An Overview of the CIA
SECTION III: A Simple Coup d'État
to a Global Mechanism
For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light... take heed then how you hear...
A MODERN PARABLE. . . .
The jet airliner had just left the runway with the ex-president of Gandia aboard and was winging its way high over the snowballed Andes. In less than two hours it would land in the capital of Pegoan, where the ex-president had been assured of asylum and safety.
In a remote office in Washington the watch officer awaited the expected word from the agent who had arranged this flight, confirming that the departure had taken place. It was too soon to expect the collateral news that General Alfredo Elciario Illona had secured the reins of the Government of Gandia. This news he would get as soon as a second agent arrived in the capital with the new president. Desk officers had worked all night preparing releases for the news media and sending instructions to its operatives, readying them to support General Elciario's new government.
In distant Gandia all was quiet in spite of the sudden coup d'état. It may have been the quiet before the storm. For the time being all had gone well.
In the cabin of an old converted transport C47 (DC-3) General Elciario was sleeping off the effects of a heavy drinking bout, on an army style cot that had been fitted into his modest VIP airplane. As soon as the plane had landed on its return from the frontier outpost, the pilot had parked it behind the U.S. Air Force surplus World War II hangar. The General and his closest friends had not even left the plane. Their party had continued on through the night in the plane. The pilot and friend of the General, a U.S. Air Force Major, had sent the others home while he stayed until the General had slept it off.
As he tidied up the plane he recalled similar days in Greece and Iran, where he had worked as the mission commander on other exercises for "Acme Plumbing" But this was the first time that he himself had been the key agent in the making of a President. It had been hard work, and now all he could do was wait for the brilliant mountain sunrise and word from the embassy that all was well and that the city was under control. In a few hours the General would be awakened and prepared to enter the capital as the new President. Now, as he lay there on that crude cot he did not even know that the coup d'état had already taken place and that it had been completely successful.
The Major had been in Gandia for slightly more than one year. He had come to join the U.S. Air Force mission there after six months of accelerated training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He had flown little since his duty in Korea, but it had come back quickly with the intensive program the CIA had scheduled for him there. At Eglin he had learned new paradrop techniques and had worked closely with the newly formed Special Air Warfare Squadrons. One squadron had been sent to South Vietnam, another had gone to Europe, and the one he was to join had flown to Panama. There he had received further operational training exercises with the U.S. Army Special Forces troops in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Other operations had taken him on an earthquake mercy mission to Peru and a medical team paradrop exercise into a mining town in Bolivia. It was while he was in Bolivia that the western hemisphere division (WH) had contacted him through the embassy and told him to report to Gandia.
Not long after he had arrived in Gandia, he met General Elciario. The General had been working with a specially equipped transport plane doing paradrop work over the mountain forests of the eastern frontier. The General was from a leading family of Gandia and could trace his ancestry back to the days of Simon Bolivar. Yet he was proud of the fact that he was Gandian and made slight reference to his Castilian ancestry. He loved the squat, barrel-chested mountain people. He was one of them. He was a man of the people, and he was the most famous flyer in the country. He had flown serum to stricken villages during an epidemic, and he had airdropped tons of relief supplies after an earthquake. The people of the villages loved the General, even though he was not a favorite in the capital. As in most Latin American countries, the government was centered in the capital. What took place in the capital was important; what took place in the villages could be ignored. When the General was made the chief of staff of the Gandian Air Force, the old President thought he had made a safe assignment. The General was part of no clique in the city, and he was no threat to anyone.
From the first, the General and the U.S. Major got along fine. The Major preferred the men of the villages to those in the capital, and in no time at all he was popular. Wherever he went the General, too, was popular. In this remote site the Major had become the friend of everyone in the village and in the Gandian Air Force unit. The General had noticed that the units the Major worked with always seemed able to get supplies and favors, which had been hard to get before from military aid channels. The Major must have had some special influence with Washington. On the other hand, whenever the Major distributed these hard to get items, he always credited the General with getting them. This "magic" was simply a part of the long reach of the Secret Team.
