Central Intelligence Agency

(CIA)
   A clandestine agency of the United States government, responsible for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence. Established by the National Security Act of 1947, the CIA has been used by presidents as a tool of analysis and covert activity. During the Cold War, combating communism was the agency’s primary mission. In 1954, during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the CIA staged the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz, the left-wing president of Guatemala. In 1961, during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA attempted to oust Fidel Castro of Cuba by directing the Bay of Pigs invasion. Among the agency’s Cold War activities were experiments on mind control and (unsuccessful) attempts on the lives of foreign leaders—Castro, in particular.
   In 1975 the CIA’s covert operations came under the investigation of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. Chaired by Frank Church, the Committee looked into possible CIA involvement in the 1973 coup that deposed the Marxist president Salvador Allende Gossens of Chile. The CIA had tried for many years to prevent Allende Gossens from gaining the presidency. Once he took office in 1970, the United States reduced aid, curtailed trade, and cut off supplies. The CIA was instructed to sabotage the Chilean economy, following the orders of President Richard Nixon to “make the economy scream.” The CIA also carried out Track II—a top-secret plan to instigate a military coup. From 1970 to 1973 the CIA spent $8 million to undermine the Allende Gossens government, supporting the opposition in business, labor, media, and politics. Although the Church Committee found no evidence that the CIA took a direct part in overthrowing Allende Gossens, the agency knew about the plan for the coup and encouraged those who put it into action.

Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars” . . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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