CIA: THE INNER
ON A WARM DAY in June of 1963, Senator Frank Church, the Idaho
Democrat, dispatched a Senate page across the river to Langley with
an envelope stamped: "Personal for the Director."
Church had stumbled on some information which he thought John McCone
ought to have immediately. Three and a half hours later a bedraggled
and distraught page returned to Church's office. He reported that he
had fallen into the hands of CIA security police, who had questioned
him at length about what he was up to. They released him after a few
hours but would not accept the letter. Senator Church finally mailed
Although the Senate messenger, like most Americans, thus never got a
peek inside CIA headquarters, the agency's operations are not a
total mystery. It is possible to piece together a fair idea of its
internal workings, and organization, as well as the techniques and
methods it uses both at home and abroad.
The CIA is, of course, the biggest, most important and most
influential branch of the Invisible Government. The agency is
organized into four divisions: Intelligence, Plans, Research,
Support, each headed by a deputy director.
The Support Division is the administrative arm of the CIA. It is in
charge of equipment, logistics, security and communications. It
devises the CIA's special codes, which cannot be read by other
branches of the government.
The Research Division is in charge of technical intelligence. It
provides expert assessments of foreign advances in science,
technology and atomic weapons. It was responsible for analyzing the
U-2 photographs brought back from the Soviet Union between 1956 and
1960. And it has continued to analyze subsequent U-2 and
spy-satellite pictures. In this it works with the DIA in running the
National Photo Intelligence Center.
Herbert "Pete" Scoville, who headed the Research Division for eight
years, left in August of 1963 to become an assistant director of the
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He was replaced as the CIA's
deputy director for research by Dr. Albert D. Wheelon.
The Plans Division is in charge of the CIA's cloak-and-dagger
activities. It controls all foreign special operations, such as
Guatemala and the Bay of Pigs, and it collects all of the agency's
covert intelligence through spies and informers overseas.
Allen Dulles was the first deputy director for plans. He was
succeeded as DDP by Frank Wisner, who was replaced in 1958 by
Bissell, who, in turn, was succeeded in 1962 by his deputy, Richard
A native of St. David's, Pennsylvania, Helms studied in Switzerland
and Germany and was graduated from Williams College in 1935. He
worked for the United Press and the Indianapolis Times, and then,
during World War II, he served as a lieutenant commander in the Navy
attached to the OSS. When the war ended and some OSS men were
transferred to the CIA, he stayed on and rose through the ranks.
Helms' counterpart as the deputy director for intelligence in the
CIA hierarchy after the Bay of Pigs was also an ex-OSS man. Ray
Cline got into the intelligence business as a cryptanalyst in 1942,
moving on to the OSS and the CIA. He was born in Anderson Township,
Illinois, and was graduated from Harvard, where he was elected to
Phi Beta Kappa. He also received his Ph.D. at Harvard and studied
later at Oxford.
With the CIA, Cline served for a period as liaison man with British
intelligence, the most important of the sixty-odd foreign
intelligence organizations with which the CIA is linked. Before he
was named the DDI, Cline ran the CIA operation on Formosa under the
cover title of Directory United States Naval Auxiliary
Communications Center, Taiwan.
The job of the Intelligence Division is essentially a highly
specialized form of scholarship. And 80 percent of its information
comes from "open sources" : technical magazines, foreign broadcast
monitoring, scholarly studies, propaganda journals, and data
produced by such visible branches of the government as the U.S.
Information Agency,*1 the Agriculture, Treasury, and Commerce
Departments, and the Agency for International Development.
The Intelligence Division's function is to take the mass of
information available to it and "produce" intelligence, that is, to
draw up reports on the economic, political, social and governmental
situation in any country in the world. The division is subdivided
into three major groups: one makes long-range projections of what
can be expected in crisis areas; a second produces a daily review of
the current situation; and a third, established by Cline shortly
after he took over, is supposed to detect the gaps in what the CIA
is doing and collecting.
Cline and his subordinates pride themselves on their independence
and detachment from operational problems. They maintain that they
evaluate information flowing in from the CIA Plans Division on an
equal basis with intelligence coming in from elsewhere in the
government. They contend that they do not have any ax to grind or
any vested interest or operation to protect and, therefore, that
they produce the most objective reports of any branch of the
The most important of these reports are prepared, sometimes on a
crash basis, by the office of National Estimates (ONE), which acts
as the staff of the twelve-man Board of National Estimates (BNE),
long headed by Sherman Kent, a sixty-year-old former Yale history
professor. A burly, tough-talking, tobacco-chewing man, Kent
directed the European-African Division of the OSS during World War
II. Kent and his board turn out National Intelligence Estimates (NIE)
and, in times of crisis, quick reports known as Special National
"National Intelligence Estimates," Lyman Kirkpatrick, the executive
director of the CIA has said, "are perhaps the most important
documents created in the intelligence mechanisms of our government
... A national estimate is a statement of what is going to happen in
any country, in any area, in any given situation, and as far as
possible into the future ...
"Each of the responsible departments prepares the original draft on
that section which comes under its purview. Thus the Department of
State would draft the section on the political, economic or
sociological development in a country or an area or a situation,
while the Army would deal with ground forces, the Air Force with the
air forces, and the Navy with the naval forces, and the Department
of Defense under the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the guided missile
"The Board of Estimates would then go over the individual
contributions very carefully -- sometimes very heatedly -- and
arrive at a common view. Anyone of the intelligence services has the
right of dissent from the view which will be expressed as that of
the Director of Intelligence."  (This is known as "taking a
These National Intelligence Estimates go to the United States
Intelligence Board for review. Under Dulles, Sherman Kent's board
generated its own studies and was under the jurisdiction of the
deputy director for intelligence. One of the changes made by McCone
was to bring the Board of National Estimates directly under his
personal command. McCone then controlled the frequency and subject
matter of NIE reports. USIB functioned as an advisory group to
McCone and estimates were frequently rewritten at his direction.
The NIE was then transmitted to the President as the estimate of the
Director of Central Intelligence. Ultimately, therefore, despite all
this vast intelligence machinery, the end product goes to the
President as the personal responsibility and personal estimate of
It is in this area that the structure of the Invisible Government is
the most complex. The Director of Central Intelligence is the
ultimate arbiter of the vital security information, predictions and
evaluations that are placed on the desk of the President. He
presides over the branches of the intelligence community represented
on USIB; but, as has been seen, he also heads the CIA, which is one
of these branches. He controls not only the intelligence product of
CIA but also the product of the entire Invisible Government. He is
therefore both umpire and player, the chairman of the board and a
member of it.
In addition to producing the raw material for the national
estimates, the CIA also provides the President with a daily
top-secret checklist of the major world crises. Copies go to the
Director of Central Intelligence and to the Secretaries of State and
Defense. Top-ranking men in the CIA's Intelligence Division get to
work at 3:00 A.M., to read the overnight cables and compile the
During the Kennedy Administration, the checklist was presented to
the President the first thing each morning by Major General Chester
V. (Ted) Clifton, the chief White House military aide. Under
President Johnson, McGeorge Bundy initially assumed the
responsibility for the morning intelligence briefing.
Special procedures have been established to assure that the
President and the three other recipients of the checklist can be
reached instantly in an emergency. An Indications Center is manned
twenty-four hours a day by representatives of the CIA, the Pentagon
and the State Department. It works under the guidance of a Watch
Committee, which meets once a week to survey crisis situations and,
if necessary, to recommend an immediate convening of the Board of
Although that board no longer operates directly under the authority
of the CIA deputy director for intelligence, the power of his office
has been enlarged in another direction. Ray Cline was the first DDI
to be informed about the secret operations of the Plans Division.
Prior to McCone's rule, this was not the practice.
The CIA had been rigorously compartmented in the interests of
maximum security. The agency's left hand was purposely prevented
from knowing what the right hand was doing. The Intelligence
Division would receive all of the covert information collected by
CIA agents abroad, but it was kept in ignorance about all
clandestine operations. In the parlance of the trade, all
cloak-and-dagger schemes were "vest pocketed" by the Plans Division.
For example, as already described, Cline's predecessor as DDI,
Robert Amory, was never told in advance about the Bay of Pigs. And
there was a feeling that President Kennedy might have abandoned the
operation if all of his intelligence advisers had not been sponsors
and, therefore, devout advocates of the plan.
