The CIA and the Cold War: A Memoir

The CIA and the Cold War: A Memoir

The CIA and the Cold War: A Memoir

The CIA and the Cold War: A Memoir

Synopsis

This book gives the true inside picture of the CIA during the Cold War and how the agency saw the events in which it was involved. Breckinridge started his career with the CIA as a briefing officer (and within a year had become White House Briefing Officer) in 1953 and concluded it as Deputy Inspector General in 1979. The issues Breckinridge reports on--the Bay of Pigs, the Warren Commission Report, Vietnam, Watergate, Chile, plots against foreign leaders, the Ramparts controversy, Laos, the Church and Pike committees--are among the most controversial in the lives of Americans since the mid-twentieth century. Breckinridge demostrates that the CIA was not a "rogue elephant" but an agency acting under high level policy directives, and he reveals a great deal about the internal life of the CIA.

Excerpt

Even after the Soviet Union surrendered control of the East European nations, and after ussr President Mikhail Gorbachev retreated from longstanding Soviet policies, some observers continued to entertain basic reservations as to whether the Cold War was over. Whatever those doubts they had to vanish in the face of the remarkable dissolution of the ussr in 1992. If the future was filled with important uncertainties, and it was, international relations will be different than they had been for the preceding forty-five years and more. However, the mark of those times remains. Many of the myths of the period will linger in the records of the era, affecting how history will look back on it all.

The Cold War not only produced an atmosphere of continuing crisis. Its unending quality spawned a wide range of debate and extreme rhetoric from all sides, not the least of which was within our own national scene. No declaration was too extreme for the disputants. Too often this included deliberate efforts to discredit the very instruments of American national policy. Creative versions of what had happened were circulated as fact, and motives were hypothesized and transposed to national leaders that bore no credible relationship to what was on the minds of those who made and implemented policy. It seemed not enough to disagree over difficult issues, but disagreement often was accompanied by some sort of compulsion to challenge the integrity of those on the other side of an issue. It is not total fantasy to suggest that by thrusting the Cold War on what became the West in the East-West contest, the ussr happened to sow the seeds of self doubt and distrust on oddly receptive parts of Western society. Soviet propaganda—disinformation—was a part of this, although how much help was needed from that source is problematical.

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