Extract from the book ''THE SECRET TEAM - The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World''
''The most remarkable development in the management of America's relations with other countries during the quarter-century since the end of World War 11 has been the assumption of more and more control over military, financial and diplomatic operations at home and abroad by men whose activities are secret, whose budget is secret, whose very identities as often as not are secret - in short, by a Secret Team whose actions only those implicated in them are in a position to monitor and to understand.
For the purposes of this historical study, the choice of the word "Team" is most significant. It is well known that the members of a team, as in baseball or football, are skilled professionals under the direct control of someone higher up. They do not create their own game plan. They work for their coach and their owner. There is always some group that manages them and "calls the plays". Team members are like lawyers and agents, they work for someone. They generally do not plan their work. They do what their client tells them to do. For example: this is true of agents in the Central Intelligence Agency. It is an "Agency" and not a "Department" and its employees are highly skilled professionals who perform the functions their craft demands of them. Thus, the members of the highest level "Secret Team" work for their masters despite the fact that their own high office may make it appear to others that they, themselves are not only the Team but the Power Elite. This recalls a story related by the Rt. Hon. Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls, of Great Britain, during WW II.
Winston Churchill had left the Admiralty to become Prime Minister. Frequently he would come down to the Admiralty basement on his way from #10 Downing Street, to his underground, bomb-proof bedroom. He made it his practice to visit the Officer in Charge for up-to-date Intelligence and then stroll into the Duty Captain's room where there was a small bar from which he sometimes indulged in a night-cap, along with his ever present cigar.
On this particular night there had been a heavy raid on Rotterdam. He sat there, meditating, and then, as if to himself, he said, "Unrestricted submarine warfare, unrestricted air bombing - this is total war." He continued sitting there, gazing at a large map, and then said, "Time and the Ocean and some guiding star and High Cabal have made us what we are."
This was a most memorable scene and a revelation of reality that is infrequent, at best. If for the great Winston Churchill, there is a "High Cabal" that has made us what we are, our definition is complete. Who could know better than Churchill himself during the darkest days of World War II, that there exists, beyond doubt, an international High Cabal? This was true then. It is true today, especially in these times of the One World Order. This all-powerful group has remained superior because it had learned the value of anonymity. For them, the Secret Team and its professionals operate.
We may wish to note that in a book "Gentleman Spy, the Life of Allen Dulles" the author, Peter Grose cites Allen Dulles response to an invitation to the luncheon table from Hoover's Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson. Allen Dulles assured his partners in the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm, "Let it be known quietly that I am a lawyer and not a diplomat." He could not have made a more characteristic and truthful statement about himself. He always made it clear that he did not "plan" his work, he was always the "lawyer" who carried out the orders of his client whether the President of the United States, or the President of the local bank.
The Secret Team (ST) being described herein consists of security cleared individuals in and out of government who receive secret intelligence data gathered by the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) and who react to those data, when it seems appropriate to them, with paramilitary plans and activities, e.g. training and "advising" - a not exactly impenetrable euphemism for such things as leading into battle and actual combat - Laotian tribal troops, Tibetan rebel horsemen, or Jordanian elite Palace Guards.
Membership on the Team, granted on a "need-to-know" basis, varies with the nature and location of the problems that come to its attention, and its origins derive from that sometimes elite band of men who served with the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under the father of them all, General "Wild Bill" William J. Donovan, and in the old CIA.
The power of the Team derives from its vast intragovernmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses. The Secret Team has very close affiliations with elements of power in more than three-score foreign countries and is able when it chooses to topple governments, to create governments, and to influence governments almost anywhere in the world.
Whether or not the Secret Team had anything whatsoever to do with the deaths of Rafael Trujillo, Ngo Dinh Diem, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Dag Hammerskjold, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and others may never be revealed, but what is known is that the power of the Team is enhanced by the "cult of the gun" and by its sometimes brutal and always arbitrary anti-Communist flag waving, even when real Communism had nothing to do with the matter at hand.
The Secret Team does not like criticism, investigation, or history and is always prone to see the world as divided into but two camps "Them" and "Us". Sometimes the distinction may be as little as one dot, as in "So. Viets" and "Soviets," the So. Viets being our friends in Indochina, and the Soviets being the enemy of that period. To be a member, you don't question, you don't ask; it's "Get on the Team" or else. One of its most powerful weapons in the most political and powerful capitals of the world is that of exclusion. To be denied the "need to know" status, like being a member of the Team, even though one may have all the necessary clearances, is to be totally blackballed and eliminated from further participation. Politically, if you are cut from the Team and from its insider's knowledge, you are dead. In many ways and by many criteria the Secret Team is the Inner sanctum of a new religious order.
