1-6 of 6 Results

  • Keywords: CIA x
Clear all

Article

Erik J. Dahl and David Viola

Intelligence scholars and practitioners have analyzed the challenges terrorism presents for intelligence organizations and have debated how intelligence analysts and agencies can best respond to the challenge. The literature on intelligence and terrorism changed following the 9/11 attacks; three schools of thought emerged. Although a large body of literature has developed in recent years, a number of important areas remain in which further research is needed.

Article

As we find ourselves bearing witness—even in our own backyards—to what is increasingly being referred to as the “drone revolution,” it might be a good time to turn our attention back in time and figure out how, exactly, we got here. The large-scale use of drones for national defense and law enforcement is a relatively recent development, but unmanned aerial surveillance draws from a doctrine that is as old as flight itself. Though the fundamental logic of aerial surveillance has remained the same—to put an eye in the sky so that one may look down upon one’s enemies—the technology has evolved dramatically over this period, driving shifts in aerial surveillance theory and practice. New technologies enable new techniques that, in turn, inspire new ways of thinking about how to spy from the sky, and produce new experiences for those being watched. Our present drone revolution, which has itself driven what is being called the “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) revolution,” is the result of this process played out over an entire century. The unmanned aerial spying efforts of the United States military and intelligence community have a particularly long and influential history, beginning with the Union Army’s manned observation balloon corps of the Civil War. Our story begins, in earnest, with fragile and failure-prone “aerial torpedos” in the First World War and an innovative and overlooked live video transmission system from the 1930s, through the CIA’s little-known—and radically forward-thinking—Samos spy satellite program of the late 1950s and a series of extraordinarily ambitious Cold War drone programs, up to the adoption of drones over Bosnia in the 1990s. Together, these episodes show how we got the drones of today and realized the core principles that define aerial spycraft (that is, how to find and watch “the bad guys”) in the 21st century: cover as much ground as possible; process and disseminate what you collect as quickly as possible, ideally, as close as you can get to real-time; and be as persistent as possible. The drones and high-resolution aerial cameras that are finding their way into the tool-kits of police departments will bring these principles along with them. Even if the growing number of law enforcement officers now using this technology aren’t fully aware of the long legacy of aerial surveillance that they are joining, the influence of this formative history of surveillance on their aerial crime-fighting operations is evident. Just as aerial surveillance transformed the battlefield, it will have a similarly profound effect on the experience and tactics of those operating the cameras, as well as, crucially, those individuals being watched by them. By grasping this history, we can better understand not only why and how drones are being used to fight crime, but also what to expect when every police department in the country owns an eye in the sky.

Article

The reception of Soviet and Russian poetry in the West was shaped by the binary nature of Cold War politics no less than other fields of culture and sport. Indeed, the associations between poetry and authenticity meant poetry was especially significant as testimony. In the USSR itself, writers’ memoirs were some of the most important texts published in this era, speaking as they did of the personal experience of the Stalin period that had not been expressed before. Konstantin Paustovsky and Il’ya Ehrenburg, for example, published multivolume memoirs during this period, both of which were translated into English and published in the West. A similar focus on individuals and testimony is reflected in the framing of works of Russian literature in English translation. In 1964, Max Hayward and Patricia Blake’s selection of Russian writers was entitled Dissonant Voices, while George Luckyj’s study of non-Russian Soviet literature in 1975 was entitled Discordant Voices. Also in 1964, the translation of the anthology Tarusskie stranitsy was given an additional subtitle, “new voices in Russian writing.” The idea of the individual voice, which is clearly found in lyric poetry of course, was central to the preoccupation with finding an authentic expression of Russia that would be a counterpoint to the Soviet official one. After the death of Stalin, the voices of poets writing in the USSR who had been censored by the authorities were recovered by academics and émigré Russians: Boris Pasternak’s novel Dr. Zhivago and its poems and the poetry of Osip Mandel’shtam and Anna Akhmatova were amplified in the Western media as voices that could express authentically the suffering, injustice, and inhumanity of the Stalinist system. In the case of Dr. Zhivago, the CIA also worked clandestinely to ensure it was published and distributed in the West. The fact that these works remained only partially published in the USSR fueled the ongoing criticism of the Soviet government’s repressive nature. At the same time, young poets such as Evgenii Evtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky, publishing some poetry that challenged Stalinist norms and criticized the past, were fêted by the Western media. They were subject to political censorship, of course, and had to compromise with the authorities in order to pursue their careers. Across the Cold War years there was a hardening of opinions in the West toward poets who compromised with the regime, and support for those such as Natalia Gorbanevskaya who fought for human rights in the USSR and were prepared to suffer imprisonment for their principles. Uncensored poetry, smuggled out to the West, was published and often accompanied by stories of arrest and imprisonment and sadistic practices in psychiatric hospitals. Poets were among the writers who began to emigrate, too, forming the third wave of Russian emigration; Joseph Brodsky arrived in the USA in 1972 already well known for his trial by the authorities and time spent in northern exile as punishment. Stories of persecution, and poetry written in the Gulag or prison, were undeniably testament to the tyranny of the Soviet government, and could even play a political role themselves: Irina Ratushinskaya’s release from the Gulag in 1986 may have been influenced by the publication of her work and campaigns for her release in the West. The CIA and other intelligence agencies financed cultural institutions such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) in order to promote and amplify criticism and damning evidence of Soviet illiberalism; this meant that poetry and literature that served the cause of anti-Soviet agitation was perhaps more easily accepted for publication, and more widely translated and promoted. Such manipulation of cultural organs, for example the high-profile and high-quality magazine Encounter funded by the CIA, does not detract from the quality of work produced by its contributors, most of whom were unaware of the financial backdrop. Joseph Brodsky’s poetry, awarded the Nobel Prize in 1987, is no less talented for being read and discussed in the context of anti-Soviet discussion; indeed, Brodsky himself wrote against tyranny and criticized the USSR. Nonetheless, the story of Russian poetry in the Cold War cannot be told without acknowledging its interactions with politics.

