Next | ToC | Prev

The CIA: Some Examples
Throughout the World

Chapter 16

Cold War: The Pyrrhic Gambit

          BY THE SUMMER OF 1955 THE CIA had grown to the point where it was ready to flex its wings in areas in which it had never before been able to operate and in ways that would test its intragovernmental potential. The first wave of Army Special Forces support of CIA war-planning initiatives and of U.S. Air Force Air Resupply and Communications activity had waned following the Korean War; yet the major overseas base structure that the CIA had been able to establish under the cover of those units remained. Border flights, leaflet drops, and other Iron Curtain sensing operations were under way both in Europe and Asia; but the CIA had no major projects that it could call its own.

          The Agency believed that it had the means and the requirement for advanced operations, which it would support on its own initiatives. One of the first of these would be a worldwide airborne capability for electronic intelligence, radio transmission surveillance, photographic and radar intelligence, and other related activity. TSS had developed many things that could be put to work, and the overseas base structure that the DD/S had created under the "war planning" cover was more than adequate to support operations.

          A small team of Air Force officers, some real Air Force officers who were on Agency assignment, and other CIA career personnel who operated under Air Force cover, met with U.S. Navy personnel to make arrangements for the purchase of seven new navy aircraft, known as the P2V-7. The P2V was not a new plane. It had been developed shortly after World War II, and the original model at one time held the world record for straight-line unrefueled long-distance flight. The "Dash Seven" model had, in addition to its two large reciprocating engines, two small T-34 Westinghouse jet engines. These small jet engines gave the plane a powerful jet-assisted take-off capability and a burst-of-speed capability, if such should be needed in any hostile situation. The airframe was rugged and proven, and Navy support facilities were available all over the world. Also, adequate cover for this plane was possible because it was slated to be given to many foreign countries as part of the Military Assistance Program. This meant that if one should happen to be lost on a clandestine mission, the United States could disclaim any connection with the flight on the hopeful assumption that whatever country found the wreckage in its backyard would be unable categorically to say whether it came from the United States or from one of several other countries.

          The gross weakness of this type of cover is readily apparent. Any target country, such as China, eastern European satellites, or the Soviet Union, would scarcely even consider that these specially equipped aircraft had been launched on such a mission by Greece, Taiwan, or Japan, even if they did have some P2V-7s as part of their MAP. Furthermore, the appearance of any aircraft of this type in the inventory of any country would be made the subject of an attach report, and any worthwhile military intelligence system would have reported within days the existence of the exact number of such aircraft. Therefore, if one did show up as wreckage in a denied area, all that country would have to do to verify any cover story release would be to check its records against what it knew to be there and determine if a plane had in fact been lost. The loss would be readily apparent.

          Such rather simple abuses of cover would usually lead one to conclude that the exploitation of cover was no more sincere than most other security devices, and that it had been designed just to play the secrecy game in this country, whether it had any merit vis--vis the world of Communism or not. But in any case, this is the way it all was done.

          This latter point, about cover itself, was always made a subject of prime importance by the Agency. Wherever the planes would be operated, they would have to have insignia and special serial numbers; nothing stands out more than an unmarked plane. And they would have to operate as part of some parent, or cover, organization. To be effective cover, these numbers and insignia could not be picked out of thin air. The CIA cannot operate aircraft of its own with a CIA insignia on them. This was one of the prime considerations during the first meetings with the Navy.

          Discussions went well up to the point of getting the Navy to agree to provide the worldwide support and cover this operation would require. The Navy could see that if anything ever went wrong with the program, if any one of these planes ever crashed or was shot down over denied territory, it would be the Navy that would have to bear the brunt of the exposure. The Army and Air Force already had a history of going along with the CIA; but the Navy, a service that has created a much stronger sense of tradition, was willing to help; however, it was never willing to "become involved". For a while this impasse brought the P2V-7 negotiations to a standstill.

