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Central Intelligence Agency: Yesterday, today, but tomorrow?

18.09.2002 | Source:



Pearl Harbor gave birth to the CIA, but September 11 may kill it

America's CIA celebrates its 55th anniversary today. This is nothing special really, but the CIA is one of the most powerful secret services in the world. At least, this was believed to be the case until September of 2001. Now, CIA is being reorganized. This is not the first reorganization over its 50 years of history.

The CIA’s prototype appeared after the event that was a big shocker for Americans: the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt ordered the creation of the first American intelligence service: the Strategic Services Department. After WWII ended, this organization was dissolved. Harry S. Truman, who followed Roosevelt as president, quickly realized that it would be hard to live without a department to control the activities of military intelligence services. This period of time was not the best; it was the beginning of the conflict with the USSR. As a result, the National Intelligence Department appeared. Finally, in 1947, the US Congress decided to centralize all intelligence activities within the scope of a joint organization: the Central Intelligence Agency. This agency was subordinated to the National Security Council. The first chairman of the Central Intelligence Agency was Allen Dulles.

Dulles hoped that the CIA would not participate in internal affairs of the country. As everybody knows, he was wrong to think so. The CIA was involved in several large political scandals. Two of the largest scandals were Watergate and illegal arms sales to Iran.

The CIA has experienced its ups and downs, like any other intelligence service. However, the events of September 11 led to a storm of criticism against this organization. The CIA and other American services failed to prevent the terrorist attacks, in spite of the fact that it possessed enough information to do so. The problem was excessive red tape and the “reinsurance” of the CIA’s administration. As a result, American secret services are currently undergoing a global reorganization.

Will this reorganization bring any good? The CIA planned an operation to overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime in 1961. The operation suffered a debacle, and the CIA's intelligence departments were reorganized. However, the effect of the reform did not last long. For example, the CIA did not manage to foresee the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979.

What is the CIA’s future? It is not very likely that it will occur to someone in Washington to abolish intelligence. Yet, there are no doubts that the American government will require more efficient work from this service.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov


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