THE INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT was born December 7, 1941, in the smoke and rubble of Pearl Harbor. It was still a child when the Cold War began after World War II, an adolescent during the 1950s, and it reached its majority a year after President Kennedy took office.

Whatever else the multitude of inquiries into Pearl Harbor proved, they did show that the United States was badly in need of a centralized intelligence apparatus. There were plenty of warning signs before Pearl Harbor of the coming Japanese attack, but they were not pulled together, analyzed and brought forcefully to the attention of the government.

"The CIA," the Hoover Commission said in 1955, "may well attribute its existence to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and to the postwar investigation into the part Intelligence or lack of Intelligence played in the failure of our military forces to receive adequate and prompt warning of the impending Japanese attack."

The United States shed its isolationist traditions and emerged from World War II as the leader of the West. Regardless of Pearl Harbor, its new global responsibilities and objectives would have, in any event, led to the creation of a global American intelligence network. Added to this, the early emergence of the Soviet Union as an adversary almost before the V-J celebrations had ended made the growth of an Invisible Government in the United States virtually inevitable.

Even in the absence of a clash between Western democracy and international Communism, the conduct of United States foreign policy in the postwar world would have required intelligence information upon which the policy makers could base their decisions.

This was stated in characteristic style by President Truman in 1952. On November 21, shortly after President Eisenhower's election, Truman stole away from the White House to deliver a talk behind closed doors at a CIA training session.

"It was my privilege a few days ago," Truman said, "to brief the general, who is going to take over the office on the twentieth of January, and he was rather appalled at all that the President needs to know in order to reach decisions -- even domestic decisions."

The modern presidency, Truman declared, carried power beyond parallel in history, more power than that of Genghis Khan, Caesar, Napoleon or Louis XIV.

No central intelligence organization existed when he became President in 1945, Truman continued. "Whenever it was necessary for the President to have information, he had to send to two or three departments ... and then he would have to have somebody do a little digging to get it.

"The affairs of the presidential office, so far as information was concerned, were in such shape that it was necessary for me, when I took over the office, to read a stack of documents that high [gesturing], and it took me three months to get caught up."

President Roosevelt had been concerned about the same problem. In 1940 he sent William J. Donovan, then a New York attorney, on an informal intelligence-gathering mission to England, the Mediterranean and the Balkans. "Wild Bill" Donovan returned with the information Roosevelt wanted -- and a recommendation that a central intelligence organization be established.

Out of this emerged the Office of Coordinator of Information, with General Donovan as its head. On June 13, 1942, this was split into the Office of Strategic Services, under Donovan, and the Office of War Information. The function of the OSS was to gather intelligence, but it first became famous by dropping parachutists behind enemy lines in France, Norway, Italy, Burma and Thailand, setting a pattern of combining special operations with information-gathering that is still followed by the CIA.

By 1944 Donovan had prepared for Roosevelt a plan to establish a central intelligence agency. It was referred to the Joint Chiefs, and pigeonholed. But after Truman became President (and dug his way out from under the stack of papers he later complained about) he sent for Admiral William D. Leahy and asked him to look into the whole problem.

In the meantime Truman issued an order, on September 20, 1945, disbanding the OSS. Some of the OSS agents went into Army Intelligence. Others were transferred to the State Department. There they formed the nucleus of what became the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, an important branch of the Invisible Government.

Four months after the OSS closed up shop, Truman, on January 22, 1946, issued an executive order setting up a National Intelligence Authority and, under it, a Central Intelligence Group, which became the forerunner of the CIA. The Authority's members were Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal and Admiral Leahy.


The Central Intelligence Group was the Authority's operating arm. To head it, Truman selected Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, the deputy chief of Navy Intelligence. Souers had been a businessman in St. Louis before the war; the nation's first Director of Central Intelligence once headed the Piggly Wiggly Stores in Memphis.

Souers was anxious to get back to his business interests, and five months later, in June, Truman named Air Force General Hoyt S. Vandenberg to the post. He served until May 1, 1947, when Truman appointed Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter. An Annapolis graduate who spoke three languages, Hillenkoetter had several years' experience in Navy Intelligence. He had been wounded while aboard the battleship West Virginia at Pearl Harbor. Later he set up an intelligence network for Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in the Pacific.

When the CIA was created by the National Security Act of 1947, Hillenkoetter became its first director. The CIA came into being officially on September 18, 1947. The Act is the same as that which established a Department of Defense and unified the armed services. It also created the National Security Council *1 and, under it, the CIA.

The duties of the CIA were set forth in five short paragraphs:

"(1) to advise the National Security Council in matters concerning such intelligence activities of the government departments and agencies as relate to national security;

"(2) to make recommendations to the National Security Council for the coordination of such intelligence activities ...;

"(3) to correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to the national security, and provide for the appropriate dissemination of such intelligence within the government ... Provided that the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions ...;

"(4) to perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies, such additional services of common concern as the National Security Council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally;

"(5) to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct."

On the face of it, the law appeared simply to give the CIA the task of correlating, evaluating and coordinating the collection of intelligence. How, then, could the CIA mount an invasion of 1,400 men at the Bay of Pigs, complete with its own air force and navy? How could it topple foreign governments, as it has done and was attempting to do at the Bay of Pigs?

The answer lies in the "other functions" which the CIA may perform under the 1947 Act, at the discretion of the National Security Council.

Almost from its inception, the agency has engaged in special operations -- clandestine activities, sometimes on a military scale. In 1948, after the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, James Forrestal, as the first Secretary of Defense, became alarmed at signs that the Communists might win the Italian elections. In an effort to influence the elections to the advantage of the United States, he started a campaign among his wealthy Wall Street colleagues to raise enough money to run a private clandestine operation. But Allen Dulles felt the problem could not be handled effectively in private hands. He urged strongly that the government establish a covert organization to conduct a variety of special operations.

Because there was no specific provision for covert political operations spelled out in the 1947 Act, the National Security Council -- in the wake of the events in Czechoslovakia and Italy -- issued a paper in the summer of 1948 authorizing special operations. There were two important guidelines: that the operations be secret and that they be plausibly deniable by the government.

A decision was reached to create an organization within the CIA to conduct secret political operations. Frank G. Wisner, an ex-OSS man, was brought in from the State Department to head it, with a cover title of his own invention. He became Assistant Director of the Office of Policy Coordination.

Under this innocuous title, the United States was now fully in the business of covert political operations. (A separate Office of Special Operations conducted secret actions aimed solely at gathering intelligence.) This machinery was in the CIA but the agency shared control of it with the State Department and the Pentagon. On January 4, 1951, the CIA merged the two offices and created a new Plans Division, which has had sole control over secret operations of all types since that date.

It is doubtful that many of the lawmakers who voted for the 1947 Act could have envisioned the scale on which the CIA would engage in operational activities all over the world.

President Truman later maintained that he had no idea that this was going to happen. In a syndicated newspaper article, date-lined December 21, 1963, he wrote:

"For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government ...

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak- and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue -- and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda." [1]

It was under President Truman, however, that the CIA began conducting special operations.

Although the machinery was not established until 1948, one small hint of what was to come was tucked away in a memorandum which Allen Dulles submitted to Congress back in 1947. It said the CIA should "have exclusive jurisdiction to carry out secret intelligence operations." [2]

Like the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the "other functions" proviso of the National Security Act has been stretched to encompass activities by the CIA that are not even hinted at in the law. It is not generally realized that the CIA conducts secret political warfare under interpretations of that law. Nor is it widely understood that under the law and subsequent presidential fiat, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency wears two hats. Not only is he the head of the CIA, but more important, as Director of Central Intelligence he is in charge of the entire intelligence community, of which the CIA is only one, albeit the most powerful, branch.

In 1949 the Central Intelligence Agency Act was passed, exempting the CIA from all Federal laws that required the disclosure of the "functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency." And it gave the Director of Central Intelligence the staggering and unprecedented power to spend money "without regard to the provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of government funds."