Soon after McCone took office, he decided to change the system. He
set up a three-man study group composed of Lyman Kirkpatrick,
General Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler, executive assistant to
Governor Rockefeller, and J. Patrick Coyne, former FBI agent and
executive director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Perhaps the most important change decided upon by McCone was his
instruction to the Plans Division to keep the Intelligence Division
continuously posted on all its activities. Thereafter, the
Intelligence Division received "sanitized" reports (names of agents
removed) on all current operations. The intelligence analysts were
thus in a position for the first time to contest the special
pleading of the men who were running the operations. On the basis of
the large pool of information available to them from all branches of
the Invisible Government, they could, recommend changes in or
complete cancellation of doubtful schemes.
Although there is some interchange of personnel, a natural suspicion
exists between the Plans Division, which tends to attract activists
and risk-takers, and the Intelligence Division, which tends to
attract academic and contemplative types.
In its political complexion, too, the CIA splits roughly along the
lines of its major functional responsibilities.
"The DDI side," one veteran CIA official explained, "tends to be
liberal: they're at home with people like Schlesinger and Bundy.
They tend to be liberal Democrats and liberal Republicans. The other
side of the house has many ex-FBI types. It tends to get more
conservative people, Bissell excepted. Helms has no politics, he's
just a good professional intelligence man. But there are all kinds
in CIA, as you'd expect."
A frequent charge against the CIA, justified in part, is that it
tends to support right-wing, military governments that it regards as
"safe," ignoring more liberal elements that might, in the long run,
provide a more effective hedge against Communism.
Viewed in this context, it is significant that officials in the
Plans Division are considered by their colleagues to be by instinct
and background more conservative than the pure intelligence
analysts. It is the agents serving in foreign stations under the DDP,
after all, who are most directly concerned in the field with the
question of where to throw CIA support in a complex political
While the work of all of these divisions is centered at Langley, the
CIA also operates inside the United States in many locations and in
many guises. Although few Americans are aware of it, the CIA has
offices in twenty cities throughout the country. The National
Security Act of 1947, establishing the CIA, stated that "the agency
shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement or internal-security
functions." Since the CIA was created to deal exclusively with
foreign intelligence, the question might be raised as to why it has
field offices across the nation.
The answer CIA officials give is that the offices are needed to
collect foreign intelligence domestically, principally from
travelers returning from abroad.
The CIA operates under a number of classified directives issued by
the National Security Council since 1947. NSC directive No.7 permits
the CIA to question people within the United States.
The CIA's use of tourists and travelers to gather intelligence was
clearly forecast in a memorandum which Allen Dulles submitted to the
Senate Armed Services Committee in 1947, when it was considering the
Act establishing the CIA. The memorandum is a public document. 
Because of its glamour and mystery overemphasis is generally placed
on what is called secret intelligence ... but in time of peace the
bulk of intelligence can be obtained through overt channels ... It
can also be obtained ... through the many Americans, business and
professional men and American residents of foreign countries, who
are naturally and normally brought in touch with what is going on in
It is not unusual for the CIA to contact Americans about to go
behind the Iron Curtain as tourists. Not every tourist is
approached, of course, and many decline to get involved in high-risk
Recently, a New York publishing executive and his wife were about to
leave for Russia as tourists when a telephone call came from the
CIA. Would the editor be willing to report any interesting
conversations? Would he turn over any interesting pictures he might
take? The couple politely declined.
In addition to approaching legitimate tourists, the agency also
plants its own tourists behind the Iron Curtain, occasionally with
disastrous results. On August 25, 1960, two Air Force veterans, Mark
I. Kaminsky and Harvey C. Bennett, of Bath, Maine, were arrested
while touring the Soviet Union.
Both men were proficient in Russian. Kaminsky, twenty-eight, taught
Russian at Ann Arbor, Michigan, High School; and Bennett,
twenty-six, had just graduated in Slavic studies from the University
of California at Berkeley. Kaminsky was sentenced to seven years in
prison by a court in Kiev. Then the Russians changed their minds and
expelled the pair.
They returned to the United States on October 20. At a press
conference at Idlewild International Airport, Kaminsky denied any
spying, and said he had planned to write a book called The Soviet
Union Talks Peace While Preparing for War. The two said they had
traveled to Russia on grants of $2,000 each from the "Northcraft
Educational Fund of Philadelphia." However, they were not able to
describe the operations of the fund, which was not listed then or
later in the Philadelphia telephone book, the National Education
Association's file of foundations, The Foundation Directory, or any
other standard reference list.
In a similar case in 1961, another American, Marvin William Makinen,
of Ashburnham, Massachusetts, was arrested while touring Russia.
Makinen, only twenty-two, had studied chemistry at the University of
Pennsylvania and had just completed a year as an exchange student at
the Free University of West Berlin. He spoke fluent German and
Finnish. He was arrested and sentenced to eight years after the
Russians charged he took pictures of military installations in Kiev.
The Russians said he had confessed to spying.
In February, 1962, James Donovan came within an ace of freeing
Makinen in the Powers-Abel exchange. But Makinen remained in
Vladimir Prison (where Powers had been held) until October 12, 1963,
when he was returned to the United States in a four-way trade.*3 Makinen had little to say to reporters when he stepped off a BOAC
airliner at Idlewild International Airport just after dawn. When
asked about his arrest, he replied in a low voice: "I guess it was
mainly because of my confession."
Aside from tourist-contact work, there are many other types of
activities operating from the CIA's twenty regional offices within
the United States. In Miami and New York, the agency financed and
directed Cuban refugee activities. In New York and Chicago, it may
be assumed that it conducts similar activities with Eastern European
anti-Communist émigré groups.
At least a few whiskers of this particular cat were peeping out of
the bag when McCone testified before the Senate Armed Services
Committee during hearings on his nomination on January 18, 1962.
Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the independent-minded lady from
Maine, was questioning McCone:
SENATOR SMITH: It has been alleged to me, Mr. McCone, that the CIA
has been or is supporting the political activities of certain ethnic
groups in this country, such as the Polish and Hungarian groups; is
this true, and if so, what comment do you have to make?
MR. MCCONE: I can make no comment on it.
SENATOR SMITH: Pardon?
MR. MCCONE: I could make no comment on that.
SENATOR SMITH: Is it true?
MR. MCCONE: I couldn't comment on it.
Later, Senator Richard B. Russell, the Democratic chairman, and
Senator Leverett Saltonstall, the Massachusetts Republican, both
powerful Congressional protectors of the CIA, attempted to smooth
over the delicate and unpleasant question asked by Mrs. Smith -- but
only succeeded in getting into deeper water.
CHAIRMAN RUSSELL: As a matter of national policy, and speaking as a
citizen and not as a nominee for this position, Mr. McCone, do you
see anything immoral or wrong about any agency of this government
undertaking to encourage ethnic groups in this country that have
brethren behind the Iron Curtain ...?
MR. MCCONE: No sir; I do not ...
CHAIRMAN RUSSELL: Our enemies are certainly trying to seek to
destroy us in every possible way, appealing to all ethnic groups in
any way they can get their hands on them. I do not see any reason
why we should have our hands tied.
SENATOR SALTONSTALL: Will the Senator yield? I would just like to
supplement what the chairman has said. Is it not true, Mr. McCone,
in your understanding of the CIA, that any work on the ethnic groups
in this country would not be within the province of the CIA, in any
event; am I correct in that?
MR. MCCONE: I cannot answer that, Senator.
SENATOR SALTONSTALL: Perhaps that should not be answered.
Actually, for a decade, a $100,000,000 fund was available for this
type of activity. A 1951 amendment to the Foreign Aid Act had
provided the money for persons "residing in or escapees from" the
Soviet Union, the satellite nations or any other Communist area of
the world, either to form them into military units "or for other
It drew wrathful attacks from the Soviet Union in the
United Nations. In 1961 Congress repealed the amendment at the
request of the Agency for International Development. Asked whether
the $100,000,000 fund had ever been used for clandestine work, an
AID official said: "It was never used for anything other than
refugee aid after they had escaped."
The CIA's domestic field offices are also useful in obtaining
intelligence from business firms that have extensive foreign
operations. In addition, the offices serve as contact points with
universities. The relationship between the CIA and the universities
is two-way -- the CIA secretly finances research programs at some
universities; in turn the universities help recruit personnel.
