By Ray McGovern

Fifty years ago, exactly one month after John Kennedy was killed, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” The first sentence of that op-ed on Dec. 22, 1963, read, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”

It sounded like the intro to a bleat from some liberal professor or journalist. Not so. The writer was former President Harry S. Truman, who spearheaded the establishment of the CIA 66 years ago, right after World War II, to better coordinate U.S. intelligence gathering. But the spy agency had lurched off in what Truman thought were troubling directions.

President Harry S. Truman.

President Harry S. Truman.

Sadly, those concerns that Truman expressed in that op-ed — that he had inadvertently helped create a Frankenstein monster — are as valid today as they were 50 years ago, if not more so.

Truman began his article by underscoring “the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be “charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ‘treatment’ or interpretations.”

Truman then moved quickly to one of the main things bothering him.

He wrote, “the most important thing was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions.”

It was not difficult to see this as a reference to how one of the agency’s early directors, Allen Dulles, tried to trick President Kennedy into sending U.S. forces to rescue the group of invaders who had landed on the beach at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba, in April 1961 with no chance of success, absent the speedy commitment of U.S. air and ground support.

Wallowing in the Bay of Pigs

Arch-Establishment figure Allen Dulles had been offended when young President Kennedy had the temerity to ask questions about CIA plans before the Bay of Pigs debacle, which had been set in motion under President Dwight Eisenhower. When Kennedy made it clear he would NOT approve the use of U.S. combat forces, Dulles set out, with supreme confidence, to mousetrap the President.

Coffee-stained notes handwritten by Allen Dulles were discovered after his death and reported by historian Lucien S. Vandenbroucke. They show how Dulles drew Kennedy into a plan that was virtually certain to require the use of U.S. combat forces. In his notes, Dulles explained that, “when the chips were down,” Kennedy would be forced by “the realities of the situation” to give whatever military support was necessary “rather than permit the enterprise to fail.”

The “enterprise” which Dulles said could not fail was, of course, the overthrow of Fidel Castro. After mounting several failed operations to assassinate him, this time Dulles meant to get his man, with little or no attention to how the Russians might react. The reckless Joint Chiefs of Staff, whom then-Deputy Secretary of State George Ball later described as a “sewer of deceit,” relished any chance to confront the Soviet Union and give it, at least, a black eye.

But Kennedy stuck to his guns, so to speak. He fired Dulles and his co-conspirators a few months after the abortive invasion, and told a friend that he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” The outrage was very obviously mutual.

When Kennedy himself was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, it must have occurred to Truman as it did to many others that the disgraced Dulles and his unrepentant associates might not be above conspiring to get rid of a president they felt was soft on Communism and get even for their Bay of Pigs fiasco.

‘Cloak and Dagger’

While Truman saw CIA’s attempted mousetrapping of President Kennedy as a particular outrage, his more general complaint is seen in his broader lament that the CIA had become “so removed from its intended role … I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. … It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government.” Not only shaping policy through its control of intelligence, but also “cloak and dagger” operations, presumably including assassinations.

Truman concluded the op-ed with an admonition that was as clear as the syntax was clumsy: “I would like to see the CIA 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.” The importance and prescient nature of that admonition are even clearer today, a half-century later.

But Truman’s warning fell mostly on deaf ears, at least within Establishment circles. The Washington Post published the op-ed in its early edition on Dec. 22, 1963, but immediately excised it from later editions. Other media ignored it. The long hand of the CIA?

In Truman’s view, misuse of the CIA began in February 1953, when his successor, Dwight Eisenhower, named Allen Dulles as CIA director. Dulles’s forte was overthrowing governments (in current parlance, “regime change”), and he was quite good at it. With coups in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) under his belt, Dulles was riding high by the late Fifties and moved Cuba to the top of his to-do list.

The Truman Papers

Documents in the Truman Library show that nine days after Kennedy was assassinated, Truman sketched out in handwritten notes what he wanted to say in the op-ed. He noted, among other things, that the CIA had worked as he intended only “when I had control.”

