Analysis

Should the CIA Bring Back Cold War-Style Covert Action?
Supporters of the defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrated on June 18, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Fred Rustmann, a former CIA case officer and author of CIA, Inc., says if the agency were still doing classic Cold War-era covert action, the United States could have worked with the protest movement in Iran in 2009 to depose Ahmadinejad. (Getty Images)
February 27, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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A former member of the CIA’s elite senior intelligence service told LIGNET in an exclusive interview this week that if the CIA hadn’t stopped using Cold War-style covert action in the mid 70s, we could have avoided 4,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and would not now find ourselves in a showdown with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran: We would have simply replaced him with a candidate friendly to U.S. interests.Until 1974, the CIA “operated under a cloak of secrecy” said Fred Rustmann, who served in the CIA for 24 years and now heads a private intelligence firm based in South Florida. After 1974, when the Pike and Church committees in Congress took the agency to task and exposed covert action, including some abuses, the CIA became “risk averse,” and “afraid to do anything that might appear as a headline in the New York Times.”
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