          Finally, the "Air Force" people in the CIA decided that they could find no other suitable aircraft and that they would have to find some other way to get this project going, utilizing their original choice, the P2V-7. They asked for a meeting with the Air Force. It took place sometime in August or September of 1955. It was finally agreed that the CIA would make arrangements with the Navy for the production and purchase of the planes and that they would be delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force had agreed, at the insistence of the CIA, to try to establish an adequate support program for these Navy aircraft.

          Such a support project is not easy. The Air Force had aircraft with similar engines; but everything else about them was different. The Navy maintenance and supply manuals were completely different, and the Air Force might just as well have been supporting a completely new type of aircraft. Parts procurement, which would have to be done with Lockheed, the manufacturer, would require that either the Air Force requisition all parts from the Navy and then have the Navy go to Lockheed, or the Air Force would have to set up a separate supply channel itself to Lockheed. In either case it would be complicated. It is as difficult to support seven aircraft of a new and distinct type as it is to establish procedures to support seven hundred. It would have been easier for the Air Force to have set up a line for seven hundred.

          All of these things were worked out, and the CIA "Air Force" officers became the project officers at the Lockheed plant. The seven planes were given production numbers along with the regular Navy production orders, and the project was well under way. Air Force pilots were selected for training in these planes, and Air Force maintenance and supporting men were sent to Navy schools to learn how to maintain these planes. All of these men were eventually informed of the special nature of the project and that the CIA was involved. This meant that all of these men had to be assigned to the CIA and that they were all volunteers for the project.

          It was necessary to designate one Air Force base as the prime station for these new planes, for their maintenance and for the basic supply stockpile. At the same time the CIA Air Operations staff and the DDS Air Support staff had come to the conclusion that CIA air activity had reached the point where it should be consolidated on one major base rather than spread out all over the world as it had been. Also, the operational missions of the Agency had reached a level that required worldwide capability instead of local European or Asian capability. The Air Force and the CIA agreed to bring all of this together at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In terms of real estate, this was the largest base in the Air Force, and all kinds of special operations could be set up at Eglin without becoming apparent to others.

          Also this was the Air Force proving ground, and it was customary to find there aircraft of all types from all services, undergoing operational training exercises. That base was an ideal location for such an organization as the CIA would have once it had been assembled. Agreement upon the CIA base at Eglin facilitated the support of the P2V-7s. They would go to Eglin also. However, there were differences, and there were problems.

          One of the things the project officer on a regular Air Force procurement program is responsible for is to see that new aircraft stays within the limits of design specifications and that it does not "grow" in the process. If the design weight was to be eighty thousand pounds, then the project officer must see that it does not begin to exceed that weight as it is developed. This problem of growth usually arises as the result of the addition to the airframe of other components that are to be part of the plane's armament and electronic (avionics) packages. This was not quite the problem with the CIA plane because it would not have armament; but because this project had been shrouded in security classification, the usual specialists who would have been monitoring the work on these planes were not permitted to work on the P2V-7s, and the Agency had its own men on the job. Later in the development of the CIA version of the P2V-7, it was found that the plane had taken on a lot of weight and that if all of the extra gadgets and other components that TSS and other "users" had been adding to the plane were to be put on board, these planes would never be able to get off the ground.

          As a result, many of these parts had to be redesigned, and all sorts of compromises and Rube Goldberg schemes were devised to package these additional items. For example, one group of the Air Operations shop wanted the plane to have a very modern leaflet drop capability. A huge device, which took up all of the space in the bomb-bay compartment, was designed. It looked something like an oversized honeycomb. Tens of thousands of leaflets could be stacked in small compartments, and then when the bomb-bay doors were opened and special motors activated, leaflets would be peeled off each honeycomb section and distributed like a computer-programmed snow storm. This was an excellent idea, and the leaflet spreader worked like magic; but it could not possibly be permanently attached to the plane. It was too heavy and it was too cumbersome. It would have meant that many of the other gadgets that were being planned would have to be left off.

