologically insulated and his awareness is restricted, making him self-centered and insensitive to others. In the social mode the Agency wants the adaptive rather than the uniform individual. He is magnetic, charming, captivating, a person who moves easily in a variety of situations. He has an awareness of and the ability to express conventional or proper feelings, whether they happen to be his true feelings or not. He is chameleon-like, for he tends to be all things to all people and has the ability to spot weaknesses in others and use these to his advantage.

According to this personality portrait, the CIA wants active, charming, obedient people who can get things done in the social world but have limited perspective and understanding, who see things in black and white and don't like to think too much. The personnel selection process the CIA has set up has its advantages, of course, but it also has disadvantages. It tends to reject those who have perspective, those who can see subtleties, those who think before they act, those who remain true to themselves no matter what the outside social pressures.


The Agency, it seemed, liked to recruit football players for its "burn and bang" paramilitary operations because football players liked the active life and were not overly intellectual. Many of the rest of the PMers had either military backgrounds or some special talent needed for paramilitary activities.

In accordance with the DDP's mission at the time-primarily paramilitary activities in Korea and Communist China and in Eastern Europe-our group was trained in all aspects of working in and with local resistance movements: parachuting, clandestine radio communications, map reading, survival, explosives, escape and evasion, small unit tactics, and the genteel art of killing silently.

Japan and the Philippines

One marital problem had immediately sprung up when I joined the Agency-the restrictions of secrecy. As soon as I was hired, I signed the secrecy agreement. It said, among other things: "I do solemnly swear that I will never divulge, publish or reveal either by word, conduct or any other means such classified information, intelligence or knowledge, except in the performance of my official duties and in accordance with the laws of the United States, unless specifically authorized in writing in each case by the Director of Central Intelligence.' I honored this agreement to the nth degree and refused to tell Norma any more than was absolutely necessary. It was as if a wedge had been driven between us, and I worried what to do.

I felt that I could not discuss my work with my wife because it was both illegal to do so and, according to authorities, a threat to national security. In addition to not telling what I was doing, I had refused to tell our parents what agency I was really working for. This kind of secrecy disturbed both Norma and me. We were just as upset that we had to lie constantly to our neighbors and friends. The most normal question, after all, was "Where do you work?" We had found it easier back in Cherrydale not to get too friendly with neighbors because it was impossible to sustain the cover that I worked for the [two words deleted]. As a consequence we had slowly restricted our contacts to Agency friends. This was our first experience of the self-imposed isolation that allowed Agency employees to lose touch with the viewpoints and the information shared by the broader American population, whose interests we supposedly represented.

It was only many years later that I learned that the Agency in the decade of the 1950s, reacting to a perceived threat from monolithic international communism, had conducted hundreds of covert operations around the world. That period saw a concentration both on operations and development of the infrastructure necessary to implement those activities, including funding mechanisms, proprietary companies, airlines, and media organizations. Within the Agency the international organizations division was coordinating an extensive propaganda effort aimed at developing an international anti-communist ideology. According to the U.S. Senate's Church Committee report of 1976, "The Division's activities included operations to assist or to create international organizations for youth, students, teachers, workers, veterans, journalists, and jurists. This kind of activity was an attempt to lay an intellectual foundation for anti-communism around the world. Ultimately, the organizational underpinnings could serve as a political force in assuring the establishment or maintenance of democratic governments.

The influence and power of the Agency increased greatly after the election of President Eisenhower, who had come to power based in part on his pledge to lift the Iron Curtain. Eisenhower appointed Allen Dulles as director of the CIA and John Foster Dulles, his brother, as Secretary of State. The triumvirate of Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers gave the Agency immense power not only to conduct operations but also to formulate foreign policy. Allen Dulles was an activist, totally absorbed in covert operations, who ignored the Agency's intelligence-gathering and coordination functions. "With the Soviet Union and communist parties as the targets the Agency concentrated on developing anti-Communist political strength," wrote the Church Committee. "Financial support to individual candidates, subsidies to publications including newspapers and magazines, involvement in local and national labor unions-all of these interlocking elements constituted the fundamentals of a typical political action program. Elections, of course, were key operations, and the Agency involved itself in electoral politics on a continuing basis."

"Geographically the order of priorities," the report noted, "was Western Europe, the Far East, and Latin America. With the Soviets in Eastern Europe and Communist parties still active in France and Italy, Europe appeared to be the area most vulnerable to Communist encroachments. The CIA Station in West Berlin was the center of CIA operations against Eastern Europe and the German Branch of the European Division was the Agency's largest single country component.

Here, by region, is a brief summary of some of the Agency's operations in the 1950s, most of which I knew nothing about at the time.

* Eastern Europe. The Agency was sponsoring various intelligence-collection missions and resistance movements aimed at the countries of Eastern Europe. It established Radio Free Europe to broadcast to Eastern European countries and Radio Liberty aimed at the Soviet Union. The combined budgets of the two stations amounted to between $30 million and $35 million annually. Beginning in 1950 the Agency funded the Congress of Cultural Freedom, a private cultural organization which ultimately received more than $1 million. The Agency also was in contact with a resistance movement in the Soviet Ukraine. In the early 1950s it was providing men, gold, and military and communications equipment to the Polish Freedom Movement. This support only ceased when Polish security announced that it controlled the movement. Beginning in 1950, the CIA in a joint operation with the British also organized efforts to overthrow the Enver Hoxha government of Albania.

All of these attempts achieved little and the CIA for a period seemed to slow its efforts to lift the Iron Curtain. In late 1956, however, it reinitiated those operations and laid plans for uprisings in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Rumania. Radio Free Europe assured Eastern European audiences of United States backing for their liberation aspirations at the same time that CIA groups, called Red Sox/Red Cap, were being infiltrated into those nations' capitals to make plans with the "freedom fighters" to throw off the "yoke of communism." In fact, neither the external nor the internal support was as promised, and the Hungarian freedom Fighters' call to fight communism was answered by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, who ordered Soviet forces into Budapest on November 4, 1956. Up to 32,000 people were killed, more than 170,000 fled the country, and Janos Kadar, sponsored by the U.S.S.R., became the First secretary of the ruling Hungarian Workers Party.

General Lucian Truscott, the CIA's deputy director for "community affairs," evaluated the failure and ongoing plans to try again in Czechoslovakia. He concluded that if allowed to proceed, the Agency's plans would raise "the prospect of a general war in Europe to an intolerable level."

* Western Europe. In this area in the 1950s the "CIA subsidized political parties, individual leaders, labor unions, and other groups.... Millions of secret dollars were being poured into both Socialist and anti-communist parties in Portugal, France, West Germany, among others. In Italy, especially, the CIA was beginning covert financing of the Christian Democratic Party "with payments averaging as high as three million dollars a year. . .

* Far East. Here the Agency was conducting the gamut of operations. According to the Church Committee, "The outbreak of the Korean War [in 1950] significantly altered the nature of OPC's the Office of Policy Coordination, the predecessor of the Directorate for Plans, paramilitary activities as well as the organization's overall size and capability. Between fiscal year 1950 and fiscal year 1951, OPC's personnel strength jumped from 584 to 1531. Most of that growth took place in paramilitary activities in the Far East.... The Korean War established OPC's and CIA's jurisdiction in the Far East and created the basic paramilitary capability that the Agency employed for twenty years. By 1953, the elements of that capability were 'in place'-aircraft, amphibious craft, and an experienced group of personnel. For the next quarter century paramilitary activities remained the major CIA covert activity in the Far East."

In Korea itself, of course, the Agency was training and infiltrating hundreds of South Korean paramilitary troops behind enemy lines. But its activities extended far beyond that country. In 1950, the Agency established a large cover structure on Taiwan known as Western Enterprises. It and one of the Agency's airlines, Civil Air Transport, were CIA vehicles for preparing and dropping teams of Chinese Nationalists on mainland China. The Agency sent two different types of teams-commando and resistance. Resistance teams were to parachute into China, contact dissident people there, and gradually build a viable resistance to Mao Tse-tung's government. Commandos usually were sent in via small boats from the offshore island of Quemoy, later famous as a subject of the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960. Their mission was to attack and destroy key installations on the mainland. Word of these operations began to leak out after two Americans, Thomas Downey and Richard Fecteau, were shot down in 1952 on a mission over the mainland.

