Monday, March 1, 2021





Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.  

(#1, Jan. 1, 2013).


CIA Newsletter #1 at end.

Contents CIA Newsletter  #2

Sweet, Predator CIA Official Honored at Fordham (vs. Ray McGovern)

Rositske, CIA History:Early Post-WWII CIA Secret Ops

Risen,  CIA and Bush Administration

Mazzetti, 21st Century CIA a Killing Machine

Chatterjee, CIA Bungled War on Terror (US War of Terror)

Mazzetti, CIA Secret Detention and Interrogation Challenged in Congress

Rich:, CIA’s Secrecy and Lies

Hedges, Obama




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March 29, 2010

Predator Chief Feted at Fordham

By Debra Sweet  [Read McGovern’s account of this event in The Catholic Worker  (May 2014).   –Dick]

CIA covert operation chief, Michael Sulick was an invited speaker at Fordham University last week. Debra Sweet, national director of World Can't Wait, reports on what transpired when former CIA analyst and Fordham alum Ray McGovern, a harsh critic of CIA abuses, was unexpectedly invited on stage.


I'm not sure what was worse; sitting in an auditorium for a speech by the head of CIA clandestine operations, or having most of the audience give a standing ovation afterward.  There were some low points in between, too.

On Thursday, I went with my friend Ray McGovern, and some current and former Fordham students to a lecture at Fordham University given by Michael Sulick, Director of the National Clandestine Service, the guy in charge of counter-terrorism and covert ops.

Ray and Sulick are both graduates of Fordham, and both worked for the C.I.A.   One difference between them is that Ray quit long ago.

Fordham, a Jesuit school, has a very active Peace and Justice program led by a tenured professor, which just the evening before had held a commemoration of the assassination 30 years ago of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador. It was noted that Romero was killed by graduates of the School of the Americas, with alleged help from the CIA. [For more on Romero, see "El Salvador: Ghosts at the Polls."]

But Fordham also produces a lot of FBI and CIA agents. For Sulick, the student center was decorated with the kind of puffy, shiny balloon letters junior high schools use for birthday parties, with silvery "C-I-A" floating in the lobby.I felt it was going to be a strange night.

Ray was tipped off about the lecture by anti-war students.  He offered himself as a "respondent" to the lecture, but the administration declined that offer.

Ten or 11 professors protested the CIA lecture, and around noon on Thursday the administration invited one of them to respond to it on stage.   She declined, as she would have no time to prepare.

The lecture was off the radar; not on Fordham's Web site, and a non-event as far as the Public Relations office was concerned.  They wanted no press.

The administration called the student leaders to find out if any protest was planned, with the intimidating implication that they would be held responsible for any disruption.

Ray invited me to meet with about 15 students before the speech. We learned that, for the first time in public lectures at Fordham, questions would only be taken in writing, giving no one the opportunity to speak from the floor.   And you know what that means.   MORE  [This excellent account of saying NO TO ACADEMIA’S PROMOTION OF CRIMINAL CIA is even better from here to its conclusion: ]  

Since the age of 19, when Debra confronted Richard Nixon during a face-to-face meeting and told him to stop the war in Vietnam, she has been a leader in the opposition to U.S. wars and invasions. Debra says, "Stop thinking like an American, and start thinking about humanity!"
You can read Debra's writings at





Cia's Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action by Harry Rositzke. 



A series of often unfavorable yet generally complacent judgments on the CIA, interspersed with anecdotes, by a 1946-1970 Agency official involved in espionage, counterespionage, and covert operations. Saying that most secret missions have been failures, Rositzke writes that the CIA became ""overstretched"" during the Cold War. First the agency allegedly concentrated on developing a warning capability against Soviet military attack, a focus Rositzke calls unwarranted, but it soon turned into ""an all-purpose action instrument for secretly executing presidential policies"" when, in the early 1950s, the USSR launched an ""open and covert offensive against the US and Europe."" Rositzke and his agents had considerable success recruiting spies, planting and ""turning"" Eastern diplomats and Communist Party functionaries, and redeploying double agents. But the paramilitary side was an ""almost uniform failure"": this includes an attempt to overthrow the Albanian government as well as the agency's involvement in lndochina (a few flat paragraphs). Rositzke simply dismisses the spate of recent charges against the CIA (involvement in JFK's assassination, involvement with domestic police, etc.) as an ""exercise in absurdity"" which can only aid the Soviet KGB; he also insists that, since the CIA always follows executive orders, it is being made a ""fall guy."" His recommendations: end our ""defensive strategy"" of ""containment,"" use ""economic power,"" accommodate to the global ""leftward direction,"" divide innocuous intelligence work from a new, small ""secret service,"" and remember, this is ""not a moral world.""


State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration by James Risen.  Free Press, 2006.

State of War

With relentless media coverage, breathtaking events, and extraordinary congressional and independent investigations, it is hard to believe that we still might not know some of the most significant facts about the presidency of George W. Bush. Yet beneath the surface events of the Bush presidency lies a secret history -- a series of hidden events that makes a mockery of current debate. 