          This started some internal hostilities in the Agency. To pay for this P2V-7 project, the CIA Air Operations staff had put together the requirements of several offices of the Agency and had pooled their funds. This was all right for the purchase of the plane; but it was not a reasonable solution for a working arrangement. Every shop that had contributed to the purchase of the P2V-7 felt that it had a proportionate right to put equipment aboard the plane. However, all equipment requirements do not divide themselves into equal packages by weight, and some of these minor "piggyback" accessories began to overload the plane. There was no one in a clear position of authority and know-how sufficient to overrule each claimant. As a result, a number of non-operational concessions were made, and each P2V-7 grew like Topsy.

          This is not an uncommon problem, and as we shall see later, this overgrowth of technology and the lack of restraint placed upon highly classified projects -- because the normal "restrainers", the men whom on normal projects would have known how to deal with such problems, were precluded by security measures from knowing what was going on -- caused many projects to go wrong and many others to grow and expand far beyond the original idea.

          To accommodate this problem with the P2V-7, the manufacturer and the augmenting-equipment manufacturers reached the conclusion that most of the extra equipment would have to be modularized and made detachable. In this way, the plane could be configured for one set of targets on one flight and for another set the next time. Even with this compromise, certain elements of every system had to be permanently installed, and by the time the planes became operational, they were always overweight.

          (At this very same time the CIA bad won approval for the U-2 project, and the Agency was hard at work with its Air Force supporting elements, getting that major program under way. This meant another large Lockheed project on top of the P2V-7 package. The CIA and the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation have always been especially close. At one time, the CIA was working closely with one group of Navy specialists and with two groups of Air Force personnel, all of them aided by highly skilled technical representatives from the Lockheed Corporation. As Allen Dulles had planned, the CIA would be able to grow operationally by spreading itself into other parts of the Government and into industry and by making itself the catalyst for each project, which to the uninitiated would seem to be a project of the host service and not of the CIA.)

          Meanwhile, special crews were being trained at Navy bases from Whidby Island in Washington to Jacksonville, Florida, and support personnel were being made familiar with Navy supply catalogues and procedures. Finally the day came when these special planes could be flown to Europe. Some operated out of Weisbaden, Germany, for several years, and others went to Taiwan. Eglin Air Force Base became the logistics support base for their worldwide operational mission.

          These unusual aircraft served many purposes and many masters. They possessed an advanced low-level photographic capability. They were an operational test bed for highly specialized electronic intelligence border surveillance work. They were perhaps the first operationally successful carriers of the new side-looking radar system, and they had that novel and most effective leaflet scattering system. On top of all that, someone had insisted that they have the capability to drop supplies or personnel, so a hatch had been cut in the underside of the plane, which could be opened in flight for that specialized purpose.

          It was not so much the success or failure of the P2V-7 project that is important. The real issue is that after 1955 the CIA had reached the point in its development at which it was prepared to take on major global operational missions on its own using -- not just requesting support of -- the vast resources of the DOD for its own ends. This was a major turning point in the process that had begun with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 and that had been moved forward by such other events as the Dulles Report of 1949. By l955 the CIA had progressed from its assigned role as the "quiet intelligence arm of the President" to become the major operational center of power within the military and foreign policy infrastructure of the Government of the United States. The P2V-7 project was another step on the way and was positive evidence of that stage of development.

          The important thing was not the size of the project itself or of the CIA operation relative to the gross size of the DOD. Rather, it was the fact that the CIA project was an active operation. It was in a sense a major part of the battle of the Cold War.

          Thus the fact that only seven P2V-7s or a few squadrons of U-2s were involved was not the real measure of the impact of the ST. It was the fact that the ST was operational anywhere in the world, fully supported by any element or elements of the DOD and its supporting industrial complex that the CIA needed for its "fun and games". Thus the Western World versus the Communist World Cold War was made increasingly more real because the ST was actively, though clandestinely, engaged.