It granted him the unique right to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars in his secret annual budget simply by signing his name. The law allowed "such expenditures to be accounted for solely on the certificate of the director." That and that alone, the law said, "shall be deemed a sufficient voucher." *2

Senator Millard E. Tydings, the Maryland Democrat who was chief sponsor of the 1949 Act, explained why he felt it was necessary: "Men in this agency frequently lose their lives. Several have already done so, and under not very pretty circumstances. If we forced the agency to have a record of vouchers, foreign agents could pick up information as to the identity of our agents and what they were doing." [3]

By 1950 the broader outlines of the Invisible Government had begun to take shape, with the CIA at its center. In that year the Intelligence Advisory Committee was created as a board of directors of the covert government. Later its name was changed to the present United States Intelligence Board. Although the names of the men (and of some of the agencies) represented on the board have changed, the main components of the secret government have remained fairly constant. Its overall size, of course, has increased vastly.

Code-breaking and cryptology were consolidated in 1952 in the new National Security Agency, established by presidential directive as part of the Defense Department. And, finally, the military intelligence agencies were brought together under the newly created Defense Intelligence Agency in 1961. But these were essentially administrative reorganizations. What has really changed since 1947 is not the general amorphous shape of the Invisible Government, but its size, technology, scope, power and importance- all of which have increased in geometric progression with a minimum of Congressional or public examination or understanding.

During the first three years of the CIA's life Admiral Hillenkoetter remained its director. He was replaced at a critical moment in the Korean War by General Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's Chief of Staff during World War II, a former Ambassador to Moscow and the first four-star general in the U.S. Army who was never graduated from West Point or any other military school.

The agency became more aggressive under "Beedle" Smith, who played an important role in the Korean conflict and its intelligence post-mortems. But from the start, the man who placed his personal stamp upon the Invisible Government more than any other was Allen Welsh Dulles.

Dulles was consulted when Congress created the CIA in 1947. The next year Truman named him to head the three-man committee to see how well the new agency was working.*3

Dulles submitted the report to Truman after his re-election. In 1950 General Smith summoned Dulles to Washington. He came, expecting, he often said later, to stay six weeks. Instead, he remained eleven years. On August 23, 1951, Dulles was appointed deputy director.

Soon after President Eisenhower was elected, he appointed Smith as Under Secretary of State and on February 10, 1953, named Dulles as Director of Central Intelligence. He took office sixteen days later. Up to that point two admirals and two generals had held the job. Dulles became the first truly civilian director of the CIA.

To the post he brought a brilliant reputation as the wartime OSS chief in Switzerland. Perhaps even more important, his brother was Secretary of State. The emergence of the Invisible Government in the 1950s to a position of unprecedented strength cannot be comprehended unless a word is said about the Dulles brothers and their relationship. Uniquely, they embodied the dualism -- and indeed the moral dilemma -- of United States foreign policy since World War II.

John Foster Dulles and his younger brother were the sons of Allen Macy Dulles, a Presbyterian clergyman in upstate Watertown, New York. Allen Dulles was born there on April 7, 1893.

Some thought they detected traces of a clergyman's zeal in the sternly moralistic public posture of Foster Dulles as he conducted the nation's foreign policy during the Eisenhower years: the United States would contain the advance of international Communism as it sought to subvert the underdeveloped nations; but America would scrupulously avoid any interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The United States would not, in short, adopt the evil tactics of subversion and secret manipulation practiced by the Communist enemy.

In this, Foster Dulles reflected the American ethic; the world as we would like it to be. While he took this public position, his brother was free to deal with nastier realities, to overturn governments and to engage in backstage political maneuvers all over the globe with the CIA's almost unlimited funds. He was, as Allen Dulles once put it, able to "fight fire with fire" [4] in a less than perfect world. Because he was equally dedicated in his own secret sphere, it was under Allen Dulles' stewardship that the CIA enjoyed its greatest expansion, particularly in the field of government- shaking secret operations overseas.

In pursuing this dual foreign policy, these special operations were largely kept secret from the American people. The exception, of course, was when something went wrong, as at the Bay of Pigs.

This is not to say that the same two-sided foreign policy would never have evolved had the director of the CIA and the Secretary of State not been brothers. It very likely would have. But the natural friction between the objectives and methods of the diplomats and the "spooks," between the State Department and the CIA, was to an extent reduced because of the close working relationship of the Dulles brothers.*4 There was consequently less of a check and balance.

In a sense, one might say the Dulles brothers were predestined to take over the levers of power in the conduct of U. S. foreign affairs. Their mother's father, John Watson Foster, was Secretary of State under Benjamin Harrison *5 in 1892-3. Robert Lansing, an uncle by marriage, was Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Another uncle, John Welsh, was Minister to England under Rutherford B. Hayes.*6 With such a heritage, it is not surprising that Foster and Allen were weaned on a diet of heady discussions of the affairs of state.

Allen Dulles was educated at Auburn, New York, Paris and Princeton. He taught English for a time in an agricultural school in Allahabad, India; and in China and Japan as well. Then he joined the diplomatic service in 1916, serving in Vienna and, during the war, in Berne, chiefly as an intelligence officer. Three years later the two brothers were together in Paris as staff members of the American delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. Their uncle, Secretary of State Lansing, was a member of the delegation. The following year Allen Dulles married Clover Todd, the daughter of a Columbia University professor. (They had a son, Allen Macy, and two daughters, Clover Todd and Joan.)

In 1926, after service in Berlin, Constantinople and Washington, Allen Dulles left the world of diplomacy to begin a fifteen-year period of law practice with his brother in the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell. As an international lawyer, he knew the political and industrial elite of Europe, and of Germany. This became useful during World War II when General Donovan assigned Dulles as chief of the OSS mission in Switzerland. He had diplomatic cover as an assistant to the minister in the American Legation. But he operated as a master spy from a fifteenth-century house in Berne overlooking the Aar River.

He has been credited with two outstanding feats for the OSS -- first, penetrating the German Abwehr, Hitler's intelligence service, and second, negotiating the surrender of German troops in Italy.

After the war it was natural enough that Allen Dulles would soon gravitate away from his law practice into the more exciting world of espionage. While it is impossible to make any definite judgment about the talents of a man who operated, for the most part, out of view, the constant and bitter personal attacks upon him by the Communist bloc provide one significant indication of his effectiveness. He certainly bothered them.

The CIA director projected a deceptively grandfatherly image, with his white hair, rimless glasses, his pipe and his sense of humor. There was no official in Washington more charming. Beneath this outward Mr. Chips demeanor was a man fascinated by the world of intelligence, by secret operations and by espionage and of its ramifications. Although he seemed to fumble a good deal with his pipe and his tobacco, Mr. Dulles perhaps quietly enjoyed the incongruousness of his appearance and his vocation. He was not without a sense of the dramatic.

Dulles was occasionally accused of being too much of a public figure for the head of a secret service. And in 1955 a Hoover Commission task force criticized him for having,

"taken upon himself too many burdensome duties and responsibilities on the operational side of CIA activities."

"Allen," commented one CIA associate, "couldn't administer himself."

But if the CIA was run in a tweedy, relaxed, pipe-and-slipper manner under Dulles, it was also true that morale was high, and he was well liked within the agency as well as outside of it.

Except for his closest friends, few people knew of the great personal tragedy in Dulles' life. His son, wounded in Korea, suffered brain damage that left him with very little recognition of people or events, and it was finally necessary to place him in an institution in Germany on Lake Constance, just over the Swiss border.

For most of the nine years that Dulles headed the intelligence community, he worked with the same three assistants at the CIA:

Charles Pearre Cabell, a gray-haired but youthful-looking four-star Air Force general and West Point graduate, was his deputy director. A Texan from Dallas (where his brother Earle was the mayor), he was the former head of Air Force Intelligence. He came to the CIA in 1953.

Richard Bissell, the deputy director for plans, who joined the CIA in 1954.

Robert Amory, the brother of the writer Cleveland Amory, and a former Harvard Law School professor. A tall, dark-haired man, he had intelligence and combat experience in World War II. He became the CIA's deputy director for intelligence in 1953.

This was the group which led the CIA during its period of greatest expansion in the 1950s. But even before this, it was evident that the agency was involved in a wide range of activities in many parts of the world.