Though I was not aware of it, the Agency was at this time also supporting an attempt to invade Communist China. In 1949, when the Chinese Communists drove the Nationalists from the mainland, a force of Chinese Nationalists under General Li Mi had fled across the Yunnan border into Burma. They established themselves in Burma at sites near the Thai border. With the cooperation of the Thai government the Agency's airline, Civil Air Transport, began massive supply operations to those troops. The 200-man CIA structure in Thailand known as Sea Supply Company, is with its brother, Western Enterprises Company, undertook the logistical effort to build and outfit Li Mi's army.

In 1951, several thousand of General Li Mi's troops invaded Yunnan Province and were quickly defeated and driven out. The Agency, predicting that the peasants in Yunnan would rise up in opposition to Mao's government, readied another large invasion. Li Mi's troops augmented their own strength by recruiting 8,000 men from the indigenous hill tribes in Burma. The CIA shipped in another increment of about 1,000 crack Chinese Nationalist troops from Taiwan, and its airline began regular shuttle flights to bases and camps in Burma, using Thai airstrips for refueling and resupply. In August 1952 this army invaded Yunnan, reaching into the province up to 60 miles. Once again the peasants did not rise up as predicted, and the army was driven out. General Li Mi gave up attempts to defeat China, established a quasi-independent state in Burma, and became involved in running the lucrative opium trade. In this endeavor he had the help of General Phao Siyanon of Thailand.

In Thailand, the Agency, via Sea Supply Company, threw its full support behind the political ambitions of General Phao, making him the strongest man in the country. In exchange he allowed the Agency to develop two Thai paramilitary organizations - the Police Aerial Reconnaissance Unit and the Border Patrol Police.

In the Philippines from 1950 through 1953, U.S. Air Force Colonel Edward Lansdale conducted a series of Agency operations to destroy the communist Huk insurgency. With a strong effort from the Agency, Philippine General Ramon Magsaysay not only successfully destroyed the Huks but also was elected President of the Philippines.

Following Colonel Lansdale's successes in the Philippines, the Agency in 1954 sent him to South Vietnam to help create the Diem regime. The burgeoning effort first to install the Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem in power and then to legitimize and extend his control over the rural Buddhist South Vietnamese was one of the Agency's most successful operations. It was not until years later, through the publication of the Pentagon Papers, that details of this operation became known. At about the same time it was installing Diem in the South, the CIA launched sabotage and guerrilla operations against North Vietnam.

In Indonesia in 1958, Agency B-26 bombers supported rebel units in the Celebes fighting to overthrow the government of President Achmed Sukarno, something that was not accomplished on this attempt but was achieved in 1965 by another Agency operation.

In 1959, the Agency began instigating the Tibetans to fight the Chinese. The Agency established a secret base at Camp Dale in Colorado and trained Tibetan guerrillas who were then infiltrated back into Tibet to fight. The Agency-trained guerrillas helped the Dalai Lama to flee.

The Agency's airline, Civil Air Transport, provided air support for many of these operations. Civil Air Transport, which flew mainly in the Far East, was one of the earliest of the various airlines the Agency developed over the years. The CIA at one point attempted to audit its widespread airline holdings. After a three-month investigation it could not say exactly how many planes it owned, but two of its airlines, Air America and Air Asia, along with the Agency's holding company, the Pacific Corporation, employed more than 10,000 people.

* Latin America. The United States has always considered Latin America to be within its particular sphere of influence and has dominated the political life of that area. In the 1950s the Agency was given the primary role of imposing U.S. will over Latin America. Its most famous operation there was in Guatemala, where on June 18, 1954, it led the coup that overthrew the government of Jacobo Arbenz. CIA agents trained and supported the forces of Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, who assumed power after the defeat of Arbenz. Agency support included the provision of CIA-piloted World War II fighter-bombers, as well as guns and ammunition.

But there were other Agency operations in this region in the 1950s as well, including an unsuccessful Agency attempt in 1953 to overthrow the elected government of President Jose Figueres in Costa Rica. In 1956 the Agency also helped in the establishment of Buro de Represion Actividades Comunistas (BRAC), the police force of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. BRAC became famous for its brutal methods of torture.

* The Middle East. In the 1950s the Agency was conducting a variety of operations to stabilize or destabilize the governments of this region. I had heard through the grapevine that the Agency was instrumental in overthrowing the government of Iranian Premier Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and reinstalling Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. This was confirmed later by, among others, former CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, in his book Countercoup: The Struggle for Control of Iran.

In Syria the CIA planned a coup in 1956 to overthrow the government. By chance, the coup attempt occurred on the same day that Israeli troops invaded Egypt. As a result, it was seen as linked to the Israeli operation and was quickly aborted. In that same period the CIA planned to overthrow two other Middle Eastern governments.

* Africa. In 1957 the Agency began working with Israeli intelligence to penetrate the independent states of Black Africa. Since that time it has spent at least $80 million on such operations.

In the Third World in general in the 1950B the Agency's propaganda operations were multiplying. "Foreign editors and columnists were recruited, newspapers and magazines subsidized, press services supported," wrote former CIA employee Harry Rositzke. "Propagandists ranged from paid 'agents' to friendly collaborators, from liberal and socialist anti-Communists to simple right-wingers. Facts, themes, editorial outlines, model essays were sent out to third world stations to be reworked for local consumption."

While all these various covert operations to overthrow or bolster foreign governments were being carried out, the Agency was also supposed to be gathering intelligence. But intelligence-gathering operations did not match in size or scope the efforts to overthrow governments, and most intelligence gathering from 1952 to 1963 was carried out through liaison arrangements with foreign governments. According to the Church Committee report, CIA director Allen Dulles cultivated relations with foreign intelligence officials, and because of the United States' predominant postwar position, governments in Western Europe, in particular, were very willing to cooperate in information sharing. Liaison provided the Agency with sources and contacts that otherwise would have been denied them. Information on individuals, on political parties, and on labor movements all derived from liaison. The Church Committee concluded that liaison created its share of problems: "The existence of close liaison relationships inhibited developing independent assets. First, it was simply easier to rely on information that had already been gleaned from agents.... It was far easier to talk to colleagues who had numerous assets in place than to expend the time required merely to make contact with an individual whose potential would not be realized for years. Second, maintenance of liaison became an end in itself, against which independent collection operations were judged. Rather than serving as a supplement to Agency operations it assumed primary importance in Western Europe. Often, a proposal for an independent operation was rejected because a Station Chief believed that if the operation were exposed, the host government's intelligence service would be offended.

The Agency's primary, if not sole claim to fame in intelligence gathering came in the mid-1950s with the development of the U-2 airplane and overhead photography. Since that time its record in intelligence has at best been dismal. The Church Committee that investigated the Agency in the mid 1970s concluded: "CIA intelligence was not serving the purpose for which the organization had been created-informing and influencing policymaking."

We now know that in the 1950s the CIA was also conducting many covert operations within the United States, in violation of the law. It was creating hundreds of dummy corporations, called proprietaries, that it used to provide cover for its operational agents. It was also continuing programs with academic institutions started during the days of the OSS. It expanded its operations with universities until some 5,000 American academics were doing its bidding by identifying and recruiting American students and identifying 200 to 300 future CIA agents from among the thousands of foreign students who come to the United States each year. The Agency had hundreds of teachers and graduate students on more than 100 campuses who worked for it secretly in recruiting, writing propaganda, and running covert operations.

Thomas W. Braden, former head of the Agency's division of international organizations, which had extensive facilities in the United States, stated that by 1953 the CIA was operating or influencing international organizations in every field where Communist fronts had seized the initiative and in some where they had not yet begun to operate. He also said that in 1951 or 1952 he gave Walter Reuther of the United Auto Workers $50,000 in CIA funds to support anti-Communist labor unions.

From 1952 until 1967 the CIA funded the National Student Association, giving about $3.3 million to support the organization's operations.

CIA director William Colby confessed that beginning in 1953 the CIA "conducted several programs to survey and open selected mail between the United States and two Communist countries." According to a secret Senate memorandum, the CIA survey focused on mail sent to and received from the Soviet Union and China and was centered in New York and San Francisco.

The Agency was also establishing close links with both book publishing houses and media organizations in the U.S. at this time. It felt that in the world of covert operations, book publishing had a special place. The head of its covert action staff said, "Books differ from all other propaganda media, primarily because one single book can significantly change the reader's attitude and action to an extent unmatched by the impact of any other single medium . . . this of course, not true of all books at all times and with all readers-but it is true significantly often enough to make books the most important weapon of strategic (long-range) propaganda.