          There was a French colonel in the nineteenth century named DuPicq who wrote that battles -- the great early battles of history -- were not quite the massive, total confrontations that historians have portrayed them to be. On the contrary, they were the close-up hand-to-hand clashes of the few men who were on the contiguous perimeter of opposing forces. Although sixty thousand men may have been arrayed on one side confronted by eighty thousand of the advancing enemy, the only men actually engaged at any one time were those in the front line, and then only those that formed part of the front line who actually came into physical contact with their counterparts and adversaries. Thus it was the task of the general, the man on the white horse, to see that more of his men were in position to engage -- face to face, hand to hand -- the enemy that were on the other side. Yet, the shoulder-to-shoulder mass combat of that time meant only so many men could effectively be crammed into a given area at the same time, and this would roughly be equal for both sides. It was at this juncture that tactics and training began to decide the course of the battle. As men in the front fell others directly behind them had to move into the fray. As the course of battle ebbed and flowed the well-trained, disciplined army would seize the initiative at every turn, not so much demonstrating superior power as superior training, equipment, and morale. Thus the fates of nations and empires rested not so much on huge armies as upon the shoulders of a few men engaged on the perimeter of the battle zone.

          In that type of combat, before weapons with longer range -- spears, bow and arrows, and then guns -- the battle was won on the perimeter by small circles of men face to face, locked in deadly combat, with no choice but to go forward or die, until each adversary fell before the physical onslaught. This was essentially a battle of total attrition, with the victory going always to that force that outlasted the foe. Victory was total. It was won by annihilating the vanquished.

          In a certain sense this is how the Cold War is being fought. It is all too inevitable that the two greatest powers on earth should oppose each other. General Motors has its Ford; Macy's has Gimbel's, and in nature, positive has negative. Major forces always oppose each other. This is normal. Even without the incessant reminder of real or imagined, actual or potential Cold War, a massive contest would inevitably exist between the United States and the USSR in all areas of contact. We should not lose all sense of proportion as a result of this realization, any more than they should. This confrontation is a fact of life. Thus the battles, large and small, of the "war" are the local face-to-face skirmishes between small, often unnoticed, elements on both sides. These battles may be social, economic, athletic, political, religious, and military. And no matter how large or small, how deadly or insignificant, there is only one way to tally up the score in the won-and-lost column. It is the same way one scores in chess. The game is won by not losing. As in chess, luck plays no part; the loser loses his own game. The winner is simply the man who is there at the end.

          Thus the Cold War is a massive, totally grim game of attrition. The loser will be the one who has dissipated all of his resources; the winner will be the one who remains with his force relatively intact. The great and terrible truth is that in this type of warfare the loser may be the victim of deadly attrition brought about as a result of his own futile actions, as much as or even more than by actions of an enemy. Consider the battles of the Cold War all waged against the enemy, Communism. In the Berlin airlift, for example, there may have been a sort of local victory; but in the true measure of victory in the war between the great powers it was the United States that paid very heavily and the USSR that made little more than verbal onslaughts. On the scale of relative total attrition the United States went down and the USSR went up. In this type of scoring, the "up" is relative.

          Or look at the score of the massive special operation into the rebellion in Indonesia. Again the battle was waged against Communism. The cost to the United States was very great, much greater than most people realize because so much of what actually took place was concealed quite effectively from the American people, although it was not unknown to the Indonesians, the Chinese, and the Russians, and for that matter, to any other country that chose to know. As a result of that costly Cold War battle, again the attrition of the United States was considerable and that of the USSR was negligible.

          The Bay of Pigs was another such major battle. We made a great investment in resources and in our world prestige. Russia's contribution was again little more than words, and they were more the words of Castro than of the men in the Kremlin. Even after the gross failure of this battle, the United States lost further in the tribute it paid in the sum of more than $53 million for the release of the Cuban patriots who had been captured by Castro. It might be pointed out here that it is not so much monetary and other costs of such a secret operation that are important as it is the fact that like the battles of old, it is the ratio -- in the Cuban operation, $53 million to zero -- which is so deadly.

          This has been the scoring for the Cold War almost all the way along. When Krushchev no more than threatened western Europe with medium-range rockets after the outbreak of the Suez attack in 1956, he set off a flurry in this country to create a weapon that up to that time had never been considered essential. This led to the hasty and fruitless development of the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on those rockets, and except for their bonus payoff as power systems for certain space projects, the Jupiter, Thor, and Polaris (original model) programs were all hasty tributes to the Cold War threat. Again United States attrition was in the billions of dollars and the USSR loss was little more than the bluster of an angry Krushchev.