The "major" was on a CIA cover assignment, and although everything he did had the appearance of normal U.S. Air Force duty, he was in Gandia to gather intelligence. He was part of a very normal inside operation. He knew who was on General Elciaro's team, and he knew who was not. He knew which elements of the government worked with the Air Force and which were aloof or antagonistic. When his routine reports, which he filed daily through his contact in the embassy and not through Air Force channels, revealed that he was getting quite close to the General, they were passed on by the Deputy Director of Intelligence to the Deputy Director of Plans, and thence to Western Hemisphere. From that date on, WH monitored all traffic to and from the "major", and from time to time would feed him special instructions and other data. WH wanted to know exactly whom the General trusted and who in the government he worked with on official matters. In Gandia as in many other countries this could mean, "Who does he share his cut of government funds with and who shares theirs with him?"
One day, General Elciario told the major of his growing displeasure with the Government of the old President. This was passed on to WH. Day by day the Major increased the scope and coverage of the civic action training exercises that the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army Special Forces troops were interested in and that gave special credit to General Elciario. He was seen everywhere with new projects to build rural schools. He was seen delivering water pipe to a remote village from an Air Force transport. His fighters roared over distant cities and towns, letting the people know that the Air Force was everywhere. General Elciario opened the new U.S. satellite tracking station, and he was at the dedication ceremony of a new U.S. mining company's mountain airfield. And everywhere the General went the Major was somewhere in the background.
The Major found ways to be helpful to the General, and he gave the General an opportunity to widen the gap between himself and his government. before long, the General was led to believe that the U.S. Government also was displeased with the old President. Although nothing was ever said, General Elciario was quite certain that if he made a move to take over the government, the U.S. Government would not make a move to support the present regime.
Note the formula: There was no commitment of any kind to support a coup d'état. On the contrary, the formula calls only for tacit agreement not to support the incumbent. As a matter of fact, the "major" had been sent to Gandia to look out for subversive insurgency. The possibility of a coup had developed quite spontaneously. And once it became a possibility, it was nurtured. As soon as the General realized this, he began to see himself as the person in power. The lure was undeniable. He began to create his own team, and he began to count his chances.
It was not long before he came to the Major with the outline of a well planned scheme that purported to see a real and immediate requirement for a big civic action exercise in a remote province. This exercise would require a special consignment of weapons, ammunition, and perhaps silver bullion to buy off some of the dissident tribesmen. General Elciario made a good case for his plan and assured the Major that the natives would be properly stirred up at the right time to make it seem to everyone that this exercise was not only the real thing for training purposes but that a government show of force in that area would help put down rampant "Communist inspired subversion" in the area. The only problem would be the weapons. The General had no way to get that much material without arousing suspicion. The incumbent government kept all munitions under close control in secured magazines. Otherwise, not a word was said about even the remote possibility of a coup d'état. But both men, the U.S. Major and the ambitious General, understood each other.
That night the messages from the embassy to WH were highly classified and loaded with instructions to include the requests for munitions and airlift. WH was quick to respond. The neighboring country, Pegoan, had been scheduled to receive a normal, large shipment of military assistance munitions. The CIA arranged to have these delivered ahead of schedule and to seed the order with extra items for General Elciario. The U.S. Air Force was directed to make available four medium transport aircraft for the Gandian Air Force's "Civic Action" timing exercise. When all was in readiness, two large C-130 heavy four engine transport planes took off from Panama, bound for Pegoan. However, they filed a devious flight plan in order to make some "upper altitude weather tests for NASA". This gave them extra time en route. They landed in Pegoan on schedule; but unknown to that Government they had touched down on a remote mountain airstrip long enough to dump off a number of pallets loaded with munitions for Gandia. The two C-130s were able to get back in the air with only a thirty minute delay and to make their scheduled arrival time at their original destination. No one knew that they had delivered this cache of arms for the rebels in Gandia.
At the barren air strip, there had been only four men, all from the USAF. They had arrived unnoticed and unannounced in one of the U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare U10 "Helio" light aircraft. This rugged light plane was especially designed to land in short distances on rough terrain. Yet it could carry six men, or four men and a cargo of special equipment. These men had set up panel signals to show the C-130s where to land. Then they had driven a number of heavy crowbars into the ground. To each one they affixed the loop end of a long nylon rope with a hook at the end. As soon as the first C-130 had landed, they directed it to turn around and open its huge rear end cargo doors. The lines were passed in to the crew and attached to pallets on which ammunition was firmly strapped. Then, as the C-130 gunned its engines for takeoff, the ropes pulled each pallet out of the plane and left a string of cargo on one side of the clearing. The process was repeated with the other C-130 on the other side of the clearing. No sooner had the C-130s left than four smaller C-123 medium transports arrived from Gandia, flying low over the mountain ridges to escape detection. The first plane landed short and spun around ready for take-off. It carried a small forklift unit that was used to load all four planes. The whole operation had taken less than an hour, and just before the four men left in their Helio, one of them drove the forklift over the cliff at the edge of the runway. The C-123s hedgehopped to the remote airfield in preparation for the civic action exercise.