This hidden history involves domestic spying, abuses of power, and outrageous operations. It includes a CIA that became caught in a political cross fire that it could not withstand, and what it did to respond. It includes a Defense Department that made its own foreign policy, even against the wishes of the commander in chief. It features a president who created a... SEE MORE 

“ Domestic spying, demands for political loyalty in the name of national security, investigating a newspaper's sources: With State of War, the Nixonian déjà vu can give a reader whiplash.”   The Dallas Morning News

Killing Machine

The Way of the Knife ’by Mark Mazzetti

Review By FRED KAPLAN   : May 10, 2013

·         PRINT

·         SINGLE PAGE

·         REPRINTS


It’s hard to remember, but for the last quarter of the 20th century, the C.I.A. took no part in assassinating bad guys. How the agency transformed itself into “a killing machine, an organization consumed with manhunting,” is the subject of Mark Mazzetti’s fascinating, trenchant, sometimes tragicomic account, “The Way of the Knife.”

THE WAY OF THE KNIFE:  The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.   By Mark Mazzetti

Illustrated. 381 pp. The Penguin Press. $29.95.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 propelled this shift, but even then, the resistance from within was fierce. Mazzetti — a New York Times reporter who was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team — has done much to document the C.I.A.’s use and abuse of its new powers. Here he traces the bitter fights between Langley’s old guard and Young Turks over whether the agency should use the new armed Predator drones to hunt and kill even Osama bin Laden. A few months earlier, there wouldn’t have been so much as a debate. Mazzetti quotes a former counterterrorism chief telling the 9/11 Commission that, before the Twin Towers’ fall, he would have refused a direct order to take out Al Qaeda’s leader. The agency’s motto back then, when it came to such matters: “We’re not Mossad.”

This reticence stemmed from Senator Frank Church’s mid-1970s hearings, which uncovered the C.I.A.’s long, dark history of black-bag jobs and inspired President Ford to sign an executive order barring assassinations of foreign leaders. The probe scarred most of the spies who survived it (“the post-Church generation,” Mazzetti calls them) with a deep reluctance to go down that alley ever again. Mazzetti generally sides with the old-school resisters, but not dogmatically. He notes the absurdity of their position, taken at National Security Council meetings in the final year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, that it would be fine to kill bin Laden with a Tomahawk cruise missile but not with a bullet between the eyes.

After 9/11, President Bush signed his own executive order, restoring the powers that the C.I.A. lost in the wake of the Church hearings. To Mazzetti, a huge drawback of this shift has been a narrowing of the agency’s focus. Pushed by presidents (Obama no less than Bush) to find Qaeda operatives, intelligence officers spend less time on “broader subjects” like the level of support for Al Qaeda in the Muslim world or the possibility that the damage wreaked by American drone strikes might be “radicalizing a new generation of militants.”

In the late summer of 2011, a few days before David Petraeus became C.I.A. director, Michael Hayden, one of his predecessors (and a fellow retired general), warned him of a “real danger” that the manhunting was “consuming” the agency. The C.I.A. is “the nation’s global intelligence service,” Mazzetti quotes Hayden as saying. “And you’ve got to discipline yourself to carve out time to do something else besides counterterrorism.”

Petraeus entered Langley determined to widen its scope, but in his 14 months on the job, the trends that Hayden had warned him about continued. Hayden of course had done much to accelerate those trends during his own tenure. As Mazzetti puts it (with perhaps slight exaggeration), a spy agency that was criticized on 9/11 “as bumbling and risk-averse had, under the watchful eye of four successive C.I.A. directors, gone on a killing spree.”

Mazzetti offers a few persuasive reasons why Obama, to the surprise of many, has embraced this spree with even more gusto than Bush. First is the simple fact that, since Bush left office, the drone program has matured, drone production has spiked and the cadre of drone crews has swelled.

The second reason, one laden with irony, is that, in 2004, a report by the C.I.A.’s inspector general condemned the agency’s program of detaining and interrogating terrorists (at least its harsher aspects) as “unauthorized” and “inhumane.” The fear spread among C.I.A. officers that they might face criminal prosecution and that the agency could be pummeled if the political winds shifted, as they had 30 years earlier. Forced to rethink the war on terror, officials saw that armed drones and targeted killings “offered a new direction,” Mazzetti writes. They seemed “cleaner, less personal” and “risk-free.” And so “the C.I.A. began to see its future: not as the long-term jailers of America’s enemies but as a military organization that could erase them.” Obama, who had long opposed the enhanced interrogations, agreed.

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·         2 


Fred Kaplan is Slate’s War Stories columnist and the author of “The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War.”

A version of this review appears in print on May 12, 2013, on page BR28 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: “Killing Machine.”



