Agency without an adversary: The Cia and covert actions in the nineteen-eighties and beyond

Edward Alexander Gibbs, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The CIA and its covert actions have been oft criticized. After serious Congressional oversight was established in 1976-77 (The Year of Intelligence) covert actions by the Agency tapered off. Did this mean the loss of a powerful tool because of Congressional meddling in foreign affairs or simply the retiring of outmoded practices? Have covert actions conducted in the 1980s including Afghanistan and Nicaragua been successful and will they need to continue now that the United States has become the sole superpower? Proposals to drastically restructure the CIA such as those of Daniel Patrick Moynihan are examined. The methodology will include a definition of covert actions and an examination of the definition of success in covert actions. The success of covert actions will be looked at from several perspectives including short, medium, and long term time frames.