February 5, 2023





The Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner[1] accuses the CIA of covert actions and human rights abuses.  Intelligence expert David Wise concluded: “Legacy of Ashes succeeds as both journalism and history, and it is must reading for anyone interested in the CIA or American intelligence since World War II.”[3] The CIA itself has responded to the claims made in Weiner’s book, and has described it as “a 600-page op-ed piece masquerading as serious history.”[4]

Related: Project Mockingbird

In 1969, at the height of the antiwar movement in the US, CIA Director Helms received a message from Henry Kissinger ordering him to spy on the leaders of the groups requesting a moratorium on Vietnam. “Since 1962, three successive presidents had ordered the director of central intelligence to spy on Americans.[5]

Extraordinary rendition:

Further information: Extraordinary renditionBlack site, and Rendition aircraftThe US Senate Report on CIA Detention Interrogation Program that details the use of torture during CIA detention and interrogation.

Extraordinary rendition is the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one country to another.[6]

The term “torture by proxy” is used by some critics to describe situations in which the CIA[7][8][9][10] and other US agencies have transferred suspected terrorists to countries known to employ torture, whether they meant to enable torture or not. It has been claimed, though, that torture has been employed with the knowledge or acquiescence of US agencies (a transfer of anyone to anywhere for the purpose of torture is a violation of US law), although Condoleezza Rice (then the United States Secretary of State) stated that:

the United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured. Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured.[11]

Whilst the Obama administration has tried to distance itself from some of the harshest counterterrorism techniques, it has also said that at least some forms of renditions will continue.[12] The administration continued to allow rendition only “to a country with jurisdiction over that individual (for prosecution of that individual)” when there is a diplomatic assurance “that they will not be treated inhumanely.”[13][14]

The US program has also prompted several official investigations in Europe into alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states. A June 2006 report from the Council of Europe estimated 100 people had been kidnapped by the CIA on EU territory (with the cooperation of Council of Europe members), and rendered to other countries, often after having transited through secret detention centres (“black sites“) used by the CIA, some located in Europe. According to the separate European Parliament report of February 2007, the CIA has conducted 1,245 flights, many of them to destinations where suspects could face torture, in violation of article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.[15]

Following the September 11 attacks the United States, in particular the CIA, has been accused of rendering hundreds of people suspected by the government of being terrorists—or of aiding and abetting terrorist organisations—to third-party states such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. Such “ghost detainees” are kept outside judicial oversight, often without ever entering US territory, and may or may not ultimately be devolved to the custody of the United States.[16][17]

On October 4, 2001, a secret arrangement was made in Brussels, by all members of NATOLord George Robertson, British defence secretary and later NATO’s secretary-general, would later explain that NATO members agree to provide “blanket overflight clearances for the United States and other allies’ aircraft for military flights related to operations against terrorism.”[18]

Security failures:

Critics assert that funding the Afghan mujahideen (Operation Cyclone) played a role in causing the September 11 attacks.

On December 30, 2009, a suicide attack occurred in the Forward Operating Base Chapman attack in the province of Khost, Afghanistan. Seven CIA officers, including the chief of the base, were killed and six others seriously wounded in the attack.[19]

Counterintelligence failures:

Perhaps the most disruptive period involving counterintelligence was James Jesus Angleton’s search for a mole,[20] based on the statements of a Soviet defector, Anatoliy Golitsyn. A second defector, Yuri Nosenko, challenged Golitsyn’s claims, with the two calling one another Soviet double agents.[21] Many CIA officers fell under career-ending suspicion; the details of the relative truths and untruths from Nosenko and Golitsyn may never be released, or, in fact, may not be fully understood. The accusations also crossed the Atlantic to the British intelligence services, which also were damaged by molehunts.[22]

Edward Lee HowardDavid Henry Barnett, both field operations officers sold secrets to Russia, and William Kampiles, a low-level worker in the CIA 24-hour Operations Center. Kampiles sold the Soviets the detailed operational manual for the KH-11 reconnaissance satellite.[23]

Human rights abuses:

Main article: Human rights violations by the CIASee also: Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA tortureOperation Condor participants. Green: active members. Blue: collaborator (United States).

