excerpts from the book

The Secret Team

The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World

by L. Fletcher Prouty

Skyhorse Publishing, 2008, paperback

[originally published in 1973]

Preface 1972

From President to Ambassador, Cabinet Officer to Commanding General, and from Senator to executive assistant - all these men have their sources of information and guidance. Most of this information and guidance is the result of carefully laid schemes and ploys of pressure groups.

Leaders of government and of the great power centers regularly leak information of all kinds to columnists, television and radio commentators, and to other media masters with the hope that the material will surface and thus influence the President, the Secretary, the Congress, and the public.

It cannot be expected that a John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, a Richard Nixon, or a following President will have experienced and learned all the things that may arise to confront him during his busy official life in the White House. It cannot be expected that a Robert McNamara or a Melvin Laird, a Dean Rusk or a William Rogers, etc. comes filly equipped to high office, aware of all matters pertaining to what they will encounter in their relationship with the Congo or Cuba, Vietnam or Pakistan, and China or Russia and the emerging new nations. These men learn about these places and the many things that face them from day to day from an endless and unceasing procession of briefing officers.

Special Operations is a name given in most cases, but not always, to any clandestine, covert, undercover, or secret operations by the government or by someone, US. citizen or a foreign national ... even in special cases a stateless professional, U.S. or foreign activity or organization. It is usually secret and highly classified.

True national sovereignty no longer exists. We live in a world of big business, big lawyers, big bankers, even bigger moneymen and big politicians. It is the world of "The Secret Team."
In such a world, the Secret Team is a dominant power. It is neither military nor police. It is covert, and the best (or worst) of both. It gets the job done whether it has political authorization and direction, or not. It is independent. It is lawless.
[The Secret Team is] the real CIA and its allies around the world.

President Nixon and his Secretary of the Treasury, George Schultz, established a Russian/ American organization called the "USA-USSR Trade and Economic Council" in 1972. Its objective was to bring about a union of the Fortune 500 Chief Executive Officers of this country ... with their counterparts in the Soviet Union. This important relationship [was] sponsored by David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan Bank.

The CIA is the center of a vast, and amorphous mechanism that specializes in Covert Operations ... the CIA is the willing tool of a higher level High Cabal, that may include representatives and highly skilled agents of the CIA and other instrumentality's of the government, certain cells of the business and professional world and, almost always, foreign participation.
... At the heart of Covert Operations is the denial by the "operator," i.e. the U.S. Government, of the existence of national sovereignty. The covert operator can, and does, make the world his playground... including the U.S.A..

Today ... the most important events of this century are taking place with the ending of the "Cold War" era, and the beginning of the new age of "One World" under the control of businessmen and their lawyers, rather than under the threat of military power and ideological differences.

The most remarkable development in the management America's relations with other countries during the quarter-century since the end of World War II 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.

The Secret Team 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.
... The power of the [Secret] 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 Hammarskjöld, 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.

At the heart of the [Secret] Team 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.

President Kennedy felt that he had the option to bring the [Vietnam] war to a close on his own terms or to continue pressure with covert activities such as had been under way for many years.

General Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, in a report to President Kennedy, October 2, 1963
It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by that time [the end of 1965].

former President Harry S. Truman in the Washington Post, 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.

By 1961, the non-intelligence, the clandestine, and the support sectors of the Agency [CIA] had become so large and so predominant that they far outnumbered the professional band of intelligence specialists ... both at home and abroad. By 1961, it had become apparent that the CIA played a split- personality role to suit its own purposes. It would speak of CIA reports which said one thing, when it would be doing exactly the opposite with its undercover, covert sections/

Arnold Toynbee, the British historian in The New York Times, May 7, 1970
To most Europeans, America now looks like the most dangerous country in the world. Since America is unquestionably / the most powerful country, the transformation of America's image within the last thirty years is very frightening for Europeans. It is probably still more frightening for the great majority of the human race who are neither Europeans nor North Americans, but are Latin Americans, Asians and Africans. They, I imagine, feel even more insecure than we feel. They feel that, at any moment, America may intervene in their internal affairs with the same appalling consequences as have followed from American intervention in Southeast Asia.

For the world as a whole, the CIA has become the bogey that Communism has been for America. Wherever there is trouble, violence, suffering, tragedy, the rest of us are now quick to suspect the CIA had a hand in it... In fact, the roles of America and Russia have been reversed in the world's eyes. Today America has become the world's nightmare.
When an uncontrolled and perhaps uncontrollable team [Secret Team/CIA] can flaunt the historic and traditional codes of civilization by disregarding the honor and sovereignty of other countries large and small, by intervening in the internal affairs of other countries for reasons real and contrived, the rest of the world does fear for its own welfare and for the future of this country.

Tens of thousands of people who have contributed to Radio Free Europe and to CARE on the assumption that they were private organizations have learned that the CIA was using them for its own devices.

The CIA maintains hundreds of U.S. military units for its own purposes... The CIA also maintains countless paramilitary and pseudobusiness organizations that weave in and out of legitimacy and do business much as their civilian counterparts would.