Altogether from 1947 until the end of 1967, the CIA produced, subsidized, or sponsored well over 1,000 books. Approximately 20 percent of them were written in English. Many of them were published by cultural organizations backed by the CIA.

The Agency was also conducting extensive operations with newspaper, magazine, and television organizations. It maintained liaison relationships with about 50 American journalists or U.S. media organizations. An uncensored portion of the final report of the Church Committee said: "They [the 50] are part of a network of several hundred foreign

individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence foreign opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of foreign newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.

Domestic "fallout"-a story that filters into U.S. media from abroad-was a deliberate result of these operations in newspapers, magazines, TV, and book publishing. At least two proprietary news services that the CIA maintained in Europe had U.S. subscribers. The larger of the two was subscribed to by more than 30 U.S. newspapers.

In a long article entitled "The CIA and the Media," Carl Bemstein wrote that more than 400 American journalists had secretly carried out assignments for the Agency, from gathering intelligence to serving as go-betweens with spies.

This was the kind of work that the CIA was up to throughout the 1950s and that I unquestioningly supported. I would like to believe that if I had been aware of more of these operations at the time, I would have had some doubts about the Agency. But I'm not at all sure that I would have and I'll never really know because I simply wasn't aware of most of what was going on.

China, Langley Headquarters

In 1949 ... mainland fell, the Chinese Nationalist forces and camp followers had been evacuated to Taiwan by the American Navy. Once on the island, they had used their American-supplied weapons to dominate the more numerous Taiwanese-one Chinese to every seven or eight Taiwanese. In fact, the Generalissimo in the early days was able to maintain his authority only with extensive repressive measures. All of this at the time seemed to escape my attention and the attention of my colleagues at the station... We realized that we had isolated ourselves from the Taiwanese people, but the constant partying and the good company kept us from worrying much about the problem.

Driving home from the party in a caravan of cars, dressed up in our costumes, sipping champagne out of fancy crystal glassware, we passed by the hovels of the Taiwanese people. I looked inside one tin shanty and saw several people in virtual rags huddling over a charcoal fire. My eyes met those of a young man. He stared uncomprehendingly out at me, while I looked through him. We seemed people from two different worlds-one of affluence, comfort, dedicated to having fun; the other of grimy poverty, where it was a struggle to stay alive. Over the years I have thought of that moment and wondered how we in the CIA could ever have expected to understand what was happening in a foreign country when we existed in such a rarefied world, cut off from those we ostensibly were there to help.

As in the previous ten years, covert operations dominated the Agency in the decade of the 1960s. It was employing all of the techniques of covert action, including disinformation, to accomplish policy goals. A dramatic surge in paramilitary activities in support of counterinsurgency programs was occurring in Laos and Vietnam.

In the 1960s Cold War attitudes continued to shape foreign policy. In the early part of the decade, according to the Church Committee, an expansive foreign policy, exemplified by the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, reflected American confidence and determination. The following confrontation with the Soviet Union over the installation of missiles and the rapidly escalating paramilitary activities in Southeast Asia drew the Agency into these major developments.

The DDP functioned as a highly compartmentalized organization with a small cadre responsible for and knowledgeable of selected operations. This ethos helped foster the development of such operations as assassination plots against foreign leaders.

The 1960s saw the emergence of revolutionary movements in Southeast Asia and Africa. United States policymakers called for the development of counterinsurgency programs to fight this challenge without precipitating a major Soviet-American military confrontation. To implement its responsibilities in this field, the Agency developed a network of worldwide paramilitary capabilities, and these assets consumed major portions of the Agency's budget.

The period between 1964 and 1967 was the most active era for covert operations: political action, propaganda, international organizations, and paramilitary.

With the development of an extensive weave of far-flung paramilitary infrastructures, the Agency implemented covert operations in Laos and Cuba and expanded the ongoing effort in Vietnam. The failure at the Bay of Pigs was followed by a series of other operations directed at Cuba. Those operations so aggressive and extensive, it led one Agency official to state: "We were at war with Cuba."

As in the decade of the 1950s this 10-year period saw the implementation of hundreds of covert operations each year with primary attention given to operations in Asia, Latin America, a growing endeavor in Africa, a continuing program in the Middle East, a somewhat reduced effort in Europe, and burgeoning illegal internal U.S. operational program.

* Southeast Asia. The Agency's large-scale involvement in Southeast Asia continued in Laos and Vietnam. "In Laos," wrote the Church Committee, "the Agency implemented air supply and paramilitary training programs, which gradually developed into full-scale management of a ground war." The CIA recruited and trained a private army of at least 30,000 Hmong and other Laotian tribesmen. This group was known as L'Armee Clandestine. Pilots hired by the CIA flew supply and bombing missions in CIA-owned planes in support of the secret army. Expenditures by the U.S. to assist this army amounted to at least $300 million a year. Forty or 50 CIA officers ran this operation, aided by 17,000 Thai mercenaries.

In Vietnam, the Agency conducted the gamut of operations-political, paramilitary, psychological.

In Indonesia in 1965 a group of young military officers attempted a coup against the U.S.-backed military establishment and murdered six of seven top military officers. The Agency seized this opportunity to overthrow Sukarno and to destroy the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), which had three million members. ~s I wrote in The Nation) "Estimates of the number of deaths that occurred as a result of this CIA [one word deleted] operation run from one-half million to more than one million people.

"Initially, the Indonesian Army left the P.K.I. alone, since it had not been involved in the coup attempt... Subsequently however, Indonesian military leaders ... began a bloody extermination campaign. In mid-November 1965, General Suharto formally authorized the 'cleaning out' of the Indonesian Communist Party and established special teams to supervise the mass killings. Media fabrications played a key role in stirring up popular resentment against the P.K.I. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals-badly decomposed-were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women. This cynically manufactured campaign was designed to foment public anger against the Communists and set the stage for a massacre.... To conceal its role in the massacre of those innocent people the C.I.A., in 1968, concocted a false account of what happened (later published by the Agency as a book, Indonesia-1965: The Coup that Backfired).... At the same time that the Agency wrote the book, it also composed a secret study of what really happened... The Agency was extremely proud of its successful [... ] and recommended it as a model for future operations ...

In Thailand in the 1960s the Agency continued its involvement with the Police Aerial Reconnaissance Unit and the Border Patrol Police. Those counterinsurgency forces then supplied much of the manpower for the secret war in Laos. The CIA also developed a series of internal security and counterinsurgency programs jointly with Thai security forces.

In Cambodia the CIA played a role in the coup that toppled the government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970, which paved the way for the U.S. military invasion of that country in the spring of 1970.

* Latin America. Many Agency operations in Latin America in the 1960s centered around Cuba and removing Fidel Castro's government. Prior to the invasion of Cuba by CIA-trained Cuban exiles in April 1961, the CIA attempted to assassinate Castro. The Agency enlisted the help of Mafia figures to arrange his murder. The first attempt to kill Castro was made in early 1961. Five more assassination teams were sent against the Cuban leader in the next two years.

A CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles made an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in mid-April 1961. Four Americans flying CIA planes and nearly 300 Cuban exiles died during the invasion. More than 1,200 survivors were captured by Castro's forces.

The Guatemalan President, Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, successor to Castillo-Armas, had permitted the CIA to use his country for its training camp for Cuban exiles. In November 1960 a rebellion broke out in Guatemala. The CIA secretly came to the aid of Fuentes and sent in B-26 bombers against the rebels. The insurgency was crushed and Fuentes remained in power.

Beginning in 1961 the Agency conducted operations to bring down the regime of President Jose Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador after he refused to sever diplomatic relations with Cuba. Ibarra was overthrown in November 1961. His successor, Carlos Julio Arosemena, soon fell out of favor with the United States and once again the CIA used destabilizing tactics to overthrow his government in July 1963.

In 1964 the CIA, with the cooperation of the Agency for International Development and the State Department, secretly funneled up to $20 million into Chile to aid Eduardo Frei in his successful bid to defeat Salvador Allende for the Presidency. Failing to block Allende's election to the Presidency in 1970, the CIA directed a destabilization campaign of economic and political warfare which led to the 1973 military coup that toppled Allende.

In British Guiana, according to a report by the Center for National Security Studies, the "CIA funded strikes and riots that crippled Guiana in 1962 and 1963, and led to overthrow of [Cheddi] Jagan's governing People's Progressive Party. CIA funneled its secret payments that placed Forbes Bumham in power through the AFL-CIO and AFSCME."