The CIA has been called into question for, at times, using torture, funding and training of groups and organizations that would later participate in killing of civilians and other non-combatants and would try or succeed in overthrowing democratically elected governments, human experimentation, and targeted killings and assassinations. The CIA has also been accused of a lack of financial and whistleblower controls which has led to waste and fraud.[24]

During Bush‘s year in charge of the CIA, the U.S. national security apparatus actively supported Operation Condor operations and right-wing military dictatorships in Latin America.[25][26] According to John Dinges, author of The Condor Years (The New Press 2003), documents released in 2015 revealed a CIA report dated April 28, 1978 that showed the agency by then had knowledge that U.S.-backed Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet ordered the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a leading political opponent living in exile in the United States.[27]

The Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the non-profit organization Open Society Foundations reviewed public records into the medical professions alleging complicity in the abuse of prisoners suspected of terrorism who were held in U.S. custody during the years after 9/11.”[28][29] The reports found that health professionals “Aided cruel and degrading interrogations; Helped devise and implement practices designed to maximize disorientation and anxiety so as to make detainees more malleable for interrogation; and Participated in the application of excruciatingly painful methods of force-feeding of mentally competent detainees carrying out hunger strikes” are not all that surprising.[28] Medical professionals were sometimes used at black sites to monitor detainee health.[30] Whether or not the physicians were compelled is an open question.

Other human rights issues that are controversial include the case of Edward Snowden.[31][32][33] However, the significance of human right does not fall into this case regarding whether Snowden received his fair trial or not. Rather, the human rights associated with the Snowden leaks are regarding the types of document Snowden released. Snowden released a significant amount of information on the U.S. government’s surveillance program of its citizens[34][35][36][37] to The Washington Post as well as foreign news reporters.

Particularly, “between on or about June 5, 2013, and June 9, 2013, classified information was published on the internet and in print by multiple newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Guardian. The articles and internet postings by The Washington Post and The Guardian included classified documents that were marked TOP SECRET. The Washington Post and The Guardian later revealed that SNOWDEN was the principal source for the classified information on or about June 9, 2013, in a videotaped interview with The Guardian, admitted that he was the person who illegally provided those documents to reporters. Evidence indicates that SNOWDEN had access to the classified documents in question; accessed those documents; and, subsequently, provided those documents to media outlets without authorization and in violation of U.S. law.”[31]Declassified FBI report that reads: “Our confidential source ascertained (…) that the bombing of the Cubana Airlines DC-8 was planned, in part, in Caracas, Venezuela, at two meetings attended by Morales Navarrete, Luis Posada Carriles and Frank Castro”.[38]

Furthermore, the leaks included documents at many levels of the National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance activities. “The Snowden leaks have generated broad public debate over issues of security, privacy, and legality inherent in the NSA’s surveillance of communications by American citizens. The records include: White House and ODNI efforts to explain, justify, and defend the programs; Correspondence between outside critics and executive branch officials; Fact sheets and white papers distributed (and sometimes later withdrawn) by the government; Key laws and court decisions (both Supreme Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court); Documents on the Total Information Awareness (later Terrorist Information Awareness, or TIA) program, an earlier proposal for massive data collection Manuals on how to exploit the Internet for intelligence.”[39]

External investigations and document releases:

Main article: Official reports by the U.S. Government on the CIA

Several investigations led by the Church Committee, Rockefeller Commission and Pike Committee have been conducted about the CIA, and many documents have been declassified.[40]

Influencing public opinion and law enforcement:

See also: CIA influence on public opinionCIA and the mediaCIA in fiction, and Robertson Panel

The CIA sometimes finds itself in conflict with other parts of the government when there is disagreement over the legality of specific covert programs. There is always the risk that one part of the government may make the covert operations of another part of the government public.[41]

CIA’s recruitment of Nazis:

Aleksandras Lileikis, a Nazi unit commander who oversaw the murder of 60,000 Jews in Lithuania, later worked for the CIA.[42]See also: U.S. intelligence involvement with German and Japanese war criminals after World War IIOperation BloodstoneRatlines (World War II aftermath), and Carmel Offie

