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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 6 April 10, 1975

Tactics of Reaction

Tactics of Reaction

The most controversial form in which the CIA performs its 'other functions and duties' is 'covert action' - attempting to influence the internal affairs of other nations by covert means - and an outline of the tactics of this aspect of CIA operations was amply provided by Richard Bissell, a former CIA director in a private address to a small group of intelligence men in 1968. Bissell explained that 'the CIA needs to have its own agents on the inside if it wants to finance a political party, guide the editorial policy of a newspaper, or carry off a military coup. CIA case officers usually serve with false titles in American embassies. Some live in what is called 'deep cover' in foreign countries posing as businessmen, students, newsmen, missionaries, or other seemingly innocent American visitors. Whatever cover the case officer has, his role is to find agents willing to work with or for the CIA. His aim is to penetrate the host government, to learn its inner workings, to manipulate it for the agency's purposes. Bissell listed eight different ways in which the CIA interferes in the domestic affairs of other nations. They are:
1.Political advice and counsel
2.Subsidies to an individual.
3.Financial support and 'technical assistance' to political parties.
4.Support of private organisations, including labour unions, business firms, co-operatives, etc.
5.Covert propaganda
6.'Private' training of individuals.
7.Economic operations.
8.Para-military (or) political action operations designed to overthrow or support a regime (like the Bay of Pigs, Cambodia and Laos).