Andrew Sullivan linked to a column written in 1963 by former President Harry Truman about the CIA and the need to restrain its actions around the world. Truman, who created the CIA, talks about how it had transformed from an intelligence gathering agency to an arm of American foreign policy, to the detriment of the country.
But of course, the CIA was a subverting influence in the affairs of other countries. Truman wrote this in 1963, after the CIA-led coups in Iran and Guatemala but before similar operations in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador and many other places. And this is more than a bit naive:
For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about “Yankee imperialism,” “exploitive capitalism,” “war-mongering,” “monopolists,” in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people… I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity—and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
Allen Dulles was the one who approved the installation of those dictatorships in Iran and Guatemala. He was a malevolent force against liberty and democracy and in favor of US-supported thugs.