In Brazil, the CIA funded unsuccessful candidates in opposition to President Joao Goulart, who had moved to expropriate International Telephone and Telegraph subsidiaries and maintain relations with Cuba. The CIA then orchestrated, continued the report, "anti-government operations by labor, military, and middle-class groups, including courses in 'labor affairs' in Washington, D.C." The resultant coup in 1964 established a military dictatorship in power.

During the mid-1960s the Agency secretly aided the government of Peru in its fight against rebel guerrilla forces. The Agency flew in arms and other equipment. Local Peruvian troops were trained by personnel of the special operations division of the CIA as well as by Green Beret instructors loaned by the U.S. Army.

In Bolivia, the CIA gave assistance to government soldiers in 1967 in their successful effort to track down and capture Earnest "Che" Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary leader. Guevara was captured on October 8, 1967 by CIA-advised Bolivian rangers. He was murdered shortly thereafter.

In Uruguay, the CIA manipulated politics throughout the 1960s, pressuring the government to accept an AID police training mission which provided cover for CIA case officers. Their job: to secretly finance and train local police and intelligence services.

* Africa. "In the early 1960s the decolonization of Africa sparked an increase in the scale of CIA clandestine activities on that continent," wrote the Church Committee. "CIA actions paralleled growing interest on the part of the State Department and the Kennedy Administration in the 'third world countries.' . . . Prior to 1960, Africa had been included in the European or Middle Eastern Division. In that year it became a separate division. Stations sprang up all over the continent. Between 1959 and 1963 the number of CIA stations in Africa increased by 55.5%.

In Angola in 1960 the CIA recruited Holden Roberto, the leader of one of the Angolan groups. In 1975 the CIA supported two factions in the civil war in Angola against the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), spending millions of dollars on ammunition, air support, and mercenaries.

In the early 1960s the CIA became involved in the political struggle in the Congo. In 1960 the CIA planned to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese leader, and in fact worked with the African dissidents who murdered him in 1961. The Agency paid cash to selected Congolese politicians and gave arms to the supporters of Joseph Mobutu and Cyril Adoula. Eventually the CIA sent mercenaries and paramilitary experts to aid the new government. In 1964, CIA B-26 airplanes were being flown in the Congo on a regular basis by Cuban-exile pilots who were under CIA contract. Those pilots and planes carried out bombing missions against areas held by rebel forces.

In South Africa the CIA worked closely with BOSS, the South African secret police. By 1975 the Agency was secretly collaborating with the South African government in the Angolan civil war.

* United States. Illegal CIA operations in the United States in the 1960s continued to utilize the funding, corporate, and press mechanisms established during the preceding decade. But this era saw the beginning of the exposure of some of its internal U.S. operations. One of the earliest revelations was a 1967 Ramparts magazine article, which exposed CIA funding of private voluntary organizations that had begun in the 1950s. "The revelations resulted in President Johnson's appointment of a three-person committee to examine the CIA's covert funding of American educational and private voluntary organizations operating abroad," wrote the Church Committee. "Chaired by the Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Katzenbach, the Committee included DCI Richard Helms and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, John Gardner.... The Katzenbach Committee recommended that no federal agency provide covert financial assistance to American educational and voluntary institutions.... Although the CIA complied with the strict terms of the Katzenbach guidelines, funding and contact arrangements were realigned so that overseas activities could continue with little reduction."

In this decade the CIA was initiating many internal U.S. operations while continuing those started in the prior decade. Following the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, Cuban exiles were directed and paid by CIA agents to compile secret files on and watch over other Cubans and Americans "who associated with individuals under surveillance." By the late 1960s such activities were being supported by the CIA in several key American cities, including Los Angeles, New York, and San Juan. It was estimated that at the height of these activities, roughly 150 informants were on the payroll of a Cuban "counterintelligence" office located in Florida.

E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent, stated that in 1964 during his tenure with the CIA's domestic operations division he was ordered to arrange for the pick-up, on a daily basis, of "any and all information" that might be available at Senator Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign headquarters. Hunt said that the documents obtained about Goldwater were delivered to Chester L. Cooper, a White House aide who had worked for the CIA.

In 1966, 1969, and 1971, the CIA conducted three separate domestic break-ins into the premises occupied by CIA employees or ex-employees. All three entries were made, according to the CIA, because it believed that security concerns warranted such actions.

Following the revelation in 1967 that the CIA had subsidized the National Student Association (NSA), it was disclosed that the CIA had funded other labor, business, church, university, and cultural organizations through a variety of foundation conduits. It was estimated that at least $12.4 million had been secretly spent in this manner by the CIA.

On August 15,1967, Richard Helms set up a unit (Operation CHAOS) within the counterintelligence office of the Agency "to look into the possibility of foreign links to American dissident elements." This unit "periodically thereafter" drew up reports "on the foreign aspects of the antiwar, youth and similar movements, and their possible links to American counterparts. "

Documents released in early 1979 by the CIA as the result of a lawsuit indicate that the Agency's Operation CHAOS, contrary to earlier accounts contained in reports of government committees, infiltrated political groups in the United States in order to collect purely domestic information. The documents also reveal a number of aspects of CHAOS and related programs not reported by the Church Committee, including: "that the Agency investigated domestic political groups as much as five years before the initiation of CHAOS, that Operation CHAOS collected information on prominent Americans including Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bella Abzug, and Ronald Dellums, that CHAOS information was preserved and continued to be used after the termination of CHAOS in 1974, that the program was for several years assigned highest operational priority, ranking with intelligence collection on the Soviet Union and China...."

According to William Colby, the CIA's office of security "inserted 10 agents into dissident organizations operating in the Washington, D.C., area" in 1967 in order to collect "information relating to plans for demonstrations, pickets, protests, or break-ins that might endanger CIA personnel, facilities, and information."

The propensity to operate illegally within the United States continued into the 1970s. In 1970 CIA director Richard Helms joined with others in recommending to President Nixon "an integrated approach to the coverage of domestic unrest," which came to be known as the Huston Plan. After the Huston Plan was rescinded, the CIA "recruited or inserted about a dozen individuals into American dissident circles" in order to secure "access to foreign circles." It was believed that in this manner these individuals would "establish their credentials for operations abroad." In the course of their work some of these individuals "submitted reports on the activities of the American dissidents with whom they were in contact." This information was kept in CIA files and reported to the FBI.

In 1971 and 1972 the CIA employed physical surveillance against "five Americans who were not CIA employees," The Washington Post reported. This was done because the CIA had "clear indications" that the five were receiving classified information "without authorization." It was hoped that the surveillance would "identify the sources of the leaks." A secret Senate memorandum indicated that three of the five subjects were columnist Jack Anderson, Washington Post reporter Michael Getler, and author Victor Marchetti.

In 1971 and 1972 the Agency secretly provided training to about 12 county and city police forces in the United States on the detection of wire taps, the organization of intelligence files, and the handling of explosives. The training program, involving less than 50 policemen, was reported to have included representatives from the police forces of New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Fairfax County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland.

In Search of Reds

In September 1965(I began work in Bangkok. At the time) Thailand was supposedly a constitutional monarchy, but in fact was more a military dictatorship. The real power was in the hands of two military officers-Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachom and the de facto leader of the government, Deputy Prime Minister Praphat Charusathien, who also headed the military establishment. King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikhit were powerful emotional symbols, but they seldom contradicted the military. There was an on-and-off parliament, but it acted more as a rubber stamp than an independent branch of government.

Headquarters: Ghosts in the Halls

Some bureaucrats had built their careers around China activities and had a vested interest in continuing operations against China. There was an unrecognized danger in that game, for these people had to sustain the impression of China as an implacable foe of the United States. From at least the early 1970s the Chinese Communists supported a strong NATO and a unified Europe as a counter to what they called Soviet Socialist Imperialism. China's position on NATO and Nixon's trip to Peking caused problems in China operations. How could they continue to portray China as the main enemy when it had adopted our policy and hosted our President? The answer was simple: they ignored events and continued the game. Several examples illustrate the point.

In the mid-1970s when I was working for the international communism branch, China desk asked me to brief the new chief of a European security service on the Marxist-Leninist movement's splinter Communist parties in Europe and their relationship to the Chinese. It instructed me to portray the Chinese Communists as foes because it wanted his service to help us in operations against the Chinese. I was only one of a series of briefers. The chief of the service seemed bored and did not ask a single question. When my turn came, having little fear since I planned to retire at the first opportunity, I gave him my honest assessment of China's foreign policy. He came to life and asked numerous questions and requested that I be made available for a second session. That was the last time China desk permitted me to brief its guests.