Perhaps even more important, the universities provide a pool of
expert knowledge about foreign countries upon which the intelligence
agency can, and does, draw.
Despite the possible loss of academic freedom, most universities and
professors have shown little reluctance to work for the CIA. The
agency has been able to obtain the services of almost all of the
academic institutions and individuals it has approached.
Harvard has refused to accept money for classified projects, but
some of its faculty members have done research for the CIA by the
simple expedient of funneling their work through the Center for
International Studies at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of
The MIT Center, which was set up with CIA money in 1950, has adopted
many of the practices in effect at the CIA headquarters in Virginia.
An armed guard watches over the door and the participating
academicians must show badges on entering and leaving.
The Center was founded by Walt Whitman Rostow, an economics
professor who served in the OSS in World War II and later as the
chief of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in the Kennedy
and Johnson Administrations. In 1952 Max F. Millikan, another
economist, became the director of the Center after a two-year tour
of duty as an assistant director of the CIA in Washington.
In a practice which has subsequently become standard procedure at
MIT and elsewhere, Rostow and his colleagues produced a CIA-financed
book, The Dynamics of Soviet Society, in 1953. It was published in
two versions, one classified for circulation within the intelligence
community, the other "sanitized" for public consumption.
One of Rostow's subordinates at the Center was Andreas F. Lowenfeld,
who became a legal adviser in the State Department under Kennedy and
Johnson. Lowenfeld was questioned about his work at MIT in testimony
before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee on June 12., 1962:
SOURWlNE (Subcommittee counsel): Were you ever, Mr. Lowenfeld,
connected in any way with the CIA?
LOWENFELD: Not in any direct way. The reason that I hesitate in my
answer is that I was connected with the Center for International
Studies at MIT.
SOURWINE: That was during what period of time?
LOWENFELD: That was 1951-1952. And they had some kind of contract
with the CIA. So that it is conceivable that I was cleared by them.
LOWENFELD: But I never formally worked for them.
SOURWINE: Did you know that the Center for International Studies was
a CIA operation?
LOWENFELD: I was never formally told, but it became apparent.
One of the dangers inherent in the liaison between the universities
and the CIA is the opportunity it provides for Communist
propagandists to question the intellectual objectivity and
detachment of American scholars.
On December 21, 1963, Cyril Black, the head of the Slavic Department
at Princeton, was accused by Communist Bulgaria of having acted as
the CIA's contact man with Ivan-Assen Khristov Georgiev, a Bulgarian
diplomat who was shot the next month as an alleged spy for the
At his trial, Georgiev testified that he met repeatedly with Black,
the son of the former head of the American College in Sophia, during
his five-year assignment at the UN. Georgiev said he had been paid
$200,000 for his services but spent it all on a series of
mistresses, three of whom supposedly were flown to New York for him
at CIA expense.
Professor Black denounced the accusations as a "complete
"It is so preposterous," he said, "that it should not
be dignified by a detailed rebuttal."
Although Black's denial was
not questioned by his colleagues, the incident, nonetheless, sent a
shiver of discomfort through the academic community.
The question which troubled the professors was whether the Bulgarian
accusations presaged a concerted Communist campaign to discredit the
growing number of their colleagues who were working for the CIA.
In addition to its links with the academic community, there is
evidence that the CIA subsidizes some foundations, cultural groups
and a publishing house as well.
Most Americans are totally unaware of the CIA's domestic activities.
In most cases, in a particular city, there is a telephone number for
the Central Intelligence Agency under the "United States Government"
listings. But there is no address given for the CIA office. As at
Langley, the switchboard girl at a field office doesn't answer "CIA." She simply repeats the number.
Here is a sample of CIA listings in 1963 city telephone directories
around the nation:
New York-Mu 6 5517
Chicago-De 7 4926
Los Angeles-Ma 2 6875
Boston-Li 2 8812
Detroit To 8 5759
Philadelphia-Lo 7 6764
San Francisco-Yu 6 0145
Miami-Hi 5 3658
Pittsburgh-(simply listed as "Central Intelligence" ) 471 8518
Houston-CA 8 1324
St. Louis-MA 1 6902
New Orleans-JA 2 8874
Seattle-MA 4 3288
Minneapolis-FE 5 0811
But the listed offices are only the beginning of the story. The CIA
has other offices in some United States cities in addition to its
listed ones. In Miami, for example, in 1963, besides its listed
number in Coral Gables, the CIA was operating as Zenith Technical
The CIA cover firm was listed this way in the 1963-64 telephone
Zenith Technical Enterprises, Inc., Univ. of Miami South Campus
In true Ian Fleming fashion, the CIA cover office listed no precise
address -- the university south campus is a big place. It can be
revealed, however, without imperiling national security, that the
CIA has been operating from Building 25. (Perrine, incidentally, is
the home town of Allen Lawrence Pope, the pilot who flew for the CIA
in Indonesia. )
The CIA has operated under at least three other commercial cover
umbrellas in Miami -- the Double-Chek Corporation, previously
mentioned, the Gibraltar Steamship Corporation and the Vanguard
Service Corporation, which will be dealt with separately in another
The point of all this is that the CIA is not simply an agency that
gathers foreign intelligence for the United States in far-off
corners of the globe.*5 It is deeply involved in many diverse,
clandestine activities right here in the United States in at least
twenty metropolitan areas. It can and does appear in many guises and
under many names -- Zenith, Double-Chek, Gibraltar Steamship and
Vanguard in one city alone.
On university campuses and in the great urban centers of America,
the foundation, the cultural committee, the emigre group, the Cuban
exile organization, the foreign-affairs research center, the
distinguished publishing house specializing in books about Russia,
the steamship company, the freedom radio soliciting public
contributions, the innocent-looking consulting firm -- all may in
reality be arms of the Invisible Government. And these examples are
not idly chosen.
Whether this state of affairs was intended by Congress when it
passed the National Security Act of 1947, or, indeed, whether the
Congress is even aware of those facts, is another matter entirely.
The CIA's internal, domestic activities have only rarely surfaced to
cause it embarrassment. One noteworthy episode took place in Seattle
in 1952. A Federal grand jury indicted a travel agent on charges
that he had willfully given false information to the government to
the effect that Owen Lattimore, the Johns Hopkins University Far
Eastern expert, was planning a trip behind the Iron Curtain. At the
time, Lattimore was under attack by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of
The Finnish-born defendant in the case, Harry A. Jarvinen, worked
for the Where-to-Go Travel Agency in Seattle. Jarvinen's attorney,
Gerald Shucklin, explained that his client "did make some statement
at a social gathering when he was a bit tipsy and a Central
Intelligence agent was there."
Jarvinen's tip to the CIA reached the State Department on May 26,
1952, and on June 11 the department issued a "stop order" barring
Lattimore from leaving the country. After Jarvinen was indicted, the
State Department apologized profusely to Lattimore.
But three months later the two CIA agents involved, Wayne Richardson
and Miller Holland, refused on security grounds to testify in
Federal Court at Jarvinen's trial. Jarvinen was acquitted.
Federal Judge William J. Lindberg sentenced the two CIA men to
fifteen days in prison for contempt of court. The government, the
judge noted tartly, had initiated a prosecution against a citizen
with one hand and thwarted it with the other.
The two CIA agents appealed their conviction. President Truman
stepped in and ended the farce by issuing full pardons to Richardson
and Holland, thereby saving the country the spectacle of two CIA men
doing a stretch in a Federal jail.
In March, 1954, Senator Mike Mansfield asked: "Does this incident
mean that the CIA is getting into the internal security field in
competition with the FBI? Does it mean that officials of this
government agency can defy the courts?" Mansfield got no answers to
Overseas, the CIA operates principally under embassy cover and
commercial cover. In several corners of the world the CIA operates
what appear to be small business concerns but which are really
covers. No subject is touchier to the agency than the question of
cover, for cover is the "cloak" in cloak and dagger, the
professional intelligence man's sine qua non.
On February 1, 1963, J. Edgar Hoover, testifying before a House
Appropriations Subcommittee, stated that,
"historically, the official
personnel of the Soviet bloc countries assigned to this nation,
including those at the United Nations, have been used extensively
for espionage purposes ...
