Philip Burnett Franklin Agee was born in 1936. He joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1957 and worked as a case officer in several Latin American countries…Agee resigned in 1969 and began work on a book about his experiences. Ted Shackley head of the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division, was given the task of trying to stop the book from being published. Agee moved to Cuba and his book Inside the Company: CIA Diary was published in 1975.

I am not a supporter of Philip Agee. He didn’t just write a book exposing the methods of the CIA, he took it upon himself to expose the identities of our officers around the world. I’m pretty sure he is responsible for the deaths of more than a few United States intelligence officers, and their agents.

Moreover, he bought into Marxist class analysis to a lamentable degree. And, he has been accused of spying against the United States.

Yet, having said all that, Agee’s take on the CIA’s activities has a lot of validity. If you strip the following of its obvious Marxist vocabulary, you can see a critique that holds true to today in the Middle East:

Excerpts from the book, CIA Diary: Inside the Company
by Philip Agee, Penguin Books, 1975. p561:

…Secret CIA operations constitute the usually unseen efforts to shore up unjust, unpopular, minority governments, always with the hope that overt military intervention (as in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic) will not be necessary. The more successful CIA operations are, the more remote overt intervention becomes – and the more remote become reforms. Latin America in the 1960s is all the proof one needs.

A book on the CIA could also illustrate how the interests of the privileged minorities in poor countries lead back to, and are identified with, the interests of the rich and powerful who control the US. Counter-insurgency doctrine tries to blur these international class lines by appeals to nationalism and patriotism and by falsely relating movements against the capitalist minorities to Soviet expansionism. But what counter-insurgency really comes down to is the protection of the capitalists back in America, their property and their privileges. US national security, as preached by US leaders, is the security of the capitalist class in the US, not the security of the rest of the people – certainly not the security of the poor except by way of reinforcing poverty. It is from the class interests in the US that our counter-insurgency programmes flow, together with that most fundamental of American foreign policy principles: that any government, no matter how bad, is better than a communist one – than a government of workers, peasants and ordinary people. Our government’s support for corruption and injustice in Latin America flows directly from the determination of the rich and powerful in the US, the capitalists, to retain and expand these riches and power…

… The killings at Kent State and Jackson State show clearly enough that sooner or later our counter-insurgency methods would be applied at home.

The CIA has always been primarily concerned with combating a sizable portion of the world community that has leftist political leanings. Hoover’s FBI also took this as their charge.

For most of the Cold War, their was a bipartisan consensus that the Soviet regime was an odious and tyrannical political system. Whatever claims they made for the little guy were more than outweighed by their repression, their lack of respect for the free exercise of religion, basic due process, and human rights.

But the lines between combating repression, and combating legitimate leftist critiques of our foreign, economic, and domestic policies were always blurry.

In the end, the CIA waged an unrelenting jihad against left-leaning thought of all stripes, and therefore became less an agent of national security than a tool for reactionary dominance.

The success of their mission can be seen in the disconnect between America’s health and education systems, and those of Canada and Western Europe. Any attempt to offer universal health care, or free education is seen as suspect by a large segment of the American population.

The attempts to reform the CIA, and to weed out the corrupt elitists of the Nixon/Ford era have failed utterly. It’s important to remember that the CIA has been as busy delegitimizing the left, as they have been in in protecting us from foreign attack. And it also crucial to realize that many of their activities, like the installation of the Shah in Iran, or the support for jihadists in Afghanistan, or the training of oppressors in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have mainly served to protect our moneyed class, at the expense of our true national security.

It’s true that America has reaped benefits from these corrupt relationships. We have enjoyed a steady supply of cheap oil and gas, for example. But it’s time to let the scales fall from our eyes. The CIA has not made us safer, and they have made helping the poor much more difficult.

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