07 December 13 PM, Reader Supported News

Pratap Chatterjee, How the CIA Bungled the War on Terror 
Chatterjee writes: "Think of it as the CIA's plunge into Hollywood - or into the absurd. As recent revelations have made clear, that Agency's moves couldn't be have been more far-fetched or more real. In its post-9/11 global shadow war, it has employed both private contractors and some of the world's most notorious prisoners in ways that leave the latest episode of the Bourne films in the dust ..."


CIA Employees Face New Inquiry Amid Clashes on Detention Program 
Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times, Reader Supported News, March 5, 2014 
Mazzetti reports: "The Central Intelligence Agency's attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress." 



Will the Real Traitors Please Stand Up?  By FRANK RICH   May 14, 2006

WHEN America panics, it goes hunting for scapegoats. But from Salem onward, we've more often than not ended up pillorying the innocent. Abe Rosenthal, the legendary Times editor who died last week, and his publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, were denounced as treasonous in 1971 when they defied the Nixon administration to publish the Pentagon Papers, the secret government history of the Vietnam War. Today we know who the real traitors were: the officials who squandered American blood and treasure on an ill-considered war and then tried to cover up their lies and mistakes. It was precisely those lies and mistakes, of course, that were laid bare by the thousands of pages of classified Pentagon documents leaked to both The Times and The Washington Post.

May 14, 0:51 AM

"Do I need to point out the obvious here to you folks? That Rich is accusing not only the people he directly names of incompetence so profound it looks like treason, but also the person who nominated them? ..."

This history is predictably repeating itself now that the public has turned on the war in Iraq. The administration's die-hard defenders are desperate to deflect blame for the fiasco, and, guess what, the traitors once again are The Times and The Post. This time the newspapers committed the crime of exposing warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency (The Times) and the C.I.A.'s secret "black site" Eastern European prisons [torture—Dick] (The Post). Aping the Nixon template, the current White House tried to stop both papers from publishing and when that failed impugned their patriotism.

President Bush, himself a sometime leaker of intelligence, called the leaking of the N.S.A. surveillance program a "shameful act" that is "helping the enemy." Porter Goss, who was then still C.I.A. director, piled on in February with a Times Op-Ed piece denouncing leakers for potentially risking American lives and compromising national security. When reporters at both papers were awarded Pulitzer Prizes last month, administration surrogates, led by bloviator in chief William Bennett, called for them to be charged under the 1917 Espionage Act.

We can see this charade for what it is: a Hail Mary pass by the leaders who bungled a war and want to change the subject to the journalists who caught them in the act. What really angers the White House and its defenders about both the Post and Times scoops are not the legal questions the stories raise about unregulated gulags and unconstitutional domestic snooping, but the unmasking of yet more administration failures in a war effort riddled with ineptitude. It's the recklessness at the top of our government, not the press's exposure of it, that has truly aided the enemy, put American lives at risk and potentially sabotaged national security. That's where the buck stops, and if there's to be a witch hunt for traitors, that's where it should begin.

Well before Dana Priest of The Post uncovered the secret prisons last November, the C.I.A. had failed to keep its detention "secrets" secret. Having obtained flight logs, The Sunday Times of London first reported in November 2004 that the United States was flying detainees "to countries that routinely use torture." Six months later, The New York Times added many details, noting that "plane-spotting hobbyists, activists and journalists in a dozen countries have tracked the mysterious planes' movements." These articles, capped by Ms. Priest's, do not impede our ability to detain terrorists. But they do show how the administration, by condoning torture, has surrendered the moral high ground to anti-American jihadists and botched the war of ideas that we can't afford to lose.  MORE

If Democrats — and, for that matter, Republicans — let a president with a Nixonesque approval rating install yet another second-rate sycophant at yet another security agency, even one as diminished as the C.I.A., someone should charge those senators with treason, too.


Chris Hedges, What Obama Really Meant Was... 

Chris Hedges, TruthDig, RSN,  20 January 14, Reader Supported News
Hedges writes: "Throughout American history, intelligence services often did little more than advance and protect corporate profits and solidify state repression and imperialist expansion."   READ MORE


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CIA NEWSLETTER Contents #1, Jan. 1, 2013

No Charges for Brutality

Weiner, FBI History

Zepazauer, CIA History

Scahill, Petraeus and Militarized CIA

McCoy, History of US Torture

Jaffer and Wessler, Drone Killing Then PR

Engelhardt, Assassin in Chief

Targeted Killings Are War Crimes

Patriot Act Abuses

Film: Secrets of CIA

Kucinich, CIA Killings Unaccountable

Hendricks, CIA Kidnapping in Milan

Prouty, Mistreatment of Arab-American in CIA

Soufan, CIA Would Censor Agent on 9-11

CIA Torture: Film Five Fingers

Call for Arrest of CIA Legal Chief for Drone Killings

On Gary Webb

CIA Mind Control Experiments (several books)

Risen fights Subpoena

Who Runs CIA?

CIA Illegal Domestic Operations

CIA and Drug Trade

Melley, Cultural Consequences of National Security State




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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

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