"At the same time," the FBI director added, "the Soviet bloc
intelligence services make full use of their commercial
representatives, exchange groups and tourists visiting this country
in their efforts to reach their intelligence objectives.
"As of January 1, 1963, there were 761 Soviet bloc official
personnel in this country. They were accompanied by 1,066
dependents, some of whom are also trained as intelligence agents."
Essentially, the CIA operates the same way. In United States
embassies across the globe, there is a restricted floor, or a
section of the embassy, that houses the CIA mission. Each mission is
headed by a station chief with several intelligence officers
reporting to him. These officers in turn recruit local "agents" to
collect intelligence information.
The CIA personnel are listed as State Department or Foreign Service
officers. This is their "cover." In many cases, the identity of the
CIA station chief is quickly known to diplomats and newspapermen --
and, of course, to their Soviet opposite numbers in the KGB and the
GRU. This is in sharp contrast to the British and Soviet secret
service mission chiefs, whose identities are very seldom known. In
the case of the CIA, agents below the level of station chief are
usually less well known outside of the embassy. Within the embassy,
State Department employees usually come to know in fairly short
order who the CIA people are.
The fact that the CIA operates under embassy cover is not something
that the government discusses or would be expected to confirm. Very
occasionally, references to it pop up in unexpected places, however.
On April 12, 1962, Navy Captain Charles R. Clark, Jr., the naval
attache in the American Embassy in Havana from 1957 to 1960, was
being questioned at a hearing of the Senate Internal Security
Subcommittee by J. G. Sourwine, the chief counsel.
MR. SOURWINE: Were there CIA people in the embassy?
CAPTAIN CLARK: Yes, sir. A considerable number.
MR. SOURWINE: Was their cover good?
CAPTAIN CLARK: I thought it was terrible. Everybody in town who had
any interest in it knew who they were ... their cover was so shallow
that it was very easily seen through.
MR. SOURWINE: Now, do you have knowledge of an occasion when all of
the CIA people at the embassy were at a single party?
CAPTAlN CLARK: One time down there I was invited to a party ... this
Cuban doctor who had operated on one of my kids was giving it ... He
had almost the entire CIA staff at his home for a party one night,
and I was about the only non-CIA man there and he knew that they
were all CIA and worked with them as such.
Two years earlier, on August 30, 1960, the former Ambassador to
Cuba, Earl E. T. Smith, testified before the same committee that
"the chief of the CIA section" in the American Embassy in Havana was
pro-Castro and that "the Number 2 CIA man in the embassy" had
encouraged a revolt of Cuban naval officers in Cienfuegos in
"In the trial of the naval officers," Smith testified, "it came out
that the Number 2 man had said that if the revolution was
successful, that the United States would recognize the
revolutionaries. I do not believe that the Number 2 man in the CIA
intended to convey that thought. His story to me was that he had
been called over to interview some men believed to be doctors,
because they were dressed in white coats, and when they advised him
of the revolt that was to take place, they wanted to know what the
position of the United States would be.
" And he inadvertently intimated something to the effect of which I
am not quite sure, that the United States might give recognition."
Smith testified he repeated all this to Batista. The American
ambassador's efforts to explain to the Cuban dictator that the
Number 2 CIA man in the embassy could not tell the difference
between a Navy uniform and a medical white coat must have made
Normally, the CIA men in the embassies are listed in the State
Department Biographic Register as "attaches," "Foreign Service
officers" or, frequently, as "Foreign Service reserve officers."
For example, Henry Pleasants, widely known as the CIA mission chief
in Bonn, West Germany, was listed in the 1963 Biographic Register as
an "attaché," with "S-1" rank, meaning the highest category of
Foreign Service staff officer.
Frank Wisner, the former CIA deputy director for plans, who ran the
Guatemalan operation in 1954, was listed as an "attaché" and an
"R-1" (Foreign Service reserve officer) after he was sent to London
as station chief on August 6, 1959. The 1963 Biographic Register
lists "govt. ser. 48-59" for Wisner, to account for the period prior
to his London assignment.
Similarly, Robert Kendall Davis, the Guatemala mission chief who set
up the Bay of Pigs training camps, was listed as an "attaché" and
later as "first secretary" of the embassy. He, too, was carried on
the State Department's rolls as a Foreign Service reserve officer.
William Egan Colby, the former CIA station chief in Vietnam, was
listed as a "political officer" in 1959, and later as "first
secretary" of the embassy. By 1963 he had shed his diplomatic cover
and was back in Washington as the head of the CIA's Far East
John H. "Jocko" Richardson who became the new CIA station chief in
Saigon, was listed as "first secretary" of the embassy when he
arrived there after serving in Athens and Manila.
In 1961 the Russians published a 160-page propaganda book called
Caught in the Act (initials: CIA) , which detailed alleged attempts
by the CIA to infiltrate spies into the Soviet Union. The book also
grumbled bitterly about "spy diplomats" on the staff of the United
States Embassy in Moscow.
Two years later the Russians ousted five Americans from the embassy
in the sensational Penkovsky spy case. Oleg V. Penkovsky was the
deputy chief of the Soviet State Committee for the Coordination of
Scientific Research, and very likely was also a colonel in Soviet
military intelligence. At his show trial in May, 1963, he confessed
passing 5,000 frames of exposed miniature-camera film, containing
classified information about Soviet rockets and other secrets, to
American and British agents.
The Russians charged that Penkovsky, a "money-hungry traitor who
loved to dance the Charleston and the twist," would hide his
information in a matchbox behind the radiator in the hallway of a
Moscow apartment house at No. 5-6 Pushkin Street. He would mark a
circle with charcoal on lamppost No. 35 near a bus stop on
The Soviets said he would then telephone either Captain Alexis H.
Davison, an assistant air attaché at the American Embassy (who was
also the embassy doctor) or Hugh Montgomery, the internal security
Davison would go to the lamppost, the Russians claimed. If he found
the charcoal circle it meant there was something ready to be picked
up at the Pushkin Street drop. According to the Moscow version,
Richard C. Jacob, the twenty-six-year-old embassy "archivist" from
Egg Harbor, New Jersey, would go to the radiator and retrieve the
little package. When the information was picked up, the Americans
would make a black smudge on the door of the fish department of a
Moscow food store (presumably after a casual purchase of a pound or
two of sturgeon as cover). Then Penkovsky would know the transfer
had been accomplished.
The Russians also sought to link Penkovsky to Rodney W. Carlson, the
thirty-one-year-old assistant agricultural attache at the embassy,
and to William C. Jones III,*6 the second secretary.
Penkovsky, it was alleged, also passed information in a box of
chocolates to Greville M. Wynne, a London businessman who was
actually working for British Intelligence. Wynne supposedly got the
chocolates out of Moscow by giving them to the children of a British
The Russians convicted Penkovsky and later announced he had been
executed. Wynne drew an eight-year prison sentence.
Considering the fact that no fewer than twelve Americans and British
diplomats were linked, one way or another, to a serious charge of
espionage, London and Washington were exceedingly quiet about it
But there are likely to be more spy cases involving diplomats. The
Kennedy Administration, while Dulles was still the CIA director,
made some efforts to reduce the number of agents operating under
diplomatic cover in American embassies. But embassy cover is still
central to the agency's operations.
There is a great danger in relying heavily on diplomatic cover. If
relations are severed between countries, or war breaks out, then the
CIA tends to be cut off from its sources of information. In January,
1961, for example, when Washington broke off relations with Havana,
the CIA lost its embassy base in Cuba. Ironically, the Cubans
retained two legations in the United States -- their delegation to
the Organization of American States in Washington
*7 and their UN
mission in New York.
CIA agents operating abroad under commercial cover pose, as the term
implies, as legitimate businessmen, rather than as diplomats. Not
long ago a CIA man in Washington told all his friends he was
quitting the agency to go to Switzerland for Praeger books. Very
possibly he was telling the truth and was really leaving the agency,
but not all of his friends believed him.
A CIA officer operating overseas under embassy or commercial cover
recruits "agents" locally to feed him information. The most valuable
information often comes not from a trusted agent, but from the
occasional highly placed defector from the opposition camp.
The most useful defector is a Communist official who can be
persuaded to stay at his job, at least for a while, and transmit
intelligence to the West. This is known as a defector "in place."
