CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Assorted Accusations

Material from the 2000s

Bohning, Don. "Distorting History." Intelligencer 16, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 67-74.

Although "some websites are reliable and valuable research tools, others can be tendentious advocates for a point of view, twisting or ignoring information that does not support that point of view. One need look no further for the latter than two websites based in Great Britain, run by John Simkin." Bohning, then, lays waste to some of the anti-CIA accusations made on those websites. See also, Don Bohning, "JFK Evidence and the Conspiracy Industry: To Be a Player -- Some Invent Facts," Intelligencer 17, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 2009): 61-64.

Bugliosi, Vincent. Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New York: Norton, 2007.

Wolfe, Washington Post, 27 May 2007, says that the author "gives you everything you wanted to know about the Kennedy assassination.... To say that Bugliosi wants to strike a nail in the coffin of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists is putting it mildly." Absent a trial proving Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt, Bugliosi "has offered the next best thing: a prosecutor's air-tight brief that leaves no reasonable doubt." Nonetheless, "it is doubtful that even Bugliosi's prosecutorial skills will deter conspiracy theorists from their speculations."

To Peake, Studies 51.4 (2007), the author "demolishes with evidence and analysis the 'unprincipled frauds' perpetrated by the conspiracy theorists" about the Kennedy assassination. "It is here that the frequent charges that the FBI and CIA played roles in the assassination are disproved and those who allege otherwise are exposed." In the same vein, Goulden, Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer-Fall 2007), calls this "the ultimate debunking book." It "lay[s] waste to the uncountable conspiracy theories that spouted over the years."

Haas, Roland W. Enter the Past Tense: My Secret Life as a CIA Assassin. Herndon, VA: Potomac, 2007.

Goulden, Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer-Fall 2007), warns prospective buyers that this book "is evoking howls of glee from intelligence professionals who do not buy a word of Mr. Haas' tale. That he boasts of drinking a liter of vodka daily perhaps factored into the story." Frequent reviewer and former CIA operations officer Robert D. Chapman, IJI&C 22.1 (Spring 2009), devotes entirely too much time to this fable. He notes (perhaps wishfully -- that is a joke, Mr. Chapman) that "[m]y colleagues and I, in our long service in the country's clandestine services, have never seen or even contemplated the adventurism equal" to that displayed in this book.

Holland, Max. "The Power of Disinformation: The Lie that Linked CIA to the Kennedy Assassination." Studies in Intelligence 11 (Fall-Winter 2001): 5-17. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/fall_winter_2001/article02.html]

In a sad-but-true story, the author details how a "successful deception" by the Rome daily Paese Sera "turns out to be a major reason why many Americans believe, to this day, that the CIA was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy." The linkage between Jim Garrison's investigation and the paper's piece of disinformation is summed up this way: "The epicenter of Garrison's prosecution, and the wellspring for his ultimate theory of the assassination, was the DA's belief in a fantasy published by a Communist-owned Italian newspaper."

Kaiser, David. The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2008.

After noting that the author is a "reputable, experienced historian," McAdams, Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), judges this work to be "a clanking, Rube Goldberg-style conspiracy contraption that falls of its own weight.... Kaiser has a penchant ... for the most unreliable evidence and the most implausible scenarios.... One could go on ad nauseam about the mistakes in interpretation, outright errors, fallacies, and gaps in logic or fact which appear on virtually every page."

As an old Cuba hand, Chapman, IJI&C 23.3 (Fall 2010), places "much of what [he] read" in this book into the "Cuba context" of the day: "talk, talk, and only talk." Chapman warns the reader not to look for "empirical evidence" in Kaiser's presentation. There are too many "may have," "claimed," "heard," and the like attached to the books most provocative sentences.

McCoy, Alfred W. A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror. New York: Henry Holt, 2006.

Clark comment: If this book is no more accurate or scholarly than the author's previous tome that sought to link most elements of the U.S. government to the international drug trade, little advance in knowledge should be expected from it. Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that this work is an "unconstrained and unscholarly attack on the CIA," and dismisses it as "ad hominem scholarship masquerading as the truth."

Pacepa, Ion Mihai. Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2007.

Clark comment: The author is the former head of the Romanian foreign intelligence service; he defected to the West in 1978.

The reviewer for Publishers Weekly, 14 Sep. 2007, (via Amazon.com) finds that "[e]ven those inclined to suspect a conspiracy was behind JFK's murder will likely remain unpersuaded by Pacepa's circumstantial, speculative case that the Soviet Union ordered Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate Kennedy.... While there is reason to doubt that the former Soviet Union was fully forthcoming about Oswald's time there, this book offers no convincing Soviet motive for the assassination."

Goulden, Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer-Fall 2007), sees this as an "account that rests rather flimsily on circumstantial evidence and supposition." The one saving grace is the book's revelation concerning Moscow's "directive to all satellite spy services" to blame the CIA for President Kennedy's assassination. For Peake, Studies 52.2 (Jun. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), the author "presents a conceivable explanation of Kennedy's assassination, but it is also implausible. Pacepa doesn't connect the dots, he adds new ones."

Scott, Peter Dale. Drugs, Oil and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. [Marlatt]

Talbot, David. Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years. New York: Free Press, 2007.

According to Bohning, Washington DeCoded (11 Jul. 2007), the author "believes John F. Kennedy’s assassination was not the deranged act of a lone gunman, but the result of a much larger conspiracy." His are the usual suspects -- the CIA, the Mafia, and Cuba. "Talbot contends that unintended consequences" from U.S. efforts to get rid of Fidel Castro "precipitated John F. Kennedy's assassination.... [W]hen it comes to the subject of Cuba and the Kennedys, Brothers is not only a disappointment, but strives to turn that history upside down."

Todd, Paul, Jonathan Bloch, and Patrick Fitzgerald. Spies, Lies and the War on Terrorism. London: Zed Books, 2009.

This book recasts the Eastern Bloc's anti-U.S., anti-CIA, anti-imperialism verbiage of the Cold War for use in today's environment. Peake, Studies 55.1 (Mar. 2011), very kindly comments that that it "presents an unbalanced assessment flowing from flawed assumptions."

Willens, Howard P. History Will Prove Us Right: Inside the Warren Commission Report on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. New York: Overlook, 2013.

Chapman, IJI&C 27.3 (Fall 2014), argues that despite the author's contention that the Warren Commission got it right, the "Commission's probe was not a brilliant investigation. In fact, it was hardly an investigation."

Wolske, J. Alan. "Jack, Judy, Sam, Bobby, Johnny, Frank...: An Investigation into the Alternate History of the CIA-Mafia Collaboration to Assassinate Fidel Castro, 1960-1997." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 4 (Winter 2000): 104-130.

"If the words of the CIA Inspector General and the Church Committee are to be believed, these assassination efforts were a scatterbrained collection of adventures that were thrown together by a small group of mid-level Agency officials.... I agree that the Inspector General's interpretation of the situation is correct."

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