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December 22, 2016
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August 9, 2011
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September 22, 1974
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Approved For Release 2011/08/09: CIA-RDP09T00207R001000020047-2 WASHINGTON POST 2 2 SEP 1974 .'The CIA: Security and Oversight' Q. Mr. President, recent congressional testimony has indicated that the CIA, under the direction of a; committee headed by Dr. Kissinger, attempted to destabilize the government of Chile under farmer; President Allende. Is it the policy of your administration to attempt to destabilize the governments of other democracies? A.... Our government, like other governments, does take certain actions in the intelligence fiend to help; implement foreign policy and to protect national security. ?I am informed reliably that Communist, nations spend vastly more money than we do fqr the same kind of purposes.... In a period. of time three or four years ago there was an effort being made by the Alle de government to destroy opposition news media-both the writing press as well as the electronic press-and to destroy opposition political parties. And the effort that was made in this case was to help and assist the preserva-1 tion of "opposition newspapers and electronic media and to preserve opposition political parties. I think i this is in the. best interests of the_ people in Chile and certainly' in our best interest .. . rTHUS, PRESIDENT FORD put on the publrc -record, apparently for the first time, a presidential acknowl- edgement of American complicity- in the overthrow, of a foreign government. irrelevant-consideration. i1- 'ou accept as a, fact, and' le do, that the world interests thht&i threatened by extensive covert activities. conduct d Ra]f-proclaimed adversary the Soviet Union, then-1 Ova. The President claimed that the , United States had no role in "the coup itself,'" which Is double-talk, if not actually duplicitous, in light of the American support given to the late President Allende's opponents in thg months and years leading up to the coup. His assertion that the Allende government was trying to "destroy" opposition news media and political parties may be true. But it hardly serves as an argu- ment in favor of what the CIA did when you consider that neither the political opposition nor the media were in fact silenced by Allende but have been in fact wiped out by the American-backed military government that ousted him. By his acknowledgement of CIA complicity In Chile, however, and by his general defense of sub- version as a continuing instrument of "foreign policy" _mid "national security," President Ford has joined a major and overdue debate. it does seem to us there may be circumstances when these interests, both strategic and economic, can be most effectively served by methods which, in the words of CIA Director William Colby, offer an alternatives "between a diplomatic protest and sending in the Marines." If this country did not have such interests, or, if it were willing to accept the consequences of having others make the crucial determinations on them, that., would be one thing. But that is not the case. Suppose, just to take one hypothetical example, that; the oil policies of Upper Araby, or whatever, had brought the United States to the brink of a disastrous economic; collapse. We are not, so sure that in a life-and-death' matter of this sort American devotion to nonintervention; and the diplomatic niceties should be so absolute as to, preclude taking extreme and necessarily covert measures Is subversion a necessary element in American for- to protect vital American interests. eign policy? This is the right question. The example of+ Precisely here is where we must take issue with Chile provides powerful reasons for saying, No. There, :I Rep. - Michael Harrington (D-Mass.), whose article is, to resi icy to what must be considered at best fuzzy' printed on this page today, and with others who believe : anxieties about the leftist proclivities of the Allende that the answer to this question lies in expanding con- government, the United States, however marginally, gressional "oversight" over the CIA. This stands the helped topple a democracy and install a dictatorship. issue on its head. If you are to conduct a foreign policy To say, with Mr. Ford, that ?:is aS xia the best inter- leaving open the option of covert operations, then you est of the people in Chile." Is mindless and arrogant.! cannot avoid doing a certain damage-variously esti- Before the President got around to'acknowledging a CIA; mated-to the domestic process. To conduct prior public role, moreover, the agency" machination had involved review of secret acts is simply impossible. Nor is it American officials in a sorry sequence of lies and decep- possible to conduct public post mortems on covert lions in their dealings with nquiring legislators on operations once they are held. The attempt to apply Capitol Hill. The mocking of American values and insti- ; regular democratic procedures to dirty tricks can only tutions is a very large price to pay for a policy whose produce the evasions, deceptions and embarrassments, benefits in real political terms are very difficult to which we have seen in full measure in recent days. perceive, let alone to defend. No doubt it is feasible to improve oversight so as toi In abort, the Chilean example proves as well as any better insure that operations are undertaken only in! the point of those who contend that the conduct of, the most extreme cases and in the wisest possible ways. "dirty tricks" can be corrupting and harmful to the But as long as Congress condones a foreign policy) vital interests of the United States. Does this, mean, served by secret deeds and delegates the oversight of however, that we should never resort to any kind of, these operations to a handful of members, it cannot' covert subversive activity in pursuit of American foreign, groan when one goes sour and work off its chagrin Policy objectives under any circumstances'' The answer is in extremely damaging public examination of secret and not that subversion is necessary because. as dir. Ford sensitive operations, no matter how misguided these snit it, '"other governments" do it-althou;h this is not operations may have been or how badly-they may hu.;- 00696 Ccfltjli Approved For Release 2011/08/09: CIA-RDP09T00207R001000020047-2 s Approved For Release 2011/08/09: CIA-RDP09T00207RO01000020047-2 misfired. The golution tar mistaices of *?ns sort is not) to. be found in high-minded appeals fc ore intensive) `.oversight," for the current mode of oversight does notreflect congressional inattention. On-the contrary, All derives from a considered-if publicly unacknowled^,edl -judgment that there is no democratic way for a democracy to manage covert activities. No effort tdl improve oversight can ignore this fact of life. Approved For Release 2011/08/09: CIA-RDP09TOO207RO01000020047-2 OOW I