The most prized defector of all is one who works, or who has worked,
in the Soviet intelligence apparatus.
A delicate aspect of the CIA's work is the care and protection of
its colony of important defectors who have fled the Communist world.
In a CBS television interview  Dulles called defectors "one of
the two or three most important sources of intelligence." He added:
"When you get a man -- and we have got several -- who have worked
inside the KGB, their secret service, or the GRU, their military
service, it's just almost as though you had somebody inside there
for a time."
Dulles estimated that the number of high-level valuable defectors
who had come over to the West was "in the range of a hundred."
Not all of these Russians are "surfaced" by the CIA. Those who
remain underground are protected by the agency. Some go to work for
the CIA. Others are given a new identity that, hopefully, will
protect them in the United States from the long arm of KGB
Recently, a resident of McLean, Virginia, near the CIA headquarters,
was intrigued when an obviously Russian family moved in across the
street; two huge dogs guarded the premises, and a chauffeur-driven
car came to take the children to school every day. But the Russian
hardly budged from his house, except to go to a neighbor's
occasional cocktail party, where he would identify himself as an
"historian." The "historian" was very likely a defector being kept
on ice by the CIA.
Not all stories of Soviet defectors under CIA protection come to
such happy endings, however. On October 21, 1952, a lieutenant in
the KGB, Reino Hayhanen, entered the United States under the name of
Eugene Maki and became an assistant to Rudolf Abel, the Russian
master spy who posed as a mousy photographer-artist in Brooklyn
under the alias of Emil R. Goldfus.
Hayhanen drank and talked too much; he was not a very good spy.
Exasperated, Abel finally shipped his assistant home. Hayhanen
decided his reception might be unpleasant; soon May 6, 1957, while
en route to Moscow, he walked into the American Embassy in Paris and
defected to the CIA.
He was rushed back to New York, where he identified Abel, which led
to the arrest of the top Russian spy who had been his boss. After
Abel's trial and conviction that October, Hayhanen dropped out of
sight. The CIA gave him a new identity and kept him in a house in
New England, guarded by a dog. Two "lawyers" who lived next door
were actually CIA bodyguards almost constantly at Hayhanen's side.
But Hayhanen the defector was no drier than Hayhanen the secret
agent. He continued to imbibe heavily, which made the task of the
CIA bodyguards an unenviable one.
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, Attorney General Robert Kennedy
wondered if there might not be some way to improve the CIA's then
sagging public image. When the National Broadcasting Company
suggested a television program, the Attorney General liked the idea
and ordered Hayhanen temporarily released to appear on the show.*8
The Hayhanen interview was filmed about July, 1961, but was not
shown until the following November. In the interim, word spread
around the intelligence community that Reino Hayhanen was dead; the
CIA's prize defector had been killed in a mysterious "accident" on
the New Jersey or the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Nevertheless, the
filmed NBC program was telecast, as scheduled, on November 8.
Hayhanen's face was "kept dark for his own protection," David
Brinkley, the narrator, said. At the close of the program, Brinkley
explained that after Abel went to prison, by contrast Hayhanen,
set up in a comfortable house in the northeastern United States
under the care and protection of the CIA. He came out of the
security briefly for this interview and went back ... That's the end
of this spy story, but we are authorized to say, indeed asked to
say, that if any others like Eugene Maki [Hayhanen] care to step
forward any time they will be guaranteed security, physical and
The CIA definitely did not ask NBC, however, to tell its millions of
viewers that they had just watched an interview with a dead man.
Like any intelligence agency, the CIA employs methods and techniques
that are not normally the subject of polite drawing-room chit-chat.
These techniques include sex, money, wiretapping and the use of
Allen Dulles may be cited as an authority on the subject of
sex-and-spying. When he appeared on ABC's Issues and Answers in
June, 1963, the scandal over Britain's Secretary of State for War
John D. Profumo and call-girl Christine Keeler was at its height. It
had also been disclosed that Profumo and the Soviet naval attaché,
Captain Yevgeni Ivanov, shared Miss Keeler's favors.
Dulles offered one professional observation about the use of Miss
Keeler: "I must say the question they apparently gave the young lady
to ask as to when the Germans were going to get the atomic bomb was
not a very penetrating intelligence question to ask."
Then this exchange took place on the television panel:
Q. Whether or not it is involved in the Profumo case, the Soviets
have been known to use sex as a lure in espionage. How widespread is
this? Is this something we meet repeatedly in counter-espionage work
around the world?
A. I think it is world-wide. As long as there is sex, it is going to
Q. Does American intelligence ever use sex as a bait to get
A. I don't discuss those matters very much.
Q. We at least don't use it as widely as the Soviets do?
A. No, we certainly do not. We recognize the existence of sex and
the attraction of sex, though.
Four years earlier, the Russians had accused Dulles of using
voluptuous women CIA agents to seduce the Soviet Olympic team at
Melbourne, Australia, in 1956. The racy claim was made by the
newspaper Literary Gazette.
"The American intelligence service," the paper said indignantly on
April 2, 1957, "did its utmost to force upon Soviet athletes an
acquaintance with young women. Its agents more than insistently
importuned them to 'have a good time.'"
The paper implied that the
Soviet athletes scorned the temptresses and stuck to their
hammer-throwing and pole-vaulting.
Another tool of the trade -- money -- is used by the CIA, as it is
by other intelligence services, to pay agents, and double agents,
and to buy information, where necessary. Money was no object when
Dulles was hunting for Khrushchev's secret speech in 1956.
The CIA is a major purchaser of electronic listening devices and
wire-tap equipment. The most famous case involving such equipment
was the CIA's "Berlin tunnel," a secret wire-tap installation in a
tunnel that led from a mock United States "experimental radar
station" across the border into East Germany. The tap hooked into
the cables of the Soviet military headquarters.
The Russians discovered the tunnel on April 22, 1956, and decided to
try at least to recover some propaganda value from the CIA's coup.
They invited Western correspondents to tour the underground wiretap
and turned it into a tourist attraction. Three photographs and a
diagram of the tunnel appear in Caught in the Act.
Sometimes there are simpler ways to intercept Soviet communications.
In Montevideo, a few years ago, the Tass man was filing 1,000 words
a day, attacking Washington's policies in Latin America. A CIA man
had instant access to the file through the commercial cable company
the Tass correspondent used. The CIA also persuaded the Montevideo
chief of police to put taps on the telephones at the Soviet and
Czech Embassies. For a time, the CIA monitored all their
conversations. Later the police chief quit; his successor was less
friendly to the CIA and the game ended.
A fascinating case of CIA wire-tapping that received far less public
attention than the "Berlin tunnel" began unfolding at 1:00 A.M. on
September 15, 1960, when a key turned in the door of a
twenty-third-floor apartment in the Seguro del Medico Building, in
Havana's fashionable Vedado Beach section.
Mrs. Marjorie Lennox, a lovely twenty-six-year-old divorcee with
shoulder-length blond hair, was alone in her apartment. She was
listed as a secretary in the United States Embassy in Havana. The
men who entered her apartment were Castro intelligence agents. They
arrested her; she was accused of being a spy and ordered out of Cuba
two days later. She told newsmen who met her at Miami International
"It's all so silly. I was all by my little self,
practically asleep in bed, when the lights went on about one A.M.
Thursday. I thought it was my maid, but these men had pistols. When
I demanded an explanation they told me: 'You are a spy. We found
your apartment key in a raid on a spy ring.'"
Mrs. Lennox wore a softly tailored gray suit as she chatted with
reporters. Now her mobile face broke into a sweet smile.
"Me a spy?"
she said. "What a laugh." When a newsman asked if she had ever given
her key to anyone in the United States Embassy, she replied: "I
can't answer that."
The same day that Mrs. Lennox was expelled from Cuba, Havana
arrested six other Americans and accused them, along with her, of
being members of a spy ring that had tapped the telephone wires of
the Havana office of Hsinhua, the Communist Chinese news agency. The
Castro regime identified three of the Americans as Daniel L.
Carswell, a forty-two-year-old "electrical engineer"; Eustace H.
Danbrunt, thirty-four, a "mechanical engineer"; and Edmund K.
Taransky, thirty, an "electrical engineer."
Also arrested were Robert L. Neet, who the Cubans said was an
employee of the American Embassy, and Mr. and Mrs. Mario Nordio.