1948: Bogota
Only six months after the CIA had come into existence, it found itself under fire for what would become a familiar complaint over the years -- alleged failure to predict a major international upheaval. In this case, it was the assassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the popular Liberal Colombian leader, on April 9 on a street in Bogota. The shooting touched off the "Bogotazo," two days of bloody riots that disrupted the Ninth Inter-American Conference and greatly embarrassed Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who headed the American delegation. Marshall blamed the riots on Communist agitators.*7

The post-mortem had its strange aspects. In the first place, expecting the CIA to forecast an assassination, is, in most instances, to endow it with supernatural powers. There are limits to what intelligence can predict. In the second place, Admiral Hillenkoetter, hauled before a House Executive Expenditures Subcommittee on April 15, read the text of secret CIA dispatches into the open record for the first and only time in history. This action, which raised hackles at the time, would, if done today, cause pandemonium.

The admiral maintained that although the Communists seized on Gaitan's assassination, the Colombian leader was slain in "a purely private act of revenge" by one Jose Sierra. The CIA chief said Gaitan, as an attorney, had just successfully defended in a murder trial the killer of Sierra's uncle.

Hillenkoetter testified that, furthermore, the CIA had predicted trouble at Bogota as far back as January 2. Then he dropped a bombshell. He charged that a March 23 CIA dispatch from Bogota, warning of Communist agitation, was withheld from Secretary Marshall by Orion J. Libert, a State Department advance man in Bogota, acting with the support of Ambassador Willard L. Beaulac.

The CIA dispatch, dated March 23, said:

Have confirmed information that Communist-inspired agitators will attempt to humiliate the Secretary of State and other members of the United States delegation to the Pan-American conference upon arrival in Bogota by manifestations and possible personal molestation.

Have passed this information on to the Ambassador and other interested embassy personnel with the request that full details on the arrival of delegation be submitted to this office for transmission to local police, who are anxious to give maximum possible protection ...

Advanced delegate O. J. Libert, who has been apprised of above, does not consider it advisable to notify the State Department of this situation, since he feels adequate protection will be given by police and does not want to alarm the delegates unduly. [5]

Hillenkoetter then placed a whole sheaf of top-secret dispatches into the record, telling in some detail of Communist plans to disrupt the conference. Possibly Hillenkoetter was egged on by the fact that a few hours before he testified, Truman had told a news conference that he was as surprised as anyone about the riots in Bogota. He had, said Truman, received no advance warning. The government had received information that there might be picketing or demonstrations. But, he added a trifle plaintively, there had been no indication that anyone was going to get shot.

At the State Department, Lincoln White said it was "inconceivable" that the department had suppressed any CIA communications. Besides, he said, Secretary Marshall had known all about the Communist plans and had brushed them aside with what White diplomatically called "salty remarks." That about ended this painful episode. It did not, however, end the recurring question of the adequacy of the CIA's forecasting abilities.

1950: Korea
To an extent, the CIA's role in the Korean War became clouded and fuzzed because it was caught up in the emotional storm touched off when Truman finally decided to fire General Douglas MacArthur. What the CIA had or had not predicted, and its freedom or lack of freedom to operate within MacArthur's command, became a subject of dispute between the imperious general and the angry chief executive. Yet the main outline of the CIA's performance and the precise issues in dispute are not difficult to pinpoint from the record.

Harry Truman was sitting in the library of his home in Independence, Missouri, on Saturday, June 24, 1950, when the telephone rang a bit after 10:00 P.M. It was Secretary of State Dean Acheson, calling to say that the North Koreans had invaded South Korea.

Truman hastened back to the capital the next day. On Monday he summoned to the White House the man he assumed should have had the most advance knowledge about what had happened -- Admiral Hillenkoetter.

It was something like Bogota all over again, although of course much more serious. The intelligence agency again had to defend itself for not precisely predicting a future event. And once again the CIA had become a subject of domestic political controversy.

After the meeting with Truman, Hillenkoetter told reporters at the White House that his agency had predicted the possibility of such an attack for a year. "The capabilities were there for a year, anyway," he said. He then hurried to Capitol Hill to give the same explanation to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Before testifying, he talked to newsmen about the Communist build-up along the 38th parallel.

"The condition existed for a long time," he said. "It has been expected for a year." Had the attack been anticipated over the weekend? "You can't predict the timing," the admiral replied.

Then the CIA chief appeared in secret before the Senate committee. One of the members said afterward that Hillenkoetter had read a series of reports on troop and tank concentrations in North Korea. The CIA reports covered a period of a year. The last one was dated June 20, four days before the attack.

"If I had received those reports," said the senator, who asked that his name not be used, "I certainly would have been alerted to the danger." [6]

Five years later Truman, in his memoirs, supported in part the position Hillenkoetter had taken. He wrote:

"The intelligence reports from Korea in the spring of 1950 indicated that the North Koreans were steadily continuing their build-up of forces and that they were continuing to send guerrilla groups into South Korea.

"There were continuing incidents along the 38th parallel, where armed units faced each other.

"Throughout the spring the Central Intelligence reports said that the North Koreans might at any time decide to change from isolated raids to a full-scale attack. The North Koreans were capable of such an attack at any time, according to the intelligence, but there was no information to give any clue as to whether an attack was certain or when it was likely to come." [7]

As the UN forces regained the initiative in Korea, the next major question faced by the CIA (and MacArthur) was whether Communist China would intervene if UN troops pushed north to the Yalu River. The question became crucial just about the time Truman replaced Hillenkoetter with Walter Bedell Smith.

In his memoirs, Truman, again, has shed some light on this:

"On October 20 *8 the CIA delivered a memorandum to me which said that they had reports that the Chinese Communists would move in far enough to safeguard the Suiho electric plant and other installations along the Yalu River which provided them with power." [8]

Truman's account was backed up by Allen Dulles eight years later:

"I can speak with detachment about the 1950 Yalu estimates, for they were made just before I joined the CIA. The conclusions of the estimators were that it was a toss-up, but they leaned to the side that under certain circumstances the Chinese probably would not intervene. In fact, we just did not know what the Chinese Communists would do, and we did not know how far the Soviet Union would press them or agree to support them if they moved." [9]

It seems reasonably clear, therefore, that the CIA did not, initially, predict the massive Chinese intervention that occurred.

However, some two weeks later, in November, according to Truman, the CIA did warn that Communist China had 200,000 troops in Manchuria and that their entry into Korea might push the UN forces back. Truman also wrote that MacArthur had launched his ill-fated home-by-Christmas offensive on November 24 despite the CIA summary made available to the general that very day. The summary, Truman went on to say, had warned that the Chinese were strong enough to force the UN armies back into defensive positions.

Truman, who had been gingerly dealing with MacArthur almost as with another chief of state, at last fired the general on April 9, 1951. Testifying at the Senate inquiry into his dismissal, MacArthur cast new confusion over the CIA's role by saying that "in November" the CIA said "there was little chance of any major intervention on the part of the Chinese forces." If the CIA ever made any such optimistic report in November, replied Truman, it was news to him.

Bogota and Korea raised, but did not answer, the fundamental question of how much should be expected of the CIA in its forecasting role. They also set a pattern that has since become familiar -- when trouble came, the overt, political officers of the visible government almost invariably would say they had no advance warning. The CIA in turn would say it had provided adequate warning. The public would be left to take its choice, provided it could weave its way through the maze of self-serving semantics from both sides.

1952: Air-Drops Over Red China
During the Korean War, another war was waged in secret against Communist China. On November 23, 1954, a broadcast from Peking announced the capture and sentencing of two Americans, John Thomas Downey and Richard George Fecteau.

At Yale, John Thomas Downey was liked and respected for his strength, moral and physical. He was a quiet, clean-living, athletic lad, an honor student as well as a varsity football player and the captain of the wrestling team. He spent a good deal of time at home, in nearby New Britain, Connecticut, where his mother taught school. He was the type of young man the CIA was looking for.

Richard George Fecteau, of Lynn, Massachusetts, had less of an academic background. He was three years older than Downey. He once enrolled at Boston University with the idea of becoming a football coach, but he decided there was little future or money in it. Instead, he went to work for the government. So did Downey, who was recruited off the Yale campus in 1951, at age twenty- one. Both men later turned up in Japan. That did not seem unusual; with the Korean War on, thousands of young men were being shipped to the Far East.