Two U.S. Army Special Forces "advisers", working with the tribes in the exercise area, staged a pre-dawn "attack" using "fire fight" packages, along with a team of Gandian Army Special Forces who were told that they were on a training exercise.
The villagers were told this was a hostile attack, and the chieftain dutifully reported subversive insurgency to the district police headquarters in the nearest town. News spread to the capital, and this sector was reported to be in rebellion. General Elciario's field headquarters reported they would put down the trouble and that all would be under control. The increased activity was overlooked in the capital as one of those occasional native outbreaks. Then, under the cover of this "emergency", the incumbent government was served with an ultimatum. A well armed force of paratroopers disembarked at the main airport and began to take over the national radio station and other government centers. Since they were heavily armed, the president assumed that they included men upon whom he had relied and who had keys to the ammunition magazines. He called in his United States CIA friend who "reluctantly" confirmed that this was the case and that safe passage could be arranged for the president and his immediate family in a Fawcett Airlines plane, which "happened" to be at the airport. In a matter of hours, the old president was on his way, and a courier drove onto the Gandian Air Force Base to inform the Major that he could prepare Elciario for his victory march into the capital and to the Presidential Palace.
Elciario served his country for several years, and he may have been replaced in the same manner. Meanwhile the "major" has left for other duties. If the General had had the opportunity to visit the Guatemalan airfield, which was constructed on the ranch at Retalhuleu for the purpose of training Cuban air crews, he would have seen his old friend the "major" busy with those ex-Cuban airline pilots, trying to teach them how to fly the latest and most lethal model of the old B-26. Or he could have seen the "major" a while later at his primary support base in Arizona, where T-28s and other aircraft were being outfitted for Laos. Such men are members of a small and highly competent group of professionals who prepare the way for the operations dreamed up by the ST in any part of the world.
The real day to day operational work of the ST and of its principle action organization, the CIA, is so different from that of any ordinary arm of the Government that it would be worth the time and space here to define it and explain it as it is revealed in the scenes just outlined. The coup d'état described was a composite of real ones although the names of the countries involved and the name of the General are changed. Oddly enough, the General did become president after an all night party, and the "major" did have his hands full trying to get him ready for his victorious entry into town.
The CIA had a full-time man in the embassy who was responsible for what might be called routine intelligence. It was noted that there was increasing opposition to the incumbent President, so an Agency man was introduced into the country as an Army Colonel. He was a Special Forces officer and well known in the U.S. Army as an instructor at Fort Bragg. Actually, he had been at Fort Bragg in the John F. Kennedy Center on a CIA cover assignment. He had been in the Army during World War II and he had a bona fide Reserve commission. Technically, he was recalled to active duty; but he was paid by the CIA, and he was not on the basic Army roles except as a cover assignment.
When this special requirement in Gandia arose, the CIA got him transferred to the Army mission in Gandia by suggesting that the incumbent Army colonel be called back to attend the National War College. This excuse satisfied the Army headquarters in Panama and enabled the "cover" colonel to take over the mission without delay.
No sooner had this Colonel reported for duty than the ambassador began a buildup program for him so that he would have a chance to meet the president frequently and to talk with him sufficiently to win him over to the U.S. Army doctrine on civic action and to convince him that this could be applied to the "rebellious" areas in the border outposts. In this manner he became a confidant of the president and was very useful later during the coup d'état.
