The following is an excerpt from a declassified document released online by America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as part of a searchable database on its website Reading Room. Declassified documents were previously only available to the public at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
In a report titled The “General Tricks” Gap, and available in General CIA record, scholar-activist Richard J. Barnet, made a case against secret security intelligence operations.
In the document, released Oct 18, 2004, Barnet argued that “…to protect the existence of secret bases in to protect the existence of secret bases in such places as Pakistan and Ethiopia the U.S. has had to make special concessions to those countries it would not otherwise have made.”
He also quoted a New York Times article as saying, “More than 200 agents… pose as business abroad.”
“Air America and other agency fronts, fake foundations, student organizations, church organisations, etc., are all part of the false bottom world that has ended up confusing the American people as much as it has confounded foreign governments.”
Barnet added, “The secrecy that shrouds covert operations distorts the foreign policy-making process in a number of specific ways.”
Soul searching for CIA
In the document, Barnet also raises questions about the necessity of covert CIA ops.
He writes: “The very existence of a large secret war-fighting capability undermines American democracy because under our system of government it is the people’s elected representatives who are supposed to decide when and where we are to go to war.”