In 2014, The New York Times reported that “In the decades after World War II, the C.I.A. and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show.”[43]

According to Timothy Naftali, “The CIA’s central concern [in recruiting former Nazi collaborators] was not so much the extent of the criminal’s guilt as the likelihood that the agent’s criminal past could remain a secret.”[44]:365

Drug trafficking:

Main articles: CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities and Allegations of CIA drug trafficking

Two offices of CIA Directorate of Analysis have analytical responsibilities in this area. The Office of Transnational Issues[45] applies unique functional expertise to assess existing and emerging threats to U.S. national security and provides the most senior U.S. policymakers, military planners, and law enforcement with analysis, warning, and crisis support.

CIA Crime and Narcotics Center[46] researches information on international narcotics trafficking and organized crime for policymakers and the law enforcement community. Since CIA has no domestic police authority, it sends its analytic information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other law enforcement organizations, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury (OFAC).

Another part of CIA, the Directorate of Operations, collects human intelligence (HUMINT) in these areas.

Research by Dr. Alfred W. McCoyGary Webb, and others has pointed to CIA involvement in narcotics trafficking across the globe, although the CIA officially denies such allegations.[47][39]

Lying to Congress:

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has stated that the CIA repeatedly misled Congress since 2001 about waterboarding and other torture, though Pelosi admitted to being told about the programs.[48][49] Six members of Congress have claimed that Director of the CIA Leon Panetta admitted that over a period of several years since 2001 the CIA deceived Congress, including affirmatively lying to Congress.[50] Some Members of Congress believe that these lies to Congress are similar to CIA lies to Congress from earlier periods.[51]

Wikipedia editing:

In 2007, the now defunct database Wikiscanner revealed that computers from the CIA had been used to edit articles on the English Wikipedia, including the Iraq War article in 2003, and the article on former CIA executive director William Colby. A spokeswomen for Wikipedia said in response that the changes may violate the encyclopedia‘s conflict-of-interest guidelines. CIA spokesman George Little said that he could not confirm if CIA computers were used to make the changes, claiming that “the agency always expects its computer systems to be used responsibly.”[52]

Covert programs hidden from Congress:

On July 10, 2009, House Intelligence subcommittee Chairwoman Representative Jan Schakowsky (D, IL) announced the termination of an unnamed CIA covert program described as “very serious” in nature which had been kept secret from Congress for eight years.[53]It is not as if this was an oversight and over the years it just got buried. There was a decision under several directors of the CIA and administration not to tell the Congress.

Jan Schakowsky, Chairwoman, U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Subcommittee

CIA Director Panetta had ordered an internal investigation to determine why Congress had not been informed about the covert program. Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Representative Silvestre Reyes announced that he is considering an investigation into alleged CIA violations of the National Security Act, which requires with limited exception that Congress be informed of covert activities. Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Schakowsky indicated that she would forward a request for congressional investigation to HPSCI Chairman Silvestre Reyes.”Director Panetta did brief us two weeks ago—I believe it was on the 24th of June—… and, as had been reported, did tell us that he was told that the vice president had ordered that the program not be briefed to the Congress.”

Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

As mandated by Title 50 of the United States Code Chapter 15, Subchapter III, when it becomes necessary to limit access to covert operations findings that could affect vital interests of the U.S., as soon as possible the President must report at a minimum to the Gang of Eight (the leaders of each of the two parties from both the Senate and House of Representatives, and the chairs and ranking members of both the Senate Committee and House Committee for intelligence).[54] The House is expected to support the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill including a provision that would require the President to inform more than 40 members of Congress about covert operations. The Obama administration threatened to veto the final version of a bill that included such a provision.[55] On July 16, 2008, the fiscal 2009 Intelligence Authorization Bill was approved by House majority containing stipulations that 75% of money sought for covert actions would be held until all members of the House Intelligence panel were briefed on sensitive covert actions. Under the George W. Bush administration, senior advisers to the President issued a statement indicating that if a bill containing this provision reached the President, they would recommend that he veto the bill.[56]

The program was rumored vis-à-vis leaks made by anonymous government officials on July 23, to be an assassinations program,[57][58] but this remains unconfirmed. “The whole committee was stunned. I think this is as serious as it gets,” stated Anna Eshoo, Chairman, Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management, U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).

