” The United States has carried on foreign intelligence activities since the days ofGeorge Washington, but only since World War II have they been coordinated on a government wide basis. ” 1 Even before the devastating attack at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was concerned about American intelligence deficiencies. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked New York lawyer William J. Donovan to draft a plan for an intelligence service.
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In June of 1942, the Office of Strategic Services was established in order to collect and analyze strategic information required by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to conduct special operations that were not assigned to other agencies. During the World War II, the Office of Strategic Service (OSS) supplied policymakers with essential facts and intelligence estimates, and the office often played an important role in directly aiding military campaigns. The OSS never received complete jurisdiction over all foreign intelligence activities.
Since the early 1930″ s the FBI had been responsible for intelligence work in Latin America, and the military services protected their areas ofresponsibility. In October 1945, the OSS was abolished, and its functions were transferred to the State and War Departments. The need for a postwar centralized intelligence system still remained a problem. Eleven months earlier, Donovan, at the time a major general had submitted to President Roosevelt a proposal that called for the separation of the OSS from the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the new organization having direct Presidential supervision.
Donovan proposed an ” organization which will procure intelligence both by overt and covert methods and will at the same time provide intelligence guidance, determine national intelligence objectives, and correlate the intelligence material collected by all government agencies. ” 2 Under his plan, a powerful, centralized civilian agency would have coordinated all the intelligence services. Donovan” s plan drew heavy political debate.
In response to this policy dispute, President Harry S. Truman established the Central Intelligence Group in January of 1946, directing it to ” coordinate existing departmental intelligence, supplementing but not supplanting their services. ” 3 Twelve months later, the National Intelligence Authority and its operating component, the Central Intelligence Group, were disestablished. Under the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency were established.
The 1947 Act charged the CIA with ” coordinating the nation” s intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence which affects national security. 4 The Act also made the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods. The Central Intelligence Agency Act was passed in 1949 permitting the Agency to use confidential fiscal and administrative procedures, and this Act is the authority for the secrecy of the Agency” s budget. In order to protect intelligence sources and methods from disclosure, the 1949 Act exempted the CIA from having to disclose its ” organization, functions, names, officials, titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed. ” 5
The national interests of the United States require the Intelligence Community to maintain worldwide vigilance on the foreign threats to U. S. citizens, both civilian and military, infrastructure, and allies. In addition, they also seek to inform policy makers of opportunities to advance U. S. foreign policy objectives. 6 To accomplish its missions, the CIA engages in research, development, and deployment oftechnologyfor intelligence purposes. 7 Most American citizens are not fully aware of the full extent to which the CIA has effected American society.
The general public has limited knowledge of the secret operations of the CIA, but the few campaigns that are open to the public prove that the CIA plays an essential role in American foreign relations. From 1953 to 1961 the CIA continued out foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, political action, and propaganda operations. During the Eisenhower administration, Secretary of State John Dulles used the Central Intelligence Agency, which was headed by his brother Allen Dulles, for covert interventions against governments that were too closely aligned with communism.
The CIA moved beyond its original objective of intelligence gathering to active involvement in the internal affairs of foreign countries where such covert action suited the American ideals. In the 1950s the CIA successfully directed the overthrow of several foreign governments. When Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran seized British oil properties in 1953, CIA agents helped the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, depose him. Using both economic leverage and a repressive secret police, the shah soon fermented his power in Iran.
In 1954 the CIA supported a coup in Guatemala against Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, who had expropriated 250, 000 acres of land held by the American owned United Fruit Company. He also accepted arms from the communist government of East Germany. Under Eisenhower, the Central Intelligence Agency had begun training 2, 000 men for an invasion of Cuba to overthrow Fidel Castro, the communist revolutionary that had taken power in 1959. On April 19, 1961, this force invaded the Bay of Pigs, but was forced to surrender. 1, 200 men were captured. The CIA also tried to overthrow Achmed Sukarno of Indonesia in 1958, but again it was unsuccessful.
In late 1961, the CIA was reorganized to put more emphasis onscience, technology, and internal management. The agency was heavily used during theVietnam War, from 1959-1975, in Southeast Asia. The Central Intelligence Agency has effected American society by adding security and confidence to the minds of the American people. Though much of their effects are not specifically known, the entire organization as a whole serves as a type of secret weapon against foreign countries. Its formation and operations have made the CIA a lasting part of the U. S. government.