At about the same time that the "Army Colonel" arrived in Gandia, an American businessman, who was president of a small independent airline with its main offices in Panama, came into the capital city to open a one-man office to represent his airline. He rented a small space at the airport and hired a clerk and a young mamma who had been working with the well known Latin American airline, Fawcett Airways. Ostensibly to assure the success of his new venture, this man remained in Gandia for several months and visited all major companies in an attempt to sell them special air services which his company, by using small aircraft and one or two old World War II Flying Boat PBYs, could provide for them. He became a regular figure in town and was accepted as a hardworking, friendly businessman who knew Latin America and who could speak fluent Spanish. Otherwise, he stayed in the background and was rarely seen in the official American community. He seemed to know no one at the embassy, and they were never seen with him. He was gathering intelligence, and he was an old professional. He had a drop for routine messages, which the Agency communications man sent through the special CIA transmitter in the embassy; but even the CIA people in Gandia did not know that he had his own network for highly classified messages out of Pegoan. He would fly there frequently, so that when he had important messages his sudden departure would not be noticed by the Gandians or the Americans.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force "major" had been introduced through Air Force channels. He was technically an "overage" in Gandia and was carried on temporary duty status there for the duration of the civic action exercises, which were scheduled to last throughout the year. He was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare unit in Panama. He was a longtime CIA employee who had served in many countries and was one of their best career pilots and blackflight specialists.
Although firm intelligence had shown the possibility that the old president was apt to be overthrown because of incipient developments, there were no reliable indications which would identify a possible successor. This left the Agency with the option of waiting to see who might rise to power by his own ability, or of stepping in with an attempt to create a man who could take over when the president's position became dangerously weakened. The former choice was poor because it left the door open for other interests, always considered to be Castroite or Communist, to step in with their own man. Since the Agency believed the fall of the present government to be about as certain as such a thing can be, it was decided to use the "Magsaysay formula" and to create the next president by making him the hero of the people throughout the country as a first step. It would be the job of the major to groom the man they had selected for the role.
The "major" did not know the American businessman who was president of the small airline, and had never come across him during his Agency career. The airline president did not know him either. The Agency planned to keep them working independently so that it could cross-check their reports. The "major" had met the Army Colonel during airdrop exercises at Fort Bragg, but he thought he was a real Army Special Forces instructor and did not know that he, too, was a CIA career man. The Agency gave him clearance to work with the Colonel very closely and cleared the Colonel similarly. The "major" did not know of the Colonel's role with the old President and the Colonel did not know the "major's" assignment. Each man was to play his role straight.
The ambassador was fully informed of the Agency's plan, since he was the recipient of its secret intelligence reports, and he knew that one of the men in his communications room was an Agency man. He had never made an attempt to determine which man it was because he thought his charge d'affaires knew; also, it would be better for him to keep his fingers out of that kind of thing. He did not know that the "major", the Colonel, and the airline president were CIA men. He did not see their message traffic, although the Agency took pains to make sure that he received "cleaned" copies of their dispatches, which he assumed had been culled from attach reports and other more or less normal sources. The ambassador was not interested in intelligence; he had been in the country only one year, and if he could keep things calm, he hoped to be transferred at the end of the second year. He was a political appointee and not a career man.
The "major" spent a considerable amount of time setting up elaborate civic action exercises in all areas of the country. These were staged like carnivals, and at the climax of every operation, General Elciario would fly in and address the village and local tribesmen. There had been a few native uprisings, and some operations were directed into those areas to impress the villagers with the power of the new air force. The "major" found a few villages that lived in fear of bandit tribes. Here he took a page from the Magsaysay book and rigged some early morning "attacks" by what he called the Red team. These attacks were always repulsed by a Blue team, which just happened to be in the area. In every case, Elciario would show up leading the victorious "anti-guerrillas". The unwitting natives took this as the real thing, and the fame of General Elciario as the greatest guerrilla fighter since Simon Bolivar spread throughout the country.
This kind of script calls for the utilization of equipment "borrowed" from the U.S. Armed Forces, along with personnel to carry out such missions. It also calls for the liberal use of a blank checkbook, which the General is urged to use to win over those who might be useful.
Up to this stage of the action, most of what the CIA has been doing falls in the category of intelligence, with only a preparatory stage of clandestine operations. As its agents report a worsening position for the old President and general disillusionment on the part of key businessmen and other leaders, along with a growing national awareness of General Elciario, WH puts together the outline of a proposed operation to be briefed to the DD/P (clandestine services) and thence to the DCI. Following this briefing, and with the approval of these men, the Agency will brief selected key people in Defense and State to see how they feel about the situation and whether or not they are ready to see a change of government in Gandia.