At about the same time, the CIA acquired a document of approximately 40 pages covering a briefing by top Chinese officials to a trusted and highly regarded ally. The briefing covered China's long-range policy toward two continents with separate sections on short-range actions in individual countries. Yet when it reached me, I noticed that comments on the internal routing sheet indicated the reports section of China desk had no interest in disseminating the document. Dumbfounded that the information had been rejected, I routed it back to China desk, suggesting it might want to reconsider. Several weeks later the document found its way back to me with a notation from the China desk that it had no plans to disseminate the information. A document that set forth China's intentions -the most difficult and highly desired information on an important country's policy-but we did not want it? Why? Because it showed that China planned to act in a responsible way and that its goals to a large extent paralleled our own. Our operational warriors realized that if they disseminated the report, it might stimulate some government leaders to question the CIA's insistence that China deserved to be on the top of its operational target list.

Case officers developed a very personal interest in keeping China as one of the primary enemies of the United States. Promotions, foreign travel, and assignments abroad all depended on maintaining that concept. Once, in the middle of one of Washington's hottest summers, we learned that a Chinese Communist planned to attend a conference at a cool, expensive overseas summer resort. The chief of one desk of China activities decided to try to contact the official to assess his recruitment potential. She went on an extended temporary duty assignment to that resort area, where she spent her time relaxing by the hotel's pool, dining in its best restaurants, and appearing at other swish spots where the Chinese official might surface and be prompted to speak to her. After several unsuccessful weeks of this hardship duty, she returned to the torrid Washington weather.

 The CIA in Vietnam: Transforming Reality

The more I heard, the greater my disillusionment. While in Washington I had acquired a copy of Viet Cong, a book by Douglas Pike, the U.S. government's leading authority on the Viet Cong. It described in great detail the farmers', women's, and youth organizations and how they were built. That book held the numbers of civilian members of these Communist front groups to ridiculously low levels. Even so, the station did not even acknowledge the existence of the associations. Michael Charles Conley's book, The Communist Insurgent Infrastructure in South Vietnam, written under contract to the Department of the Army under the auspices of American University, set forth a detailed discussion of the mass-based civilian communist structures. Even though Conley must have been under tremendous pressure to keep his number of civilian members of the South Vietnamese communist movement low, he reported that there were probably more than a million-a million that did not exist anywhere in Agency reporting.

The Agency's briefers told us that there were several hundred thousand armed North and South Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam and that they had been badly demoralized by their losses during the Tet attacks in early 1968. That figure was obviously low. The reason that it had to be low was that U.S. policymakers had to sell the idea that the war in the South was being fought by a small minority of Communists opposed to the majority-supported democratic government of Nguyen Van Thieu. The situation, however, was the opposite, as I was to understand later. The United States was supporting Thieu's tiny oligarchy against a population largely organized, committed, and dedicated to a communist victory. But the numbers were not the only thing the United States policymakers lied about. The American people were not aware, and neither, I am sure, were my CIA briefers in Saigon, of the extent of CIA covert operations in Vietnam beginning as early as 1954. Only later did this tragic history come out, largely through the Pentagon Papers. It was only years after the publication of those papers during the research for this book that I began to appreciate fully the scope of CIA covert operations in Vietnam and the level of Agency deceits concerning the war.

The origins of the war dated back to 1858 when the French invaded and colonized Indochina. The French, utilizing the Vietnamese landlord class as their puppets, turned Vietnam into a marketplace for high-priced French manufactured goods and a source of cheap labor and raw materials for the "mother" country. At the time of the French invasion approximately 90 percent of the people lived and worked as farmers in the rural areas. The colonizers made laws that allowed them to confiscate peasant land, and as a result, over the ensuing decades, many peasants were left impoverished. The Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) was formed in 1930 to recapture control of the country from the French. This party evolved into Ho Chi Minh's Vietnam Workers Party. In its first manifesto in 1930 the ICP promised to "wipe out feudal remnants [the Vietnamese who cooperated with the French], to distribute land to the tillers, to overthrow imperialism, and to make Indochina completely independent."

During the 1930s the ICP was divided by a series of internal battles about the proper way to fight the French, and at the same time was decimated by the French police.

In September 1939, World War II broke out in Europe and in September 1940 Japanese troops moved into Vietnam. During World War II the Japanese asserted control over the ports and airfields of Vietnam but allowed the French to continue to administer the local government. This cooperation ceased a few months before the end of World War II when the Japanese took control of all of Vietnam.

World War II was decisive for Ho's forces, for in 1941 he returned from China-where he had observed Mao's program of organizing the peasantry to overthrow Chiang-and formed the Viet Minh coalition to fight the Japanese and the French. A major element of Ho's program was reconfiscation of the land of the French and their Vietnamese puppets and distribution of that land to the peasantry. Through his anti-imperialism and land-reform programs, Ho built the Viet Minh into a committed, broadbased political organization, making him the only Vietnamese leader with a dedicated national following.

During World War II the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the CIA, recognized the strength of the Viet Minh and depended on it for intelligence and help in recovering downed pilots. The OSS and the Viet Minh worked in close cooperation and the OSS provided 5,000 weapons, along with ammunition and training, to convert Ho's guerrillas into an organized army. When the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the Viet Minh marched into Hanoi and dozens of other cities in Vietnam and proclaimed the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). For a few weeks in September 1945, Vietnam was for the first time in recent I history free of foreign domination. North and South were I united under Ho.

U.S. policymakers decided the French had lost their I will to fight in Vietnam and began to plan to assume the French role in that country. This approach was formalized on August 20, 1954 in National Security Council memorandum NSC 5429/2, which said the U.S. must "disassociate France from levers of command, integrate land reform with refugee resettlement.... Give aid directly to the Vietnamese-not through France.... Diem must broaden the governmental base, elect an assembly, draft a constitution and legally dethrone Bao Dai."

Once this decision was made, overnight the CIA's intelligence about the situation in Vietnam switched. The Agency now portrayed Diem as the miracle worker who was saving Vietnam. To make the illusion a reality, the CIA undertook a series of operations that helped turn South Vietnam into a vast police state. The purpose of these operations was to force the native South Vietnamese to accept the Catholic mandarin Diem, who had been selected by U.S. policymakers to provide an alternative to communism in Vietnam. It was a strange choice. From 1950 to 1953, while Ho's forces were earning the loyalty of their people by fighting the French, Diem, a short, fussy bachelor, was living in the U.S. in Maryknoll seminaries in New Jersey and New York.

Diem's police state found its programs unable to control the people. Beginning in 1959, with the assistance of the CIA, it sponsored a program to move villagers into organized communities for self defense. This concept, called "agrovilles," generated fierce resistance from the South Vietnamese who were forced to leave their homes to settle in the new sites.

Learning little from this experience, Diem's government, with the CIA in the lead, initiated the "strategic hamlet" program in late 1961. South Vietnamese were forcibly moved into fenced and guarded compounds, and the Special Police weeded out any Communists. An ideal strategic hamlet included a watch tower, a moat, fortifications, and barbed wire. The program infuriated the people whose homes were destroyed to force them into those confined sites. The strategic hamlet program died with the assassination of Diem.

In early 1964 President Johnson's national security advisers decided something was needed to overcome the U.S. I public's apathy toward the war. To this purpose an entire series of U.S. provocations occurred in the Gulf of Tonkin. They included a July 31 attack on Hon Me Island by MACV-supported South Vietnamese Special Forces; the August 2 bombardment and strafing of North Vietnamese villages in the vicinity of Hon Me by aircraft, and the repeated feints of attack against Hon Me Island by the U.S. Navy destroyer Maddox. The ruse worked and North Vietnamese patrol boats, assuming the Maddox to be a part of the earlier South Vietnamese Special Forces attack, fired a few rounds at the destroyer. The next day the Maddox returned with a second destroyer and another so-called attack was launched at this two-ship patrol. Congress reacted immediately to what became known as the Tonkin Gulf incident. It passed a joint resolution of support and the American people responded to this "attack" on our sovereignty.

On March 6,1965(just a week after the issuance of the White Paper, President Johnson ordered two Marine Corps battalion landing teams into Vietnam and the initiation of Operation Rolling Thunder, which consisted of the systematic bombing of North Vietnam.

