In 1967, CIA director Richard Helms had, as he would later recall, "one of my darkest days" when President Lyndon Johnson told him that the muckraking magazine Ramparts was about to expose one of the Agency's best-kept secrets: a covert project to enroll American students in the crusade against communism. Read more...
In 1967, CIA director Richard Helms had, as he would later recall, "one of my darkest days" when President Lyndon Johnson told him that the muckraking magazine Ramparts was about to expose one of the Agency's best-kept secrets: a covert project to enroll American students in the crusade against communism. Ramparts, however, had only a small part of the story of the CIA's two-decades-long effort to suborn the National Student Association. Patriotic Betrayal tells the rest of the tale, which reads like a John le Carre novel, filled with self-serving rationalizations, layers of duplicity, and bureaucratic double-talk.
In this eye-opening book, Karen M. Paget, herself a former member of the NSA, mined hundreds of archival sources and declassified documents, and interviewed more than 150 people, to uncover precisely how the CIA turned the NSA into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students used--sometimes wittingly but usually unwittingly--as undercover agents inside America and abroad. A rich and suspenseful account of an under-examined episode in the Cold War, Patriotic Betrayal describes the relationship from its inception in 1947, when both the NSA and CIA were established, to 1967, when public exposure forced the CIA to discontinue the arrangement while successfully engineering a cover-up of the extent of its penetration into the NSA.
For the first time, Paget tells the full story revealing that what began as a straightforward project to thwart perceived Soviet influence in America and abroad grew and diversified, and that intelligence-gathering and espionage--despite subsequent CIA denials--were integral to its nature.
How did a domestic liberal student organization become, effectively, a covert arm of a secret government organization charged with advancing U.S. foreign policy aims? The answer throws a sharp light on the persistent argument, heard even today, about whether America's national-security interests can be secured by skullduggery and deception. Patriotic Betrayal is an indispensable history of the dark side of Cold War good intentions and fills a significant gap in an important era of postwar twentieth-century history.
- ISBN-13: 9780300205084
- ISBN-10: 0300205082
- Publisher: Yale University Press
- Publish Date: March 2015
- Page Count: 552
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Paget, an editor at the American Prospect, digs deeply into the CIA's infiltration of the National Student Association in the late 1940s. She begins by tracing (in well-sourced detail) the CIA's successful recruitment, management, and direction of the NSA, which effectively turned it into a Cold War tool dedicated to influencing the opinions of international student associations while discrediting Soviet propaganda efforts. It's long been known that the CIA covertly funded the NSA and manipulated its leadership, but the extent and depth of the CIA's influence has not been documented before. The various plots and subplots that surrounded the NSA's activities from the 1950s until the Vietnam War provide interesting reading and insights into the Cold War mentality. The CIA lost control of the NSA largely due to student dissent over the Vietnam War, and the agency quickly switched from directing NSA activities to targeting the organization for domestic surveillance. It's an instructive example of how the shifting political winds of the 1960s destroyed the mutuality of America's Cold War purpose. Paget's dense story is a case study of America's 1950s embrace of anti-communist dogma and the subsequent fracturing of its political consciousness in the Vietnam era. (Mar.)