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This documentary presents an account of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) activities that had previously been covert, including activities in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Congo, Vietnam and Laos. The film includes interviews with CIA director Allen Dulles and Dick Bissel.
About the CIA:
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, with responsibility for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers. The CIA also oversees and sometimes engages in tactical and covert activities at the request of the President of the United States.
The CIA succeeded the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), formed in 1942 to coordinate espionage activities against the Axis Powers for the branches of the United States Armed Forces. The National Security Act of 1947 established the CIA, affording it “no police or law enforcement functions, either at home or abroad”.
The primary function of the CIA is to collect information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, and to advise public policymakers, but it does conduct tactical operations and carries out covert operations, and exerts foreign political influence through its tactical divisions, such as the Special Activities Division. Often, when field operations are organized, the U.S. military carry these operations out on behalf of the agency while the CIA oversees them. Intelligence-gathering is performed by non-military commissioned civilian intelligence agents, many of whom are trained to avoid tactical situations.
Sometimes, the CIA is referred to euphemistically in government and military parlance as Other Government Agency, particularly when its operations in a particular area are an open secret. Other terms include The Company, Langley, and The Agency.
The CIA from 1953 till 1965:
Allen Dulles, who had been a key OSS operations officer in Switzerland, became director of the CIA in 1953, at a time where U.S. policy was dominated by intense anticommunism. Dulles enjoyed a high degree of flexibility, as his brother, John Foster Dulles, was simultaneously Secretary of State.
During this period, there were numerous covert actions against left-wing movements perceived as communist. The CIA overthrew a foreign government for the first time during the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, at the request of Winston Churchill. Some of the largest operations were aimed at Cuba after the overthrow of the Batista regime, including the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961) and attempts to remove Fidel Castro from power. In 1962, there have been suggestions that the Soviet attempt to put missiles into Cuba came, indirectly, when they realized how badly they had been compromised by a U.S.-UK defector in place, Oleg Penkovsky. One of the biggest operations ever undertaken by the CIA took place in Congo in support of Mobutu Sese Seko to become president in 1965.
Science of Spying – Secrets of the CIA | Documentary | 1965