U.S. combat troops in South Vietnam quickly discovered that the rural South Vietnamese, who were fighting for and supporting the Viet Cong, considered them the enemy. Nonetheless, the United States developed a simple plan to win- force the peasants by the millions into the cities and towns, turn the entire country into a massive police compound, and you deny those millions to the communists. Search-and-destroy missions, free-fire zones, and bombing of rural South Vietnam were all conducted to force the peasants out of their villages into the cities.

General Westmoreland put it this way: "So closely entwined were some populated localities with the tentacles of the VC base areas . . . that the only way to establish control short of constant combat operations among the people was to remove the people."

The CIA created a program of hunter-killer teams. According to Marchetti and Marks, "In 1965 Colby . . . oversaw the founding in Vietnam of the Agency's Counter Terror (CT) program. In 1966 the Agency became wary of adverse publicity surrounding the use of the word 'terror' and changed the name of the CT teams to the Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs).... [The operation was described as] 'a unilateral American program, never recognized by the South Vietnamese government. CIA representatives recruited, organized, supplied, and directly paid CT teams, whose function was to use . . . techniques of terror-assassination, abuses, kidnappings and intimidation-against the Viet Cong leadership."

All of the various civilian, military, and police programs were to contribute to the CORDS structure and programs. The primary CORDS program was the Phoenix operation. Under Phoenix, devised by Colby's office, all units coordinated "an attack against the Vietcong infrastructure.... Again CIA money was the catalyst. According to Colby's own testimony in 1971 before a congressional committee, 20,587 suspected Vietcong were killed under Phoenix in its first two and a half years. Figures provided by the South Vietnamese government credit Phoenix with 40,994 VC kills.

Under normal circumstances my job would have been an outstanding opportunity and challenge. But my earlier motivation no longer existed. I had once believed that although the United States followed self-interest in our overseas programs, we matched this interest with a concern for the people in the foreign countries. Now I did not know what to believe. I doubted the Agency's intelligence, its personnel, and even its integrity. Furthermore, my simplistic view of communists as the incarnation of evil and the United States as all good was slowly beginning to change. I seemed to be the only one around who realized we couldn't win. I knew by now that any careful examination of available information, let alone the survey, would prove that the vast majority of the Vietnamese people were fighting against the U.S. troops and for the NLF. They had chosen the kind of government they wanted, and all American war efforts were aimed at postponing the inevitable

Down and Out in Thailand

Under normal circumstances my job would have been an outstanding opportunity and challenge. But my earlier motivation no longer existed. I had once believed that although the United States followed self-interest in our overseas programs, we matched this interest with a concern for the people in the foreign countries. Now I did not know what to believe. I doubted the Agency's intelligence, its personnel, and even its integrity. Furthermore, my simplistic view of communists as the incarnation of evil and the United States as all good was slowly beginning to change. I seemed to be the only one around who realized we couldn't win. I knew by now that any careful examination of available information, let alone the survey, would prove that the vast majority of the Vietnamese people were fighting against the U.S. troops and for the NLF. They had chosen the kind of government they wanted, and all American war efforts were aimed at postponing the inevitable

... in the 1971 -1972 school year, six students died from overdoses. More than 20 percent of all official American families in Thailand had to return to the States before the end of their tours because of drug problems.

We were doing the same old things as before, collecting intelligence designed to support U.S. policy goals in Thailand. This meant, of course, supporting the military dictatorship in power and ignoring problems caused by it. For the most part we got our intelligence directly from the leaders themselves or our liaison counterparts, who never, never reported derogatory information about the regime. We lived in a fantasy world; conversations sounded like the movies. We all had assigned roles and lines. To speak outside of the script was to bring down the wrath of all. Even now I have difficulty understanding how we played the game.

As in Iran, Vietnam, Latin America, and other areas of the world, we only wanted intelligence that told us our policies were correct. We did not want to know that the U.S.-backed dictators brutalized their people and that those people were angry.

To avoid hearing such news, the Agency did not allow its case officers to maintain direct contact with the general population. We sent case officers-only a few of whom knew the native language -on two-year tours. The case officers worked with the English-speaking members of the society's elite, never with the grubby working class. Although more than 80 percent of the Thai population are farmers, in 30 years there the Agency virtually never wrote an intelligence report based on an interview with a farmer ... Instead it wrote reports on the problems government leaders-dictators were having with the rebellious people. If a language-qualified officer did develop contacts with the working classes and began getting information from them, he was immediately labeled derisively as having "gone native" and was soon on his way back to the States. I had seen the same pattern in Taiwan years before, but it hadn't occurred to me that anything was wrong. And we continue to see the same pattern today, as Agency bungling of intelligence in, among others, Iran and El Salvador in recent years have shown.

Thailand station was a large installation and its activities demonstrate many of the things that were wrong with the CIA. The station conducted a wide range of covert operations: counterinsurgency, psychological, paramilitary, external political and others. Here are some examples.

Counterinsurgency. Thailand station in 1970 performed as I expected in this field... Neither the station's operational efforts nor its reporting acknowledged the main focus of communist activity -the secret development of a massive rural political organization among the peasantry. No one seemed to know anything about the communist village organization.

Paramilitary. In the early 1950s the CIA's creation and support of the Police Aerial Reconnaissance Unit (PARU) in Thailand was a model for paramilitary operations. General Edward Lansdale's 1961 memorandum on unconventional warfare explained: "The PARU has a mission of undertaking clandestine operations in denied areas. 99 PARU personnel have been introduced covertly to assist the Meos [Hmong] in operations in Laos.... This is a special police unit supported by CIA . . . with a current strength of 300 being increased to 550 as rapidly as possible.... There are presently 13 PARU teams, totaling 99 men, operating with the Meo guerrillas in Laos."

From Lansdale's description it is evident that the CIA used PARU as an extension of its own paramilitary officers and to conceal its own role. The CIA apparently could not motivate Laotians to fight for us, so it substituted the Hmong hill tribers. The CIA recruited those mountain tribesmen and used PARU to lead them in fighting the Communist Pathet Lao forces.

Over the years this "secret war" grew into a major conflagration. It became more a conventional war with artillery bombardments, aerial bombing, and big unit movements. All that effort was linked by a massive CIA support and transportation complex.

As in Vietnam the CIA refused to acknowledge the real nature of the Communist Pathet Lao. Through PARU and the Hmong it developed an army loyal to the United States and dependent upon the CIA. But without a commitment by the Laotians, the CIA's private army finally in 1975 succumbed to the reality of the overwhelmingly superior Pathet Lao forces. The Hmong who cooperated with the CIA are now a dying tribe. The war destroyed their young men. Remnants of their tribe now live an impoverished, uncertain existence in refugee camps in Thailand.

 Light at the End of the Tunnel

East Asia division ... placed me as its referent (representative) to the international communism branch (ICB) of the then infamous counterintelligence staff of the Directorate for Operations... I remained with the Agency because all other options seemed closed. I needed the money, and I knew I might soon qualify for early retirement...

All I was required to do at ICB was to review incoming material: Agency, State Department, and military cables, newspapers, and communist publications. Cabled intelligence reports covered general worldwide political developments. We selected the most relevant of these for inclusion in a daily clipboard that circulated to all officers. Communist publications received included English-language newspapers and journals and the United States Information Agency's daily booklets containing transcripts of communist radio broadcasts. Other material routed to ICB consisted of a booklet of daily news clippings and copies of The Washington Post and The New York Times.

One of the first things I noticed was that CIA intelligence reports and news reports were frequently similar. Sometimes a newspaper article preceded the intelligence report; sometimes the intelligence report came first; sometimes the two arrived simultaneously. Completeness of detail and accuracy of observation showed the same mixed results. Occasionally and ominously, a cabled intelligence report was identical to a newspaper item. My review of that variegated source material over the four years spent with the ICB indicated that the CIA, apart from its vast covert operations, had transformed itself largely into a government news service reporting only that information which justified those covert operations. In reporting on host country political developments, it not only competed with news correspondents, but also with State Department officers who through their official contacts possibly were more qualified to gather information on developments in the local government. To me, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the CIA transforming itself into a government news service was that its true intelligence-gathering and analytical functions were relegated to distant secondary importance.

The Agency had hundreds of people working in various capacities in the world's news media from executives to stringers. Through them it disseminated propaganda designed to shape world opinion. Unfortunately there was no mechanism that prevented that disinformation from contaminating and spoiling the CIA's own information files. In my experience with ICB, where we had unusually widespread access to propaganda themes, I often read cabled instructions from Headquarters to the field on articles or themes to be placed by our local agents in foreign newspapers. Occasionally I could recognize and separate out the CIA-generated articles from others, but more often it was impossible to tell positively whether an item was genuine or planted. Many articles that I kept and filed, that served as background for studies I wrote, later turned out to be CIA propaganda.