          The Cold War has been fought along the perimeter of the zones of Communism and of the Free World, along what is called the Iron Curtain, the Northern Tier, and the Bamboo Curtain. In a very special sense, it has been fought, like ancient wars, by those few who actually brush against the hot spots. If anything was ever a better example of the futility of this type of conflict than the operation in Indochina, which has taken place during the past two decades, it would be hard to find. Here again the contribution of the United States, the terrible attrition of our national wealth, prestige, manpower, and money has been stupendous. It is really unparalleled in the history of warfare. One nation has lost so much and its stated adversary has lost and contributed so little. The United States has lost more than fifty-five thousand men and the USSR has lost none. The United States has lost more than $200 billion and perhaps much more if the gross cost is included in this total, and the Soviet Union has lost a few billions at the most -- only enough to assure that we would not lose heart and leave. Unless there is an early realization of these significant facts and with it a major change in the course of events in this country, this massive conflict may well be the last one of this stage of civilization. By all indications now, it is moving on relentlessly to a conclusion of doom for the United States. As in a terrible human chess game, the loser is giving up all of his men as a result of his own errors, and the winner is doing little more than waiting out the game and keeping up the relentless pressures.

          This is why it is so important to see how the early small-scale contests between the operational forces under the direction of the ST began to stir the sleeping giant of the Defense Department into an ever-ascending crescendo of Cold War activity. With such minor events as the worldwide program of the P2V-7 and all that it involved, with the much more significant U-2 program escalating from its first tenuous border excursions to that final flight by Gary Powers in May of 1960, the ST was preparing itself for other operations, each one larger and grander than the one that came before. And each time, as the ST prepared a new operation, it was the catalytic force that spurred the passive, counter-punching military establishment further into the quagmire of massive attrition.

          By 1958 things had gone so far along these lines that the CIA was able to get itself involved in its most ambitious foreign operation. Contact had been made with an attach from Indonesia in Washington. This is not an unusual thing, and the CIA, the Department of State, and the Defense Department are frequently in contact with foreign individuals and groups who believe, selfishly in most instances, that with the help of the United States they can take over their own Communist oriented government. In the case of the Indonesian attach, the CIA was willing and ready to sound him out further, because it believed the removal of Sukarno from power in Indonesia would return that major Asian nation to the non-Communist family of nations. The "anti-Communist" war cry looked especially good there.

          Rebel leaders from one end of the Indonesian island chain to the other were encouraged to organize and to plan a major rebellion against Sukarno.

          Meanwhile, the CIA prepared for its most ambitious peacetime operation. A headquarters was established in Singapore, and training bases were set up in the Philippines. An old World War II airfield on a deserted island in the southwest Pacific was reactivated, and other airstrips on remote Philippine territory were prepared for bomber and transport operations. Vast stores of arms and equipment were assembled in Okinawa and in the Philippines.

          Indonesians, Filipinos, Chinese, Americans, and other soldiers of fortune were assembled in Okinawa and in the Philippines also, to support the cause. The U.S. Army took part in training the rebels, and the Navy furnished over-the-beach submarine back-up support. The Air Force provided transport aircraft and prepared the fleet of modified B-26 bombers. The B-26 is a light bomber in modern terms, but it had been fitted with a nose assembly for eight 50-caliber machine guns. This is a power-packed punch for this type of warfare. A small fleet of Korean War B-26s was prepared, and a number of covert crews were assembled to fly them.

          In the beginning, rebellion broke out in various parts of the island chain, and loyalist forces were forced to deal with them one at a time. While the Indonesian army, under the command of General Nasution, began an attack upon the rebels on the main island of Sumatra it seemed that the rebel cause would be victorious on the other islands.