Throughout this period, the Agency will have been sending special messages to its man in the embassy. He will use these to brief the ambassador, or perhaps to have the Army Colonel brief the ambassador to guide him in this situation. Some of the very messages the Agency will have sent to Gandia will come back over the embassy network as intelligence input, and at the same time will be transmitted by the attaches to the Defense Department. Thus a wave of messages, all corroborating one another, will fill the "In" baskets in State, Defense, and the White House. In his role as intelligence coordinator the DCI will prepare his own analysis of all of this and will prepare to place this business on the agenda of the next NSC Special Group meeting; he will present the current situation only, and propose a special operation.
By this time, the Agency and a number of the Secret Team operatives will have just about decided that the only thing to do in Gandia is to go along with General Elciario and permit him to exploit the situation. They will have convinced themselves that if the government is that shaky in the first place, they had better be on the winning side rather than on the "Communists". A special group meeting will be held, and the designated substitute for each NSC member will attend. The consensus of the meeting will be to go ahead with the "major's" program but to hold up until each member has had an opportunity to inform his principal of the action.
The DCI will offer to visit the President and will get his approval; this makes the visit to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense purely informational.
This account of developments may seem somewhat unreal. Anyone who has carefully read the Pentagon Papers will recognize most of the above. In fact, most people who have read the Pentagon Papers will see that this is what was done in the case of the Diems in South Vietnam. The significant point is that the CIA may have sent the "major" to Gandia in the first place simply to see how things were going there and perhaps to have him ready for action in a neighboring country if needed. But the "major" is an old firehorse, and when he hears the bell, he cannot help getting into harness. The scenario is somewhat like the movie Fahrenheit 451, in which the firemen were the men who started fires rather than the men who put them out.
It is so easy to topple over a government in most small countries simply by finding the key to control. If all arms and equipment are kept under close control, then the armed forces and the police have few useful weapons at any given time. Thus, if the leader of the rebellion all of a sudden shows up with a large and unaccounted for supply of weapons, he may be able to take the government over without a shot, simply by the fact that he has them outgunned before they start. Thus it is not too difficult for a man with boundless resources such as the "major" could command to be able to arrange things almost effortlessly. At that point, all he has to know, and all the man he is supporting has to know, is that the United States will not make a move to support the incumbent. Then, when the tide begins to turn, the incumbent finds himself alone with no one in a position to help him. Like so many things the ST does, this is more a negative coup d'état than a positive action.
It is not to be presumed that a program such as this can be fully implemented in a short time, or that it is set in motion with the objective of causing and supporting a coup d'état. As a matter of fact, the characteristic of the ST that supersedes all others in such a situation as this is that events should take their natural course, with some covert help.
A document that was circulated from the CIA through other government agencies and extra governmental organizations such as the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Defense Analysis shows how this is done. Once a country is included on the "counterinsurgency" list, or any other such category, a move is made to develop a CIA echelon, usually within the structure of whatever U.S. military organization exists there at the time. Then the CIA operation begins Phase I by proposing the introduction of some rather conventional aircraft. No developing country can resist such an offer, and this serves to create a base of operations, usually in a remote and potentially hostile area. While the aircraft program is getting started the Agency will set up a high frequency radio network, using radios positioned in villages throughout the host country. The local inhabitants are told that these radios will provide a warning of guerrilla activity.
Phase II of such a project calls for the introduction of medium transport type aircraft that meet anti-guerrilla warfare support requirements. The crew training program continues, and every effort is made to develop an in-house maintenance capability. As the level of this activity increases, more and more Americans are brought in, ostensibly as instructors and advisers; at this phase many of the Americans are Army Special Forces personnel who begin civic action programs. The country is sold the idea that it is the Army in most developing nations that is the usual stabilizing influence and that it is the Army that can be trusted. This is the American doctrine; promoting the same idea, but in other words, it is a near paraphrase of the words of Chairman Mao.
In the final phase of this effort, light transports and liaison type aircraft are introduced to be used for border surveillance, landing in remote areas, and for resupplying small groups of anti-guerrilla warfare troops who are operating away from fixed bases. These small specialized aircraft are usually augmented by helicopters.
