Spotlight on CIA History

Three new library books take a critical look at the 60-year history of the CIA:

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (c2007) by New York Times reporter Tim Wiener. Listen to the author discuss his book (Real Player required).

In Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (c2006), Chalmers Johnsonargues for the disbandment of the CIA: “I believe we will never again know peace, nor in all probability survive very long as a nation, unless we abolish the CIA, restore intelligence collecting to the State Department, and remove all but purely military functions from the Pentagon” (21). Can the American Republic survive “clandestine operations” abroad; the creation of a “private army” answerable only to the president; or the secrecy engendered by “a government within a government”? Nemesis is the third book in a trilogy that also includesBlowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (c2000) and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (c2004).

David Barrett, a political scientist at Villanova University, is the author of The CIA & Congress: The Untold Story From Truman To Kennedy (c2005). Barrett examined recently declassified CIA documents, the so-called 700-page “family jewels,” linking the agency to the attempted assassination of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and others. Listen to Barrett discuss his findings (Real Player required).

The Federation of American Scientists has made available online the CIA’s ownFactbook on Intelligence. Two Temple databases offer declassified CIA documents: Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) and Digital National Security Archive. More CIA history? Click United States. Central Intelligence Agency — History, or explore the Force & Diplomacy subject guide.

David C. Murray

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