Havana said Nordio was a dance instructor and an Italian-born,
naturalized American citizen who had lived in New York City. It was
also announced that Nordio had leased his apartment to Mrs. Lennox.
On December 17, 1960, a military court in Havana held a one-day
trial for the three "engineers" and Mario Nordio. They were accused
of setting wire taps in the Hsinhua office to learn about a trade
treaty between Cuba and Communist China and about the establishment
of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The prosecutor, Lieutenant Fernando Flores, asked for thirty-year
prison terms for the four Americans. The defendants, dressed in blue
prison uniforms, denied the charges. The "engineers" said they had
been hired to repair some electronic equipment in Neet's apartment,
which was located in the same building as the Communist Chinese news
On January 10, 1961, the three "engineers" were sentenced to ten
years in prison. Nordio was deported.
United States Ambassador Philip W. Bonsal had filed an angry formal
protest over the arrest of Mrs. Lennox. He was silent about the
three "engineers" and the dancing instructor, however.
There were good reasons for this. The three "engineers" were in
reality on an electronic eavesdropping assignment for the CIA.
Washington was particularly concerned lest the high-ranking
Carswell, who knew about similar electronic operations in other
parts of the world, be turned over to the Russians for questioning.
Quietly, behind the scenes, the CIA and the State Department began
making efforts to free twenty- seven Americans held in Castro jails,
including the three "engineers." The release was finally arranged in
April, 1963, by James Donovan, who had successfully "exchanged" the
Bay of Pigs prisoners for drugs and food four months earlier.
The citizenship of some of the prisoners was in doubt. The primary
reason for Washington's efforts was to get the three CIA men out,
and Robert A. Hurwitch, the State Department official who handled
the matter, was perfectly well aware of this. It was also made clear
Late in April, strange things began to happen. On the night of April
22, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York commuted the
twenty-years-to-life prison term of Francisco (The Hook) Molina, a
pro-Castro Cuban who shot up a New York restaurant during Castro's
visit to the UN in September, 1960. During the shooting brawl,
Molina killed a nine-year-old Venezuelan girl, Magdalena Urdaneto,
who was an innocent bystander. Rockefeller, on the assurance of the
Federal Government that he was acting "in the national interest,"
released The Hook from the state prison at Stormville.
Simultaneously, Attorney General Robert Kennedy announced that
charges had been dropped by the Justice Department against three
Cubans, including an attache at Castro's UN mission, who had been
arrested for plotting to blow up defense installations around New
York City. The three plus The Hook were hustled out of the country
by plane. They were flown from Florida to Havana as Donovan brought
back the Americans from Cuba in what amounted, in effect, to a
straight swap of three saboteurs and a killer for three CIA men.
When they landed in Miami, Carswell, Danbrunt and Taransky vanished.
They declined to talk to reporters. And for some reason, unlike the
other returnees, they would not tell the American Red Cross their
Donald M, Wilson, the deputy director of USIA, was asked by the
House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on February 21, 1963, to explain
what type of contact USIA had with the State Department, the CIA and
other intelligence agencies. "Very close," Wilson replied. "We have
daily contact with them on a number of levels."
The flow of information is sometimes both ways. In 1959, when the
CIA wanted to get translations of Soviet scientific and technical
journals into the hands of American scientists and technicians, the
Commerce Department's Office of Technical Services agreed to serve
as the channel. The procedure provided a conventional veneer for an
Two accused Soviet spies, Ivan D. Egorov, a UN personnel officer,
and his wife, Aleksandra, were traded for Makinen and the Reverend
Walter Ciszek, a Jesuit priest held by the Russians for twenty-three
The CIA got into a dispute with its Boston landlord early in 1963
after the government ruled that field offices of Federal agencies
could not rent in segregated buildings. The CIA, the major tenant in
the Boston building, which also housed two restaurants, insisted
that the landlord insert a nondiscrimination clause into leases with
all of his tenants.
More than 70 percent of CIA's employees are in the United States;
the rest are overseas.
*6 All five Americans were declared persona non grata on May 13,
1963. The Russians claimed two other American Embassy personnel were
involved in the case -- Robert K. German, second secretary, and
William Horbaly, agricultural attache. They also ousted two embassy
aides in October, 1962, just before the Penkovsky case surfaced
publicly. They were Commander Raymond D. Smith, of Brooklyn;
assistant military attache, and Kermit S. Midthun, of San Francisco,
first secretary. Smith was arrested in Leningrad on October 2,
carrying a tiny tape recorder, a Minox camera and high-powered
binoculars. The Russians said he was photographing naval
installations. The American Embassy said he was taking a walk in the
park. Midthun, forty- one, was accused on October 11 of having tried
to get secret data from a Soviet official. The Russians also
expelled five British diplomats in the Penkovsky case.
Until Cuba was expelled from the OAS in January, 1962.
The Attorney General also took the extraordinary step of allowing
NBC to film shots of Abel in Atlanta Prison, which were shown on the
same program. At the time, the Powers-Abel swap was secretly in the
making; the films may perhaps have been shown to reassure the
Russians that Abel was alive and well.
Back to Contents
CIA - The Central Intelligence Agency
THE SEARCH FOR CONTROL
To maintain the CIA and the other branches of the intelligence
establishment, the government spends about $4,000,000,000 a year.
The exact figure is one of the most tightly held secrets of the
government and it appears in none of the Federal budget documents,
public or private. It is unknown, in fact, even to many of the key
officials in the Invisible Government. Because the intelligence
community is carefully fragmented, those in one branch find it
difficult to estimate the budgets of the others.
All of the budgets are pulled together by the director of the
International Division of the Budget Bureau. He is assisted by four
experts, each of whom handles about $1,000,000,000 of the Invisible
Government's money. One assistant checks on the National Security
Agency, the second on the CIA, the third on the DIA and military
intelligence, and the fourth on overhead reconnaissance.
All of the Invisible Government's hidden money is buried in the
Defense Department budget, mainly in the multibillion-dollar weapons
contracts, such as those for the Minuteman and Polaris missiles. The
Comptroller of the Pentagon knows where the money is hidden, but so
carefully is it camouflaged, even his closest assistants are unable
to guess at the amount.
It is not startling, then, that even those at the very center of the
Invisible Government vary in their estimates of what is being spent.
In a private briefing for high-ranking military men in the summer of
1963 McCone offered a figure of $2,000,000,000
*1 and estimated that
100,000 persons were involved in intelligence work.
However, McCone appeared to be limiting his estimate to the money
spent by the CIA and the other agencies on the more conventional
forms of intelligence work. In addition, $2,000,000,000 is spent
each year on electronic intelligence (the NSA and aerial spying).
When the two forms of intelligence are included, the total budget
reaches $4,000,000,000 and the personnel figure amounts to about
It is often assumed that the National Security Council controls this
vast intelligence establishment. But in practice much of the
activity of the Invisible Government is never examined at NSC
meetings. Nor is it disclosed to the United States Intelligence
Board (which, for example, was not informed in advance of the Bay of
The important decisions about the Invisible Government are made by
the committee known as the Special Group. Although the composition
of the committee has varied slightly, its membership has generally
included the Director of Central Intelligence, the Under Secretary
of State for Political Affairs (or his deputy), and the Secretary
and Deputy Secretary of Defense. In the Kennedy and early Johnson
Administrations, the presidential representative -- and key man --
on the Special Group was McGeorge Bundy. The others members were
McCone, McNamara, Roswell Gilpatric, Deputy Secretary of Defense,
and U. Alexis Johnson, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political
The Special Group was created early in the Eisenhower years under
the secret Order 54/12. It was known in the innermost circle of the
Eisenhower Administration as the "54/12 Group" and is still so
called by a few insiders. The Special Group grew out of the "OCB
*2 It has operated for a decade as the hidden power
Center of the Invisible Government. Its existence is virtually
unknown outside the intelligence community and, even there, only a
handful of men are aware of it.
The Special Group meets about once a week to make the crucial
decisions -- those which are too sensitive or too divisive to be
entrusted to USIB. The more grandiose of the Invisible Government's
operations have been launched in this exclusive arena. It is here in
this hidden corner of the massive governmental apparatus that the
United States is regularly committed to policies which walk the
tightrope between peace and war.