As an example of this kind of disinformation operation, during the Cultural Revolution in China, the Agency's huge radio transmitters on Taiwan broadcast items as if they were continuations of mainland programs. Their broadcasts indicated the revolution was getting out of hand and was much more serious than it actually was. These broadcasts were picked up by the Agency's Foreign Broadcast Information Service and included in its daily booklets of transcriptions from the mainland. From there the information was picked up by other offices of the Agency and reported as hard intelligence.

Planting a weapons shipment in Vietnam in February 1965 to prove outside support to the Viet Cong was another classic Agency disinformation operation. As noted earlier, after a staged firefight the shipment was "discovered," and the American press and the International Control Commission were called in to see the "proof." That event was picked up and replayed in a State Department White Paper. Immediately after the White Paper was published, President Johnson sent Marines into Vietnam. The U.S. military apparently believed the Agency disinformation and began patrolling off the shores of South Vietnam, looking for other shipments.

Here was a dangerous cycle. Agency disinformation, mistaken as fact, seeped into the files of U.S. government agencies and the CIA itself. It became fixed as fact in the minds of employees who had no idea where it had originated. That cycle in part created the disaster of Vietnam, especially when the Agency could not see through its own propaganda. That cycle continues today in El Salvador. The State Department, using documents "found" in El Salvador as its basis, issued in early 1981 a White Paper "proving" outside assistance to those opposed to the murderous government. Policymakers, the news media, and the Agency itself apparently believed these documents were real. Policy and public opinion were then molded on that assumption. Fortunately, some members of the public and the press are more skeptical now than they were during the Vietnam War, and the El Salvador White Paper was exposed in several publications, including The Wall Street Journal, as a sham. I suspect, though I cannot prove it, that those documents on which the White Paper was based were forged and planted by the CIA.

Although I had been in the CIA for 20 years, I really never had attempted to understand communism on its own terms. Instead I relied on United States news organizations and CIA reporting for information about communist movements. This was true of everyone in the CIA. The limited two-year tours, the reliance on Agency "inside" information, and the prevailing fiercely anti-communist atmosphere all tended to give a distorted, one-sided view of any situation.

Early in my assignment to ICB a garrulous, friendly, energetic man in his late forties, whom I shall call John, contacted me. John had handled one of the Directorate for Operations' illegal domestic projects. He had recruited, briefed, trained, and indoctrinated young American university students and used them to infiltrate leftist organizations on U.S. campuses. In what is called a "dangle operation," the students were to build up leftist credentials at home, so that when they were sent overseas by the Agency they would appear to foreign Communist parties to be genuinely leftist-good bait. These parties then might recruit them or confide in them. While building their leftist credentials in the United States, these young students were asked by John to gather information on U.S. Ieftist organizations-an activity then expressly forbidden by law.

John was now on the staff of East Asia division and wanted to brief me on his theories concerning the Sino-Soviet split. John would comer me and pitch his weird theories, but he was such a likable person I could not object. I found out that John knew more about Soviet and Chinese communism than almost anybody else in the Agency, and had a broad knowledge of communist terminology. Using primarily the dialectical methods and themes of Mao Tse-tung's brief thesis, "On Contradiction," John tried to convince me that the Chinese and the Soviets had secretly agreed to split in order to lull and conquer the rest of the world.

I liked to bait John. I asked him, if the Russians and Chinese were involved in a huge conspiracy, why had they been fighting each other on their border. "Everybody asks about that," he responded, "but you know the deception is more important than the fighting. So what if a few soldiers get killed if they can convince the rest of the world that they have really split? What's the loss?"

John's energy and enthusiasm outpaced his good sense. But the truth was that his theories were no crazier than what the entire U.S. intelligence community was saying about Vietnam.

Despite their skewed perspective, John's lectures provided the first break in my mental block. In those lectures John used communist writings, primarily Mao Tse-tung's, to explain their terms and the historical context from which they sprang With his definitions I began to read and comprehend communist newspapers, journals, and broadcast transcripts. Then I began reading historical works and Chinese and Vietnamese revolutionary writings. Gradually, in an almost physically painful process, the accumulated facts and knowledge forced - my mind to open to look at reality from the communists' perspective. To my amazement they had a case to make. Vietnam, of course, was the most dramatic example of this. For the first time now I had a chance to read the history of that war and for the first time I became aware that the Agency, in conjunction with the U.S. military and other elements of the U.S. government, had for 21 years attempted to deny the communists their legitimate claim to govern the people who overwhelmingly supported them.

The 1967 survey operation in Northeast Thailand had taught me there were aspects of Asian communism about which the CIA dissembled. I now began to see that its ability to hide from reality went far beyond pretending not to notice in those areas. I began to realize that the CIA had a charter for action regarding Vietnam similar to 1984's Ministry of Truth. The Agency, however, unlike George Orwell's ministry, tried not only to obliterate and rewrite the past through its National Intelligence Estimates (supposedly the highest form of intelligence), but it also attempted via its covert operations to create the future.

I did not comprehend the CIA's deceits in a sudden burst of enlightenment; that knowledge came to me gradually over a period of years through direct, intense study and involvement. My final rejection of Agency "newspeak," however, was sudden. One day I came across an article by Sam Adams in the May 1975 issue of Harper's magazine. Entitled "Vietnam Cover-up: Playing War with Numbers, A CIA Conspiracy Against Its Own Intelligence," the article described a captured document from the Viet Cong high command showing that the VC controlled six million people! Adams had routed that report, and others, to the Agency's upper echelons-and had received no response. Adams, who had been the sole Agency analyst responsible for counting the number of armed communists in South Vietnam, described his long, unsuccessful battles with Agency authorities to force them to stop issuing false, low estimates of armed communists in South Vietnam. His battles earned him 30 threats of firing-finally in disgust he quit.

Here was someone else saying the same things that I had been saying. I was not alone. I was not crazy. Someone else had seen, had struggled, and had fought. But more importantly, here was the clue solving the mystery that had plagued me for years: why I had been dismissed from Thailand in 1967, why the survey operation had been canceled, and why the information from the surveys had been muzzled.

Adams' article described a bitter battle being fought within the upper echelons of the CIA and U.S. military intelligence about the numbers of armed communists that we were up against in South Vietnam. In September 1967, just about the time Colby came to see me in Northeast Thailand, Adams - following numerous struggles within the Agency's hierarchy - was finally allowed, alone of the Agency's legions, to try to persuade the U.S. military that its estimates of the number of armed communists in South Vietnam were ridiculously low. This fact, if acknowledged, would of course have shattered the basis for our entire policy. While Sam was fighting alone in Saigon and Washington without any real support from the CIA leadership, my survey reports were circulating at Langley. They showed that the armed element was only one facet of the many-sided Asian communist revolutionary organization. If the Agency would not tolerate Adams' figures on armed communists, it certainly could not acknowledge my revelations, which went a giant step further and assessed enemy strength as far greater than the mere number of armed units would ever lead anyone to believe.

Now I knew the answer to the puzzle. My survey reports had arrived at Langley at precisely the moment when the battle over the numbers of communists was coming to a climax. The reports proved exactly what the designers of U.S. policy in Vietnam refused to see or hear-that we had lost the war years before. To support their specious position, Agency leaders had to suppress the facts contained in the reports that contradicted it and had to make certain that neither I nor anyone else within the CIA could ever gather such information again.

The wave of exposures of illegal Agency operations peaked in 1975 with investigations by the House of Representatives' Pike Committee and the Senate's Church Committee. The Pike Committee's final report was classified and not released to the public. Portions of it were leaked, however, and appeared in the February 16, 1976 issue of the Village Voice. The report recorded the Agency's intelligence performance in six major crises, and in each situation the CIA's intelligence ranged from seriously flawed to non-existent. The report noted that during Tet 1968, the CIA failed to predict the communist attack throughout all of South Vietnam. In August 1968 in Czechoslovakia the Agency "lost" an invading Russian army for two weeks. On October 6, 1973 Egypt and Syria launched an attack on Israel that the Agency failed to predict. It concentrated all of its efforts on following the progress of the war, yet it so miscalculated subsequent events that it "contributed to a U.S.-Soviet confrontation . . . on October 24, 1973.... Poor intelligence had brought America to the brink of war." The Pike Committee also cited flawed Agency information concerning a coup in Portugal in 1974, India's detonation of a nuclear device the same year, and the confrontation between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus in July 1974.

