A CIA Reading List

Since the CIA and its activities are highly controversial (as all state-sponsored terrorism is, because of state denial) books about the CIA are written from diverse viewpoints. Some attempt to expose the nefarious activities of the CIA, some aim at an objective historical record of events and an assessment of the CIA's role and some are attempts to whitewash the Agency. Most of the books below deal primarily with the CIA but some are concerned mainly with other topics and only partly concern the CIA (such as its Operation Phoenix assassination program in Vietnam).


The Agency's Family Jewels

Of the numerous skeletons in the CIA's closet, few are more closely guarded than information about the many books the Agency covertly helped to publish during the first three decades of the cold war. The Church Committee of the Senate, among its many other revelations, disclosed in 1976 that "well over a thousand books" had been produced, subsidized or sponsored by the CIA by 1967, with about 250 more from then to 1976. Many of the books were sold in the United States as well as abroad. Like many other researchers, I have filed Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain the names of these books, but to no avail. At one point the Agency sent me 84 pages of material, which did not contain the name of a single book. I appealed this and just last month, after more than two years, I received a reply, which stated in part:

"The Agency is unable to conduct a search for the records requested because we are unable to identify an Agency record system where records responsive to your request could reasonably be expected to be located."

If I understand the English, they're saying that they couldn't find the records I asked for because they didn't know where to look. Hmmm. Well, they might begin with the name of one of their frequently used publishers, Praeger (formerly F. A. Praeger), which put out half of the books in the following list of CIA-backed titles which have been revealed in one place or another over the years:

"The Dynamics of Soviet Society" by Walt Rostow; "The New Class" by Milovan Djilas; "Concise History of the Communist Party" by Robert A. Burton; "The Foreign Aid Programs of the Soviet Bloc and Communist China" by Kurt Muller; "In Pursuit of World Order" by Richard N. Gardner; "Peking and People's Wars" by Major General Sam Griffith; "The Yenan Way" by Eudocio Ravines; "Life and Death in Soviet Russia" by Valentin Gonzalez; "The Anthill" by Suzanne Labin; "The Politics of Struggle: The Communist Front and Political Warfare" by James D. Atkinson; "From Colonialism to Communism" by Hoang Van Chi; "Why Viet Nam?" by Frank Trager; and "Terror in Vietnam" by Jay Mallin.

Another family jewel is Operation Gladio, the astounding terrorist campaign in Western Europe run by the CIA, NATO, and several European intelligence agencies for decades following World War II, which I've written about in my books. What promises to be the bible on the subject has just appeared — "Operation Gladio: NATO's Top Secret Stay-Behind Armies and Terrorism in Western Europe", in English from Frank Cass Publishers (London) and Amazon, and upcoming in Italian from Fazi Editore (Rome). The Swiss author, Daniele Ganser, is uniquely suited for the task, being a fluent reader of Italian, German, French and English, all the key languages of the Gladio documentation.

The Anti-Empire Report, No. 17, January 20, 2005, by William Blum


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