History of Major Government Agency The CIA Part 4

About the history of the major government agency the Central Intelligence Agency or CIA, origins, facts and more.



The CIA has broken the law many times with its activities in the U.S. From 1953 through 1973, the agency opened the mail of protesters from a broad political spectrum. From 1967 through 1974, the CIA infiltrated antiwar and other dissident groups across the country and compiled files on over 10,000 Americans, including several members of Congress.

The CIA also engaged in extensive research in behavior modification and mind-altering drugs, such as LSD. Many of these tests were conducted on unsuspecting citizens in universities, prisons, and hospitals, leading one person to commit suicide. In another CIA project, "Operation Midnight Climax," prostitutes were hired and brothels were set up to determine the effect that some of these drugs had on sexual performance.

Strength and Influence Today

The agency's greatest talent is its ability to over-throw governments unsympathetic to U.S. interests and to manipulate events even in neutral lands or those friendly to the U.S. At the same time, its greatest tradition is still the legacy of clandestinism left it by the OSS and the early CIA leaders, like Allen Dulles.

The CIA has demonstrated that it often does not do an adequate job of gathering and analyzing intelligence. Its prediction record for outbreaks of wars is distressingly poor. Among significant oversights are the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

Are They a Threat to Our Lives?

Left to its own devices, the CIA presents a direct threat to the lives and freedoms of Americans, pointed up by its record of arranging assassinations, fighting secret wars, monitoring the activities of American citizens, and experimenting with drugs on unsuspecting Americans. James Angleton, who oversaw the CIA's illegal domestic spying program, vocalized the agency's disregard for any higher law when he told a Senate committee, "It is inconceivable that a secret-intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of government." However, the exposure of the CIA's illegal activities and an increased public vigilance should diminish its capacity to violate the rights of Americans, as well as the rights of people in other lands.

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