CIA men generally have the Special Group in mind when they insist
that the agency has never set policy, but has only acted on higher
"The facts are," Allen Dulles has declared, "that the CIA has never
carried out any action of a political nature, given any support of
any nature to any persons, potentates or movements, political or
otherwise, without appropriate approval at a high political level in
our government outside the CIA." 
To the average citizen, Dulles' statement might logically conjure up
a picture of the Cabinet, the National Security Councilor some
special presidential commission meeting in solemn session to debate
the wisdom of a dangerous clandestine operation.
But, in fact, some decisions of this type have been made by the
Special Group in an informal way without the elaborate records and
procedures of other high government committees. And these fateful
decisions have been made without benefit of outside analysis. Little
detached criticism has been brought to bear on the natural human
tendency of the leaders of the Invisible Government to embark upon
ventures which might prove their toughness, demonstrate their vision
or expand their power.
The "euphoria of secrecy goes to the head," as C.P. Snow, the
English scientist-novelist. has observed, and the Special Group has
operated in an atmosphere of secrecy exceeding that of any other
branch of the United States Government.
It is apparent, then, that the two presidential watchdog committees,
the Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities of the
Eisenhower Administration and the Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, have had great
difficulty getting to the bottom of things. Both committees were
composed of part-time consultants who met only occasionally during
The original committee had, in fact, been established by Eisenhower
in 1956 at least partly to head off closer scrutiny of the Invisible
Government. In 1955 the full Hoover Commission had recommended that
such a presidential committee be established. But it had also
proposed the creation of a Joint Congressional Committee on Foreign
The Eisenhower Administration compromised. It complied with the
first and more innocuous of the recommendations, but opposed the
Joint Congressional Committee, which was anathema to the CIA.
The Hoover Commission's Intelligence Task Force, headed by General
Mark W. Clark, had submitted a much stronger recommendation. It had
proposed a single watchdog commission composed of senators,
congressmen, and presidential appointees.
"The Task Force ... is concerned," its report stated. "over the
absence of satisfactory machinery for surveillance of the
stewardship of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is making
recommendations which it believes will provide the proper type of
'watchdog' commission as a means of re-establishing that
relationship between the CIA and the Congress so essential to and
characteristic of our democratic form of government."
The Task Force was critical in tone: "There is still much to be done
by our intelligence community to bring its achievements up to an
"The glamour and excitement of some angles of our intelligence
effort must not be permitted to overshadow other vital phases of the
work or to cause neglect of primary functions. A majority of the
Task Force is convinced that an internal reorganization of the CIA
is necessary to give assurance that each of these functions gets
adequate attention without diversionary interest." 
Earlier studies of the CIA had been less critical. The 1949 Hoover
Task Force, headed by Ferdinand Eberstadt. a Wall Street broker,
found the CIA "sound in principle," although it recommended that
"vigorous efforts be made to improve the internal structure ... and
the quality of its product." 
In 1954 a special presidential study group, led by General James H.
Doolittle, said the CIA was doing a "creditable job." But it
detected "important areas in which the CIA organization,
administration and operations can and should be improved." 
In-between, Allen Dulles surveyed the CIA for President Truman prior
to joining the agency. But his report was kept secret.
By 1954, substantial pressure had built up in Congress for a closer
scrutiny of the intelligence community. Mike Mansfield, then a
freshman senator from Montana, submitted a resolution that would
have carried out the Hoover Commission recommendation by creating a
Joint Committee on the Central Intelligence Agency. In its final
form, the resolution called for a twelve-man committee, six from the
Senate and six from the House, and for the appropriation of $250,000
for staff expenditures during the first year.
Thirty-four senators joined Mansfield in sponsoring the resolution.
But by the time the proposal came to a vote on April 11, 1956,
fourteen of these sponsors had reversed themselves, and the
resolution was defeated, fifty-nine to twenty-seven. Thirteen of
those who had changed their minds were Republicans evidently
reflecting White House pressure. Many of the Democrats who voted
against the resolution clearly were worried about disturbing Senator
Richard B. Russell, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee,
and other Democratic titans who opposed the idea.
Mansfield's language in introducing the resolution was not
calculated to please the conservative inner club of the Senate,
which enjoyed special relations with the Invisible Government.
"An urgent need exists" Mansfield said, "for regular and responsible
Congressional scrutiny of the Central Intelligence Agency. Such
scrutiny is essential to the success of our foreign policy, to the
preservation of our democratic processes and to the security of the
intelligence agency itself ...
"If we fail to establish some sort of permanent, continuing link
between Congress and the CIA, the only result will be growing
suspicion ... In the first place, the whole concept of peacetime
foreign intelligence operations has been alien to the American
"Our form of government ... is based on a system of checks and
balances. If this system gets seriously out of balance at any point
the whole system is jeopardized and the way is opened for the growth
of tyranny ...
"CIA is freed from practically every ordinary form of Congressional
check. Control of its expenditures is exempted from the provisions
of the law which prevent financial abuses in other government
agencies. Its appropriations are hidden in allotments to other
"I agree that an intelligence agency must maintain complete secrecy
to be effective. However, there is a profound difference between an
essential degree of secrecy to achieve a specific purpose and
secrecy for the mere sake of secrecy. Once secrecy becomes
sacrosanct, it invites abuse.
"If we accept this idea of secrecy for secrecy's sake, we will have
no way of knowing whether we have a fine intelligence service or a
very poor one. Secrecy now beclouds everything about the CIA -- its
cost, its efficiency, its successes and its failures." 
As the Mansfield resolution approached a vote in April of 1956, the
powers-that-be in the Senate massed their forces in a
"It would be more desirable," Russell declared, "to abolish the CIA
and close it up, lock, stock and barrel, than to adopt any such
theory as that all the members of the Congress of the United States
are entitled to know the details of all the activities of this
far-flung organization." 
Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky, the former Democratic
"The information I received as a member of
the National Security Council, in my capacity as Vice-President, was
so confidential that I would lose my right arm before I would
divulge it to anyone, even to members of my own family ...
"Some of the information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency
and laid before the National Security Council itself was so
confidential and secret that the very portfolios in which it was
contained were under lock and key. The members of the National
Security Council were not even permitted to take those folders and
portfolios to their homes. They had to be unlocked in the presence
of the other members ...
"To say that now we should establish a Joint Committee to pry into
and look into secret documents, to submit them before the Joint
Committee, and to make them public seems to me incredible." 
Russell also raised the specter of critical national secrets leaking
out of the Joint Committee. He contended that the very creation of
the committee would increase "the hazards to the lives of those who
work for the CIA, and dry up sources of information, which are vital
to the national security." He insisted that the CIA was already
subjected to adequate scrutiny by members of the Senate Armed
Services and Appropriations Committees.*3
"Although Mr. Allen W. Dulles has been before us" Russell said, "and
although we have asked him very searching questions about some
activities which it almost chills the marrow of a man to hear about,
he has never failed to answer us forthrightly and frankly in
response to any question we have asked of him." 
Republican Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts said the
CIA subcommittee met with CIA officials "at least twice a year"
and that the witnesses stated their willingness to answer all
"The difficulty in connection with asking questions and obtaining
information," Saltonstall remarked, "is that we might obtain
information which I personally would rather not have, unless it was
essential for me as a member of Congress to have it." 
Nevertheless, Saltonstall would call his close friend, Allen Dulles,
from time to time to get a personal explanation of some CIA
The CIA's view on whether there should be more Congressional
scrutiny was stated officially in a letter to Mansfield from General
Cabell on September 4, 1953.
"It is our opinion," he wrote, "that,
from our point of view, the present ties with Congress are
Allen Dulles agreed:
"Any public impression that the Congress exerts
no power over CIA is quite mistaken. Control of funds gives a
control over the scope of operations -- how many people CIA can
employ, how much it can do and to some extent what it can do ...
"The chairman of the House [Appropriations] Subcommittee [on the
CIA) is Clarence Cannon, and a more careful watchdog of the public
treasury can hardly be found." 
Whether or not Dulles' judgment held true for other budgetary
matters, the eighty-three-year-old Cannon had no great reputation on
his subcommittee as a "careful watchdog" of the CIA. In fact, he was
such a good friend and great admirer of Dulles that much of the
secret CIA hearings during Dulles' tenure were taken up with mutual
congratulations. CIA officials came armed with thick black volumes,
but the other members of the House Subcommittee
*5 never had time to
probe deeply into the agency's activities. Some of the members
displayed annoyance but could do little about it in view of Cannon's
absolute control over the committee.