When the plan has developed this far, efforts are made to spread the program throughout the frontier area of the country. Villagers are encouraged to clear off small runways or helicopter landing pads, and more warning network radios are brought into remote areas.
While this work is continuing, the government is told that these activities will develop their own military capability and that there will be a bonus economic benefit from such development, each complementing the other. It also makes the central government able to contact areas in which it may never have been able to operate before, and it will serve as a tripwire warning system for any real guerrilla activities that may arise in the area.
There is no question that this whole political economic social program sounds very nice, and most host governments have taken the bait eagerly. What they do not realize, and in many cases what most of the U.S. Government does not realize, is that this is a CIA program, and it exists to develop intelligence. If it stopped there, it might be acceptable but intelligence serves as its own propellant, and before long the agents working on this type of project see, or perhaps are a factor in creating, internal dissension. Or they may find areas of ancient border contacts, or they may run into some legitimate probing and prodding from a neighboring country, which may or may not have its origins in Moscow, just as our program had its origins in Washington. In any event, the intelligence operator at this point begins to propose operations, and use clandestine operations lead to minor "Vietnams" or other such bleeding ulcer type projects that drain United States resources, wealth, and manpower on behalf of no meaningful national objective.
The CIA maintains hundreds of U.S. military units for its own purposes. Many of these units become involved in this type of operation. After these cover units have been in existence for several years, the military has a hard time keeping track of them. The military system is prone to try to ignore such abnormalities, and the CIA capitalizes on this to bury some units deep in the military wasteland.
The CIA also maintains countless paramilitary and pseudobusiness organizations that weave in and out of legitimacy and do business much as their civilian counterparts would. The small airline alluded to in the Gandia example actually exists and very capably operates in Latin America. It operates as a viable business and competes with other airlines of its type. The only difference is that the officials of the other airlines, who have a hard time meeting the payroll at times, wonder how their competition is able to stay in business year after year with no more volume than they have. At such a point, most of the competition will rationalize that the cover airline must be in some illegitimate business like smuggling and the drug trade, or else that it is connected with the CIA. They could be right on both counts. Most of these cover businesses have to be closed out and reestablished from time to time to support their usefulness. (It may be interesting to note that in September 1963, none other than the Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, got mixed up with one of these cover airlines, Fairways Incorporated, without knowing it, and that the exposure resulting from his accidental charter of this small airline played a part in bringing down his house of cards.
Part of the Gandia coup d'état demonstrates that the ambassador will be briefed on most things that happen in his country, and if he is alert and insistent, he may be on top of most of the things the ST is doing there. In actual practice, however, there may be quite a bit of communications traced that he will know nothing about. The CIA will have its own communications network, and in addition to that, agents who come and go will be sending messages outside of the country that he may never know about. It would be an unusually adept ambassador who would catch all of the by-play in the incoming messages and the outgoing traffic. Most ambassadors would be surprised to learn that some of the staff messages that are proposed to them for authorization to transmit were received from the ST almost verbatim in the form which his "staff" have given him to send back to Washington. This is a useful device for the ST because it gets a message of unquestioned authority from the ambassador into the Department of State and usually into Defense via attach channels.
By this innocent appearing device, the ST is able to create intelligence inputs that are then used for clandestine operations feedback. This becomes a possible ploy, because the Team can separate the people who know about the outgoing messages from those who know about the incoming messages by the "need to know" and "eyes only" restrictive methods. Such methods are not commonly used, but they are used when someone on the ST feels that the desired end will justify this means.
In this example we saw that the Agency had operatives working in Gandia who were unaware of each other's presence. It is entirely possible that the ambassador may not have known either that all of the CIA men working on this project were CIA men. He would have had available to him a list of all Americans in Gandia if he had wanted to research it; but in operational exercises such as this, it is most likely that he would not know all the agents. This is a most touchy area, and there have been times when the CIA's own chief of station, its senior man in the country, was not aware of the fact that other CIA men were working in his country. This can create some very complex problems. In one case of record it resulted in a very serious altercation between two CIA factions, with the result that the chief of station demanded that the other men leave or that he would leave. In that instance, the chief of station left.
Another way the ST gets around the special operative problem is to employ non U.S. citizens to assist in countries where an overscrupulous ambassador or cautious chief of station have given trouble. A number of such personnel have been used by the CIA in Indochina in a variety of roles, and in some exceptional cases, they have been used on special assignments in Latin America.