On November 9, 1952, Jack Downey and Richard Fecteau were captured by the Communist Chinese. This was not revealed by Peking, however, until the announcement more than two years later. The broadcast on that day said that Downey, "alias Jack Donovan," and Fecteau, were "special agents of the Central Intelligence Agency, a United States espionage organization." They were charged with having helped to organize and train two teams of Chinese agents.


The men, Peking said, had been air-dropped into Kirin and Liaoning Provinces for "subversive activities," and both Downey and Fecteau were captured when their plane was downed as they attempted to drop supplies and contact agents inside Communist China. It was also claimed that nine Chinese working for the CIA men were taken prisoner with them.

Downey was sentenced to life. Fecteau got twenty years.

That same day, Peking announced it had sentenced eleven American airmen as "spies," charging that the plane carrying these men was shot down January 12, 1953, over Liaoning Province, while on a mission which had as its purpose the "air-drop of special agents into China and the Soviet Union."

Communist China claimed that, all told, it had killed 106 American and Chinese agents parachuted into China between 1951 and 1954 and had captured 124 others. They also said these agents were trained in "secret codes, invisible writing, secret messages, telephone tapping, forging documents, psychological warfare, guerrilla tactics and demolition."

The State Department immediately branded the charges against Downey, Fecteau and the eleven airmen "trumped up." The Defense Department called the accusations against all thirteen men "utterly false."

The American consul general at Geneva was instructed by the State Department to make the "strongest possible protest" to Peking.*9 The charges against the "two civilians," Downey and Fecteau, were "a most flagrant violation of justice," the State Department said.

"These men, John Thomas Downey and Richard George Fecteau, were civilian personnel employed by the Department of the Army in Japan. They were believed to have been lost in a flight from Korea to Japan in November, 1952.


"How they came into the hands of the Chinese Communists is unknown to the United States ... the continued wrongful detention of these American citizens furnishes further proof of the Chinese Communist regime's disregard for accepted practices of international conduct."

The Pentagon was equally indignant. "Messrs. Downey and Fecteau," the Defense Department declared, "were Department of the Army civilian employees. They were authorized passengers on a routine flight from Seoul to Japan in a plane which was under military contract to the Far East Air Force. A search instituted at the time failed to produce any trace of the plane, and Messrs. Downey and Fecteau were presumed to have been lost. It is now apparent that they were captured ..."

In September, 1957, a group of forty-one young Americans on an unauthorized trip to Red China visited Downey and Fecteau in prison. Afterward they reported that during the interview, Fecteau was asked whether he worked "for the Central Intelligence Agency."

"Yes," Fecteau replied, according to a Reuters account of the report issued by the visiting Americans. The same Reuters dispatch reported that Downey, suntanned and crew-cut, said he had received 680 letters in prison, including some from "lonely hearts." He said he spent a lot of time reading books.

The following month Charles Edmundson, a former USIA official in Korea, who left the government in a dispute over foreign policy, wrote an article for the Nation, in which he indicated that Downey and Fecteau were CIA operatives.

At this writing, both men are still in a Chinese prison. The government has never acknowledged them to be CIA agents. As far as Washington is concerned, they are still officially listed as "civilian personnel employed by the Department of the Army."

1950-1954: Formosa and Western Enterprises, Inc.
During these years the CIA operated on Formosa as Western Enterprises, Inc. This cover was so thin it became a source of some merriment on the island. The experience of one State Department employee who arrived on Formosa in 1953 is typical.

A fellow employee was showing her the sights as they drove in from the airport. Pointing to one building, her guide said:

"And that's Western Enterprises."

"What's that?" she asked innocently.

"Oh, you'll find out," her friend replied.

A few days later, at a party with Chinese government officials, she asked one of them:

"By the way, what is Western Enterprises?"

"Oh, that," said the Chinese, with a inscrutable oriental smile, "is your CIA."

State Department employees on Formosa did not get along very well with their counterparts in Western Enterprises, Inc. For one thing, the State Department workers felt that the CIA people were being paid far too well and had special privileges.

One of the CIA operatives who turned up on Formosa in 1953 was Campbell "Zup" James, a Yale graduate who affected an English accent, mustache and fancy walking stick. To anyone who asked, he told the outrageously phony story that he was a wealthy Englishman managing a family tea plantation on Formosa.


By continuing to maintain this pose, even though almost everyone knew he worked for the CIA, James became a legend throughout Southeast Asia. He turned up later in Laos, still masquerading as a pukka Englishman straight out of the pages of Kipling. He was spotted in Bangkok as recently as the summer of 1963, mustache, cane and Mayfair accent intact. Despite his unlikely cover, some observers said he was an effective agent.

By 1954 the CIA's cover on Formosa was so threadbare that the agency changed its name to "Department of the Navy."

There is reason to believe that at least in the past, the CIA trained, equipped and financed Chinese Nationalist commando raids on the mainland, launched from the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu.

Early in 1963 a spate of interesting stories appeared from Formosa about renewed Nationalist guerrilla raids on the mainland. The Chiang Kai-shek government announced that the frogmen and commando teams were most active in Kwangtung Province, near Formosa. The chief of the Nationalist Intelligence Bureau estimated that 873 guerrilla agents had infiltrated into the mainland between March and December of 1962.

1953: Iran
But guerrilla raids are small actions compared to an operation that changes a government. There is no doubt at all that the CIA organized and directed the 1953 coup that overthrew Premier Mohammed Mossadegh and kept Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi on his throne. But few Americans know that the coup that toppled the government of Iran was led by a CIA agent who was the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Kermit "Kim" Roosevelt, also a seventh cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is still known as "Mr. Iran" around the CIA for his spectacular operation in Teheran more than a decade ago. He later left the CIA and joined the Gulf Oil Corporation as "government relations" director in its Washington office. Gulf named him a vice-president in 1960.

One legend that grew up inside the CIA had it that Roosevelt, in the grand Rough Rider tradition, led the revolt against the weeping Mossadegh with a gun at the head of an Iranian tank commander as the column rolled into Teheran.

A CIA man familiar with the Iran story characterized this as "a bit romantic" but said: "Kim did run the operation from a basement in Teheran -- not from our embassy." He added admiringly: "It was a real James Bond operation."

General Fazollah Zahedi,*10 the man the CIA chose to replace Mossadegh, was also a character worthy of spy fiction. A six-foot-two, handsome ladies' man, he fought the Bolsheviks, was captured by the Kurds, and, in 1942, was kidnapped by the British, who suspected him of Nazi intrigues. During World War II the British and the Russians jointly occupied Iran. British agents, after snatching Zahedi, claimed they found the following items in his bedroom: a collection of German automatic weapons, silk underwear, some opium, letters, from German parachutists operating in the hills; and an illustrated register of Teheran's most exquisite prostitutes.

After the war Zahedi rapidly moved back into public life. He was Minister of Interior when Mossadegh became Premier in 1951. Mossadegh nationalized the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in April and seized the huge Abadan refinery on the Persian Gulf.

The refinery was shut down; thousands of workers were idled and Iran faced a financial crisis. The British, with the backing of Western governments, boycotted Iran's oil and the local workers were unable to run the refineries at capacity without British technicians.

Mossadegh connived with the Tudeh, Iran's Communist party, and London and Washington feared that the Russians would end up with Iran's vast oil reserves flowing into the Soviet Union, which shares a common border with Iran. Mossadegh, running the crisis from his bed -- he claimed he was a very sick man -- had broken with Zahedi, who balked at tolerating the Tudeh party.

It was against this background that the CIA and Kim Roosevelt moved in to oust Mossadegh and install Zahedi. At the time of the coup Roosevelt, then thirty-seven, was already a veteran intelligence man. He was born in Buenos Aires. His father, the President's second son, was also named Kermit. Kim was graduated from Harvard just before World War II, and he taught history there and later at the California Institute of Technology. He had married while still at Harvard. He left the academic life to serve in the OSS, then joined the CIA after the war as a Middle East specialist. His father had died in Alaska during the war; his uncle, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, died on the beaches of Normandy a year later.

The British and American governments had together decided to mount an operation to overthrow Mossadegh. The CIA's estimate was that it would succeed because the conditions were right; in a showdown the people of Iran would be loyal to the Shah. The task of running the operation went to Kim Roosevelt, then the CIA's top operator in the Middle East.