          However, the inability of the rebels to win decisive victories and to enlist the aid of neutrals or of the regular forces of the Government turned the war back gradually in favor of the loyalist army. The struggle was protracted, and the CIA threw everything it had into the attack. Tens of thousands of rebels were armed and equipped from the air and over the beach, but at no time were the rebels ever able to take the offensive.

          Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador in Jakarta had the difficult task of maintaining the semblance that the rebels were acting on their own, and that the United States was not involved. As if to strengthen his hand, the Chief of Naval Operations, then Admiral Arleigh Burke, sent his chief of intelligence to Jakarta right at that time, as much as if to say that certainly there was no U.S. military involvement in these attacks. It was an unusual rebellion, with the CIA doing all it could to help the rebels and with the overt U.S. Government officials doing all they could to maintain normal relations. Then, during an air attack on an Indonesian supply vessel, one of the B-26 bombers was shot down. The pilot and crew were rescued. The pilot turned out to be an American, and his crew was mixed from other nations. This American, Allen Pope, had in his possession all kinds of routine identification documents, including a set of U.S. Air Force orders that proved beyond any doubt that he was an active U.S. Air Force pilot. The only choice left for the Indonesians was to assume that he was either a U.S. Air Force pilot flying for the USAF, or that he was a U.S. Air Force pilot flying in support of the rebels clandestinely at the direction of the CIA.

          Things had not been going well, and other CIA assistance had been compromised. It was not long before rebel activity was limited to remote areas where government control had never been strong in the first place. General Nasution continued a mop-up campaign, and the rebellion came to an end.

          There were many who asked, when Allen Pope came up for trial in Jakarta, how it happened that a man who was flying clandestine missions could have been carrying so much and such complete identification with him. Why had he not been subjected to a search and other controls that would have assured that he would have been stateless and plausibly deniable if captured? These same questions were asked after Gary Powers had been captured in the Soviet Union after his U-2 had landed there in 1960.

          The usual procedure requires that the aircraft, and all records that might ordinarily have been aboard the plane, and all other airborne materials be sanitized before the plane is used on any clandestine mission. A considerable amount of money had been spent by the Air Force to assure that these B-26 aircraft had been sanitized and that all airborne equipment was deniable.

          At the forward base where Allen Pope and the other pilots were operating, the CIA was supposed to assure that all crew members were sanitized. This required that they enter a crew room, strip naked, and then be examined by proper authority. From that room they would enter another bare room, where nothing but the flight clothes they would wear would be available. All personal effects and other identification would be removed and left in the first room. From this second room the crew would be driven directly to their aircraft.

          However, all crew members, as all other members of the human race, have a strong sense of survival, and they know very well that if they are captured and declared to be stateless, they will then have no legal means to appeal to the United States or to any other nation and they will be shot as spies in accordance with custom. On the other hand, if they are captured and can prove beyond doubt that they are American, then they become valuable pawns in the hands of their captors. The nation that has captured them can deal privately with the U.S. Government in a form of top-level international blackmail. The lives of the men involved becomes of minor importance by that time to both countries compared to the advantages that the capturing country can wring out of the loser with the threat of exposure of the facts of the case. This is the key factor in the present prisoner-of-war problem with Hanoi. Those prisoners, many of whom were captured under unusual circumstances in accordance with the compacts signed in Geneva, have become a much more valuable asset to the Government of Hanoi than what might be called the usual prisoner of war, as in World War II.

          With this in mind, it can be said that every agent takes precautionary measures on his own to see that he has some identifying material with him if he can possibly get away with it. It is entirely possible that the crew of the captured B-26 had their identification hidden in the plane and that they retrieved it once they were in the air. This must have been the case because the official reports from the base where they had departed on that mission stated that they had gone through the inspection process outlined above. In spite of all this, the Indonesian Government was able to produce at Allen Pope's trial copies of his recently-dated Air Force orders, which had transferred him to the Philippines. They had his Air Force identification card and a current post exchange card for Clark Air Force Base Manila, and such other documents. There could be no doubt in their minds that Allen Pope was a current Air Force pilot and that he was flying in support of the rebels and for the CIA. Such evidence is all that is needed to expose the hand of the United States and to lay this Government open to pressures.