The Gandia incident shows another special facility in the hands of the ST. In order to equip General Elciario with an abundance of arms and ammunition, the CIA arranged with the Air Force to airlift these munitions to a remote site. In order to do this the two large C-130 aircraft had to depart from the U.S. Air Force base in Panama with cargo manifests that showed only the actual cargo that was being delivered to the final destination in the capital of Pegoan. This meant that a deal had to be made with customs in order to get out of Panama. The landing in Pegoan had to be clandestine, and the chance of discovery had to be gambled. There have been incidents where such illicit cargo drops were made and then discovered before they could be picked up. In such cases, the cargo had to be abandoned, and the finder was so much the richer; the U.S. Government could not make a move to identify itself as owner of the property.
The pickup flights also had to be clandestine in that they left Gandia and entered Pegoan without clearance or flight plan, made their landing, pickup, and return with no manifested cargo in Gandia. This part of the operation may not seem important, but should there have been exposure of any of those illicit flights, it could have led to exposure of the entire plot, and a coup d'état by the opposite side may have taken place or the old President may have had sufficient warning to take strong measures to remain in power. Certainly if he did learn of this business, he would no longer be a friend of the United States.
We have mentioned the Magsaysay incident before. The way in which the ST was able to build up Magsaysay from an unknown Army captain to a national hero and eventually to president was so appealing that the technique has been attempted in other countries. One of the gambles with that game is that a situation has to be developed, preferably in some remote area where it can be alleged that there is a pro-Communist activity -- in the case in point, Huk (Communist sympathizers) activities. In the beginning there may be an incipient outbreak of banditry caused by crop damage or other hardship. The natives will attack other villages for food and other plunder, usually for the sole purpose of staying alive. As this situation continues and spreads it will come to the attention of the national police or the border patrol. They may not have the means to cope with the uprising and may ask the government to help them. At this point the armed forces may recall their civic action training at Fort Bragg or in Panama and they may ask the U.S. military mission personnel to assist them. No country likes to admit that it has some internal problems, so they quite readily call the banditry "subversive insurgency" and imply that it may be Communist-inspired.
This puts the flame to the wick. Nothing will get a rise out of Special Forces -- both Army and Air Force -- faster. In short order they will be on the spot to see what can be done, and in every case the CIA will have men seeded in the units. At this point this is still a CIA effort, and it may stay in that category as far as the ST is concerned until the disorders have receded or have flared higher. Usually, the breakpoint occurs when it is discovered that the rioting is being blamed upon the incumbent administration. Then the CIA looks for the possibility of a coup, from there on it is the familiar pattern. Such events -- and there have been so many during the past fifteen to twenty years -- show how easily intelligence becomes clandestine operations, and how clandestine operations are usually the result of a reaction or a response mechanism and are not a part of any planning or policy.
This is the great danger. The leaders of CIA and important members of the ST have protested countless times that the CIA does not enter into policy making. In this they are correct on most counts. The problem lies in the fact that they are not policy making, and on top of that, the operations they carry out are not in support of policy, either. They simply grow like Topsy, arising out of a feedback from intelligence data inputs; in some cases there is no reason at all for the action. In other words, there may be no national objective other than the loose coverall or blanket observation that the operation is anti-Communist.
Another special area in which the ST excels is that of logistics support of clandestine operations. They always seem to operate out of a boundless horn of plenty. In the Gandia example, the CIA was able to call for and have delivered a large quantity of munitions, and to have it delivered in heavy aircraft, all of which cost someone a lot of money. We shall have a general discussion of logistics support in a later chapter and will not go unto detail here, but it should be noted that it is one thing to be able to move such a cargo in and out of various countries without customs and other controls, and it is another thing to get the cargo in the first place. Most of us have been led to believe that the Armed Forces are required to account for each and every item they have procured with the taxpayer's dollar. Then how does the CIA manage to get so much, so easily? All munitions have to be transferred from control depots to transportation points, and all such transactions are under control and regulation. To get around this, the ST has developed a system of its own storage depots and has them so interlaced with the military system that not even the military can track down some of the transactions.
