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The Times of London on the CIA revolt against JFK, 1961-1963
From Our Washington Correspondent, “Drawing the Teeth of the C.I.A.,” The Times, Wednesday, 20 December 1961, p.11

Quote:The Central Intelligence Agency has moved into its large and handsome new headquarters on the other side of the Potomac river, suitably signposted for the convenience of visiting spies and curious reporters, and apparently with its clandestine powers little diminished. Its mysterious Mr. Bender, who is often said to have organised the Cuban invasion, is still employed, and the replacement of the former director, Mr. Allen Dulles, by Mr. John McCone, a chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in the last Administration, is the only obvious price the agency has paid for the adventure it conceived and directed so disastrously.

Soon after the fiasco there were many demands that the agency be broken up, or at least reorganized, and the Congress is yet to have its last word. It is unlikely to be persuasive; the Defence Department has meanwhile combined the Service intelligence organization in one agency on the grounds of efficiency and economy, and the Administration is obviously in a mood to consolidate rather than sanction the creation of a number of small and perhaps conflicting civilian agencies. If the report of General Maxwell Taylor’s committee is accepted, however, responsibility for para-military operations will pass from the C.I.A. to the Defence Department, which already has a group somewhere in the Pentagon known as the department of dirty tricks.


This is not an unimportant recommendation, although a second Cuban invasion is not at present contemplated. It is unlikely that the much-publicized special service troops of the Army will now be dropped over jungles and paddyfields to polish off communist conspirators, save the beautiful princess from a fate worse than death, and establish a local branch of the National Association of Manufacturers – although readers of the American press must be forgiven if they entertain such an enchanting notion. But it should mean that any hard-pressed country such as South Vietnam will in future deal with the departments of State and Defence, and not with a faceless intelligence agent.

The fact remains that para-military operations is a term difficult to define, and other cover operations will continue to be directed by the C.I.A. The memory of past operations conducted by the agency agitates many people. For instance, it has claimed credit for the ousting of Dr. Moussadek, the former Prime Minister of Iran, and for the coup d’état in Guatemala that got rid of the President, Dr. Arbenz, and made the country safe for the United Fruit Company.

Logistic support was provided for Chinese Nationalist troops in Burma, although they were pillaging large areas of a friendly country, and the disastrous counter-revolution in Laos against Prince Souvanna Phouma was engineered. It will perhaps no longer be in a position to direct raids against the Chinese mainland, as it did from the offshore islands, but some agents may believe that they can meddle in the political life of western European countries.

It can be seen why critics in and out of Congress are rather dissatisfied with what is known of plans for the agency’s future. The reappointment of Dr. James Killian as chairman of the President’s Board of Foreign Intelligence Consultants has not reassured them, if only because he occupied the post under General Eisenhower when the agency was notably free of control. Senator Eugene McCarthy has revived an earlier proposal that a congressional joint committee supervise its operations. This will almost certainly prove unacceptable, but it underlines the widespread apprehension here.


Is it still justified? Part of the answer is provided by the brief catalogue above of the agency’s battle honours, but generally speaking the fears can be divided under two headings. First, there is the belief that it is wrongly organized, that it should not be responsible for both the gathering and evaluation of intelligence, especially overt political intelligence. This, the critics claim with some reason, should be the responsibility of the State Department. It is further believed that the agency should not undertake covert operations upon intelligence it has gathered and evaluated, and for objectives that the agency itself chooses to regard as important.

Under the second heading can be listed objections that are subjective to the extent that they rest upon suspicion fostered by previous activities. On the whole, it is believed that the agency, perhaps because of the stringent security regulations for its staff, is oriented too far to the right. Some people seem to regard it as an official John Birch Society.

The result, it is believed, is that its intelligence reports are unbalanced, and its covert operations designed to support right-wing and often dictatorial regimes overseas without considering the long-term political consequences. A prime example quoted is the Cuban adventure, when liberal elements were firmly excluded , and some indeed detained in a hidden camp until the invasion failed, and Batista supporters were encouraged.