Roosevelt entered Iran legally. He drove across the border, reached Teheran, and then dropped out of sight. He had to, since he had been in Iran before and his face was known. Shifting his headquarters several times to keep one step ahead of Mossadegh's agents, Roosevelt operated outside of the protection of the American Embassy. He did have the help of about five Americans, including some of the CIA men stationed in the embassy.

In addition, there were seven local agents, including two top Iranian intelligence operatives. These two men communicated with Roosevelt through cutouts -- intermediaries -- and he never saw them during the entire operation.

As the plan for revolt was hatched, Brigadier General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who used to appear on radio's "Gang Busters," turned up in Teheran. He had reorganized the Shah's police force there in the 1940s. He was best known for his investigation of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case when he headed the New Jersey State Police in 1932. Schwarzkopf, an old friend of Zahedi's, claimed he was in town "just to see old friends again." But he was part of the operation.

On August 13 the Shah signed a decree dismissing Mossadegh and naming Zahedi as Premier. The uncooperative Mossadegh arrested the unfortunate colonel who brought in his notice of dismissal. Mobs rioted in the streets; the thirty-three-year-old Shah and his queen (at that time the beautiful Soraya) fled to Baghdad by plane from their palace on the Caspian Sea.

For two chaotic days, Roosevelt lost communication with his two chief Iranian agents. Meanwhile, the Shah had made his way to Rome; Allen Dulles flew there to confer with him. Princess Ashraf, the Shah's attractive twin sister, tried to play a part in the international intrigue, but the Shah refused to talk to her.

In Teheran, Communist mobs controlled the streets; they destroyed statues of the Shah to celebrate his departure. Suddenly, the opposition to Mossadegh consolidated. The Army began rounding up demonstrators. Early on August 19 Roosevelt, from his hiding place, gave orders to his Iranian agents to get everyone they could find into the streets.

The agents went into the athletic clubs of Teheran and rounded up a strange assortment of weight- lifters, muscle-men and gymnasts. The odd procession made its way through the bazaars shouting pro-Shah slogans. The crowd grew rapidly in size. By mid-morning it was clear the tide had turned against Mossadegh and nothing could stop it.

Zahedi came out of hiding and took over. The Shah returned from exile. Mossadegh went to jail and the leaders of the Tudeh were executed.

In the aftermath, the British lost their monopoly on Iran's oil. In August, 1958, an international consortium of Western oil companies signed a twenty-five-year pact with Iran for its oil. Under it, the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Company got 40 percent, a group of American companies *11 got 40 percent, Royal Dutch Shell got 14 percent, and the Compagnie Francaise des Petroles 6 percent. Iran got half of the multimillion-dollar income from the oil fields under the deal, and Anglo-Iranian was assured a compensation payment of $70,000,000.

The United States, of course, has never officially admitted the CIA's role. The closest Dulles came to doing so was in a CBS television show in 1962, after his retirement from the CIA. He was asked whether it was true that,

"the CIA people spent literally millions of dollars hiring people to riot in the streets and do other things, to get rid of Mossadegh. Is there anything you can say about that?"

"Well," Dulles replied, "I can say that the statement that we spent many dollars doing that is utterly false."

The former CIA chief also hinted at the CIA's Iran role in his book The Craft of Intelligence.

" ... support from the outside was given ... to the Shah's supporters," [11] he wrote, without directly saying it came from the CIA.

Although Iran remained pro-West after the 1953 coup, little was done to alleviate the terrible poverty in that ancient land. Somehow, the oil wealth of Iran never trickled down to the people. A total of $1,300,000,000 in United States aid poured in during twelve years since 1951, but much of it appeared to stick to the fingers of the hopelessly corrupt officialdom. In 1957 a report of the House Committee on Government Operations said that American aid to Iran was so badly handled that "it is now impossible -- with any accuracy -- to tell what became of these funds."

A typical Iranian scandal involved a close friend of Princess Ashraf, Ehsan Davaloo, the "Caviar Queen," who earned the sobriquet by paying officials to get a $450,000-a-year caviar monopoly.

With this stark contrast -- caviar and utter poverty side by side -- Iran remained a ripe breeding ground for Communism. With the help of a President's swashbuckling grandson, the Invisible Government had brought about a political coup d'etat. It had bought time. But the United States seemed unable to follow this up with badly needed social and economic reforms.

1955: Mr. X Goes to Cairo
Two years after his operation in Iran, Kim Roosevelt turned up across the Red Sea in a mysterious episode in a new setting.

On September 27, 1955, Egyptian Premier Gamal Abdel Nasser announced to the world that he had concluded an arms deal with the Soviet bloc. Washington had been unwilling to sell weapons to Egypt on Nasser's terms, and the Arab leader turned to the East.

The news threw Washington into a turmoil, although the deal had been predicted beforehand by the CIA. It was one case, however, where John Foster Dulles had not been inclined to take too seriously the reports coming from his brother.

The State Department and the CIA had agreed to send Roosevelt to Cairo for a first-hand look. Roosevelt, by now the assistant director of the CIA for the Middle East, did so, and reported back that the negotiations were about to be completed. Foster Dulles sent him a long telegram reiterating his skepticism. Roosevelt fired back a pointed message advising the Secretary of State to read his morning papers, which would carry Nasser's announcement.

Roosevelt was right. On September 28, the day after Nasser's defiant disclosure, George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, was summoned to the office of Herbert Hoover, Jr., Under Secretary of State. Hoover was Acting Secretary that day because Dulles was in New York. In George Allen's presence, Hoover telephoned the Secretary of State; it was agreed that George Allen should be sent to see Nasser right away.

It was now 2:00 P.M. By five o'clock Allen was leaving New York on a Paris-bound plane. His hasty departure was announced by the State Department only three minutes before he took off from New York. Secretary Dulles, who returned to Washington the same day, termed George Allen's trip "only a more or less routine visit." It was far from that. With him, George Allen carried a letter from Secretary Dulles, warning that the arms deal could hand Egypt over to the Communists. Dulles had signed the quickly drafted letter in New York just before Allen departed. While Allen was winging his way to the land of the Sphinx the United States wire services sent out dispatches speculating that he took with him an "ultimatum" to Nasser.

At this point, the CIA's "Mr. Iran" became the central figure in some shadowy backstage maneuvering in the Egyptian capital. British newspaper accounts of the episode later referred to a "Mr. X", a mysterious American official. In reality, he was Kim Roosevelt.

One version of the affair that became widely accepted was given by Nasser himself in a blood-and- thunder speech at Alexandria on July 26, 1956, the same day he seized the Suez Canal.

"After the arms deal was announced," Nasser told a crowd already worked up by his oratory, "Washington sent a representative to Egypt, Mr. George Allen ...

"An American official contacted me and sought a special interview. He said that ... Allen has a strong note from the U.S. Government which might prejudice Egyptian nationality and prestige. I assure you that this note will have no effect because we shall be able to remove its effect. I advise you to accept this message.

"I asked him: 'What is the insult to Egyptian nationality and prestige about?' He said: 'This is a message from Mr. Dulles and is strongly worded. We are astonished how it was sent. We ask you to have cool nerves. You always had cool nerves. Accept this message with cool nerves ...'

"He said that no practical outcome would emanate from this message and guaranteed this. I told him: 'Look ... if your representative comes to my offices and says something unpleasant, I shall throw him out.' [Applause]

"This happened at the beginning of October. Then he came again and told me that he had told this to Mr. Allen and that Mr. Allen was wondering whether he would be thrown out when he came to convey his message to me, and also whether Mr. Dulles would throw him out if he went back without conveying this message." [Applause]

George Allen did see Nasser, and he was not thrown out. But the disturbing story circulated in Washington that a certain "Mr. X," a high CIA official, had undercut the official foreign policy of the United States by getting in ahead of George Allen and telling Nasser to forget whatever the special envoy told him.*12

What had happened, as best it can be pieced together, was this:

When Allen's plane landed in Cairo, he was unaware of the storm kicked up there by reports that he was bringing an ultimatum from the Eisenhower Administration. A mob of Western and Egyptian newsmen were waiting at the airport. Ambassador Henry A. Byroade sprinted aboard the plane to warn George Allen of the situation.