These transactions are often written off with the comment, "It's all in the government"; but there is one area of imbalance that adds appreciably to the cost of such extracurricular activities. In the foreign aid program, there are very careful balances in aid maintained between different countries, especially neighboring countries or countries in the same sphere of influence. If we give one country a new series of Army tanks, then we must be prepared to give the neighbor the same. This will repeat itself like a row of dominoes, and the next thing we know we have to re-equip a whole series of countries with the newer equipment, because we started with one. This situation is expensive, and it is hard to control. A delivery to Pakistan of equipment not delivered to India will set off a most unpleasant round of talks with India. During India's border problems in 196~., offers were made to deliver a large shipment of arms to India. Although Pakistan was also involved to a lesser degree in the border problem, this was forgotten in the argument over the imbalance which the former delivery would create between India and Pakistan. In the end, Pakistan did increase its contact with China and became less friendly to the United States.
This system is very complicated and few would have the temerity to interfere with it. However, the CIA has from time to time created situations where munitions delivered to one country, ostensibly for a clandestine operation have ended up in the hands of the central government and have created a gross imbalance within the same sphere. An example of this occurred after the Bay of Pigs operation, when Nicaragua took possession of aircraft and other valuable munitions that had been stockpiled at Puerto Cabezas and had not been used. The advanced model of the B-26 bomber being prepared for the use of the Cubans was a much more lethal aircraft than any neighbor of Nicaragua had in its own inventory. This set off a whole round of arguments about increasing the aircraft inventory of the other countries. Though these examples are limited and incomplete, they serve to point out the nature of clandestine operations.
The principle reason why the creation of the CIA within the framework of our free society has caused very serious problems is because the intelligence function, as it has been operating under the DCI and the rest of the community, almost inevitably leads to clandestine operations. The law intended otherwise, but general practice during the past twenty-five years has served to erode the barriers between Intelligence and clandestine operations to the point where today this type of thing, unfortunately, has become rather commonplace. And why has it become so commonplace? The most basic reason is because nations' ills of all kinds are highlighted by instant global communications and then are generally attributed to the Communist bogeyman. This is not to say, of course, that some ills may not be caused by Communist pressures, just as some are caused by American pressures. (In fact, the benefits of being charged with so many actions are so tremendous for the men in the Kremlin that they would be less than skillful if they did not stir up a few obvious cases now and then to keep the pot boiling. When a small contribution to the effort in Indochina on the part of the men in the Kremlin can get fifty-five thousand Americans killed and $200 billion wasted versus no Russians killed and only a few billion dollars invested, the Kremlin cannot be blamed for using this tactic to its advantage.)
In the Philippines, lumbering interests and major sugar interests have forced tens of thousands of simple, backward villagers to leave areas where they have lived for centuries. When these poor people flee to other areas, it should be quite obvious that they in turn then infringe upon the territorial rights of other villagers or landowners. This creates violent rioting or at least sporadic outbreaks of banditry, that last lowly recourse of dying and terrorized people. Then when the distant government learns of the banditry and rioting, it must offer some safe explanation. The last thing that regional government would want to do would be to say that the huge lumbering or paper interests had driven the people out of their ancestral homeland. In the Philippines it is customary for the local regional government to get a 10 percent rake-off on all such enterprise and for national politicians to get another 10 percent. So the safe explanation becomes "Communist-inspired subversive insurgency". The word for this in the Philippines is Huk.
In the piece of real estate we now call South Vietnam, the refugee problem that resulted in rioting and incipient banditry was derived from three sources. The huge French rubber plantation holdings and lumbering interests, the mass movement of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese from north of the 17th parallel, and the complete collapse of the ancient rice economy, which included the destruction of potable water resources during the early years of the Diem regime -- all came at about the same time to create a terroristic situation among millions of people in what would otherwise have been their ancestral homeland. Again this was attributed to subversive insurgency inspired by Communism.
This is a familiar formula in Latin America, too, and is found to be at the root of the problem in the emerging nations of Africa. In following chapters we shall see how the new U.S. Army doctrine that has been developed at the White House by a special Presidential committee is designed expressly to meet such situations and to create in those countries a military center of power bracketing all political-economic and social activity.
In the context of "Army" policy this committee's two major contributors and authors were both U.S. military generals who were actually the spokesmen for the CIA. The policy that they developed has become the CIA's most effective tool during the "Counterinsurgency era", which began in about 1960-61.
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