In spited of these well-documented stupidities, this belief must be treated with reserve, but the criticism combines in a general charge that the C.I.A. is free to influence foreign policy to a degree that no other western government would tolerate, and to involve the country in adventures both unnecessary and dangerous.

If due allowance is made for over-colourful reports of the agency’s activities, which it helped to circulate, and for the ignorance and apprehension that must surely surround any secret organization, enough it left to disturb the most sophisticated. Yet President Kennedy, who is determined to exercise his authority without departmental usurpation, does not seem over-agitated. He is furthermore cautious, his approach to foreign affairs is enlightened, and his liberal intentions, at least by American standards, have long been evident.

The President is also interested in history, and this perhaps explains why he considers the charges no longer well-founded. Certainly the short history of the agency should be viewed against the political background of the time.
The Central Intelligence Agency was established as the successor to the war-time Office of Strategic Services and the short-lived Central Intelligence Group. Under the National Security Act it was given the three functions of coordinating the work of other intelligence units; performing such other functions relating to the national security as the National Security Council may direct; and acting, through its director, as chief advisor and consultant on intelligence matters to the President and the National Security Council.

The definitions were vague, and some of its first recruits came from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which in the war years had been much involved in the tracking down of communist as well as German agents. A few of these men later became the bully boys of right-wing organizations. Mr. Allen Dulles had experience of intelligence work, but more significant he was the brother of the messianic Secretary of State, the late Mr. John Foster Dulles. They worked as a close-knit team to the exclusion of the Department of State and other government bodies involved in the making of foreign and defence policy, and under a complaisant President.


They also worked together in an emotional atmosphere made more tense by witch hunts and the charges of treachery at home and abroad. Communism was improperly understood; the idea that a revolutionary party may in certain circumstances win a popular following was violently rejected. It was not surprising, also given the widespread ignorance of foreign affairs and intelligence work, and the suspicion of permanent foreign service officers, that the C.I.A. developed as it did – the private army of the Dulles brothers.

Today in Washington the situation is very different. President Kennedy is not only determined to rule, but is committed to strengthening the State Department. Communism remains the personification of evil, but it is better understood. Aid is furnished to under-developed countries, but they are urged to carry out land reform, adopt centralized economic planning, and introduce the income tax. At the administrative level, the National Security Council has been down-graded, and the task form system ensures that no policy is initiated without the President’s knowledge and reference to appropriate departments.

The old ogre known as the Central Intelligence Agency was in fact killed the moment President Kennedy’s administration began to function as he wanted it to function. For many Mr. McCone may remain an undesirable choice, the agency not as efficient as others, and much of its staff unsuitable. Only time will show and make improvements possible, but in the unlikely possibility that crew-cut cloak-and-dagger men are once again let loose on an unsuspecting world President Kennedy will be really responsible.
Paul Rigby Wrote:From Our Washington Correspondent, “Drawing the Teeth of the C.I.A.,” The Times, Wednesday, 20 December 1961, p.11

From our own correspondent, “CIA Is Blamed for Laos Crisis: Washington Policy Conflict – Encouragement of General Phoumi,” The Times, Thursday, 24 May 1962, p.14

Quote:Washington, May 23 – There have been many crises here recently but, engaged as it is in Europe and Asia, the Administration is now grappling with another here at hand. It is a familiar crisis but no less difficult; the Administration is now convinced that the Central Intelligence Agency has been up to its old devices again and must share a large part of the responsibility for the situation in Laos.

It is not easy to acquire all the details in such a murky situation, but apparently the evidence shows that the swarm of CIA agents in Laos deliberately opposed the official American objective of trying to establish a neutral Government. They are believed to have encouraged General Phoumi Nosavan in the concentration of troops that brought about the swift and disastrous response of the Pathet Lao.


