COVERT ACTION

Generally

To the 1980s

Books

Blackstock, Paul W. The Strategy of Subversion: Manipulating the Politics of Other Nations. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1964. JK468I6B56

According to Pforzheimer, this book covers the "use of subversive techniques to influence the internal affairs of other nations.... In view of the author's biases and the lack of documentation..., the book must be read with caution." Constantinides finds that there is an absence of "meaningful criteria" for evaluating present-day covert operations.

Chomsky, Noam, and Edward S. Herman. The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism. Boston: South End Press, 1979.

Petersen says this work deals with "[a]lleged CIA support for anti-democratic elements abroad." According to Blum, NameBase, the case studies presented include "Indonesia (1965-69), Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic. The longest case study is that of East Timor. The authors note that the mass killing in that country carried out by Indonesia, beginning in 1975, was comparable to the massacres in Cambodia occurring at the same time, but the Western reactions to the two massacres were markedly different because the Cambodian killings were carried out by Communists, while Indonesia was a U.S. ally."

Corke, Sarah-Jane. U.S. Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy: Truman, Secret Warfare, and the CIA, 1945-53. London: Routledge, 2007.

Clark comment: Although this work suffers from some of the problems that arise when dissertations are converted into books (primarily that all events are construed to fit the writer's argument), it is nevertheless an interesting and useful presentation about the early years of the Cold War as they played out in the Truman administration.

For Daugherty, I&NS 25.1 (Feb. 2010), this "is an exceptionally informative work, impressively researched and cogently written." However, it "is not light reading... The work is quite detailed," and "omit[s] general explanatory background." It also "assumes the reader has at least a fair knowledge of American foreign policy and the world situation during the years covered."

Dujmovic, Studies 54.1 (Mar. 2010), says that readers will "find useful [Corke's] summary of the historiography of the Cold War," and "[s]he is excellent on the internal organizational and cultural divisions and feuds between the collectors of human intelligence ... and the covert action operators." However, the reviewer disagrees with the author with regard to "her repeated downplaying ... of the external Soviet or international communist threat in the development of US Cold War policies." Despite "some factual errors" and "careless mistakes," this work is still "a valuable contribution to the history of CIA's covert action mission."

Finn, Peter, and Petra Couvée.

1. "During Cold War, CIA Used 'Doctor Zhivago' as a Tool to Undermine Soviet Union." Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[M]ore than 130 newly declassified CIA documents ... detail the agency's secret involvement in the printing of 'Doctor Zhivago' -- an audacious plan that helped deliver the book into the hands of Soviet citizens who later passed it friend to friend, allowing it to circulate in Moscow and other cities in the Eastern Bloc. The book's publication and, later, the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Pasternak triggered one of the great cultural storms of the Cold War.... The CIA's role -- with its publication of a hardcover Russian-language edition printed in the Netherlands and a miniature, paperback edition printed at CIA headquarters -- has long been hidden."

See also, Celia Mansfield, "Using Literature to Lift the Iron Curtain: Declassified CIA Documents Reveal Agency's Role in Publishing the Russian Language Version of Doctor Zhivago," Intelligencer 20, no. 3 (Spring-Summer 2014): 23-28.

2. The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book. New York: Pantheon, 2014.

Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2014), declares that "The Zhivago Affair is a great story, wonderfully told." For Neal, Studies 59.2 (Jun. 2015), "[i]n addition to its historical significance of shedding light on a relatively unknown Cold War intelligence effort, The Zhivago Affair is also an excellent story with a wide cast of characters acting in front of a global backdrop."

3. The declassified CIA documents on the publication of Doctor Zhivago can be accessed online at: http://www.foia.cia.gov/collection/doctor-zhivago.

Laville, Helen, and Hugh Wilford, eds. The US Government, Citizen Groups and the Cold War: The State-Private Network. Studies in Intelligence Series. New York: Routledge, 2006.

The materials included here come from a 2003 conference, "The American State-Private Network in the Cold War," in Birmingham, UK.

Rositzke, Harry. The CIA's Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action. New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1977.

Rositzke died on 4 November 2002 at the age of 91. Bart Barnes, "Harry Rositzke Dies; Spymaster, Scholar," Washingtom Post, 7 Nov. 2002, B12.

Clark comment: Rositzke is identified on this book's dust jacket as having served two years with OSS and 25 years with the CIA, where his jobs included work in Munich in the early 1950s, station chief in New Delhi 1957-1962, and Washington assignments until his retirement in 1970.

Pforzheimer notes that the secret operations discussed are "heavily disguised as to places and dates." The author both praises and criticizes, and offers solutions to problems in his concluding chapter. Constantinides finds that the focus of the book is on Rositzke's "major professional interest: secret operations against the Soviet Union.... His experience of secret operations and reflection give him a special perspective." Nonetheless, there are some "questionable facts and opinions" in the book.

U.S. Department of the Army. Art and Science of Psychological Operations: Case Studies of Military Application. 2 vols. Washington, DC: 1976.

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., Edward C. Keefer. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976.

Volume XII. Soviet Union, January 1969-October 1970. Ed., Erin R. Mahan. Washington, DC: GPO, 2006. [Available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v12]

This volume contains a number of documents on covert action against the Soviet Union. See http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/frus1969.pdf.

Volume XIV. Soviet Union, October 1971-May 1972. Eds., David C. Geyer, Nina D. Howland, and Kent Sieg. Washington, DC: GPO, 2006. [Available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v14]

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