Allegations by Director Panetta indicate that details of a secret counterterrorism program were withheld from Congress under orders from former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. This prompted Senators Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to insist that no one should go outside the law.[59] “The agency has not discussed publicly the nature of the effort, which remains classified,” said agency spokesman Paul Gimigliano.[60]

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing former intelligence officials familiar with the matter, that the program was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al-Qaeda operatives.[61]

Intelligence Committee investigation:

On July 17, 2009, the House Intelligence Committee said it was launching a formal investigation into the secret program.[62] Representative Silvestre Reyes announced the probe will look into “whether there was any past decision or direction to withhold information from the committee”.”Is giving your kid a test in school an inhibition on his free learning?” Holt said. “Sure, there are some people who are happy to let intelligence agencies go about their business unexamined. But I think most people when they think about it will say that you will get better intelligence if the intelligence agencies don’t operate in an unexamined fashion.”

Rush Holt, Chairman, House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, Committee on Appropriations[63]

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D, IL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, who called for the investigation, stated that the investigation was intended to address CIA failures to inform Congress fully or accurately about four issues: C.I.A. involvement in the downing of a missionary plane mistaken for a narcotics flight in Peru in 2001, and two “matters that remain classified“, as well as the rumored-assassinations question. In addition, the inquiry is likely to look at the Bush administration’s program of eavesdropping without warrants and its detention and interrogation program.[64] U.S. Intelligence Chief Dennis Blair testified before the House Intelligence Committee on February 3, 2010, that the U.S. intelligence community is prepared to kill U.S. citizens if they threaten other Americans or the United States.[65] The American Civil Liberties Union has said this policy is “particularly troubling” because U.S. citizens “retain their constitutional right to due process even when abroad.” The ACLU also “expressed serious concern about the lack of public information about the policy and the potential for abuse of unchecked executive power.”[66]

Improper search of computers used by Senate investigators:

In July 2014 CIA Director John O. Brennan had to apologize to lawmakers because five CIA employees (two lawyers and three computer specialists) had surreptitiously searched Senate Intelligence Committee files and reviewed some committee staff members’ e-mail on computers that were supposed to be exclusively for congressional investigators. Brennan ordered the creation of an internal personnel board, led by former senator Evan Bayh, to review the agency employees’ conduct and determine “potential disciplinary measures.”[67] However, according to some reports, Brennan didn’t apologize for spying or doing anything wrong at all, even though his agency had been improperly accessing computers of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) and then, in the words of investigative reporter Dan Froomkin, “speaking a lie”. This accusation was based on the CIA Director’s earlier denials of Senator Dianne Feinstein‘s claims that the surreptitious CIA search of the SSCI computers occurred, was inappropriate, or “violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution, including the Speech and Debate clause” or other laws.[68][69][70]

Resignation of officials and agents who would not work for Donald Trump:

In February 2017, reports emerged that key experts within the CIA were resigning because they would not work for U.S. President Donald Trump.[71] The Middle East Eye reported that two agents, Americans, who operated spy-rings within ISIS had resigned, because they “…did not want to see the contacts who worked for them sacrificed due to incompetence and anti-Muslim prejudice from within Trump’s inner circle.” Ned Price, a CIA official since 2006, stirred controversy when he published an op-ed in The Washington Post, explaining why he surprised himself by resigning, after he perceived Trump using his visit to CIA HQ for partisan political posturing. The fact is, these CIA operatives were and are deep state hacks. [72][73][74][75][76][77][78]

WikiLeaks’ disclosure of CIA’s cyber crimes:

Main article: Vault 7

In March 2017, WikiLeaks has published more than 8,000 documents on the CIA. The confidential documents, codenamed Vault 7, dated from 2013–2016, included details on the CIA’s software capabilities, such as the ability to compromise carssmart TVs,[79] web browsers (including Google ChromeMicrosoft EdgeFirefox, and Opera),[80][81] and the operating systems of most smartphones (including Apple‘s iOS and Google‘s Android), as well as other operating systems such as Microsoft WindowsmacOS, and Linux.[82] WikiLeaks did not name the source, but said that the files had “circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.”[79]