The early Truman Administration was trying to provide leadership for the one world defined by Secretary of State James Byrnes and to keep the world from being torn into armed camps again so shortly after the war. In spite of their efforts, the resounding warning issued by the great wartime orator, Winston Churchill, took its toll, and within one year after he had delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech, lines had been drawn, and the issue became one of Communism versus anti-Communism.

General Donovan, Allen Dulles, and others ... spoke publicly and privately of the need, as they saw it, for an agency with special "operations" powers. To confirm this need and to inflame the public with this issue, the supporters of the clandestine operations proposition [for the CIA] became the greatest firebrands of the anti-Communism theme. It was this same group that picked up the banner hurled by Winston Churchill and that saw Communists under every rock. It was during these crucial days that the opposition, no matter who the opposition was, was painted pink or red with the label of Communist. A beginning of this form of public and political blackmail was made during these debates, and it reached its zenith less than a decade later in the infamous days of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
... What began perhaps as an honest effort to alert this country to the fact that the Soviet Government did in fact have the potential to unleash the secrets of the atom and thus to build atomic bombs, gradually became a powerful tool in the hands of the irresponsible and the agitators. All opposition for whatever reason was branded as Communist or pro-Communist. Gradually, this dogma of anti-Communism was extended into the entire world, and by the time of the publication of the Truman Doctrine, the entire world had been divided into Communist and anti-Communist.

As late as the end of 1963, every U.S. Army combat soldier in Vietnam ... was under t e operational control and direction of the CIA.

What happened in Vietnam is that the CIA got in over its head, and the Army was sent in to attempt to bring some order out of the chaos that existed there after the assassination of President Diem.

All the pieces were coming together, and during this formative period a new special group was formed. This was the Special Group (of the NSC), Counterinsurgency, better known as the Special Group CI, or CI. This group presided over the CIA, State and Defense Departments, and others, who hastily put together a host of counterinsurgency nations. It was a watch list, which varied from time to time as intelligence inputs rose and fell with the tides of international events. The Special Group CI list usually ran to about sixteen or seventeen countries, in the order of how deep they were along the path to insurgency and decay.
... As countries were added to the list their military aid programs were hastily escalated, and literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of American military personnel of all types descended upon them. Sometimes they arrived in uniform and sometimes in civilian disguise. They went to work immediately in support of the new political-social-economic doctrine, and before long new schools were being built-by the army; new hospitals were being built-by the army; new farming techniques were under way-by the army; irrigation and water purification projects were under way,-again by the army. Underlying all of the paramilitary and sometimes real military work was the CIA, working with the host government to weed out, to identify, and to categorize all of the subversive insurgents. In countries where the word Communism had never been applied to bandits, beggars, and rebels before, all of a sudden all opposition was given the name "Communist." All the problems were attributed to Communists, and the counterinsurgency action was under way.
... It was pretty bitter medicine for many countries, where hatred and fear of the army had been traditional, to find the Americans coming in with a program designed to make the army into local heroes.

reporter Mary McGrory
President Kennedy ... told [Senator Mike] Mansfield privately, after a White House leadership meeting, that he agreed with him "on a need for a complete withdrawal from Vietnam, but I can't do it until 1965 after I get re-elected."

The strongest support for the Vietnamese war has always come from the national defense industries, which benefited tremendously by this windfall.

President John Kennedy told Kenny O'Donnell
If I tried to pull out [of Vietnam] completely now, we would have another Joe McCarthy Red scare on our hands.

Early in October 1963 ... [Defense Secretary Robert] McNamara and Maxwell Taylor reported to the President that it looked to them, after their visit to Saigon, as though things could be put under control and that we would be able to withdraw all personnel by the end of 1965... They all knew, that! he planned to announce a pullout once he had been re-elected.
... Less than one month after that date, President Kennedy himself had been shot dead in Dallas... McNamara and Taylor, returned again from Saigon and reported to a new President that conditions were bad in South Vietnam and we would have to make a major effort, including American combat troops and a vast "sophisticated" clandestine program, against the North Vietnamese.
... While the echo of those shots in Dallas were still ringing, the ST [Secret Team] moved to take over the whole direction of the war and to dominate the activity of the United States of America.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
Can the President of the United States ever be strong enough to really rule these two powerful agencies [CIA and Pentagon]? Can any President learn about, comprehend, and then believe what he has learned about this whole covert and complex subject? Can any President see in this vast mechanism, in which there is so much that is untrue and hidden, the heart and core of the real problem? Will any President be prepared to confront this staggering realization when and if he does uncover it?