Article

In December 1979, Soviet troops entered the small, poor, landlocked, Islamic nation of Afghanistan, assassinated the communist president, Hafizullah Amin, and installed a more compliant Afghan leader. For almost ten years, Soviet troops remained entrenched in Afghanistan before finally withdrawing in February 1989. During this period, the United States undertook a covert program to assist the anti-communist Afghan insurgents—the mujahideen—to resist the Soviet occupation. Beginning with President Jimmy Carter’s small-scale authorization in July 1979, the secret war became the largest in history under President Ronald Reagan, running up to $700 million per year. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) acted as the war’s quartermaster, arranging supplies of weapons for the mujahideen, which were funneled through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), in coordination with Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt, and others. No Americans were directly involved in the fighting, and the overall cost to the American taxpayer was in the region of $2 billion. The Afghan cost was much higher. Over a million Afghans were killed, a further two million wounded, and over six million refugees fled to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. For the Soviet Union, the ten-year war constituted its largest military action in the postwar era, and the long and protracted nature of the conflict and the failure of the Red Army to subdue the Afghans is partially responsible for the internal turmoil that contributed to the eventual breakup of the Soviet empire at the end of the 1980s. The defeat of the Soviet 40th Army in Afghanistan proved to be the final major superpower battle of the Cold War, but it also marked the beginning of a new era. The devastation and radicalization of Afghan society resulted in the subsequent decades of continued conflict and warfare and the rise of militant Islamic fundamentalism that has shaped the post-Cold War world.

Article

On March 12, 1956, Basque National and Columbia University lecturer Jesús María de Galíndez Suarez disappeared from New York City never to be seen again. While no conclusive evidence was ever uncovered, it has been widely accepted that he was taken by functionaries of the regime of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, flown to the island, tortured, and killed. Galíndez, who had worked for the Trujillo regime after fleeing Spain in 1939 and subsequently immigrated to the United States in 1946, had just completed a dissertation on the Trujillato at Columbia. The regime did not look kindly on his chosen perspective and set in motion a plan to have him disappeared. Following his abduction, many U.S. solidarity activists joined forces with Dominican exile groups to push for greater attention to the atrocities of the Trujillo regime as well as for a closer investigation into Galíndez’s disappearance. While Trujillo had similarly disappeared a number of individuals in the United States and other Latin American countries, the Galíndez case is unique for several reasons. First, Galíndez’s life offers a prime example of a transnational identity, of someone who juggled multiple identities and causes, crossed physical and ideological borders, and operated daily with conflicting alliances and allegiances. Second, the murder of the Basque national mobilized a significant collective of solidarity activists in the United States, garnered considerable national press, and built a foundation for future activism. Moreover, as Galíndez had been working as a U.S. intelligence operative since before his arrival in the United States, his story complicates the traditional nexus of solidarity work. Finally, the case offers a unique window onto the geopolitics of the early Cold War (prior to the Cuban Revolution) and the intricacies of the second half of the Trujillo regime.

Article

Kelly J. Shannon

Historian James A. Bill famously described America’s relationship with Iran as a tragedy. “Few international relationships,” he wrote, “have had a more positive beginning than that which characterized Iranian-American contacts for more than a century.” The nations’ first diplomatic dealings in the 1850s resulted in a treaty of friendship, and although the U.S. government remained largely aloof from Iranian affairs until World War II, many Iranians saw Americans and the United States positively by the early 20th century. The United States became more deeply involved with Iran during the Second World War, and the two nations were close allies during the Cold War. Yet they became enemies following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. How did this happen? The events that led to the Islamic Republic of Iran dubbing the United States the “Great Satan” in 1979 do indeed contain elements of tragedy. By the late 19th century, Iran—known to Americans as “Persia” until the 1930s—was caught in the middle of the imperial “Great Game” between Great Britain and Russia. Although no European power formally colonized Iran, Britain and Russia developed “spheres of influence” in the country and meddled constantly in Iran’s affairs. As Iranians struggled to create a modern, independent nation-state, they looked to disinterested third parties for help in their struggle to break free from British and Russian control. Consequently, many Iranians came to see the United States as a desirable ally. Activities of individual Americans in Iran from the mid-19th century onward, ranging from Presbyterian missionaries who built hospitals and schools to economic experts who advised Iran’s government, as well as the United States’ own revolutionary and democratic history, fostered a positive view of the United States among Iranians. The two world wars drew the United States into more active involvement in the Middle East, and following both conflicts, the U.S. government defended Iran’s sovereignty against British and Soviet manipulation. The event that caused the United States to lose the admiration of many Iranians occurred in 1953, when the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the British Secret Intelligence Service staged a coup, which overthrew Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, because he nationalized Iran’s oil industry. The coup allowed Iran’s shah, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, to transform himself from a constitutional monarch into an absolute ruler. The 1953 coup, coupled with the subsequent decades of U.S. support for the Shah’s politically repressive regime, resulted in anti-American resentment that burst forth during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The two nations have been enemies ever since. This article traces the origins and evolution of the U.S. relationship with Iran from the 19th through the early 21st centuries.