In a 2017 speech addressing CSIS, CIA Director Mike Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”. He also said: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”[83]

Also see:


  1. ^ Weiner, Tim (2007). Legacy of AshesDoubledayISBN 978-0-385-51445-3.
  2. ^ Richelson, Jeffrey (September 11, 2007). “Sins of Omission and Commission”Washington Decoded. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  3. ^ Wise, David (July 22, 2007). “Covert Action”The Washington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  4. ^ Dujmovic, Nicholas (November 26, 2007). “Review of ‘Legacy of Ashes: The History of CIA'”Studies in IntelligenceCenter for the Study of Intelligence51 (3). Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Weiner, Tim. “Legacy of Ashes”. Random House, 2008, p. 342.
  6. ^ Garcia, Michael John (September 8, 2009). “Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture” (PDF). Congressional Research Service – via Federation of American Scientists.Link from “Online Resources”United States Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012.
  7. ^ Savage, Charlie (February 17, 2009). “Obama’s War on Terror May Resemble Bush’s in Some Areas”The New York TimesArchived from the original on July 23, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
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  27. ^ AM, John Dinges On 10/14/15 at 11:23 (October 14, 2015). “A Bombshell on Pinochet’s Guilt, Delivered Too Late”. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  28. Jump up to:a b Neier, Aryeh; Rothman, David J. (November 4, 2013). “Doctors Aided CIA Torture, Records Show”Open Societies Foundation. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
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  69. ^ Feinstein, Dianne (March 11, 2014). “Statement on Intel Committee’s CIA Detention, Interrogation Report”U.S. Senate.
  70. ^ Froomkin, Dan (August 1, 2014). “It’s About the Lying”The Intercept.
  71. ^ Hearst, David (February 23, 2017). “CIA ‘terrorist hunters’ to quit in opposition to US president”Middle East Eye. Retrieved February 24, 2017. Contracted agents, some of whom run networks of sources within al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have either quit or threatened to quit amid frustration in the intelligence services since Trump took office last month.
  72. ^ Price, Edward (February 20, 2017). “I didn’t think I’d ever leave the CIA, but because of Trump I quit”The Washington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  73. ^ Millstein, Seth (February 20, 2017). “Who Is Edward Price? The CIA Agent Quit Because Of The Trump Administration”BustleArchived from the original on February 24, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017. Price joined the CIA in 2006 and most recently worked as a spokesman for the National Security Council, yet Trump’s actions over his first month in office caused Price to conclude that he “cannot in good faith serve this administration as an intelligence professional.”
  74. ^ Rosva, Edward (February 21, 2017). “National Security Council spokesman quits CIA, writes scathing editorial in Washington Post”SalonArchived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  75. ^ Sharman, Jon (February 21, 2017). “CIA analyst quits after 11 years because of Donald Trump’s ‘disturbing’ behaviour”The IndependentArchived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017. Edward Price joined up in 2006 and was “convinced that it was the ideal place to serve my country”. He became a terrorism expert and worked under the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations, recently serving on the staff of the National Security Council, and believed he would never leave.
  76. ^ Sommerfeldt, Chris (February 21, 2017). “Senior CIA analyst resigns because of President Trump’s ‘disturbing’ actions in office”New York Daily NewsArchived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017. Over a decade ago, Edward Price told his father that he was going to get a job at the Central Intelligence Agency. It wouldn’t just be his “first real job,” he told his dad — it would be his career, passion and life.
  77. ^ Binelli, Raphael (February 21, 2017). “Un alto esponente della Cia si dimette: “Non posso servire l’amministrazione Trump”” [A senior official of the CIA resigns: “I can not serve the Trump administration”]. Il Giornale (in Italian). Milan. Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  78. ^ Kelly, Mary Louise (February 20, 2017). “Disgusted By Trump, A CIA Officer Quits. How Many More Could Follow?”NPR. Retrieved February 24, 2017. Now Price is 34. And it was another vivid image that led him to quit: that of President Trump on Jan. 21, his first full day in office, delivering a speech at CIA headquarters in Northern Virginia. Trump chose to speak in front of the CIA’s wall of stars — stars that honor CIA officers who died in the line of duty.
  79. Jump up to:a b Shane, Scott; Mazzetti, Mark; Rosenberg, Matthew (March 7, 2017). “WikiLeaks Releases Trove of Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents”The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  80. ^ Greenberg, Andy (March 7, 2017). “How the CIA Can Hack Your Phone, PC, and TV (Says WikiLeaks)”Wired. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  81. ^ “WikiLeaks posts trove of CIA documents detailing mass hacking”CBS News. March 7, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  82. ^ Page, Carly (March 7, 2017). “Vault 7: Wikileaks reveals details of CIA’s hacks of Android, iPhone Windows, Linux, MacOS, and even Samsung TVs”Computing.
  83. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (April 14, 2017). “Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms”The Intercept.