Five days after the op-ed appeared, retired Admiral Sidney Souers, whom Truman had appointed to lead his first central intelligence group, sent a “Dear Boss” letter applauding Truman’s outspokenness and blaming Dulles for making the CIA “a different animal than the one I tried to set up for you.”

Souers specifically lambasted the attempt “to conduct a ‘war’ invading Cuba with a handful of men and without air cover.” He also lamented the fact that the agency’s “principal effort” had evolved into causing “revolutions in smaller countries around the globe,” and added: “With so much emphasis on operations, it would not surprise me to find that the matter of collecting and processing intelligence has suffered some.” (Again, as true today as it was 50 years ago.)

Clearly, the operational tail of the CIA was wagging its substantive dog, a serious problem that persists to this day.

Fox Guarding Hen House

After Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, the patrician, well-connected Dulles got himself appointed to the Warren Commission and took the lead in shaping the investigation of JFK’s assassination. Documents in the Truman Library show that Dulles also mounted a small domestic covert action of his own to neutralize any future airing of Truman’s and Souers’s warnings about covert action.

So important was this to Dulles that he invented a pretext to get himself invited to visit Truman in Independence, Missouri. On the afternoon of April 17, 1964, Dulles spent a half-hour one-on-one with the former president, trying to get him to retract what he had written in his op-ed. Hell No, said Harry.

Not a problem, Dulles decided. Four days later, in a formal memorandum of conversation for his old buddy Lawrence Houston, CIA general counsel from 1947 to 1973, Dulles fabricated a private retraction for Truman, claiming that Truman told him the Washington Post article was “all wrong,” and that Truman “seemed quite astounded at it.”

A fabricated retraction? It certainly seems so, because Truman did not change his tune. Far from it. In a June 10, 1964, letter to the managing editor of Look magazine, for example, Truman restated his critique of covert action, emphasizing that he never intended the CIA to get involved in “strange activities.”

Dulles and Dallas

Dulles could hardly have expected to get Truman to recant publicly. So why was it so important for Dulles to place in CIA files a fabricated retraction? I believe the answer lies in the fact that in early 1964 Dulles was feeling a lot of heat from many who were suggesting the CIA might have been involved somehow in the Kennedy assassination. Columnists were asking how the truth could ever be reached, with Allen Dulles as de facto head of the Warren Commission.

Dulles had good reason to fear that Truman’s limited-edition Washington Post op-ed of Dec. 22, 1963, might garner unwanted attention and raise troublesome questions about covert action, including assassination. He would have wanted to be in position to dig out of Larry Houston’s files the Truman “retraction,” in the hope that this would nip any serious questioning in the bud.

As the de facto head of the Warren Commission, Dulles was perfectly positioned to protect himself and his associates, were any commissioners or investigators, or journalists, tempted to question whether Dulles and the CIA played a role in killing Kennedy.

And so, the question: Did Allen Dulles and other “cloak-and-dagger” CIA operatives have a hand in John Kennedy’s assassination and in then covering it up? In my view, the best dissection of the evidence pertaining to the murder appeared in James Douglass’s 2008 book, JFK and the Unspeakable. After updating and arraying the abundant evidence, and conducting still more interviews, Douglass concludes that the answer is Yes.


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  1. No mention that Patton offered to drive the russians back to moscow…but was murdered.
    No mention of the vatican/pacelli/2nd vatican council /murder of luciani /woztyla robbing the bank for Poland with marcinkus/calvi/gelli
    No mention that gladio et al was born in the halls of freemasonry (P2)…now P3.
    No mention that the archbishop of chicago was a disgusting crook buried deep inside the mob.
    No mention that the pope bergoglio (jesuit) kisses the hand of rothschild.
    No mention of jesuit power n castro was a jesuit.
    n… of-course (lol) no mention of the phoenician five (((families)))
    the article presents history/facts in a cullender….a lot is missing that is relevant
    you cant isolate kennedy and the bay of pigs episode as if it were an independent microcosm
    No mention …..werent there nuclear conflicts with israel?
    No mention….wasn’t a new dollar created (gold-backed)
    No mention….why was kruschev pushing missiles in cuba
    And stated
    “Truman’s warning fell mostly on deaf ears, at least within Establishment circles”
    Kindly explain……. Establishment circles.
    n finally the author channels the reader into his final conclusion….
    “In my view, the best dissection of the evidence pertaining to the murder appeared in James Douglass’s 2008 book….
    I havent read the book….(reading whitney webbs latest atm)

  2. Excellent Jonas. Thank you for this well informed essay. Without CIA doctored documents, we would not have gone to War on Iraq. wasting trillions of dollars and destroying the country for ever. Key officers should be charged for the destruction of the country and the million children who died and the tens of thousands killed.