Forearmed, the Assistant Secretary of State was cautiously noncommittal to newsmen who surrounded him when he stepped off the plane. In the crowd, Allen spotted Kim Roosevelt. He nodded to the CIA man, but they kept their distance from each other in public.

Before Allen's arrival, Byroade and Roosevelt had agreed that it would be an intolerable loss of face if the envoy were refused an interview with Nasser. So, in the seclusion of the embassy, Roosevelt, Byroade and Eric H. Johnston, who was there negotiating a water agreement, sat down with Allen and went over the letter from Secretary Dulles. They told Allen it was so patronizing that Nasser would take it as an insult and throw him out of the office. They urged that at the very least, he read the letter instead of handing it to Nasser formally.

As result of this, George Allen sent a cable to Secretary Dulles recommending that he deliver the tough message orally. That way, Nasser would not have a letter to make public afterward. Dulles cabled back, telling Allen to use his best judgment.

Meanwhile Kim Roosevelt, who knew Nasser well, had gone to see him. Roosevelt's defenders insist he did so to ease the way for Allen. They maintain that he joshed Nasser, told him to act like a grown man and not blow up, and asked him to listen politely when George Allen read his letter. Roosevelt did not, they say, ask Nasser to disregard Allen's message, as Nasser indicated later.

At his own meeting with Nasser on October 1, Allen was accompanied by Byroade. Allen told Nasser that the United States recognized Egypt's right to buy arms where it wanted, but pointed out that the United States had refused to sell jets to Israel and was anxious not to escalate the arms race in the Middle East.

"You wouldn't sell me arms," said Nasser. "I had to buy where I could."

Nasser was vague when Allen pressed to find out whether the arms deal was a prelude to something bigger. Finally, Allen pulled out the letter and formally read its text to Nasser. There was no translation, since the Egyptian Premier's English was entirely adequate. However, Allen did not leave the letter with Nasser.

What is clear, at any rate, is that the assistant director of the CIA saw Nasser ahead of the Assistant Secretary of State.

Eisenhower could not have known of this at the time, because he was under an oxygen tent in Denver, having suffered his heart attack there on September 25. On October 4 Secretary Dulles told a news conference that as a result of the talks between Allen and Nasser there had been achieved a "better understanding."

If by this the Secretary of State meant that through the intervention of "Mr. X," the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs had not been thrown out of the office of the Premier of Egypt, he was correct.

1956: Suez
With Soviet arms flowing into Egypt, relations between Nasser and Washington deteriorated rapidly. On July 19, 1956, Secretary of State Dulles pulled the rug out from under the fiery Arab leader. The United States withdrew its offer to help Egypt harness the Nile by constructing a high dam at Aswan (a task which the Russians happily moved in to perform).

Nasser, driven into a rage, seized the Suez Canal a week later. Israel invaded Egypt on October 29 and Britain and France joined in with a Halloween Day attack. The United States condemned the invasion, Moscow threatened to rain missiles on London and Paris, and the assault was called off. All of this happened in the midst of the Hungarian revolt and the windup of the presidential campaign in the United States.

When the sands had settled in the Middle East, Allen Dulles was in a difficult position; the question, once again, was whether the CIA had failed to predict an event -- in this case, the Suez invasion. Foster Dulles undercut the CIA's position by telling a Senate committee: "We had no advance information of any kind." [12]

Seven years later Allen Dulles offered an explanation of this. There were many times, said Allen Dulles, when intelligence had guessed correctly, but could not advertise the fact. He added:

"This was true of the Suez invasion of 1956. Here intelligence was well alerted as to both the possibility and later the probability of the actions taken by Israel and then by Britain and France. The public received the impression that there had been an intelligence failure; statements were issued by U.S. officials to the effect that the country had not been given advance warning of the action. Our officials, of course, intended to imply only that the British and French and Israelis had failed to tell us what they were doing. In fact, United States intelligence had kept the government informed without, as usual, advertising its achievement." [13]

The difficulty with this explanation is that it is not what Foster Dulles told the Senate.

On February 1, 1957, Secretary Dulles was being questioned by Senator Mansfield before a joint meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. He was asked whether Washington had knowledge of the Israeli attack on Egypt or of the British and French participation. "We had no advance information of any kind," he said. "... The British-French participation also came as a complete surprise to us."

It is true that this testimony, if taken alone, could be interpreted to mean simply that there had been no advance warning to Washington by the invaders. But two weeks earlier, on January 15, testifying before the same Senate committees, Secretary Dulles was more specific under questioning by Senator Henry M. Jackson, of Washington, who asked whether "the people within the executive branch of the government" knew of the impending Israeli attack on Suez.

"No," Dulles replied, "we had no such knowledge."

"At the appropriate time, Mr. Chairman," said Jackson, "I would like to go into that question when we get into executive session. I will not pursue it any further here now ... the reason I am not pursuing further questioning along this line is obvious."

What was obvious, of course, was that Jackson was referring to the CIA. (Later questions and answers about whether the CIA had advance knowledge were so heavily censored in the published transcript of the executive session as to be meaningless.)

The questioning took place against a background of continuing domestic and international controversy over Suez. In England, France and the United States, there had been suggestions that the Eisenhower Administration had known in advance of the invasion plans, and had been hypocritical in its outraged reaction and intervention. Democrats felt the pre-election crisis had helped defeat Adlai Stevenson and re-elect Eisenhower. Jackson's questions seemed designed to explore whether the CIA had known all along that the invasion was coming. If this had been the case, Secretary Dulles could ill afford, for political reasons, to say so.

But Jackson's question and the Secretary of State's answer are on the record. Dulles was clearly saying that "the executive branch of the government" -- which of course includes the CIA -- had "no knowledge" in advance of the Israeli attack which began the Suez invasion.

The truth is always elusive; the truth about a secret agency doubly so. Future historians of the Cold War will have an unenviable task.

1956: Costa Rica
The Invisible Government's activities have not been restricted to chaotic countries, dominated or threatened by Communism. In the mid-1950s CIA agents intruded deeply into the political affairs of Costa Rica, the most stable and democratic republic in Latin America. Knowledgeable Costa Ricans were aware of the CIA's role. The CIA's purpose was to promote the ouster of Jose (Pepe) Figueres, the moderate socialist who became President in a fair and open election in 1953.

In March of 1954, in the course of a Senate speech, Senator Mansfield cited a newspaper report [14] to the effect that "a CIA man was caught red-handed" in the "tapping of the telephone of Jose Figueres ... I do not need to point out the tremendous impact which this sort of activity could have in our foreign policy," he said, in calling for tighter Congressional control over the CIA. His warning had no noticeable effect on the CIA's anti-Figueres activities, however.

Figueres had risen to national prominence as the leader of a guerrilla movement organized to install Otilio Ulate as President in 1948. Ulate had won the election, but a right-wing government (with Communist support) and a packed legislature had refused to recognize him. In April of 1948, however, Figueres forced them to back down and the following year Ulate was installed.

Figueres' success vaulted him into the presidency in 1953. But Ulate organized an opposition movement against his former political ally.

Local CIA agents joined in the efforts to unseat Figueres. Their major grievance was that Figueres had scrupulously recognized the right of asylum in Costa Rica -- for non-Communists and Communists alike. The large influx of questionable characters complicated the agency's job of surveillance and forced it to increase its staff.

The CIA's strategy was twofold: to stir up embarrassing trouble within the Communist Party in Costa Rica, and to attempt to link Figueres *13 with the Communists. An effort to produce evidence that Figueres had been in contact with leading Communists during a trip to Mexico was unsuccessful. But CIA agents had better luck with the first part of their strategy -- stirring up trouble for the Communists. They succeeded in planting a letter in a Communist newspaper. The letter, purportedly from a leading Costa Rican Communist, put him on record in opposition to the Party line on the Hungarian revolution.

Unaware that the letter was a CIA plant, the leading officials in the American Embassy held an urgent meeting to ponder its meaning. The political officer then dispatched a long classified report to Washington, alerting top policy makers to the possibility of a startling turn in Latin American Communist politics.

No one bothered to tell the embassy or the State Department that the newspaper article was written by the CIA.