Further reading:


The Craziest CIA Operations That The Government Doesn’t Want You To Know About


Whether you realize it or not, the Central Intelligence Agency is controlling everything around you. Otherwise known as the CIA, these are the guys responsible for gathering any and all information going on throughout the world. They keep all matters of business in check, even if it’s not their business in the first place. But what does this mean for us? Well, everything.

They are essentially pulling all of the strings. Their authority is truly far-reaching and overrides most common sense. Former CIA Director William Colby was quoted as once saying, “The CIA owns everyone of major significance in the major media.” He isn’t lying either.

It’s their duty to protect the well being of their citizens, even if that means hurting them. We all know that the U.S. will go out of their way to run things the way they want. And most of the time, that means some dirty play is involved.

While they have chilled out in recent years, don’t expect them to just slow their role down completely. They’re still very much active and better at cleaning up their tracks than ever before. So the next time you are shocked at an unexplainable event or tragedy, just remember — it’s not always what it seems.

The Centralized Intelligence may just be behind it. Don’t believe me? Check out the different ways they’ve manipulated the public in the past. These are the craziest CIA operations that the government doesn’t want you to know about.

Project Pigeon (1944)

Technology was so primitive during World War II that the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) actually enlisted pigeons to conduct some of their operations. So what exactly were they trained to do? Well just help guide their missile systems. Nothing important, really (sarcasm).

Researcher BF Skinner was hired by the agency to teach these birds a thing or two about defending our country. Unfortunately there was never really any progress as the pigeons would just fly off course. That’s $25,000 down the drain for one of the stupidest projects in our country’s history.

Operation Northwoods (1962)

The CIA proposed Operation Northwoods to President John F. Kennedy in 1962. The Cold War was in full effect and in order for the U.S. to take the upper hand against Cuba, they were forced to do something drastic. The controversial project entailed the U.S. government actually going out and committing a series of violent terror acts against their own people. From bombings, to hijackings, riots and assassinations, they were ready to dish it all out.

But why would the United States commit such heinous crimes against their own people? Well that’s because they wanted to have a good excuse to put all of the blame on Cuba and wage war against the communists. They just needed a good reason. With Fidel Castro in power, they were looking for any way to remove this status. JFK eventually rejected this offer. These plans were released in 1997 and this may just have something to do with his assassination.

Operation Mockingbird (1951)

Americans were being fed tons of propaganda during the 1950s. And this was all thanks to Operation Mockingbird. The CIA conducted mass manipulation of some of the largest press agencies. Everything from the New York Times to Newsweek and even Time Magazine were a part of this.

Literally every story or headline they ran was controlled by the CIA. This was, as a result, a heavy influence to the public opinion. However this operation came to light in the 1960s and the public realized that they had3 been duped.

Acoustic Kitty (1967)

In perhaps the most wasteful attempt of obtaining intelligence, the CIA set out to use the common house cat as a master of espionage. The results? Well just as you’d expect.

Over $20 million was invested into “Acoustic Kitty” as recording devices were strapped to the felines and even had surgically implanted microphones, antennae and batteries in their tails. The goal was to release them around the Russian embassy to collect intel. Unfortunately the first cat put into the field was run over by a taxi and the operation was dropped shortly after.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion (1960)

The Bay of Pigs was supposed to be one of the biggest operations in our country’s history. However after much miscue, the secret operation to invade Cuba ended up more violent than was intended.

