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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
February 4, 2009
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Publication Date: 
February 1, 1980
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PDF icon CIA-RDP91B00134R000400130021-3.pdf228.01 KB
Approved For Release 2009/02/04: CIA-RDP91 B001 34R000400130021-3 ij RtD 116f~rl ey ate=3a nebreezy day in 1967, while I waited with the usual crowd to the .top of.the Washington Monu- i ment, three U.S. Army sold ers, Castro's assassination, the office boy? wearing.the distinct green "beret of the I Special Forces walked jauntily by, elic- It was John F. Kennedy and his brother; Bobby. If Helms had said that.... . he fling stares and a fear murmurs. Said not only would have been the target of one. woman ,to her husband, -The}' some extremely caustic comment, but must Abe French or something." Said from that day forward he would have he, .. ho, I think they're British." lunched alone.".' Americans, I think, have always; Heavens, .lunch alone in r .beenluncomfortab{e with the notionI ~ Washington? The ultimate penalty, ,that the United States employed elite , one would imagine. Certainly his din- commando units, or en( gaged in the ing partners would have been dif- spooky kind of dirty. work we attrib- d and William E. Colby, who was ferent ' ; disdainful) to, saEuropeans,, uted y h Helms's protege, would not have been s "the:Old World." Somehow, it was un- I among them. It was Colby who broke, democratic; Only in America would a the rules and.. delivered "the family! Secretary of State (Stimson) shutdownt je? els" to the Rockefeller Commis- an intelligence operation with the sniff; sion in ..r .. ,,~-, v,,..a ?~* -o,,~ o,, -, ~rhPr?~ 1975, which caved in. the roof. THE MAN WHO HEFT T SECRETS. ? R1C'.,A D HELreS A:'>IL3 x elm . Knopf. 393 pp. $12.95 Helms thought it would be criminal the ` articular t "In t o to l t th . , . p a u e Director of Central Intelligence had a responsibility not to answer every. idle'. question put to him." Helms of course would have preferred to keep other matters in the box, all of which he was responsible for, directly participated in, or had intimate knowledge of: the assassination plots concocted with gangsters, the drug testing on, unwit- ting Americans. the domestic letter- opening and wiretapping- . mail was tie taaaing: . - der the doors. of CIA headquarters .. th B owers tak s its inside alt o in d ' y e d wante If we to. e e tom A ichard then, and no longer do Americans then: matters and gives uc the f _ e_ CI - D m i h f e 111C11 WIRY ,,,.tug t Helms, liked to say, we d have: joined b b c uur,uw o the Boy Scouts." And with that attribu- squad of . Boy Scouts. Richard Nelms l the decisions- (Women- while playing tion,!Thomac Powers has set the tone wascaught in the switch Suddenly, the important rotes as agents and analysts. in7?heManWhoKepttheSecretsRich- old rules of keeping the game limited to. havenotmoved into seniorpositionsin; ardHelms and the CIA for his far- i a few players no longer applied. Con I the spookery-) Ind`ing this.a a picture 1 - . press, the press, the Justice Depart-' forms of the career CIA operative as t':eaching s account of the, growth. of t ment (at least some the Jus the compleat bureaucrat; and espe- Ame'rica's secret inte}ligence`establish= ment. lice Department) really wanted the cially of Richard Helms. This is most far-reachin g g because Powers 's truth. And Helms had lied. before the Senate Foreign' . useful, for where we once embraced book spans the days of the wartime Of-' In 1973, Relations. Committee Helms gavel what Powers calls "a child's history" of flee of. Strategic Services (OSS) the CIA-imagining intelligence types; these answers to Senator. Stuart through the indictment. of: Richardf ` to be .brilliant, solitary, back-alley!. Helms in 1977 for lying to ,a Senate Symington: ! operators, that portrait has been, re- 1i laced b the CIA agent as a heavy-, committee about CIA activities in genre Agency to overthrow the gov-? P y ac- Chile. ernment of Chile? b handed, cruel blunderer. Neither is ac- Part of Helms's job in his thirty A No, sir. curate in its generalization. years with the CIA required keeping I Q. Did you have any money. passed Both Helms and Colby plead focus to remember that they are "honorable onlya small elite coterie of Washington the opponents'of Allende? insiders informed of whatthe CIA was ! to No, sir. men." Powers tellsusthat Helms `.`con doing: A little war in Laos? Check it A. So the stories you were involved centrated on the basic secret intelli-1 with Symington. Assassinate Castro? Q. . I genre work which he was to defend in that war are.wrong~ The President. and his,-brother were .throughout. the rest of his career A: Yes sir liti l of ca covert po enough. And nothing on paper. Hereis against the charms Powers'ssummation of Helms's think- intervention, paramilitary ,activities, d other direct routes to secret ends." II I an ing on that: - Approved For Release 2009/02/04: CIA-RDP91 B001 34R000400130021-3 "Could anyone doubt the response: of the Kennedy people,*and very likely the Senate Intelligence Committee it- self, if some CIA official had risked the complete absence of a single piece of paper to back him up and had said:, Well, who 'do you think ordered THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZIII February 1980. Approved For Release 2009/02/04: CIA-RDP91 B001 34R000400130021-3 P my a laudable goal in a dangerous ~,!ld. But what are we forced to con- I elude about a CIA Director who went I along with the Pentagon's phony esti mates of enemy strength in Vietnam (deflating the totals by half to show that we were winning)? Or the fiasco of the ; Son Tay rescue? One day a CIA officer I decided to quit over phony statistic building and asked to- see Helms. "Helms calmly asked if any. of- that' `really mattered " Powers writes The , . officer began to get angry and brought up Son .Tay.- 'People's lives were at stake;' he'.cried. "Helms," Powers goes on "'sat poker-faced. hroughout, and when Riccio was done..began talk-' ring about the ' Powers makes clear that the CIA for too Iona, acted as the President's; private. army, and not, as Senator Frank Church put it. "a rogue elephant." And for too long, little light got in through thecracks..In the case of the Castro assassination plots; a hand ful of people made the decision, and the legacy of ;that ill-considered ven- ture remains with us. Powers. a fine reporter who has written a remarkable book,-unfortu- nately leads us only to the water's edge: He concludes that the. CIA. is "one of; .,Prisons. andarmies.- and reaches for the old bromides about national secur- ity to .justify blind obedience to the l President who "needed more choicest than the dispatch of a white paper, orl `.the Maiines 'Surely these=are,not the only tactics available to the President and the Carter Administration's re-! cord has shown that a forced reliance on diplomacy, when ;the : fast, gun of covert, action :_is no ''longer.,:so'. easily -available; has its benefits. ? Still, even if unintendedly, Powers has debunked the myththat'.total se- crecy is productive in foreign; policy. 1 The Man:' Who Kept the., Secrets is a + lively, informative, and importtnt con- 1 tribution to ;the: literature.. The- book I will bean invaluable weapon to stern '::the chorus. of demands for a new free , hand. for.the.covert -action.. boys after the smoke dearsin Iran. Jeffre S ein, o former. U_S. Army 4nrelligence case;officer-in-Nieman:;-is 4 L free lance writer in l 'ashington. . Approved For Release 2009/02/04: CIA-RDP91 B001 34R000400130021-3