Central Intelligence Agency: Yesterday, today…tomorrow?

America's CIA celebrates its 55th anniversary today. This is nothing much really,  but it goes about one of the most powerful secret services  of the world. At least, it was generally believed so until September of 2001. Now CIA is being reorganized. This is not the first reorganization over its 50 years of history, by the way.

CIA’s prototype  appeared after the event, which was a big shocker for Americans – the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt ordered to set up the first American intelligence service – Strategic Services Department.  After WWII ended,  the service was dissolved. Harry S. Truman, who changed Roosevelt on his position, quickly realized that it would be hard to live without a department that would control activities of military  intelligence services. That time period was not a good one – it was the beginning of the contradiction with the USSR. As a result, the National Intelligence Department appeared.  Finally, in 1947, the US Congress decided to centralize all intelligence activities  within the scope of the joint organization – the Central Intelligence Agency. The agency was subordinated to the National Security Council. The first chairman of the Central Intelligence Agency was Allen Dulles.

Dulles hoped that the CIA would not participate in internal affairs of the country. As everybody knows, he was wrong to think so.  The CIA was involved in several large political scandals. One of the largest scandals were connected with Watergate and illegal arms sales to Iran.

The CIA has experienced ups and downs,  like any other intelligence service. However, the vents of September 11 led to a storm of criticism  against this organization. The CIA and other American services failed to prevent the terror attacks, in spite of the fact that it possessed enough information on that. The problem was in excessive red tape and “reinsurance” of the CIA’s administration. As a result, American secret services are currently undergoing the global reorganization.

Will this reorganization bring any good? The CIA planned the operation to overthrow Fidel Castro’s  regime in 1961.  The operation suffered a debacle and intelligence was reorganized. However, the effect of that reform did not last long. For example, the CIA did not manage to foresee the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979.

What’s the CIA’s future? It is not really likely that it will occur to someone in Washington to abolish intelligence. Yet, there are no doubts that  the government will require more efficient work from this service now.

Vasily Bubnov

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Author`s name Olga Savka