Over 1,300 Cubans were trained by the CIA to dethrone Castro. However Cuban intelligence soon became aware of these plans. As a result of this project, 100 Americanized Cubans and 2,000 Cubans were killed. And that was all during the initial assault. Americans were soon forced to surrender as they were fully ready for an attack.

Operation Mongoose (1962)

In another attempt to overthrow Castro, the CIA implemented Operation Mongoose. This time it was a little more straightforward as members were looking to assassinate him.

One of the interesting ways they went about this was by poisoning his own personal supply of cigars.  Fidel somehow ended up surviving all of these frivolous attempts and this operation was yet another failure.

Operation Midnight Climax (1950s)

During the 1950s and 60s, the United States was being introduced to a bounty of new drugs, many of which they didn’t know the effects of yet. So what did they do? Well they tested them — using human subjects of course.

LSD was one of the biggest mysteries and thanks to the CIA, citizens were being administered the trippy drug in an interesting way. The program used safe houses, from California to New York, filled with prostitutes to lure the people in. Once inside, the gentlemen would be more open to experimenting and from there agents could observe them through two-way mirrors.

Here they could see behavioral patterns of the drug and subsequently watch some free live porn. Not a bad deal I guess. But after sexual blackmail became an issue, the operation died down. Good thing they collected enough data.

The Stargate Project (1995)

As per usual, the CIA is always looking for any edge when it comes to collecting data. So when posed with the prospect of studying psychic abilities, they threw in a measly $20 million to launch the Stargate Project.

Using self-proclaimed psychics, this project turned out to be a major failure due to some pretty piss poor results. I guess if there really was such a thing as super human abilities, the government would be using them.

“Operation Gay Sex” (Ongoing)

On more than one occasion, the CIA considered actually producing their own gay porn. But not to be creepy or anything. They were said to have use communist leader look-alikes in order to change their people’s perception of them. I guess that is a little creepy.

Especially in communist countries, these types of acts are frowned upon more than anywhere else in the world. The CIA last suggested to use this tactic during the second Gulf War using Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. Fortunately, this went nowhere and we were all spared from some truly scary sh*t.

Project MK-ULTRA (1950s – Today)

In the most daring of operations conducted by the CIA, the agency decided to conduct experiments of mind control to essentially create “zombies” to perform certain tasks. The test subjects were once again American citizens who were recruited and given LSD or amphetamines, electric shocks and various forms of brain washing.

People were pretty much tortured and pushed to their limits, both physically and chemically. The results of Project MK-ULTRA were successful although what that entails remains to be classified. It is also said that these acts are still being carried out today, however on a much less hazardous scale.

CIA Special Activities Division (SAD) / Special Operations Group

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) covert paramilitary operations unit. They are one of America’s most secretive and lowest profile special ops organizations.

The Special Activities Division, sometimes referred to as the ‘Special Operations Group’, is made up of Paramilitary Operations Officers. CIA Paramilitaries are typically ex-military personnel and veterans of military special operations units such as the Green Berets or Marine Force Recon. SAD also recruits from within the Agency. Regardless of background, SAD operators undergo extensive specialized training.

Special Activities Division typically carry out deniable covert operations on foreign soil. CIA Special Operations Group Paramilitiaries are trained in

  • sabotage
  • personnel and material recovery
  • kidnapping
  • bomb damage assessment
  • hostage resuce
  • counter terrorism

Special Activities Division – Organization

Part of the CIA’s National Cladestine Service, the Special Activities Division is thought to include around 150 paramilitaries, pilots and other specialists. When deployed to the field, they typically operate in 6 man or fewer teams, with many a mission carried out by a solo SAD operative. CIA Special Operations Group Paramilitaries often work on joint operations alongside Delta, DevGru, Special Forces etc.

