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Americas Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society
Americas Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society Loch K. Johnson 0195054903 9780195054903 In 1975, after The New York Times published a devastating critique of the CIA, three government panels--the Rockefeller, Church, and Pike Committees--were
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Americas Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society by Loch K. Johnson

In 1975, after The New York Times published a devastating critique of the CIA, three government panels--the Rockefeller, Church, and Pike Committees--were formed to examine these allegations in depth. What they uncovered--assassination plots, opened mail, drug experiments against unsuspecting subjects (two of whom died from side effects)--shocked the American people and moved Senator Frank Church to call the CIA a rogue elephant rampaging out of control. Clearly, America needs a strong, effective intelligence effort, but just as clearly, this effort must operate within the bounds of an open, democratic society. Based on hundreds of interviews with CIA officials, national security experts, and legislators, as well as a thorough culling of the archival record, Americas Secret Power offers an illuminating and up-to-date picture of the Central Intelligence Agency, stressing the difficult balance between the genuine needs of national security and the protection of individual liberties. Loch Johnson, who has studied the workings of the CIA at first hand as a legislative overseer, presents a comprehensive examination of the Agency and its relations with other American institutions, including Congress and the White House (he offers particularly astute analyses of the CIAs use of journalists and academics to gather intelligence) and he illuminates the CIAs three major missions--intelligence analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action--providing vivid descriptions of their purpose and their pathologies. For example, he offers a fascinating analysis of the Seven Sins of intelligence work, revealing how the best intelligence reports can be distorted or ignored (in the mid-1960s, the evidence against a quick American victory in Vietnam was dismissed); how covert actions can spin out of control despite extensive safeguards, as in the Iran-Contra scandal; and how the CIA has spied on American citizens in clear violation of its charter. Further, he provides a thorough review of legislative efforts to curb these abuses, suggesting several important ways to achieve the delicate balance between national security and democratic ideals. Vividly written and meticulously documented, Americas Secret Power draws the strands of a vast amount of research into a balanced critique of our intelligence networks. It is a work that stands alone in its thoroughness and objectivity, a thoughtful and sobering portrait of the contemporary CIA.

Author: Loch K. Johnson

Language: English

Binding: Hardcover

Pages: 368

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 1989-12-14

Our Price: $4.09

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ISBN: 0195054903


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