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THE CIA: More on Russell Bartley and the CIA
Miles Seeley reports: The CIA, when I was in it, was divided into the Deputy Directorate for Plans and the Deputy Directorate for Intelligence. The two were kept apart and were very different. The intelligence-gathering part of the DD/P (in which I served) was also distinct from the paramilitary and propaganda branches. I therefor know little about either research with universities or the covert action "dirty tricks" so often mentioned, unless they took place where I was stationed and I chanced to learn a little about them. I am prepared to defend forever the need for gathering intelligence and the ways in which we did it, but I cannot condone some of the covert action operations- mostly because many that have surfaced seemed so ill-planned or worthless.
Still, one must remember that the CIA was often our front-line fighting force in the Cold War. It may be hard to remember the sense of danger and urgency that we felt then , but it was very real. As in actual war, things were done in the Cold War we don't think now were appropriate, but at the time they may have seemed so to the Administration. And please, all you critics, remember that the Executive Branch set the policies and called the shots, we in the Agency did not. We tried to carry out policy loyally, but were not a bunch of drones who saluted and followed any order; and in fact we often disputed and argued about what to do.
I am not trying to defend everything the Agency ever did, but rather trying to give some perspective. And in those days, at least, we were never in the kind of mess the FBI is in now.
Ronald Hilton - 7/20/01