1956: The Khrushchev Speech
The CIA's manufacture of bogus Communist material has not always led to a happy result. But the agency has had one noteworthy success in obtaining a real Communist document.

When Khrushchev delivered his historic secret speech attacking Stalin's crimes at the 20th Communist Party Congress in Moscow in February, 1956, Allen Dulles ordered a vast and intensive hunt for the text. He assumed there had to be one, because Khrushchev had spoken for seven hours.

The word went out inside the CIA: whoever could deliver the document would be amply recognized by Dulles as an intelligence ace. At whatever price, the CIA was determined to obtain the secret speech.

First, analysts determined what individuals and what Communist nations might have been given a copy -- in other words, where to go looking for it. Then agents fanned out all over the Communist world to find it.

One top CIA operator turned up in Belgrade with an intriguing scheme -- he would make a direct pitch to the Yugoslav Government to bootleg him a copy. Tito and Stalin, after all, had split in 1948. With the permission of Ambassador James W. Riddleberger, the CIA man called on a certain high Yugoslav official.

For nearly two hours he argued his case, listing the reasons why Washington deserved a copy of the top-secret document. The sales talk must have been convincing, for at one point the Yugoslav seemed ready to hand over a copy. But then he thought better of it, and backed off.

The CIA did finally get its hands on a text -- but not in Moscow. Money and other considerations changed hands. The man who made the deal to deliver the speech claimed he needed the money, not for himself, but to make arrangements to protect others who might be involved. At least that is what he told the CIA.

With the speech in Dulles' hands, a new problem had to be faced. Dulles did not want to release the 26,000-word text unless he could be sure it was genuine. For several weeks during May, 1956, the CIA had the text in hand, but said nothing.

CIA analysts pored over the text, examining every word, each phrase in an attempt to authenticate it. The experts finally decided that the document contained information that only Khrushchev could have been in a position to know. Together with other clues buried in the text, this convinced the analysts the document was bona fide. Dulles gave his approval, and on June 4 the State Department released the text.

To this day the CIA does not know precisely what document it obtained: whether it was the speech that Khrushchev prepared for delivery at the Congress, or the verbatim speech he did deliver, or possibly a slightly altered version for distribution to certain satellite nations. The CIA does not know which it is because the text-as-delivered was never published by Khrushchev. On the other hand, Moscow has not flatly denied its authenticity.*14

"There is no fatal inevitability of war," Khrushchev said in the speech, in rejecting one of the basic tenets of Lenin. The CIA felt a deserved sense of satisfaction in having run the speech to ground. For it was the first tangible evidence of the historic split between Communist China and the Soviet Union.

1960: The U-2
The U-2 spy plane was developed by Richard Bissell, Trevor Gardner of the Air Force and Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson of Lockheed, after initially being turned down by the Pentagon on June 7, 1954. The Defense Department finally did approve the ultra-secret espionage project in December of that year. The first model was flying by August, 1955.


During the four years, starting in 1956, that the spy plane flew over Russia, it brought back invaluable data on Russian "airfields, aircraft, missiles, missile testing and training, special weapons storage, submarine production, atomic production and aircraft deployments." [15] It flew so high (well over 80,000 feet) that the Russians were unable to shoot it down at first.

The summit conference of Eisenhower, Macmillan, De Gaulle and Khrushchev was scheduled to take place on May 16, 1960. As the date approached, the intelligence technicians who ran the U-2 program decided to get one last U-2 flight in under the wire before the conference. They feared the Paris meeting might result in a detente that would ground the spy plane indefinitely. The feeling within the intelligence community was that a successful conference, followed by Eisenhower's planned trip to Moscow, would make flying the U-2 impossible.

Eisenhower approved each general series of U-2 flights. These groupings allowed considerable flexibility for a set number of missions to be flown within a given time span. Eisenhower did not suspend the program as the summit date approached.

On May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers, a CIA pilot from the hill country of Virginia, was downed in his U-2 over Sverdlovsk, *15 in the Urals. Khrushchev announced on May 5 that a plane had been shot down. This set off an incredible period of confusion in the highest councils of the United States Government.

At first, Washington insisted it was a NASA weather plane that had drifted over the border from Turkey when its pilot had oxygen trouble. After waiting two days for this explanation to sink in, Khrushchev triumphantly revealed he had the pilot and the plane. At that, the State Department admitted the spy flight, but said it had not been authorized in Washington. Two days later Eisenhower reversed this position, took responsibility for the U-2 program and issued a statement widely interpreted to mean that the flights over Soviet territory would continue.

That did it. Khrushchev stormed and demanded an apology at Paris. Eisenhower finally announced at the summit table that no more U-2s would be sent over Russia. But the 1960 summit meeting collapsed.

Why had the CIA and the Eisenhower Administration so confidently issued its original "cover story" about a "weather" plane? One important reason was that Powers had been instructed to blow up his plane in the event of trouble over Russia. This, the CIA expected, would destroy evidence.

The U-2 contained a destructor unit with a three-pound charge of cyclonite -- enough to blow it up. U-2 pilots were instructed in the event of trouble to activate a timing device and eject from the plane. It would then explode, so they were told. But Allen Dulles was aware that some of the U-2 pilots were worried about the workings of this intriguing and delicate destructor mechanism. They were not really sure how many seconds they had to get out.

At a Senate hearing [17] after his release by the Russians, Powers testified: "My first reaction was to reach for the destruct switches ... but I thought that I had better see if I can get out of here before using this. I knew that there was a seventy-second time delay between the time of the actuation of the switches and the time that the explosion would occur." *16

Powers testified that he was unable to use the automatic ejection seat because he had been thrown forward in the cockpit. He said he then decided just to climb out. But after he did, he testified, he was unable to reach back into the U-2 "so that I could actuate these destructor switches."

A CIA report issued after Powers had been held for twenty-four days and secretly interrogated by the agency, set forth substantially the same story and stated that "the destruct switches ... take four separate manipulations to set." The CIA report said Powers lived up to his contract and his "obligations as an American" and would get his back pay. [18]

At the friendly Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, no one asked Powers whether he had been under a mandatory order to destroy his plane. It was obvious that the CIA did not relish any close scrutiny of the fascinating workings of the destructor mechanism.

Some of the weightier political analyses of the confusion in Washington during the U-2 affair have failed to pay enough attention to the vital business of the destructor unit. The cover stories were based on the assumption that Francis Gary Powers had actuated those destructor switches. He had not.

Only the CIA knows what would have happened had he done so.

1963: Trouble for General Gehlen
Any casual newspaper reader knows that 1963 was a banner year for spy cases, but one of the most significant received the least attention in the United States, considering that it deeply involved the CIA. On July 11, in a Karlsruhe courtroom, Judge Kurt Weber sentenced three former West German intelligence agents to prison terms for spying for the Soviet Union.

Heinz Felfe, forty-five, drew fourteen years. Hans Clemens, sixty-one, got ten years. Erwin Tiebel, sixty, their courier, got off with three years. The trio had confessed to delivering 15,000 photographs of top-secret West German intelligence files and twenty spools of tape recordings to Soviet agents in East Berlin.

All three had been employed by the West German Federal Intelligence Agency (FIA), better known as the "Gehlen organization" for its founder and chief, the mysterious ex-Nazi general, Reinhard Gehlen. The defendants confessed they had systematically betrayed state secrets from 1950 until their arrest in 1961.

Ironically, their work was so pleasing to both sides, that shortly before their arrest Felfe and Clemens received citations for ten years of meritorious service from both of their employers. From General Gehlen they received a plaque bearing an illustration of St. George slaying the dragon. From Alexander N. Shelepin, then Chairman of the Soviet KGB,*17 they got a letter of commendation and a cash bonus.

As Judge Weber summed it up succinctly: "For ten years the Soviet intelligence service had two experienced spies sitting right in the center of the enemy's organization."

Since the Gehlen organization was financed and controlled by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the Felfe-Clemens Tiebel case meant nothing less than that the CIA's most vital European subsidiary had been penetrated at the top, virtually from its inception.

The CIA poured millions into the Gehlen apparatus, but the 1963 case raised grave questions about the effectiveness and worth of the whole operation. It also raised moral and political questions in West Germany, where some newspapers were asking why ex-Nazis were running the Bundesrepublik's intelligence service in the first place.

