Remember How The CIA Screwed Up, A Lot?


Michael McGrady Director of McGrady Policy Research
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The outgoing regime that leads the Central Intelligence Agency emulates the guise of a small group of political appointees that have done absolutely nothing to properly impact the intelligence community. But, what do I know…

However, one thing that I do know is that all the political hyperbole spewing from the outgoing Director of the CIA, John O. Brennan, suggests that there is more to his position than overseeing America’s lead civilian intelligence agency.

Crude remarks aside, all of the debate on recent privately gathered intelligence reports allegedly indicting President-elect Trump for having deep Russian ties and further coordinating with Russian authorities makes one think: who is the trusted source?

Well, it is hard to say. Nevermore, I want to take the time to highlight some of the major debacles the Central Intelligence Agency is directly responsible for and how holding this agency accountable in the coming years can restrict further KGB-like activities. As reported by several international news outlets, the CIA has released millions of pages of once-classified documents for the public’s viewing. Actually, the agency merely digitized said documents and made them more accessible rather than storing them at the National Archives in Maryland. Nevertheless, further examination of the documents provides a glimpse at the expansive world of intelligence gathering.

It is quite interesting, to say the least, yet, the documents are also a self-serving incrimination of the decades of shady operations and fruitless research, all on the expense of the taxpayers.

Though it is not my intention to conjure the reawakening of Allen Dulles, many of the debacles that were widely exposed by the CIA’s release highlight some of the biggest American national security embarrassments from the Cold War.

Most notably, we cannot forget the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion of communist Cuba in the 1960s. The CIA used Italian-American mobsters and anti-communist Cubans to the front as a crack squad of opponents to Fidel Castro to invade the Cuban island. However, like any sane society, the agency received heavy criticism and all but battered the reputation of Dulles and his crew.

Dulles didn’t stop there, though. He directly supported the removal of democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran in 1953, in what was known as Operation Ajax. The good Director Dulles also had a hand in removing Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, the 1954 president of Guatemala, in Operation PBSUCCESS, and replacing his government with a military dictatorship that has lasted years.

Years of nation-building, though, pale in comparison to the long laundry list of domestic embarrassments and pointless pet projects the CIA is directly responsible for, as well.

One particular highlight from some of the many projects uncovered in the CIA’s info dump reported that the agency financed tests to see if self-proclaimed celebrity psychic Uri Geller had supernatural abilities. Sparing details, the agency researchers concluded, after a series of tests involving drawings and other experiments, that Geller had supernatural abilities. The New York Post highlighted that the researchers said that Geller, “demonstrated his paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner.”

The weirdness doesn’t stop there, needless to say. If we take a look back to a few years ago, the CIA had to shore up the “Family Jewels” scandal. In 2009, declassified documents exposed CIA operations to spy on, in some cases, law-abiding American citizens by means of bugging hotel rooms, spying on journalists, and even attempting to submit people to mind-control . These acts, sadly, only scathed the surface of over 700 pages of documents chronicling a series of illegal spying operations and activities between the 1960s and 70s.

The list of “WTF” moments associated with the CIA go on and on from there. Cutting to the point, the goal of this op-ed is to call on the incoming administration to start holding the agency accountable and for the intelligence community, as a whole, to stop resisting Trump’s presidency.

In the coming years, the American people need to hold the CIA accountable for activities that have no warranted place in everyday, civilian society. The agency has a role in the defense of our country and classified material is meant to be withheld; but, at what cost should the intelligence community, spearheaded by the CIA, extort the American people for a nearly blank check and force the surrendering of the constitutional 4th Amendment rights we all enjoy.

Even if it is the slightest thing that the CIA is put on blast for, it is a victory. President-elect Trump has a duty to ensure that the 4th Amendment isn’t violated any more than it already is. On Friday, he is given the “keys to the kingdom,” and he is the only line protecting the American people from even more government sanctioned tyranny. Good luck…