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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
February 22, 2011
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Publication Date: 
June 29, 1975
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PDF icon CIA-RDP90-01208R000100070094-3.pdf81.81 KB
Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/02/22: CIA-RDP90-01208R000100070094-3 29 JUNE. 1975 f T ~"R ~.5~" .f?.~ 3 C M Ilv RMIAltl` c-ltEVERTn\' L, ;1C C1 A, .:e are bcgi':aing to arn, is a two-cd.-cd -word. It is e`fcc;i~e for inflicting woounds tst?:ne (f then; fat::it on cnettlic:i of :he state-but it i also capable of in. ;ictin, deep wounds on us as ,vci!. The problem is that in washing the CIA's dirty linen, we may also Wash away some shared assumptions about the way the nation is supposed to work and the ideals it is supposed to stand for. With terrible irony, it will rca?hh a fever pitch in the Biccntea- nial Year. The revelations-already leaking with the deadening regularity of a faucet heard in a room at midai ht- seem destined to touch departed Presidents. VV`nile history demands that we must know whether or not they used min der as an instrurnent of foreign policy, the nation retains an almost child-like need to be reas-. cured about the legitimacy of its his- tory. If history is rewritten - if Presi- dents become killers - what will that do to the way we perceive the present It is a troubling question, for this nation - niorc than most others - cannot afford to drift in a moral vac- uum. Theodore White, America's pre- mier President=watcher, knifed to the heart of the matter when he wrote that Richard illixon's "true crime i::+; that) he destroyed the myth that c,;+; ++!r_rc in A;rcriean tire there i< at least one man who stands for law ....?' White wrote that in a book titled, with remarkable preci- sion, "Breach of Faith." If (and it is a big if) the Kcnrcdys - plus Truman and Johnson - are thrown into the historical nteat- grinder by the CIA hearings and by the asserted White douse and Con- gressional leaks, it will be almost im- possible (as Ford seems intent on doing) to contain the damage: after all, if they did it, why are we to ac- cept the bland statement'. that the President no longer makes use of this terrible swift CIA sword. We cannot - not unless we believe that what Presidents say is true, no' questions asked. And, infected by all this history, that is a belief we can- not rationally support. We cannot afford it, in Ford's case, because he does not allow it. In re- sponding to a press conference ques- tion about CIA efforts to "destabi- lize" the Allende government in Chile, Ford said: "I'm not going to pass judgment on whether it's per. mitted ... under international law. It's a recognized fact that histor- ically as well as presently such ac- tions are taken in the best interests of the countries involved." The question is: who decides the "best interests"? And how? Ford had no answer, except to unto that Congress should be kept "fully infoi ined'' in order to be '?it %;iudcd in the Opetati',ns for any such action." The word, lint not so much it ;c- bate and consensus as at cooptlon. Congress has y et to login gr?p- pling with this problem - but its hi's- torical dirty linen is also abucdantl on display (Lucicu Nedzi. chairman of the House CIA "oversight" com- mittee admitted he had been briefcl about CIA domestic operations-hut. did nothing to pass the word along). What then is to stop an American foreign policy that rests en the whims of the President and Secre- tary of State alone? Dr. Kissinger himself has publicly called for a broad agreement on foreign policy goals; it's the only effective wvay he can operate, he says. But how can such blind, trusting consensus ever act as a guard on the unseen hand of the CIA? The poison .spreads; from history into the pees-.' eat, covering our perceptions of the world with an oily film of cynicism. If ,we cannot believe what the Presi- dent says, then there can be no ground for realistic debate: it would make more sense to talk to a mirage. If we have one foreign policy in public, and another in secret, there can be no national commitment in any visible anal. We would nun the risk of being just another CIA "front;" the biggest "proprietary" of all might turn out to be the United Stales of America. Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/02/22 CIA-RDP90-01208R000100070094-3