It is also officially believed that the heavy pressure brought upon Prince Boun Oum and General Phoumi to accept the political solution of neutrality, including the suspension since February of the monthly subsidy of $3m. (more than £1m.) failed because the agency provided them with some funds from its own capacious budget. The belief is that the agency transferred the money from its operation in Siam, where General Phoumi has family connexions.

It will be recalled that the CIA played a large role in bringing about the downfall of Prince Souvanna Phouma, who was ousted by the General in 1960. Subsequently the danger of a forward and belligerent policy in Laos was clearly seen here, and largely because of the efforts of Mr Averell Harriman, the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, the United States joined with Britain in an effort to create a neutral coalition government under Prince Souvanna Phouma.


But changes of staff and policy in the State Department are not always reflected at the other end of diplomatic tables, especially when the CIA is involved. The agents who helped to bring down the Souvanna Phouma ministry remained in the country, and very much on the offensive. They were long suspected of influencing and strengthening the resistance of the right-wing to a political solution, but their involvement has since proved to be deeper.

The result of their clandestine endeavours is the defeat, and perhaps total demoralization, of the Royal Laotian forces; the commitment of American forces on the Asian mainland; and a deterioration of the political situation that could have ended the patient efforts to reach a political solution. Officials here would go further; the fear has been expressed that American intentions are now misunderstood in Laos, and to convince the right wing of the Princes of its determination to establish and support a neutral Laos will be difficult.


More believe it will be impossible, and accordingly there is a demand here for the removal of General Phoumi. This will not be easy but he will lose most of his American support and the suggestion is to be made that he should drop politics and return to soldiering.

The man problem remains. The reorganization of the CIA has perhaps had too little time to take effect in distant outposts, but clearly agents are still employed whose enthusiasm for right-wing Asian leaders knows no bounds. The unification of American operations in Laos is now regarded as urgent, and a Presidential order is requested.
Paul Rigby Wrote:From our own correspondent, “CIA Is Blamed for Laos Crisis: Washington Policy Conflict – Encouragement of General Phoumi,” The Times, Thursday, 24 May 1962, p.14

The Times, Thursday, 25 October 1962, p.15
Review: C.I.A.

Andrew Tully: Central Intelligence Agency, the inside story (272pp Arthur Baker. 21s.)

Quote:This is a brief, brisk, readable and well-informed survey of how the Central Intelligence Agency came into being and how it has extended itself beyond the routine business of gathering information into a whole series of direct political manipulations and other adventures all over the world. The list if fairly long. It includes Guatemala , Iraq, Iran, Algeria, East Germany, Hungary, Egypt, Korea, the U-2 incident, Laos, the Congo and Cuba. Degree of involvement has varied from full-scale king-making to low-level infiltration.

Mr. Tully gives his verdict on the result in each case. Sometimes it is approving, often mixed, and sometimes strongly critical. His broad conclusion seems to be that, in spite of many mistakes, the agency is extremely skilful in the collection of information, but too often hopelessly misguided in political action, especially in its tendency to back “strong men” whose only recommendation is their anti-communism. Fortunately, as Mr. Truly explains, President Kennedy is making an effort to control its political activities and to confine it more to its original role as an objective supplier of intelligence.
The Times, Tuesday, 8 October 1963, p.13:

Second leader

An Elusive Agency

Quote:President Kennedy's failure to control the political activities of the Central Intelligence Agency has been one of the more disappointing and mysterious aspects of his Administration. It is to be hoped that his belated recall of MR. RICHARDSON, the head of the C.I.A. mission in South Vietnam, is a sign of a new determination to exert the full political control which the agency so badly needs. Few things damage a country more than if its representatives on the spot appear to be at odds with each other.

