truman and the ciatruman and the cia



Foreword: The extracts below are from Jonathan Kwitny's excellent book, entitled The Crimes of Patriots, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1987, 424pp.


A. Harry Truman on CIA

For some time I have been disturbed by the way [CIA] has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational arm and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

I never had any thought when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassments that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue-- and a subject for Cold War enemy propaganda.

With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about "Yankee imperialism", "exploitive capitalism", "war-- mongering", "monopolists" in their name-- calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.

But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and whatever else it can properly perform in that special field, and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.

We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historical position, and I feel that we need to correct it.

Harry S. Truman
December 22, 1963

B. Justice Brandeis on Government of Laws

In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipotent, teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If government becomes a lawbreaker it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy.

Justice Louis D. Brandeis



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