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Draft Chapter for Strategic Intelligence

Covert Action

Covert action consists of agents of influence, media placement, and paramilitary operations.  Covert action assumes two things that may once have been true but are no longer true: that an operation can be carried out without its being traced back to the USA as the sponsor; and that the fruits of the operation will be beneficial to the USA.  In each of these three areas, the USA has acted with great disdain for the normal conventions of legitimacy, accountability, morality, and practicality, and today the USA is suffering from what is known as “blow-back”—it is reaping the dividends from decades of unethical behavior justified in the name of national security, but unfounded upon any substantive grasp of long-term reality.

1.  Agents of influence are individuals bribed covertly who are charged with getting their governments or organizations to pursue a course of action that the USA deems to be necessary, but which may not be in the best interests of the indigenous public or its government.  Regardless of what one may think of the local country and its government and public, what this really means is that agents of influence are responsible for disconnecting local policies from local realities, and imposing instead a reality or choice selected by the US Government.  This is inherently pathological.  There are certainly some success stories—support to Solidarity in Poland, for example, but this was a capitalization on the fall of communism, not the cause.

2.  Media placement uses individuals, generally foreign journalists, who are bribed covertly to create and publish stories that communicate an alternative view of reality, one sanctioned by the US Government but generally at odds with the actual facts of the matter.  There is a constructive side to media placement, for

Version 2.4 dated 7 April 2006

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