The Cuban fiasco provided a unique opportunity to reassess the role of the C.I.A. The evidence of Laos and South Vietnam is that the opportunity was fumbled. (In Laos two years ago the C.I.A. was still opposing the neutralist coalition some time after PRESIDENT KENNEDY had formally endorsed it.) It is important, however, that the C.I.A. should not become a scapegoat for what are often the sins of the Government. Its involvement with NGO DINH DIEM'S family in Vietnam was encouraged by the absence of clear direction from Washington. The American Government was split over the proper policy for Vietnam, and in the resulting cleavage the State Department went one way and some of the C.I.A., with some of the Pentagon, another. There should have been especially keen vigilance over the C.I.A., for it is well known that many members of its staff are out of sympathy with the basic assumptions of the Administration's policies, as they were not, on the whole, in the days of MR. DULLES.

The difficulty that has always dogged the C.I.A. is that it is basically inimical to American traditions, and the country has been unable to assimilate it. Born out of the shock of Pearl Harbour, it found its present name in 1947. The original intention was that it should confine itself to the collection and evaluation of information, and many think it should return to this pristine state. It outgrew the restrictions almost by accident. The State Department was weak in staff and funds, and American policy demanded methods that were not compatible with normal diplomacy. Gradually MR. JOHN FOSTER DULLES found that he could sometimes act more effectively through his brother ALLEN, then head of the C.I.A., than through his own department. Repeated attempts to subject the agency to Congressional control stumbled on the obvious need for secrecy. Secrecy would disappear in the open arenas of American political life. At the same time the Dulles fraternity inhibited control by the Executive. The result was a new and secret kingdom which combined the collection of information with the formulation and the execution of policy.

After the Bay of Pigs PRESIDENT KENNEDY tried to restore the making of policy to the State Department, local authority to his ambassadors, and most operational responsibilities to the Pentagon. He has had some success with these reforms, but not enough. The recent troubles have already revived demands for more Congressional control, and some increase may be possible. In the end, however, only one person is in a position to exert full control, and that is the President himself.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
"CIA in Retreat?," The Economist, (Vol 12/10), October 12, 1963, pp.136-137

Quote:Mrs. Nhu, President Diem's fiery sister-in-law, who is just beginning a three week speaking tour in the United States, is being ignored officially, but on past performances she can be relied upon to provoke new demands for reform if not the replacement of the present government of South Vietnam. This may not please President Kennedy who seems to hope that his endorsement of the report of Mr. McNamara, the Secretary of Defence, and General Taylor may lead to a temporary truce in the war over Vietnam which has been waging in Washington; roughly the State Department has taken the view that the Vietcong will never be defeated if political repression is tolerated in Vietnam, while the military feel that demands for reform would hamper the war effort. The carefully edited conclusions of the military mission (there are said to be a number of secret findings and recommendations) contained something for both sides. They were reasonably cheerful about the progress of the war too cheerful perhaps in asserting that American involvement should be unnecessary after the end of 1965. On the other hand, they reported that the political situation was serious and might affect the war in days to come.

The real loser seems to be the Central Intelligence Agency; Mr. Richardson, the head of its mission in Vietnam, has been recalled and, the President said this week, is to be transferred; in his place, it is thought, Mr. Lodge, the American Ambassador, would like a man who would confine himself to the gathering and sifting of intelligence and who would not try to combine this with actual operations. It is an old complaint against the CIA that it cannot be counted upon for disinterested intelligence when it is deeply involved with policies and personalities. Nowhere has it been more engaged than in Vietnam, where it has long been in the field. The CIA has been close to the Diem family, including the head of the secret police, Mr, Nhu. After his special forces smashed up Buddhist pagodas in August, it emerged that they enjoyed a monthly subvention of, it is said, $250,000 from CIA funds.

