Sy Hersh on Covert Ops

Another key passage from Hersh’s latest piece:

Saudi money was involved in what became known as
the Iran-Contra scandal, and a few of the players back then—notably
Prince Bandar and Elliott Abrams—are involved in today’s dealings.

was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years
ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One
conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it
had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what
the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the
participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A.
has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed
military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s
office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence
official said. (New Yorker)

Another veteran of the Iran-Contra affair is Roy Godson, whose writings I have focussed on in my US Covert Action in Britain Today
series. He cited the Central American episode in support of his view
that "Many a president has chosen covert action as a half measure when
he was unwilling to force an issue." Iran may prove to be another
example of the same phenomenon.






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