          Students and researchers of subsequent action in Indonesia may have noted that the Pope case and all that it exposed has cost this Government heavily in the years that followed. Although Pope had been captured in 1958, it remained for Bobby Kennedy, during the Administration of President John F Kennedy, to complete some of the remaining "payoff".

          The Indonesian campaign was no small matter. It marked the entry of the CIA into the big time. Its failure also marked the beginning of a most unusual career for the CIA. It seemed that the more the CIA failed, the more it grew and prospered. As a direct and immediate result of this failure, the Eisenhower Administration made a searching review of what had happened. Unlike the Bay of Pigs investigation three years later, this review was not made in public and it was not as gentle on the main participants. The leader of all CIA activity in Southeast Asia at the time of the Indonesian action was Frank Wisner. He was then the Deputy Director of Plans for the CIA. He had gone to Singapore himself to head the operation rather than delegate this important task to someone else. Wisner was relieved of duty with the Agency, along with several other top officials, and the whole team that had worked on that program was broken up and scattered to the four winds of Agency assignments.

          This brusque action by Eisenhower, although properly justified, led to certain events that have left their record upon history. The activist in the Eisenhower Administration who had gone along with Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner on this campaign was the Vice President, Richard M. Nixon. Also the man who wielded the cudgel when it came time to clean house was the same Richard Nixon. In the government civil service 'safe haven', it is one thing to censure and to wring hands; but it is an entirely different matter actually to fire someone and release him from the protective cocoon of government service. Since the Indonesian campaign was, technically anyway, highly classified, most other government workers did not know why all of these 'nice people' had been fired, and since they were cool to Nixon anyhow, they arose in unison to damn him when he ran for President in 1960.

          This in turn led to other events of some magnitude. When Eisenhower directed Allen Dulles to brief Kennedy and Nixon equally during the campaign, Dulles had briefed each of them according to his idea of what each needed to know. He knew that Nixon was up to date on such things as the anti-Castro campaign, so he did not have to go into detail on that with him. And when he briefed Kennedy, he gave the same briefing, being strictly fair and equal. This meant that Kennedy had not been briefed as fully on the anti-Castro plans as Eisenhower might have thought desirable. Allen Dulles was able to report, when challenged, that he had briefed them both equally and that he had not gone into the detail of the covert Cuban campaign (later Bay of Pigs - this will be discussed in detail later). However, other CIA officials at a level well below Allen Dulles did see to it that Kennedy knew all there was to know about the anti-Castro campaign and everything else that might help him in his bitter and strenuous campaign against Nixon.

          Thus Nixon, who carefully observed the limits of security, was at a considerable disadvantage, and Kennedy, who could take the stance that he was not "officially" aware of classified things of that nature, could use anything he chose against Nixon. The assistance that he got across the board from the multi-million-civil-servant reservoir of good will easily proved sufficient to tip the scales of that very close election in favor of John F. Kennedy. It is interesting to see how proper action at the time of the Indonesian debacle backlashed against the man who carried it out as a member of the NSC.

          With one Deputy Director of Plans gone and with the Agency scrambling to find something to do after it had withdrawn from the area in Indonesia, Allen Dulles turned his attention to the U-2, which had become operational on a grand scale. He made the director of the U-2 program the new Deputy Director of Plans for the Agency, thus promoting Richard Bissell to the highest clandestine operations spot in the U.S. Government.

          Meanwhile, the P2V-7 project continued to grow and to operate on a worldwide scale, as did the U-2 project. The Agency also got itself involved in lesser activities all over the world. It was active in Iran and in Ethiopia. It stepped up its work in Laos and Thailand, and it was actively supporting the Chinese Nationalists in their penetration operations into the mainland. Then, in May of 1959, the Agency found itself again involved in one of those totally unexpected catastrophes that seem to occur when least expected and least desired.

Next | ToC | Prev

back to JFK | ratville times | rat haus | Index | Search