April 11, 2017
The article below is largely an opinion piece, for the sake of argument, I propose that the CIA has also done some good things for America.
The story John Stockwell broke on TV–of secret, expressly prohibited CIA paramilitary activity in Angola–is only the cutting edge of his case against the agency he served for twelve hard, futile, ignominious years.
The CIA, he contends, is both iniquitous and ineffectual: iniquitous because it foments trouble (as he had done to “produce intelligence,”” as the U.S. did in Angola to “challenge the Soviets,” eludes Congressional and public scrutiny, and disgraces the U.S. around the world; ineffectual because of its “”endless”” list of intelligence failures and its basic inability to recruit strategically placed and reliable spies.
“The bulk of all raw intelligence,” he claims, “”comes from overt sources and from the enormously expensive technical collection systems.”
But the book is as much thriller as expose: Stockwell returns, disillusioned, from Vietnam; is offered a career-boosting post as chief of the new, morally and politically dubious Angola Task Force; wavers, Hamlet-like, and then “”rationalizes”” his involvement on the basis that, this time, he’ll be on the inside, he’ll “understand.”
But what he finds is no more than what he suspects: CIA director Colby elated by a Kissinger smile; high-handed, high-living CIA field brass; one-upmanship at Langley headquarters; and everywhere a “”clubbiness”” that thwarts discipli
In Angola, he decides on an early field trip, massive U.S. arms aid could defeat the Marxist MPLA–but the U.S. is committed to a standoff, “”no-win’ policy until, too late in the day, the administration finds its machinations exposed, its Angolan allies routed by Cuban missiles, and Congress adamantly cutting off funds.
Stockwell grew up in a Congolese missionary community and served in the Marines: he’s a principles fighter with the evidence at his fingertips.
John R. Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving in the Agency for thirteen years serving seven tours of duty.
After managing U.S. involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies, a book which remains the only detailed, insider’s account of a major CIA “covert action.”
As a Marine, Stockwell was a CIA paramilitary intelligence case officer in three wars: the Congo Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the Angolan War of Independence.
His military rank is Major. Beginning his career in 1964, Stockwell spent six years in Africa, Chief of Base in the Katanga during the Bob Denard invasion in 1968, then Chief of Station in Bujumbura, Burundi in 1970, (Source) before being transferred to Vietnam to oversee intelligence operations in the Tay Ninh province and was awarded the CIA Intelligence Medal of Merit for keeping his post open until the last days of the fall of Saigon in 1975.
In December 1976, he resigned from the CIA, citing deep concerns about the methods and results of CIA paramilitary operations in Third World countries and testified before Congressional committees.
Two years later, he wrote the exposé In Search of Enemies, about that experience and its broader implications.
He claimed that the CIA was counterproductive to national security and that its “secret wars” provided no benefit for the United States.
The CIA, he stated, had singled out the MPLA to be an enemy in Angola despite the fact that the MPLA wanted relations with the United States and had not committed a single act of aggression against the United States.
In 1978 he appeared on the popular American television program 60 Minutes, claiming that CIA Director William Colby and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger had systematically lied to Congress about the CIA’s operations.