In 1947, the president of the United States, Harry Truman, decided: I’m going to create a snake and call it the CIA. Its watchword will be secrecy. It will collect secrets of our enemies and hold them secret and report the secrets to the president, who will decide what to do. Of course, the snake will remain under the president’s control. Its entire personality will be based on deception, but it will remain loyal to the president. No problem. Sure.
I’m thankful for Charles Hollander’s challenging piece on Thomas Pynchon’s novel, The Crying of Lot 49: “Pynchon, JFK and the CIA: Magic Eye Views of The Crying of Lot 49.”
Hollander offers vital reminders of the war between two parts of the Executive Branch: the presidency and the CIA.
“Implicit in Pynchon’s fiction is the view that events in recent American history have led to a virtual constitutional crisis, a challenge to the supremacy of the presidency by the intelligence community.”
“When Eisenhower made his ‘open skies’ proposal, in July 21, 1955, at a Geneva summit conference, calling for unrestricted but monitored overflight of national territories on both sides of the Iron Curtain, many observers felts its acceptance would have gone a long way toward thawing the Cold War. To make a gesture of good faith toward Soviet Premier Khrushchev, the president ordered the CIA (under Allen Dulles) to halt its U–2 photo–reconnaissance flights. But Dulles secretly arranged for the flights to continue. When Francis Gary Powers’s U–2 spy plane was shot down in the Ural mountains on May 1, 1960, and Khrushchev announced the facts to the world media, the embarrassed Eisenhower lied to cover up. To many it appeared that the CIA chief had disobeyed a direct order from the Commander–in–Chief. The St. Louis Post–Dispatch asked the next day, ‘Do our intelligence operatives enjoy so much freewheeling authority that they can touch off an incident of grave international import by low–level decisions unchecked by responsible policy–making power’?”
“Later, when Lee Harvey Oswald’s possible role in the U–2 affair became known, some observers felt Dulles’s action implied that the director of the CIA was above the president and that the military–industrial complex could do what it pleased, independent of the will of the people as expressed by the popularly elected and duly constituted chief executive. No wonder Ike [Eisenhower] was peeved: the CIA was running the U.S. the way it ran Latin America. The U–2 affair was no mere personality squabble, Ike vs. Dulles; it was two institutions of the executive branch vying for supremacy, the presidency vs. the CIA, hence the democratic process vs. a form of totalitarism.”
“The CIA had already planned the April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion before Kennedy took office in January, and when the invasion failed, Kennedy felt that the CIA had set him up. He let it be known he intended to dismantle the CIA and assign its functions to the other intelligence units within the government. He reportedly vowed ‘to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds’… Kennedy, a Democrat, forced the Republican Allen Dulles to resign, along with other senior CIA officers. But the CIA was too deeply involved just then in operations around the world to be disassembled. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, in a way that implicated the CIA…critics of the Warren Commission Report, maybe even J. Edgar Hoover—believed the CIA had some hand in Kennedy’s assassination and the coverup. If it had, the CIA was again demonstrating that the presidency was subordinate to the CIA.”
“In a very short time, two presidents, a Republican and a Democrat, ran afoul of the CIA. The result amounted to a constitutional crisis, a change in our actual form of government without benefit of a duly ratified constitutional amendment. The crisis is reminiscent of that period in Roman history when the Praetorian Guard could sell the office of Emperor to the highest bidder and then, after a time, assassinate him and have a new auction. To this day, the president has never again challenged the CIA, though the agency has made its share of egregious errors. With the selection of former CIA director George H.W. Bush, the presidency and the CIA effectively merged…”
These days, President Trump is in his own war against the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community (IC).
In his case, he has overtly criticized the IC and called them disseminators of fake news and lies. He claims he’s putting an end to foreign wars of conquest. He’s already canceled a major Globalist trade treaty, the TPP.
But the IC believes it owns the Presidency and sets his agenda.
This is not a recent assumption. It goes all the way back to the early days of the CIA; Eisenhower, Kennedy.
In 2016, the IC leadership decided Trump would be a threat to their power, so they leaked/invented information about the Russians influencing the election on behalf of Trump. This effort was aimed at corroding his right to claim that he was the legitimate president.
The war continues.
The IC doesn’t want presidents with independent ideas.
They’re the bosses, and they intend to keep it that way.
—The snake slithers in the sun and the shade. It moves deftly and collects information and decides what to do with it. It compiles its own private list of enemies and allies. It senses its own power. Why should it honor its mandate? There is an Empire to be gained.