Mr. Richardson's transfer is proof that the Administration means Mr. Lodge's writ to run in South Vietnam, apart from purely military matters, and hints at the toughness to come toward President Diem. Mr. Lodge, who is openly critical of Mrs. Nhu and police repression, is a Republican and one of the reasons for his appointment is said to have been the Administration's hope that Vietnam could be taken out of politics. Much the same, however, could be said of the appointment of Mr. McCone another Republican as head of the CIA in 1961. In satisfying Mr. Lodge the President has stepped on Mr. McCone's toes. But Mr. Kennedy made handsome amends this week when he rejected suggestions that the CIA had ever done anything but support government policy in Vietnam though this raises new questions about that policy. He also rejected proposals that some new system of supervision should be established over the agency.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
From our own correspondent (Washington, May 2), "U.S. Support For French Generals' Revolt/Mr.Allen Dulles' Denial," The Times, 3 May 1961, p.10:

Quote:"Mr. Allen Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, today appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee for Latin America to explain the part his agency played in the Cuban fiasco. He appeared at a time when persistent reports from France that the CIA supported the revolt of the generals in Algeria continue to embarrass the Administration.

The reports, which appear to have been originated in the Soviet press, have been repeated and enlarged by French newspapers, and the White House thought it necessary to make discrete inquiries. The anti-communist fervour of the CIA agents is legendary, and it is a comment on the ways of this city that the Administration was obviously not at all certain whether some secret crusader had decided it was necessary to depose General de Gaulle in order to make North Africa safe for freedom and the capitalist system.

Inquiries among staffs

The State Department made inquiries among the staffs of its embassy and agencies in France and North Africa without uncovering a plot, but it is well known that CIA men rarely bother to inform the ambassador of their activities. The inquiry was extended to the CIA, and Mr. Dulles yesterday issued a solemn denial. Any reports or allegations that the CIA may or any of its personnel had anything to do with the generals' revolt were completely untrue,' Mr. Dulles said.

But, alas, according to the New York Times, French opinion, both official and public, appears to believe that Mr. Dulles is only dutifully playing his part in an elaborate plot. Irritation in the Administration is reported because French officials are believed to be fanning suspicion instead of denying the reports.

Presumably the reports are untrue, but the fact of the matter is that no reporter can categorically state that they are. Cuba, Guatemala, and a number of other CIA episodes remind him that nothing can be certain in the jungle of suspicion created by the agency. The dilemma should caution the Administration, busy with its plan for unconventional and subversive war.

Cuba Fiasco

The search for a culprit for the Cuba fiasco continues both in and out of Congress. Apart from the hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee for Latin America, as usual those involved have counter-attacked with discreet but newspaper reports. President Kennedy's efforts to maintain the unity of his Administration by assuming full responsibility have to that extent failed; the victim of Cuba might well be the bright promise of this Administration.

The Pentagon counter-attacked in the Baltimore Sun today when an unnamed military gentleman claimed that Cuba was military business. The trouble, as he saw it, was that the dominant influence upon Washington thinking, and quite probably American thinking for several years, had been that of intellectuals basically opposed in principle and practice to the concept of military force.

There is no end in sight to this kind if thing, but Mr. Walter Lippmann devoted his column today to a proposal that does not appear to have occurred to many of those involved. Mr. Lippmann proposed that after a disaster of this kind the mistake can be purged and confidence restored only by resignation.

Confidence shaken

Unlike the British system, Mr. Lippman continued, the chief executive does not and cannot resign, but if there is to be accountability the President must hold responsible those whose constitutional or statutory duty it is to advise him. It is a painful business but the confidence of the American people and their friends throughout the world is at stake.

If Mr. Lippmann's advice has not been taken the upper layer of the Administration has been given a discreet shake, and men such as Mr. Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General and the President's brother, Mr. Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State, and Mr. Ted Sorensen, the President's chief assistant, are among those who appear to have come out on top. Mr. Allen Dulles, Mr. Richard Bissell, Jnr., his deputy, General Lymnitzer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and some of President Kennedy's advisers from Harvard have been, it would appear, submerged.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
From our own correspondent (Washington, 11 May), "Britain To Be Asked To Join In Anti-Guerrilla Measures," The Times, 12 May 1961, p.16:

Quote:"Mr. Walter Lippmann disclosed in his column today that CIA agents have been interfering in the internal affairs of France.

