Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

Synopsis

In 1992, the CIA hired the young historian Nick Cullather to write a history of the Agency's Operation which overthrew the lawful government of Guatemala in 1954. He produced this vivid insider's account from the Agency's own archives.

Excerpt

This study is a product of the Central Intelligence Agency's "openness " initiative, which for a short while promised to reveal the agency's history to the public. Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates apologized to the Oklahoma Press Association in February 1992 for the agency's reflexive secrecy and announced that all documents over thirty years old would be reviewed for declassification. Senator David Boren, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, applauded, noting that a new understanding of history would "create a climate in which the wisdom of current operations will be carefully weighed."

It seemed a natural, almost predictable announcement, given the history-making events of the early 1990s. Two months earlier, the Soviet Union dissolved, and the new Russian government threw open the archives of the Communist Party in Moscow. The KGB escorted network television crews on tours of its inner sanctum while former spymasters signed book deals in New York. Almost every week newspapers carried revelations from the Soviet files on the Alger Hiss case, the fate of POWs in Vietnam, and other mysteries of the Cold War. If the Communist enemy was going public, how could the United States refuse?

Americans expected not only a "peace dividend" after the Iron Cur-

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