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
"Can the President of the United States ever be strong enough to really rule these two powerful agencies [CIA and Pentagon]? Can any President learn about, comprehend, and then believe what he has learned about this whole covert and complex subject? Can any President see in this vast mechanism, in which there is so much that is untrue and hidden, the heart and core of the real problem? Will any President be prepared to confront this staggering realization when and if he does uncover it?" Is this perhaps the great discovery which President Kennedy made, or was about to make? It is not just the CIA and the DOD that are involved. It is also the FBI, the AEC, the DIA, elements of State and of the Executive Office Building, NSA and the hidden pulse of secret power coursing through almost every area of the body politic. It extends beyond into governmental business, the academic world, and certain very influential sectors of the press, radio, TV, papers, magazines, and the publishing business. Before any President can rule this covert automatic control system, he must find out it is there ... and he must devise some means to discover its concealed activity.
President Kennedy made a valiant attempt to effect control over this system... as a result of the Bay of Pigs, the inquiry, and the realization by 1963 of how, despite his great efforts, he was still unable to wrest control from and to rule the ST [Secret Team] machine...
Kennedy's battle was not all with the ST He was going through the same pressures with other groups-not the least of which was his quixotic contest within the immensely powerful and ruthless professional education establishment and the equally powerful parochial Catholic school hierarchy. For those who have been unable to accept the one-man theory of the Warren Commission report of the Kennedy assassination, there is in evidence more than enough pressure from any one of several of these groups, or their more radical subgroups, to support the germ of the idea that a sinister conspiracy may have arisen from these pressures. For these groups realized that Kennedy was gaining real knowledge, experience, and political power and that he had to be removed from office before winning the inevitable mandate from the U.S. public, which was certain to be his in 1964.

former President Harry Truman in December 1963 following the Kennedy assassination, said
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 army of the government .... I never had any thought that when I setup the CIA that it would be injected Unto peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

Two wise men, much experienced in the terrible pressures of government, Harry S. Truman and William O. Douglas, came up with similar conclusions, one after Kennedy's searing lesson at the Bay of Pigs and the other after his tragic death in Dallas. Both of them saw sinister intrigue and the extreme power of these two groups, the CIA and the Pentagon. Both saw the various insidious influences of the CIA and the Pentagon, and both wondered as Douglas asked, "Can any President ever he strong enough really to rule?"

Any violent recrimination over the sudden death of John F. Kennedy could well have been monstrous. The pressures, the deep tragedy, and the popular unrest were all there. Even though the Warren Report itself really satisfies few serious scholars and investigators, it did serve to get this country through a trying time.

The ST [Secret Team] machine, always at its most active and insidious best in adversity, surged forward in the post-Kennedy void. The record shows that Lyndon Johnson almost never said "No." The only mechanism in existence designed to control the CIA and other members of the ST [Secret Team] consisted of the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, along with other such legislation and directives. It was designed to curtail, to deny, to stop the CIA's inevitable appetite for self-generated activity. There was no curtailment, no denial, and no strong hand to halt its mad rush into Vietnam. Plans that had been directed toward getting out and home by 1965 were suddenly discarded and never mentioned again.

The wild force of the cult of the gun, resurrected Manifest Destiny, rampant anti-Communism - ran away with events in Southeast Asia. Even the popular narrative history of the slaughter and extermination of the American Indians and the ruthless Westward Ho as related by Dee Brown in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, is tame and more believable compared to the waste and devastation brought about by the forces of savagery unleashed upon the helpless people of Indochina.
Is the President, any President, really capable of ruling these forces of insidious influence? Does he rule aid command, or is there another power? Can the ST [Secret Team] be harnessed?

Five Presidents have been responsible for and have learned to live with the CIA. Five Presidents at one time or another, under varying conditions and events, have all suffered from this relationship.

Like a terrible, haunting, terrorizing nightmare, the sinister machine [Secret Team/CIA-Pentagon] pervades every aspect of the government today - and affects all of us, our way of life, and the welfare of the entire world.
... It is not just one finite team of individuals. It is a matrix that changes with the gestation of each new operation. It is a sinister device of opportunity and contrivance. What does exist is the mechanism.
What exists is the automatic system, much like a nervous system or an electrical system. More properly, what exists is like a giant electronic data processing machine ... which has its own power to grow, to reproduce, and to become more insidiously effective and efficient as it operates. It is a great intra-governmental infrastructure that is fed by inputs from all sources.
... It is big business, big government, big money, big pressure, and headless-all operating in self-centered, utterly self-serving security and secrecy.

The ST [Secret Team] machine ... is the evidence of a form of new religion. It has its secrets. It has its divine and unquestioned rights and obligations. It has self-righteous power over life and death. It does not believe in anything. It does not value anything. It is utterly ruthless. Its greatest motivating force and drive is entirely undefined, because it moves by pressure. It reacts. It is therefore blind, meaningless, senseless.
... Any person or groups that know how to get to this infrastructure, who have the clearances, who have the need-to-know, can make an input into this ST [Secret Team], and as long as the desired action is anti-Communist, the system will operate.
... There is but one way to control this massive ST structure. It must be uncovered. It must be made known. It must be exposed to the light. And then it must be told No. To be effective, this means that Congress must cut its money off, not only at the central source, but at all the hidden nerve centers.
Before it is too late, we Americans must realize that this great cancer exists.

This ST [Secret Team] must be exposed, bared and silenced. Then a new and better way of life must be created.
... The first twenty-five years of the CIA have given solid evidence of how important the ideas of those legislators in 1947 were. The CIA should be, must be, the "quiet intelligence arm of the President. Not his nightmare. The CIA should be limited to the function of intelligence - and not a bit more.

CIA watch

Home Page