For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Politics and Democracy page.
I believe this experiment we are doing into the dark truth of Dallas (and of Washington, D.C.) can be the most hopeful experience of our lives. But, it does require patience and tenacity to confront the unspeakable. We, first of all, need to take the time to recognize the sources in our history for what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
The doctrine of “plausible deniability” in an old government document provides us with a source of the assassination of President Kennedy. The document was issued in 1948, one year after the CIA was established, and 15 years before JFK’s murder. That document, National Security Council directive 10/2, on June 18, 1948, “gave the highest sanction of the [U.S.] government to a broad range of covert operations” – propaganda, sabotage, economic warfare, subversion of all kinds – that were seen as necessary to “win” the Cold War against the Communists.
In the 1950s, under the leadership of CIA Director Allen Dulles, the doctrine of “plausible deniability” became the CIA’s green light to assassinate national leaders, conduct secret military operations, and overthrow governments that our government thought were on the wrong side in the Cold War. “Plausible deniability” meant our intelligence agencies, acting as paramilitary groups, had to lie and cover their tracks so effectively that there would be no trace of U.S. government responsibility for criminal activities on an ever-widening scale.
Truman warns about the CIA
The man who proposed this secret, subversive process in 1948, diplomat George Kennan, said later, in light of its consequences, that it was “the greatest mistake I ever made.” President Harry Truman, under whom the CIA was created, and during whose presidency the plausible deniability doctrine was authorized, had deep regrets. He said in a statement on December 22, 1963:
“We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”
Truman later remarked: “The CIA was set up by me for the sole purpose of getting all the available information to the president. It was not intended to operate as an international agency engaged in strange activities.”
One assumption behind Kennan’s proposal unleashing the CIA for its war against Communism was that the Agency’s criminal power could be confined to covert action outside the borders of the United States, with immunity from its lethal power granted to U.S. citizens. That assumption proved to be wrong.
During the Cold War, the hidden growth of the CIA’s autonomous power corresponded to the public growth of what was called a fortress state. A democratic national security state is a contradiction in terms.
The insecure basis of our security then became weapons that could destroy the planet. To protect the security of that illusory means of security, which was absolute destructive power, we now needed a ruling elite of national security managers with an authority above that of our elected representatives.
So from that point on, our military-industrial managers made the real decisions of state. President Truman simply ratified their decisions and entrenched their power, as he did with the establishment of the CIA, and as his National Security Council did with its endorsement of plausible deniability.