SAD is organized into several sections:

  • Ground Branch
    SAD Ground Branch operatives are experts in field craft, surveillance, small arms, hostage rescue, CQB and advanced driving. Many former Army Special Forces soldiers and Delta Force operators find their way into Ground Branch.
  • Maritime Branch
    As the name suggests, SAD Maritime Branch’s focus is on amphibious operations and as such tends to recruit ex SEALs and Force Recon Marines as its operators.
  • Air Branch
    SAD’s aviation wing.
    more info : Air Branch

Special Activities Division – Notable Operations

  • 2001 – present – Afghanistan – Operation Enduring Freedom

    CIA Special Operations Group operatives were the first American forces to deploy into Afghanistan in September 2001. Multiple CIA teams, made up of a mix of case officers and SAD paramilitary officers, linked up with various anti-Taliban forces throughout Afghanistan. Their mission was to represent the US Government, gather intelligence on Al Qaeda and the Taliban and prepare the way for air strikes by coalition aircraft and the introduction of US Special Operations Forces into the country. CIA teams proceeded to make contact with Northern Alliance commanders, building relationships that were the key to ousting the Taliban regime. SAD Officers accompanied NA commanders and US Army Special Forces during several battles, including ousting the Taliban from the key Northern cities of Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

    more info : JAWBREAKER – the first CIA SAD team to enter Afghanistan after 9/11

    CIA operatives were involved in the prisoner revolt at Qala-i-Janghi, a medieval fort being used to house captured Taliban soldiers, which claimed the life of Johnny Michael Spann, a SAD officer. A combination of US and UK SOF alongside NA forces eventually quelled the rebellion and retook the fort.

    CIA operatives worked closely with U.S. and British Special Operations Forces throughout the campaign. The book Bloody Heroes by Damien Lewis, describes a British Special Boat Service (SBS – the UK equivalent of US Navy SEALs) recon mission in the mountains of Afghanistan. The SBS team, which included a SEAL on secondment to the unit, was accompanied by a CIA SAD Officer who’s expertise in intelligence gathering was instrumental to the mission’s success.
  • 2003 – Pakistan
    March 1st – CIA Special Activities Division operatives, along with Pakistani forces, captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on of the architects of 911. SAD would go on to assist in his interrogation.
  • 2003-present – Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom

    Months before the invasion of Iraq began, CIA SAD teams had covertly inserted into Iraq in order to gather intelligence on Saddam’s WMD programs and on indigenous terror group, Ansar al Islam.

    During the invasion of Iraq, SAD Paramilitaries linked up with Army Special Forces and Kurdish forces in the North of the country. Their combined efforts tied up Iraqi forces, preventing them from moving south to counter the main coalition thrust. CIA teams also attempted to persuade Iraqi military units to defect.

    Following the initial invasion, CIA SAD operatives provided intel for SOF snatch and grab operations against Baath party leaders and, later, elements of the insurgency.

HN NOTE: This is just the tip of the CIA/Deep State iceberg. Study Skull and Bones for more details on the creation of the CIA in 1947. Also study the creation of the United Nations and communist spy Alger Hiss, who was the United States representative.


Take advantage of all the books, articles, links and suppressed information YOU NEED TO KNOW that is available on this site.

REPORT FROM IRON MOUNTAIN (published 1967): https://www.howardnema.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Report_from_Iron_Mountain.pdf

SILENT WEAPONS FOR QUIET WARS (1979) FULL DOCUMENT: https://www.howardnema.com/2020/09/13/silent-weapons-for-quiet-wars/

OPERATION LOCKSTEP: https://www.howardnema.com/2020/08/22/operation-lock-step-using-covid-19-as-an-authoritarian-weapon-for-social-control/

THE FIRST GLOBAL REVOLUTION (1992): The First Global Revolution (geoengineeringwatch.org)

UN Agenda 21 FULL DOCUMENT: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

Tragedy and Hope (MOST IMPORTANT EXCERPTS): https://www.howardnema.com/2016/10/25/critical-excerpts-from-tragedy-and-hope-1966-that-explain-events-in-the-world-today/

BETWEEN TWO AGES: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era by Zbigniew Brzezinski: https://www.howardnema.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/5a-zbigniew-brzezinski_between-two-ages.pdf

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