The Church Committee, after an exhaustive review, concluded that the Agency acted more as the covert action arm ( of the Presidency than as an intelligence gatherer and collator. Its final report said the CIA was heavily involved in covertly sponsoring the publication of books and that over the years until 1967 it had in some way been responsible for the publication of well over 1,000 books-a fifth of these in the English language. According to the Church Committee, the Agency was running news services, had employees working for major press organizations, and was illegally releasing and planting stories directly into the U.S. media. Frequently these stories were false and were designed to support the Agency's covert action goals.

Pictures of CIA director William Colby testifying and holding up a poison dart gun, details of CIA failures to destroy biological warfare chemicals under direct orders, information on the Agency's illegal opening of the mail of U.S. citizens, specifics of the Agency's years-long preoccupation with trying to overthrow the government of Chile, sordid details of Agency officers providing drugs to customers of prostitutes in order to film their reactions, and facts about numerous other illegal operations revealed during the congressional investigations all created a depressing atmosphere around Langley.

The morale of CIA employees in this period was at an all-time low. Surprisingly, few seemed particularly bothered by the activities themselves, just upset at having them exposed. There was no remorse, just bitterness. The true believers held to the position that if the general public knew what we knew, then it would understand and support the Agency's activities.

The Church Committee's observation that the Agency was more the covert action arm of the President than an intelligence gatherer confirmed all my suspicions about the true purpose of the Agency: it existed under the name of the Central Intelligence Agency only as a cover for its covert operations. Its intelligence was not much more than one weapon in its arsenal of disinformation-a difficult concept to accept. But with these revelations I began to see where my experience in Southeast Asia had broader ramifications. The Agency refused or was unable to report the truth not only about Asian revolutions; it was doing the same wherever it operated.

To confirm this observation I began reviewing current events in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa and saw the same patterns of Agency disinformation operations, including its intelligence supporting its covert operations. This convinced me. The Agency is not, nor was it ever meant to have been, an intelligence agency. It was created slightly after the United Nations. It was the United States' substitute for gun-boat diplomacy that was no longer feasible under the scrutiny of that world organization. The Agency was to do covertly that which was once done openly with the Army, the Navy, and the Marines. The Central Intelligence Agency, I now knew, was in truth a Central Covert Action Agency.



The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President's foreign policy advisers. In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting "intelligence" justifying those activities. It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability) to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies.

As noted in the Church Committee's final report, the Agency's task is to develop an international anti-communist ideology. The CIA then links every egalitarian political movement to the scourge of international communism. This then prepares the American people and many in the world community for the second stage, the destruction of those movements. For egalitarianism is the enemy and it must not be allowed to exist.

The Vietnam War was the Agency's greatest and longest disinformation operation. From 1954 until we were ejected in 1975, the Agency lied in its intelligence while propagandizing the American people. It planted a weapons shipment, forged documents, deceived everyone about the Tonkin Gulf incident, and lied continually about the composition and motivation of the South Vietnamese communists. Even now Agency historians and ex-employees try to perpetuate the propaganda themes through which it tried first to win and later to maintain American support for the war. As recently as April 22, 1981, former CIA director William Colby wrote an article for The Washington Post, portraying the Vietnam War-even in light of the Pentagon Papers disclosures-as the altruistic U.S. coming to the assistance of the South Vietnamese people. He had the audacity to recommend the period from 1968 to 1972-the era of CIA assassination teams-as a model for use in El Salvador.

Not much has changed since I left the Agency. It follows all the same patterns and uses the same techniques. We have seen this in relation to El Salvador, where it fabricated evidence for a White Paper, the same way it did in Vietnam in 1961 and 1965. We have seen it in Iran, where it cut itself off from all contact with potential revolutionary groups to support the Shah. We have seen it in the recruitment ads seeking ex-military personnel to man its paramilitary programs. We have seen it in relation to Nicaragua, where it arms Miskito Indians in an attempt to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. In this case it again exploits a naive minority people who will be discarded as soon as their usefulness ends, as happened with the Hmong in Laos. We have seen it in its attempts , to rewrite and censor the truth personally have experienced , this kind of Agency effort recently when it censored an article.

I wrote about its successful operation to overthrow the government of Achmed Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965.5 Its operations under President Reagan have become so outrageous that even the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee protested its plans to overthrow Qaddafi of Libya.

As long as the CIA continues to run these kinds of operations, it will not and cannot gather and collate intelligence as its charter says it must do. This leaves our government without that essential service. The most powerful and potentially most dangerous nation in the world is forced to rely on CIA disinformation rather than genuine intelligence because currently there is no alternative. This situation in today's world of poised doomsday weapons is not acceptable.

But the danger looms even greater. The Reagan Administration has taken steps to strengthen the Agency's position. On December 4, 1981, in Executive Order 12333 entitled "United States Intelligence Activities," the President gave the CIA the right to conduct its illegal operations in the United States, and on April 2, 1982, in Executive Order 12356 entitled "National Security Information," he limited the public's access to government documents, thereby increasing the CIA's ability to hide from public scrutiny. The President wants the Agency free of the constraints of public exposure so that it can gather and fabricate its disinformation unharried by criticisms and so that it can overthrow governments without the knowledge of the American people. Such activities, of course, are not in the best interests of the vast majority of Americans. For example, whenever another factory moves to a foreign country whose leader is kept in power through Agency operations, more American jobs are lost. Only the rich American increases his profits. It is for this reason that I believe that President Reagan acts as the representative of wealthy America and, as his executive agency, the CIA acts to benefit the rich.

Even after the Agency's conspicuous failures in Vietnam, Cuba, the Middle East, and elsewhere, the fable that the CIA gathers real intelligence dies hard. But if the Agency actually reported the truth about the Third World, what would it say? It would say that the United States installs foreign leaders, arms their armies, and empowers their police all to help those leaders repress an angry, defiant people; that the CIA-empowered leaders represent only a small faction who kill, torture, and impoverish their own people to maintain their position of privilege. This is true intelligence, but who wants it? So instead of providing true intelligence the Agency, often ignorant of its real role, labels the oppressed as lackeys of Soviet or Cuban or Vietnamese communism fighting not for their lives but for their communist masters. It is difficult to sell this story when the facts are otherwise, so the Agency plants weapons shipments, forges documents, broadcasts false propaganda, and transforms reality. Thus it creates a new reality that it then believes.

Efforts to create a workable intelligence service must begin by abolishing the CIA. For a host of reasons I believe the CIA as it now exists cannot be salvaged. The fundamental problem is that Presidents and their National Security Councils want the CIA as a covert action agency, not an intelligence agency. As long as the CIA is subject to such politically oriented control, it cannot produce accurate intelligence. Because the CIA has been and is a covert action agency, all of its operating practices have been adopted to facilitate such operations while its intelligence-collection activities have been tailored to the requirements of these covert efforts. The Agency's difficulties begin with the selection of personnel who are chosen based on personality characteristics essential for covert operations, not intelligence. The problem continues with the formation of operating rules that serve to foil the production of accurate intelligence while facilitating the implementation of covert operations. Until those factors are altered, the CIA cannot function as an intelligence agency.

Covert operations must be removed from the CIA and placed in an entirely separate government agency. I would prefer recommending the total abolishment of covert operations, but that is impossible given the current world political realities. However, if a new covert action agency consisted of a handful of knowledgeable people who could, in emergency situations, pull together the necessary manpower to conduct a specific covert operation, then the chance of its duplicating the abuses of the CIA would be lessened.

If an administration at any point decided it wanted a true intelligence service, it could be easily created. But it would not be enough merely to separate covert operations from intelligence. Accurate intelligence demands an atmosphere free of political pressure. One obvious solution revolves around identifying individuals possessing recognized ability, integrity, and flexibility and giving such individuals lifetime or long-term non-renewable appointments to a board controlling intelligence requirements and production. That board, augmented by top graduates of political science schools in one-year clerkships, would provide the independent analytical judgment necessary for valid intelligence. Expecting our system to grant that independent authority may be unrealistic. But trained analysts, working with all-source information, overseen by a "Supreme Court" of intelligence, would help to guarantee the production of accurate intelligence. Establishing a truly effective intelligence agency is no problem. The only problem is getting our leaders to want one, and that problem may be insurmountable.