  3. Foreword No. 1
    An Italian folk song (Calabria, but I am not from Calabria) reads, in translation, “the greatest regulator in the world is Money everything fixes as well as the cobbler does with glue. But love is not “regulated” and is not bought or sold: every mother gives it to her child with the milk of her tits.” I highlight that Money since 1700 has been the world’s greatest regulator. This is to say that J.F.K. was not killed because of the “Bay of Pigs” in which Dulles wanted to involve him.
    Premise #2
    In the 1920s D. Rockefeller and Carneige commissioned what is known as the “Flexner Report,” which confirmed the theses of the two. Within a very few years all the Medical Universities (those we now consider to be alternative) disappeared and only Rockefeller’s and Carneige’s universities remained. How did it happen? MONEY.
    Just as in the Middle Ages (and J.E.A. should know the beautiful story of Abelard and Eloise in J. Le Goffe, Les intellectuales au Moyen Ậge) universities, and professors, made a living based on fees paid by students. But if Rockefeller and Carneige cut tuition in half or made it a quarter, is it clear that all universities not theirs were failing? The Flexner Report is what health care is today (think Covid) and from the U.S. it has become a model in Europe.
    That being said …

    • That being said …
      1 – the investigative journalist D. Estulin says, with goodness of Truman, that the transition of the OSS into the CIA was a concerted operation between D. Rockefeller his cousin Dulles and the British Tavistock Institute (but wasn’t Rockefeller in premise 2 already meddling with health care?). And they wanted the economic relations that came out of WW II to remain unchanged. The first CIA operation was the Marshal Plan (in two words Gladio in Italy and death squads in Germany and hundreds of US bases, then NATO).
      2 – On 11/22/1910 there was the Jeckyl Island meeting to plot the birth of the Federal Reserve.
      On 11/22/1963 J.F.K. was killed. Coincidences?
      3 – By Executive Order of June 4, 1963 No. 11110 J.F.K. institutes the issuance of $5.00 State Ticket. Government note means untied and free from the Federal Reserve. Don’t you see the interest of even someone like Rockefeller behind it all (I speak of facts and for the sake of argument)?
      Do you not see The Regulator of the World in action the same ones who despise the gift of mothers will wean the new generations of man with insects and synthetic meat?
      If one does not even know how to respond?

  4. We know who did what where how why when.
    And we know
    They want a World without us.

    The End.

    All the rest is distraction.

  5. milesmatthis…………….
    has a different opinion….
    ………………………he claims JFK never died…it was all faked. (the hidden kings is 88 pages)

    what have we got on the murder of kennedy….the famous live street video….
    n afterwards … a sniper…that the local police managed to murder in their custody…
    n so it goes on….later brain photos etc…
    all hollywood

    I am a big follower of this man and have read and read his stuff….
    someone kindly disprove his writings…
    fact is you cant…
    we,ve all bin had.
    and we are idiots…including me.

  6. Truman Dulles were 2 killers (murderers) having an arguement.
    Talmud reading Truman nuked the 2 biggest Christian cities is East Asia, and Dulles did His stuff. Both were Criminals which Americans are guilty for supporting, assisting and cheering. The Divine Payback is still going on, plus all the habitual torture, maiming, legalized murder and destruction done since then.

    • Truman was in over his head with the CIA sharpies. What is interesting is how he got on the ticket with FDR in 1944 and served as VP for only 4 months. Hmmm. Conveniently for some, he became POTUS when FDR “expired” at the relatively young age of 63. A lot of strange shit happened at the end of WWII. We can only guess how much king-makers like Dulles were involved.

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