By Ray McGovern
December 22, 2009
Editor’s Note: Exactly 46 years ago, President Harry Truman looked back on the still-young CIA, which he had helped create, and was alarmed at how its original purpose – to provide unvarnished information to top policymakers – was being perverted by the agency’s growing role in covert operations.
Nearly a half century since Truman’s warning, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern marvels at Truman’s prescience and suggests that the only answer today is to separate out – and protect – the agency’s core analytical function:
After the CIA-led fiasco at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, President John Kennedy was quoted as saying he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” I can understand his anger, but a thousand is probably too many.
Better is a Solomon solution; divide the CIA in two. That way we can throw out the bath water and keep the baby.
Covert action and analysis do not belong together in the same agency — never have, never will. That these two very different tasks were thrown together is an accident of history, one that it is high time to acknowledge and to fix.