It’s official, the CIA did help to overthrow Mosaddegh

This has been known for a while, but now it’s official:

The CIA has now acknowledged its role in the 1953 coup that deposed Iran’s left-leaning Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh. Few Iranians will be surprised. They have always believed Mosaddegh was ousted by U.S. and British interests, and those suspicions are a big part of Iran’s mistrust of the West to this day.

It’s a bit late (this was in 1998):

The agency pledged five years ago to declassify thousands of files on 11 major paramilitary and political operations launched under Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. It said then that records on these secret efforts at foiling Communism and furthering American foreign policy in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean would be released as early as 1994. Two former C.I.A. chiefs, Robert M. Gates and R. James Woolsey Jr., personally promised that the files would be released.

The nine operations constitute a secret history of American power as used against foreign governments by three Presidents. They include efforts to shore up the non-Communist left in France and Italy in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, guerrilla operations in North and South Korea in the Korean War, efforts including political propaganda and bombing missions in Indonesia in the 1950’s, paramilitary activities in Laos and Tibet in the first years of the American involvement in Vietnam and assassination plots in the Congo and the Dominican Republic in the early 1960’s.

The agency also promised six years ago to release records of its coup in Iran in 1954. It belatedly confessed last year that it had destroyed most of those files in the early 1960’s. Mr. Woolsey called that destruction, which remained a secret within the agency, even to him, ”a terrible breach of faith with the American people and their ability to understand their own history.”

It took them five years to realize that they had destroyed most of the files on Iran and another 16 to actually put out some of the records they did have. If they keep going at this rate, they might get out the rest of the documents they promised by the end of the century. The CIA also conceded they had had a file on Noam Chomsky after years of denial–remember this the next time they claim …. well, anything.

Add-on: notice with the Chomsky files that one of two things is very likely: the CIA lied when they said they had no file on him; they destroyed the file they had on him. Since both of these are illegal, I assume there will be an investigation. <–here is where you’re supposed to laugh.

As an aside, it’s interesting to note the main players who convinced President Ford to veto the Privacy Act (which expanded the FOIA):

President Gerald R. Ford wanted to sign the Freedom of Information Act strengthening amendments passed by Congress 30 years ago, but concern about leaks (shared by his chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld and deputy Richard Cheney) and legal arguments that the bill was unconstitutional (marshaled by government lawyer Antonin Scalia, among others) persuaded Ford to veto the bill, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive to mark the 30th anniversary of the veto override.

And yes, I found it ‘funny’ that the debate about the Privacy Act was classified.

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