The Central Intelligence Agency is the prototypical shadow self mechanism of expansionist America- the mostly hidden, extra-legal strike force tasked with butchering opposition to U.S. corporate global dominance, aka American Interests. With 16 other intelligence agencies to work, and or compete with for the intel money pie, CIA is top dog. According to leaked documents outlining intelligence “black budgets” the CIA consumes the biggest classified money slice. That’s right, the CIA is SO not your business, even their budget is too hot to handle.
In a society that supposedly values freedom, the rule of law and human rights, we seem largely unconcerned with the often nefarious activities conducted in our name, with our black tax dollars, by what amounts to a secret surveillance army with a license to torture, steal, maim and kill, whose activities are none of your damn business.
It could be argued that in order to have a chance at creating the stability and plenitude needed to grow our lofty stated values in a chaotic and dark world, we must assemble and maintain an adept force capable and willing to do the dirty work, to operate in the larger world where bad actors who do not share our values seek to harm or otherwise compromise our “interests.”
Certainly the individuals who join the CIA are typically highly motivated, intelligent and patriotic men and women…perhaps with a certain level of narcissistic egoism sprinkled in, but high functioning elite types get this naturally. Who wakes up one morning and says, “I am CIA material!” Many high functioning people are easily bored by the mundane and crave adventure and or danger. And CIA is a dangerous gig.
Douglas Mackiernan, the first CIA officer killed in the line of duty, was killed on April 29th, 1950, in Tibet. The CIA did not publicly recognize Mackiernan’s service until 2006, when his name was added to the “book of honor” which contains the names of 84 others, with 33 redacted fatalities.
The CIA is in the curious position of having whatever operations it completes that may be universally applauded for big brained daring do and the preservation of America, Apple Pie and our stated values, largely kept hidden from the public, while the most evil operations, the ones usually discounted as insane conspiracy theories until confirmed by terse lawyerly admissions due to leaks, whistle blowers or the passage of enough time, get all the attention.
What to do? The CIA represents a kind of bottomless hopelessness chasm where dreams of democracy and self righteousness are disappeared, or worse. Sometimes the Crazy Punch tastes so good you just want to keep drinking. A few years ago I viewed a bookstore chat with some unfamous CIA operative whose memoir was on sale. The man was sharp, reasonable and thoughtful, fielding questions from history buffs and weirdos hoping to glimpse a real, in the flesh conspiracy zombie. The man prattled on for an hour. Near the end he made an off handed comment about how successful the CIA had been in Iran- toppling Mossadegh at the behest of oil companies because the fool wanted to nationalize Iranian oil fields! His reasonableness was not shattered, and nobody reacted to his bland statement describing the overthrow of a foreign government as good baseball. The Crazy Punch was that good. The man, whoever he is, was the perfect cool barbarian, ready to pillage and destroy calmly, with scholarly precision.
CIA website mission statement-
CIA’s information, insights, and actions consistently provide tactical and strategic advantage for the United States.
Preempt threats and further US national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the President, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our Nation safe.
The officers of the CIA are guided by a professional ethos that is the sum of our abiding principles, core values, and highest aspirations. This ethos holds us on course as we exercise the extraordinary influence and authorities with which we have been entrusted to protect the Nation and advance its interests. CIA’s ethos has many dimensions, including:
- Service. We put Nation first, Agency before unit, and mission before self. We take pride in being diverse, inclusive, agile, responsive, and consequential.
- Integrity. We uphold the highest standards of lawful conduct. We are truthful and forthright, and we provide information and analysis without institutional or political bias. We maintain the Nation’s trust through accountability and oversight.
- Excellence. We bring the best of our diverse backgrounds and expertise to everything we do. We are self-aware, reflecting on our performance and learning from it. We strive to give all officers the tools, experiences, and leadership they need to excel.
- Courage. We accomplish difficult, high-stakes, often dangerous tasks. In executing mission, we carefully manage risk but we do not shy away from it. We value sacrifice and honor our fallen.
- Teamwork. We stand by and behind one another. Collaboration, both internal and external, underpins our best outcomes. Diversity and inclusion are mission imperatives.
- Stewardship. We preserve our ability to obtain secrets by protecting sources and methods from the moment we enter on duty until our last breath.