Presidents' Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations Since World War II

John Prados, Author William Morrow & Company $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-05384-0
According to the author, covert operations conducted by the U.S. since 1947 have contributed little to American national security. The record reveals failures to be far more numerous than successes, and the latter (Operation Ajax in Iran and Operation Success in Guatemala are cited here) had only short-term effects. Prados concentrates on presidential direction of paramilitary action, i.e., the use of armed forces supported by the U.S. to affect events in other nations. Readers will be startled to learn how active a role Truman and Eisenhower played in defining policies and ""erecting mechanisms'' for conducting covert operations. After analyzing the working relationship between President Reagan and CIA director William Casey, with particular reference to Nicaragua, Prados argues that presidents have too much freedom of action in covert operations and that at the same time congressional oversight committees have very limited impact. He calls for bipartisan attention, ``preferably before the next paramilitary debacle''which, he warns, is otherwise ``but a matter of time.'' Prados is author of The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence and Russian Military Strength. (November 24)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1986
Release date: 11/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 560 pages - 978-0-688-07759-4
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-1-56663-108-2
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