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bucolic_frolic

(44,561 posts)
Wed Jun 12, 2024, 08:23 AM Jun 12

THE LONG MEMORIES . . . OF OTHERS: US INTELLIGENCE "PROJECTS" IN THE COLD WAR [View all]

A review from The Montreal Review, of THE LONG MEMORIES . . . OF OTHERS:

US INTELLIGENCE “PROJECTS” IN THE COLD WAR By Mark C. Jensen

***

The Montréal Review, April 2023

https://www.themontrealreview.com/Articles/US_Intelligence_Projects_in_the_Cold_War.php

In a bipartisan gesture barely conceivable today, President Truman had asked former Republican President Herbert Hoover to lead a review of the executive branch structure and management; President Eisenhower had liked Truman’s idea and asked Hoover to lead a second commission. When it came to CIA covert activities, however, Eisenhower took the review offline. In July 1954, he asked Air Force General James Doolittle to chair a top-secret review of covert activities that would in effect be carved out of the Hoover committee’s broader and more public reporting. Doolittle wasn’t just any general; he was a World War II hero for flying an amazing, morale-boosting mission to drop bombs on Tokyo in 1942, in the earliest days of US involvement in the Pacific, and long before the US launched the controversial firestorms of March 1945. Eisenhower appointed three prominent Republican businessmen, one of whom, William Pawley, was also an aviator and CIA veteran, to Doolittle’s committee.

By September 30, 1954, the group delivered its report. Its specific recommendations seemed like routine business consulting advice: hire more high-quality personnel, improve security, coordinate with other agencies reporting up to the National Security Council (in effect, the President), and streamline operations. But in the introduction, the panel went well beyond what was needed to justify these operational recommendations, in order to emphasize the urgency and importance of the agency’s mission. It was vital, first of all, that the intelligence agencies “be strengthened and coordinated to the greatest possible degree.” A second consideration, “less tangible but equally important” was described as follows:

It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of “fair play” must be reconsidered. We must develop espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods that those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.

We should remember that this report came out only a year after the end of the Korean War, the Cold War’s only hot war, in which hundreds of thousands of Chinese “volunteer” troops fought directly against the US army, seemingly without regard to casualties. It was also only a year since the end of Stalin’s brutal rule, and considerable uncertainty remained, even in the Soviet Union, about who or what might succeed him. We should also remember that the fundamentally repugnant recommendation of abandoning prior “norms of human conduct” was the view of four hand-picked friends of Eisenhower’s, and hardly a consensus view of US citizens, who at the time of course did not have access to the top-secret report. But it was the view of many in the intelligence community, and it only took a few such people, plus the President, to launch covert actions.

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Much more at the link.

I call particular attention to "We must develop espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods that those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy."

Today, that war is within our borders, for the minds of Americans.

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