Gehlen, a member of the German General Staff under Hitler, was placed in charge of wartime intelligence for Foreign Armies East. This meant that he ran Germany's espionage against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He is said to have surrendered his organization and files to the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps when the Nazi empire collapsed in 1945.

With his knowledge of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, it was not long before Gehlen was back in business, this time for the United States. When the CIA was casting about for a network in West Germany, it decided to look into the possibility of using Gehlen's talents. And while they were making up their mind about the ex-general, Henry Pleasants, the CIA station chief in Bonn for many years, moved in and lived with Gehlen for several months.

Pleasants, once the chief music critic of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and a contributor to the music pages of the New York Times, was a highly literate and respected musicologist. His wife Virginia was one of the world's leading harpsichordists. He also probably had the distinction of being the only top U.S. spy to become the center of a literary storm. He had continued to write books after joining the CIA, and in 1955 his Agony of Modern Music (Simon & Schuster, New York) caused considerable controversy for its attacks on all contemporary music except jazz. *18

Gehlen had named his price and his terms, but it took some months before the CIA said yes. After that Gehlen consolidated an intelligence network that operated in utter secrecy -- as far as the West German public was concerned -- from a heavily guarded villa in Pullach, outside of Munich. Officially, the Gehlen network was not part of the Bonn Government.

The mystery general reportedly lived in a two-story lakeside villa at Starnberg, Bavaria (fifteen miles southwest of Munich); a sign on the fence surrounding the house said: Warnung vor dem Hunde (Beware the Dog). No outsider has ever seen Gehlen. No picture of Gehlen has been taken since 1944 -- and that one shows him bemedaled in his Wehrmacht uniform.

The evidence indicates that Gehlen staffed his organization with many former SS and Wehrmacht intelligence officers. During the war Felfe ran the Swiss department of the Reich security service, and Clemens and Tiebel were his assistants.

Felfe, while awaiting possible war crimes prosecution, suddenly was given a clean bill of health by a British Zone court and was hired by the Gehlen organization in 1951. He testified he had been approached by a former SS colonel who asked if he was interested in returning to his "old trade."

That trade was also being plied by Dr. Otto John, head of West Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Dr. John disappeared into East Berlin on July 20, 1954. Since John was the head of West Germany's official counter-intelligence organization, it was as astounding as if J. Edgar Hoover had suddenly turned up in Minsk.


Otto John chose the tenth anniversary of the unsuccessful bomb plot against Hitler to do his vanishing act. He had been active in the plot himself and managed to escape afterwards; his brother Hans was executed. On the day of his disappearance he had attended memorial services at the site of the executions.

Washington, stunned by the news, described John as one of the "two or three best-informed persons in West Germany" on intelligence operations. But the tail end of a New York Times dispatch from Berlin gave the most tantalizing reason for John's action:

"Dr. John's organization also was believed to have been in serious competition and difficulties with a more extensive German organization headed by Reinhard Gehlen, a former high-ranking Wehrmacht intelligence officer." [19]

On July 20, 1955, again on the anniversary of the bomb plot, West Germany announced that it was taking over the Gehlen organization, henceforth to be known as the Bundesnachrichtendienst, *19 or Federal Intelligence Agency (FIA).

With John's defection and the official recognition of the FIA by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Gehlen was the unchallenged spymaster of West Germany. *20 The Gehlen Apparat was now part of the Bonn Government (although it nowhere appears in any official government table of organization). The relationship between the CIA and the FIA remained intimate. That is why the 1963 trial meant, not only trouble for Gehlen, but trouble for the CIA.

During the trial the three defendants admitted that they supplied the Soviet Union with the names of West German agents of the FIA (ninety-five in all ) as well as other secret information that was smuggled out in canned baby food, trick suitcases and on special writing paper. Felfe and Clemens testified they were paid about $40,000 each during the ten-year period.

At the time of his arrest, Felfe was the director of the East Division of the Gehlen agency, in charge of spying in Eastern Europe.

In asking for long prison terms for the trio, the West German prosecutor said it was "without doubt the worst espionage case ever experienced in the Federal Republic." Felfe and Clemens, he said, had done "serious damage to the Federal Republic and to American organizations."

He did not have to spell out the initials CIA to make his meaning clear.

The extraordinary growth of the clandestine activities of the United States in all parts of the world has been pointed up in this brief review of the important operations of the Invisible Government in Germany, as well as in Bogota, Korea, Communist China, Formosa, Iran, Egypt, Costa Rica and the Soviet Union. Other operations, even more fascinating and sometimes disturbing, have been conducted in Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Guatemala.

As constituted in 1964 the NSC was composed of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Office of Emergency Planning.

*2 The 1949 Act also allowed the CIA director to bring in 100 aliens a year secretly and outside of normal immigration laws.

*3 The other two members were William H. Jackson, New York investment banker, a wartime intelligence officer and the managing director of J. H. Whitney & Co.; and Mathias F. Correa, a former OSS man and a special assistant to Forrestal. Jackson later became the deputy director of the CIA.

*4 Some evidence of the closeness of Foster and Allen Dulles was provided even after the Secretary of State had died. President Kennedy had been thinking of changing the name of Washington's new jetport from Dulles, so designated in honor of Foster, to Chantilly, which is the name of the Virginia community where it is located. Under this plan the main building would still have been called the "Dulles Terminal." Allen Dulles and his sister, Eleanor Lansing Dulles, a former official in the German section of the State Department, heard about it and raised hob with the President. Kennedy called it Dulles Airport.

*5 And later a private adviser to the Empress of China, Tz'u Hsi.

*6 Welsh earned this ministerial plum in an odd way. President Hayes had assured Senator Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania (who had been in Lincoln's Cabinet during the Civil War) that he would appoint anyone Pennsylvania wanted to the London post. Cameron promptly named his father. Hayes, annoyed, appointed Welsh instead.

*7 Fidel Castro, then an unknown Cuban student, participated in the Bogota riots with a group of his friends.

*8 Actually, the Chinese had begun crossing the Yalu four days earlier.

*9 The protest apparently had some effect. On August 2, 1955, Communist China notified the United States at Geneva that the eleven airmen had been released on July 31.

*10 He died September 1, 1963, at age sixty-seven.

*11 Gulf Oil, Standard Oil of New Jersey and California, The Texas Company and Socony-Mobil.

*12 The story was sufficiently upsetting to Senator Paul H. Douglas, the Illinois Democrat, so that he quietly investigated it later during a trip to the Middle East.

*13 While the CIA was plotting to get rid of Figueres during this period, Ambassador Robert F. Woodward was urging President Eisenhower to lend his prestige to the Costa Rican President by inviting him to Washington. Figueres stepped down in 1958 when his candidate lost the Presidential election.

*14 Although Dulles had hinted previously at the CIA's role, he publicly and unequivocally disclosed the CIA's tour de force in a speech in Washington in June, 1963, and in a television interview two months later. It was a startling statement, because it was one of the few times that the CIA had openly taken credit for an espionage feat. Dulles said: "You remember ... Khrushchev's famous speech in 1956, which we got, the CIA got that speech, and I thought it was one of the main coups of the time I was there ..." [16]

*15 By a Russian SA-2 missile, the CIA concluded.

*16 A few days after his Senate testimony, however, Powers seemed less certain of this. In a radio interview at his home in Pound, Virginia, with James Clarke, then of WGH, Norfolk, he said he thought he had seventy seconds on that particular U-2. It was an uncertainty shared by other U-2 pilots. The fact is the pilots did not know precisely how much time they had before the explosion.

*17 KGB stands for Komitat Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (Committee for State Security). It is one arm of the Soviet espionage apparatus, the other being the GRU, or Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie, the Soviet Military Intelligence. The KGB is the successor to the Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, MVD and other initials used over the years to designate the often reorganized, purged and renamed Soviet secret police and espionage network.

*18 As recently as April 15, 1962, while he was still the CIA station chief in Bonn, Pleasants had a byline article in the New York Herald Tribune, filed from Zurich. It told of the state theater's production of Meyerbeer's Le Prophete.

*19 Literally, Federal news service.

*20 John returned to West Berlin on December 13, 1955. He was tried, convicted of treasonable conspiracy and served nineteen months of his four-year sentence.

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