At the heart of the Team, of course, are a handful of top executives of the CIA and of the National Security Council (NSC), most notably the chief White House adviser to the President on foreign policy affairs. Around them revolves a sort of inner ring of Presidential officials, civilians, and military men from the Pentagon, and career professionals of the intelligence community. It is often quite difficult to tell exactly who many of these men really are, because some may wear a uniform and the rank of general and really he with the CIA and others may be as inconspicuous as the executive assistant to some Cabinet officer's chief deputy. Out beyond this ring is an extensive and intricate network of government officials with responsibility for, or expertise in, some specific field that touches on national security or foreign affairs: "Think Tank" analysts, businessmen who travel a lot or whose businesses (e.g. import-export or cargo airline operations) are useful, academic experts in this or that technical subject or geographic region, and quite importantly, alumni of the intelligence community - a service from which there are no unconditional resignations. All true members of the Team remain in the power center whether in office with the incumbent administration or out of office with the hard-core set. They simply rotate to and from official jobs and the business world or the pleasant haven of academe.
Thus, the Secret Team is not a clandestine super-planning-board or super-general-staff. But even more damaging to the coherent conduct of foreign and military affairs, it is a bewildering collection of semi-permanent or temporarily assembled action committees and networks that respond pretty much ad hoc to specific troubles and to flash-intelligence data inputs from various parts of the world, sometimes in ways that duplicate the activities of regular American missions, sometimes in ways that undermine those activities, and very often in ways that interfere with and muddle them.
The paramount condition underlying any approval for clandestine operations is absolute control at the top. The ST will come up with operational schemes all the time and will seek approval for as many as it believes it can get away with. The only way to cope with this is for the President to make it clear that there will be no covert operations without proper approval and that he will always be in a position to cancel or disapprove of any and all operations as he sees fit. Truman and Eisenhower knew this and practiced it. Kennedy learned it at the Bay of Pigs.
Eisenhower had terminated major operations in Tibet, Laos, and Indonesia without escalating them into open war. Until his death Kennedy had held the line at the limited level of covert activities in Indochina, and American participation there was restricted to an advisory capacity. (Of course, we all recognize that this advisory role was, in many cases, pure combat.)
Clandestine operations that are small and strictly controlled with a fixed and time-limited objective can be terminated at any time, whether they succeed or fail. However, clandestine operations that become large, that are permitted to continue and to be repeated, that become known or compromised - and yet still continue, as in Laos - are very dangerous and can lead to open hostilities and even war.
President Harry S. Truman, observing the turn of events since the death of President Kennedy, and pondering developments since his Administration, wrote for the Washington Post a column also datelined December 21, 1963:
"For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment 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."
There is another important factor to weigh in considering the agility and cunning of the ST. In bureaucratic Washington, few things are worth more than prior information. If a subordinate knows now what his boss is going to know tomorrow, he is in the same position that the gambler would like to be in if he knew which horse was going to win in a future race. The ST has set itself up through the use and control of intelligence data, both real and manufactured, to know now what its bosses are going to know later. This applies most significantly in such events as the McNamara report. As anyone who has perceived the full significance of the routine described earlier will realize, the ST knows what the report of the Secretary of Defense is going to be even before he does, and therefore, before all the rest of official Washington does. This twenty-four to forty-eight hour lead-time of critical and most influential knowledge is a most valuable commodity. Many staffs who have no real responsibilities in the covert activities of this nation break their backs for a glimpse of what the ST is doing, and for this special privilege they pay one way or another.
At other times the Team will extract from a report such as has been described a few paragraphs that will be skillfully leaked to the press and to selected businessmen. Background briefings are held, most frequently in some quiet conference room in the New State Building or perhaps in the big executive dining room Allen Dulles had in the old "E" Street headquarters of the CIA; and there a sub-staff of the ST will pour over the language of a brief item designed especially for "Periscope" in Newsweek, or perhaps for its old favorite, Joe Alsop.
In the inner chambers of the Government, where secret operations are cloaked in sufficient cover-story language to keep even the experts and top echelon leaders in a state of unreality, nothing ever more closely approached the "emperor's new clothes" syndrome than did the ST's work on Johnson, Rusk, McCone, and McNamara.
The CIA did not begin as a Secret Team, as a "series of tiny but powerful cabals", as the "invisible government", or as members of the "secret elite". But before long it became a bit of all of these. President Truman was exactly right when he said that the CIA had been diverted from its original assignment. This diversion and the things that have happened as a result of it will be the subject of the remainder of this book.''
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