The Devil Made Them Do It

Covert operations may seem to come naturally to the CIA, but in fact the agency was reluctant to get into that business. This is the surprising conclusion of Arthur Darling, the agency's first official historian, whose manuscript on the early days of the CIA has finally been declassified. The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government, to 1950 will be published later this month.

The book portrays officials at the State Department vehemently arguing that undercover operations were necessary to combat communist expansionism, while also maintaining that dirty tricks should not be run out of the country. The CIA finally took...

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