Mr. Lippmann says the reason why the French Government has not really exculpated the CIA of encouraging the Algerian rebel generals is that it was already so angry with the agency for meddling in French internal politics. The French grievance, justified or not, has to do with recent legislation for the French nuclear weapons, and the alleged effort of the CIA to interfere with that legislation.

Earlier in this correspondence it was presumed that reports of CIA support for the generals revolt were untrue, but it was added that no reporter here could categorically state that they were. Mr. Lippmann's report diminishes the presumption of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign and allied country. Certainly France is not the only member of NATO in which the CIA has busied itself. In West Germany, for instance, there was widespread dismay some years ago when a neo-Nazi group was discovered secretly drilling with a variety of weapons. There was fear of a Nazi revival and of the ability of the Federal Government to protect its infant democratic institutions. The fear proved groundless; investigation showed that the young thugs were the proteges of the CIA."
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
Interesting how stories of JFK's efforts to end the Agency's powers--and the Agency's resistance--seem to have been covered more fully across the Atlantic--at least until early October, 1963, when the public flap covered by Richard Starnes in the in the Washington Daily News and Arthur Krock in the New York Times made headlines. Of course, it was all soon forgotten by Big News Media.

Many of us also forget that exactly one month after the assassination, former President Harry Truman called for the elimination of all CIA operational powers. It's hard to ignore the timing of Mr. Truman's 12/22/63 article:

Chief Justice Earl Warren: "Full disclosure was not possible for reasons of national security." – 1964
CIA accountant James B. Wilcott: Oswald received "a full-time salary for agent work for doing CIA operational work." – 1978
HSCA counsel Robert Tanenbaum: “Lee Harvey Oswald was a contract employee of the CIA and the FBI.” – 1996
It's been pretty true for the last 70 years or more that if you want to find some truth about what goes on in the US, you have to dig around in the foreign press for it.
Yeah, U.S. news media seems to have missed a few voices on this issue:
* Sen. Richard Schweiker said, "We do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there're fingerprints of intelligence."
* Victor Marchetti was the former Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of the CIA. Marchetti said, "The more I have learned, the more concerned I have become that the government was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy."
* CIA Agent Donald Norton said, "Oswald was with the CIA, and if he did it then you better believe the whole CIA was involved."
* Former CIA agent Joseph Newbrough said, "Oswald was an agent for the CIA and acting under orders."
* CIA Agent John Garrett Underhill told friends, just before he died, "Oswald is a patsy. They set him up. They've killed the President. I've been listening and hearing things. I couldn't believe they'd get away with it, but they did."
* CIA Agent William Gaudet said, "The man who probably knows as much as anybody alive on all of this... is... I still think is Howard Hunt"----CIA Agent and Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt.
* CIA employee Donald Deneslya read reports of a CIA agent who had worked at a radio factory in Minsk and returned to the US with a Russian wife and child--that agent could only have been Oswald.
* Richard Sprague, chief counsel to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations said, "If he had it to do over again, he would begin his investigation of the Kennedy assassination by probing 'Oswald's ties to the Central Intelligence Agency."
* CIA officer David Phillips provided the Warren Commission with information that Oswald was at the Russian and Cuban embassies in Mexico City, then later admitted that the information he had provided was false.
* Marvin Watson, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson, said that Johnson had told him that he was convinced that there was a plot in connection with the assassination. Watson said the President felt the CIA had something to do with this plot.

Chief Justice Earl Warren: "Full disclosure was not possible for reasons of national security." – 1964
CIA accountant James B. Wilcott: Oswald received "a full-time salary for agent work for doing CIA operational work." – 1978
HSCA counsel Robert Tanenbaum: “Lee Harvey Oswald was a contract employee of the CIA and the FBI.” – 1996

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