Nevertheless, Cannon once sought to have the CIA checked by the
General Accounting Office. The request threw the CIA into
consternation: should it turn him down and lose a good friend or
cooperate and risk the disclosure of operational secrets? The
decision was to go along with Cannon but to steer the GAO into a
non-sensitive area. The auditors were taken to the facilities of the
CIA's broadcast information service which monitors the radio
programs of foreign countries, particularly the Communist bloc. The
GAO spent a year at the foreign broadcast service, but to the
satisfaction of the CIA, turned in a harmless set of
"They can't find the side of a barn," said one contented CIA man.
GAG men were not inclined to dispute the assessment. They despaired
of the practicality of auditing covert operations where, as a GAO
official put it, "they payoff some guy under a rock in the desert."
Prior to 1954 the GAO kept two of its men on permanent assignment
with the CIA as consultants. When a problem arose in a non-sensitive
area, the CIA accountants would ask the GAO men to judge whether
they were acting properly. Taking the facts as presented to them,
the GAO men would then refer the problem to the Comptroller
General's office for approval.
Since the procedure amounted to a certification of CIA practices
without the authority to investigate them, Joseph Campbell withdrew
the GAO men from the CIA when he took over as Comptroller General in
Still, the GAO continued to bump into an occasional CIA project
while investigating large defense contracts. But under the 1949 law,
which removed Congress' power to audit the CIA, the GAO was
prohibited from looking further, even if it had suspicions that the
contractor might be juggling non-CIA funds.
Congress' difficulties with the intelligence community have been
matched by those of American ambassadors in foreign countries. In
1959 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee compiled a booklet of
anonymous quotations from retired Foreign Service officers. One of
"Every senior officer of the Department of State and every senior
officer of the Foreign Service has heard something of CIA's
subversive efforts in foreign countries and probably most of them
have some authentic information about CIA operations of this nature
in some particular case. Unfortunately, most of these activities
seem to have been blundering affairs, and most, if not all of them,
seem to have resulted to the disadvantage of the United States and
sometimes in terrible failure ... The situation is exacerbated by
the fact that in most diplomatic and consular establishments abroad
espionage agents of the CIA are stationed masquerading as diplomatic
and consular officers." 
Several ambassadors complained about being used as fronts for
espionage activities. But the CIA insisted that embassy cover was
essential to its work. Without the immunity accorded to diplomatic
property, the CIA's codes, files and communications would not be
secure. The CIA maintains its own codes and an independent
communications system (as does the Pentagon through the Defense
Communications Agency), and unless CIA agents choose to tell an
ambassador what they are up to and what they are reporting to
Washington, he has no independent means for finding out.
Friction between Foreign Service men and CIA operatives became so
pronounced by the end of the Eisenhower Administration, that
President Eisenhower issued an executive order in November of 1960,
"The several chiefs of the United States diplomatic
missions in foreign countries, as the representatives of the
President and acting on his behalf, shall have and exercise, to the
extent permitted by law and in accordance with instructions as the
President may from time to time promulgate, affirmative
responsibility for coordination and supervision over the carrying
out by agencies of their functions in the respective countries."
The Eisenhower order seemed, on the surface, to re-establish the
ambassador's supremacy over all United States agencies operating
overseas. But many were troubled by the possibility of secret
"instructions" to the CIA circumventing the ambassador's authority.
When President Kennedy entered office, he took prompt action to
reaffirm the powers of the State Department and the ambassadors. On
May 29, 1961, Kennedy sent a letter to all ambassadors:
You are in charge of the entire United States diplomatic mission,
and I shall expect you to supervise all of its operations. The
mission includes not only the personnel of the Department of State
and the Foreign Service, but also the representatives of all other
United States agencies which have programs or activities in [name of
country]. I shall give you full support and backing in carrying out
Needless to say, the representatives of other agencies are expected
to communicate directly with their offices here in Washington, and
in the event of a decision by you in which they do not concur, they
may ask to have the decision reviewed by a higher authority in
However, it is their responsibility to keep you fully informed of
their views and activities and to abide by your decisions unless in
some particular instance you and they are notified to the contrary.
The moving force behind Kennedy's letter was Chester Bowles, then
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. In the summer of
1961 Bowles set out on a round-the-world trip to explain the new
arrangement. A fifteen-man team, including leading representatives
of the State Department, the CIA and the AID, accompanied Bowles to
seven regional meetings with ambassadors and their staffs.
Bowles told the meetings that the ambassadors were to be kept fully
informed on all CIA operations and were to receive copies of all CIA
messages to Washington. At each meeting the CIA men would express
skepticism: What, they asked, about situations in which ambassadors
do not understand the CIA's special problems?
Let us know, Bowles replied, and we'll get new ones.
Do we tell the ambassador the sources of our information? the CIA
men asked incredulously. Yes, Bowles answered, the ambassador should
be in a position to cross-check information if he runs across one of
the informants at a diplomatic function.
The CIA appealed for permission to circumvent the ambassador in
"overriding circumstances." But Bowles said no, and a year later,
when he made a check of each United States embassy, he received not
a single complaint or comment from the CIA. The new system, Bowles
concluded, was working well.
But a different impression was gained by a staff of experts sent on
a world-wide inspection late in 1962 by the Subcommittee on National
Security Staffing and Operations of the Senate Government Operations
Committee. The experts concluded that the Kennedy letter was a
"shadow" and had not been interpreted as covering the CIA.
Ambassadors were still unable to give orders to the CIA or to stop
an agency operation. The only evident change was that the ambassador
now appeared to be in a better position to protest about a CIA
program and delay it until a decision came back from Washington.
These conclusions were watered down in the staff report published by
the subcommittee in January, 1963. But the report did point out that
the military services and the CIA tend to "take a restricted view of
the ambassador's right to interpose himself" between them and their
superiors in Washington.
And in a cautious observation that might equally have applied to the
Invisible Government's relationship with the government as a whole,
the report said:
"To a degree the primacy of the ambassador is a polite fiction."
*1 Significantly, many CIA officials estimate that the Soviet Union
spends $2,000,000,000 a year on its spy apparatus. On the other
hand, Soviet Secret Police Chief Alexander N. Shelepin estimated in
1959 that the CIA spent $1,500,000,000 a year and employed 20,000
The OCB, the Operations Coordinating Board, was composed of the
Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the
President's Special Assistant (National Security Affairs ), and the
directors of CIA, USIA, and the old International Cooperation
Administration. They were supposed to make sure the President's
decisions were carried out in their departments. The OCB was
abolished by President Kennedy in his first month in office.
In the 88th Congress the CIA subcommittee in the Senate was
composed of Russell, Harry Flood Byrd, Virginia Democrat, John Stennis, Mississippi Democrat, and Leverett Saltonstall,
Massachusetts Republican, all members of the Armed Services
Committee; and Carl Hayden, Arizona Democrat and chairman of the
Appropriations Committee, and Milton R. Young, North Dakota
Republican and Appropriations Committee member. A. Willis Robertson,
Virginia Democrat and Appropriations Committee member, joined the
CIA subcommittee on occasion.
In a debate on August 14, 1963, Representative Walter Norblad, the
Oregon Republican, said the House Armed Services Subcommittee on the
CIA (of which he was a former member) "met annually one time a year
for a period of two hours in which we accomplished virtually
In the 88th Congress they were Democrats George Mahon of Texas and
Harry R. Sheppard of California, and Republicans Gerald Ford of
Michigan and Harold C. Ostertag of New York.
In the House there was also a CIA subcommittee of the Armed Services
Committee. It was composed of Carl Vinson, Georgia Democrat and
chairman of the Armed Services Committee; L. Mendel Rivers, South
Carolina Democrat; F. Edward Hebert, Louisiana Democrat; Melvin
Price, Illinois Democrat; Charles E. Bennett, Florida Democrat;
George Huddleston, Jr., Alabama Democrat; Leslie C. Arends, Illinois
Republican; William G. Bray, Indiana Republican; Bob Wilson,
California Republican; and Frank C. Osmers, Jr., New Jersey
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