America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society by Loch K. Johnson

By Loch K. Johnson

In 1975, after The manhattan Times released a devastating critique of the CIA, 3 govt panels--the Rockefeller, Church, and Pike Committees--were shaped to check those allegations intensive. What they uncovered--assassination plots, opened mail, drug experiments opposed to unsuspecting matters (two of whom died from part effects)--shocked the yank humans and moved Senator Frank Church to name the CIA "a rogue elephant rampaging out of control." basically, the US wishes a robust, powerful intelligence attempt, yet simply as in actual fact, this attempt needs to function in the bounds of an open, democratic society.
in accordance with thousands of interviews with CIA officers, nationwide safeguard specialists, and legislators, in addition to a radical culling of the archival checklist, America's mystery Power bargains an illuminating and up to date photo of the important Intelligence business enterprise, stressing the tough stability among the real wishes of nationwide protection and the security of person liberties. Loch Johnson, who has studied the workings of the CIA in the beginning hand as a legislative overseer, provides a entire exam of the company and its relatives with different American associations, together with Congress and the White apartment (he deals relatively astute analyses of the CIA's use of newshounds and lecturers to assemble intelligence) and he illuminates the CIA's 3 significant missions--intelligence research, counterintelligence, and covert action--providing bright descriptions in their goal and their pathologies. for instance, he deals a desirable research of the "Seven Sins" of intelligence paintings, revealing how the simplest intelligence experiences will be distorted or neglected (in the mid-1960s, the proof opposed to a brief American victory in Vietnam used to be dismissed); how covert activities can spin uncontrolled regardless of large safeguards, as within the Iran-Contra scandal; and the way the CIA has spied on americans in transparent violation of its constitution. additional, he offers an intensive assessment of legislative efforts to scale down those abuses, suggesting a number of very important how one can in attaining the fragile stability among nationwide defense and democratic beliefs.
Vividly written and meticulously documented, America's mystery Power attracts the strands of an enormous quantity of analysis right into a balanced critique of our intelligence networks. it's a paintings that stands by myself in its thoroughness and objectivity, a considerate and sobering portrait of the modern CIA.

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9 In some countries citizens have had a greater opportunity to participate than in others. The extent of this gap between the people and their leaders provides an index of democracy in each society. "10 In light of the hardships associated with governing large and complex societies, comprising millions of citizens, a gap of some width is apt to remain, even in those few countries with a cultural ethic favoring participation by the masses. Its width, though, can be narrowed to a point where, as with a spark plug in an automobile engine, the people can "fire" their representatives into responsiveness.

Such operations," testified Morton H. "38 Senator Church's own views were supportive of covert action, but only if the operations were "consistent with either the imperative of national survival or with our traditional belief in free government"39—a rather nebulous prescription. Normative views aside, the fact remained that the covert action shop had become a place for rapid promotion within the Agency. Directors Dulles, Helms, and Colby each headed the CA arm of the CIA on their way to the directorship.

This tension between the desire to supervise the intelligence agencies and a willingness to let them operate in full secrecy lies at the heart of the dilemma addressed in this book, for democracy and intelligence represent values that remain in conflict, pulling one against the other. "18 Democracy rests on the assumption that government should be conducted openly: that decisions should be preceded by wide public debate, that the rule of law is more trustworthy than the rule of man, that sneakiness is incompatible IO THE INTELLIGENCE MISSION with the ideals of a virtuous society.

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