POL326Y1 Lecture Notes - Multilateralism, North American Free Trade Agreement, Hegemony
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Topic 7 – Intelligence agencies, CIA 06/03/2013
Three rails of FP: diplomacy, military action, intelligence activities.
Focus on the one hand on open govt, free flow of info, checks and balances to ensure govt respects rule of
law. On the other hand, needs of security – secrecy and efficiency. Democracy vs national security.
In intelligence, secrecy and efficiency clash to the greatest extent.
US has around 16 different intelligence agencies, we’re just covering the most important ones.
Intelligence = information. Accurate info about intl developments, states needed to project US power in the
US relative latecomer to intelligence operations compared to European counterparts.
WW2 – Office of Strategic Services. Cryptology (enigma code)
NSA created 1952. ‘No Such Agency’. National Security Agency more prominent in media in last 10 years –
involved in controversial eavesdropping program initiated by Bush administration.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: claim by NSA that eavesdropping was done out of
necessity. Couldn’t get search warrants etc because it’s inefficient, creates publicity so intelligence
gathered is compromised. Gave them warrants in less than 24 hours after request. FISA court has never
denied any administration any request to eavesdrop.
Bush and Obama also have blocked any attempts by civilians to sue telecom companies because it violates
NSA functions = cryptology. SIGNIT = signals intelligence.
Also National Reconnaissance Office (photographic intelligence traditionally supplied by spy planes) and
National Geospace Intelligence Agency (satellite recon, has a fleet of secret satellites whose capacities are
Defence Intelligence Agency (intelligence on US adversary mil capability) etc been developed because mil
doesn’t trust regular intelligence agencies.
CIA also has its own defense agencies, bureau of intelligence and research.
State dept first to indulge in research in 19th century, but actual research not spying.
Also there’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hehe. Established in 1928 to expand activities engaged in
by its first head, J Edgar Hoover. Aim was to round up communists (because post-Russian rev and civil
war), but also went after organized crime during prohibition. Developed G-men then.
Also involved in investigations of money laundering, increasingly now also terrorist attacks and their
CIA has multiple branches: Administration, Science & Technology Division, Directorate of Operations
National Clandestine Services (hidden hand/third arm of US govt in FP).
Considerable coordination problems politicization of intelligence. Each agency is a bureaucracy
and has its own interests, with own goals – most imp being funding.
Also creates problem of stove piping – individual pieces of intelligence don’t get vetted by various
hierarchies, but rather make their way from source to decisionmakers. Bypassing the process frequently.
Agencies tend to shape information to please those at the top. E.g. with Iraq war, memo from Downing
street saying Americans were ‘fixing’ intelligence to suit policy. (Rumsfeld, Office of Special Plans for
exactly this purpose) Pressuring agencies, creating new agencies to suit purposes is the problem.
Cherry picking: so many diff agencies contradictory information, so decisionmakers pick and choose
the intelligence report most useful to the policy they are implementing, rational or not.
This is why intelligence has been a massive failure in the US. Only a few examples of successful
intelligence gathering. Biggest failure: 1989 – no idea that USSR was about to collapse! Also big failure was
9/11 – they said no one expected it, but US agencies had a ton of clues e.g. August 4 report stated explicitly
that Osama Bin Laden may use civilian airliners to attack targets within the US. Also all terrorists entered
US with legitimate visas – said they’re going to conferences, couldn’t name what ones – State dept screw
up. FBI and CIA didn’t share intelligence with each other, etc. Also 9/11 should not have occurred because
there is a structure in the US to prevent such things from happening. Bureaucracies resp e.g.
Transportation Safety Board – when a aircraft loses communication, should basically immediately be
working to take it down.
Response by Bush admin to reduce politicization: creation of Dept of Homeland Security, budget of $35
billion a year. Idea of bringing all intelligence services under one umbrella – Customs, immigration
naturalization service, air traffic control stuff, fed emergency management agency, secret service
transferred into Homeland Sec. Also creation of Director of National Intelligence to coordinate all the work
of diff agencies. However CIA director doesn’t report directly to DNI – real solution?
Reading author: huge quantity of data worthless when it doesn’t reinforce what US policymakers want to
CIA Natl Clandestine Service – long history.
CIA as well as Directorate of Operations created by National Security Act 1947.
Functions of DofO are:
A) to manipulate foreign elections (e.g. establishment of Christian Dem Parties in Italy and Germany to
offset possible moves to the Left after WW2). Most imp one was Iran-Contra affair. Most successful one
was Guatemala 1953. Elected a reformist who modeled himself on FDR. United Fruit Company – major
shareholders John Foster Dulles and Alan Dulles (head of CIA). Reforms attempted to seize land,
perceived as communist and damaged these key interests. Partisan resistance movement on a UFC farm in
Honduras. Honduras started bombing Guatemala city, taking over a radio station, pres Jacobo Arbenz fled.
Ended up inciting a 30 year war in Guatemala, 1/3rd pop dead.
Became the model for later operations like Bay of Pigs. But Castro aware of what they’d done, and wasn’t
as unnerved as Arbenz.
Recent incidents: Libya, Syria
B) overthrow and destabilization of governments – supporting authoritarian governments or insurgencies to
Allende in Chile, 1970s. Wanted to get rid of relatively Leftist Allende. Chile was well established L
American democracy, and Chilean army was apolitical.
General in charge of army in Chile assassinated, replaced by Pinochet, coup.
Also obviously ongoing attempts to assassinate Castro.
D) Training intl security forces
Nicaragua Samoza: forces trained by CIA as well.
Also in El Salvador.
Training people also in methods of interrogation – waterboarding, electric shock etc.
CIA banned from undertaking operations within US – violated that in the 1950s and 60s. E.g. Operation
Chaos to infiltrate anti-Vietnam movement. COIP telecom scandal to infiltrate civil rights movement etc. MK
Ultra – experiments with psychological warfare, created LSD.
Peter Dale Scott: herapolitics or ‘deep politics’ because such activities hidden from the public to a
Some people say Americans are unaware but other people the world over are aware.
US has been involved in all these activities since WW2, but history of it parallels history of the executive
branch in general.