By Harry S Truman
December 22, 1963

INDEPENDENCE, MO., Dec. 21 — I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.

I think it is fairly obvious that by and large a President’s performance in office is as effective as the information he has and the information he gets. That is to say, that assuming the President himself possesses a knowledge of our history, a sensitive understanding of our institutions, and an insight into the needs and aspirations of the people, he needs to have available to him the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on what is going on everywhere in the world, and particularly of the trends and developments in all the danger spots in the contest between East and West. This is an immense task and requires a special kind of an intelligence facility.

Of course, every President has available to him all the information gathered by the many intelligence agencies already in existence. The Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Interior and others are constantly engaged in extensive information gathering and have done excellent work.

But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what’s worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.

Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization 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.

I wanted and needed the information in its “natural raw” state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.

Since the responsibility for decision making was his—then he had to be sure that no information is kept from him for whatever reason at the discretion of any one department or agency, or that unpleasant facts be kept from him. There are always those who would want to shield a President from bad news or misjudgments to spare him from being “upset.”

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 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.

But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. 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.

We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.


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16 thought on “Limit the Role of CIA to Intelligence”
  1. What seems ironic to me is that Greg Felton, author of The Host and the Parasite; How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, a book chronicling the development of the Israeli Lobby, claims that Truman was the first officially bought out president and that the Lobby offered him money when he was on the verge of losing the election, and goes on to claim that the CIA became Mossad-occupied.

  2. He says Allen Dulles was a man of integrity. A Wall Street conduit to Adolf Hitler. Busy during the war to enable the business connections between the US and nazi Germany to operate smoothly.
    Regarding Sue’s comment about Cia Mossad.
    Both began operating at about the same time, and functioned rather well from the beginning. How come?
    They must have used already existing networks. Either the british intel or the masonic networks. What else could it be.

  3. “But now there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA restored to its original role as the intelligence arm of the president…” Is he just apologizing for the CiA’s role overseas and in “peacetime cloak and dagger operations”? Or did a pang of conscience over the role the CIA might have played in the shocking death of a much beloved president cause him to pen this veiled apology exactly a month later?

  4. From a contemporary perspective Truman’s original purpose in creating the CIA, to provide the President with information in its ‘raw state’, so as to “guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or lead the President into unwise decisions” looks hopelessly naive. This intention was clearly turned on its head in the lead up to the Iraq war, where Cheny demanded from the CIA evidence of WMDs that did not exist.
    Indeed, Truman’s CIA was responsible for one of the central lies of the cold war, the so called ‘missile gap’. It is a little hard to believe that he wasn’t aware of this fiction.

    1. If you consider that OSS during WWII later brought in people whose pasts were shrouded in secrecy (Operation Paperclip) and that the Cold War had a spy network, that events like the overthrow in Iran of Mossadegh had been run by CIA, etc., how could something like that be reined in and turned to a mere advisory role? Yes, the analysts could continue to do their thing, but how do you shut down operations without compromising the entire reputation of the US? These are human beings and human beings talk, or extort or whatever they need to do to survive. What began in WWII had a momentum that did not shut down when peace broke out. How much power did any one politically elected individual have over it? Presidents are expendable. Also, they serve less visible power. That is one explanation for the assassination of Kennedy which the people who invented the term “conspiracy theory” are at pains to dismiss, because the secret governance of our system needs to run without scrutiny or interference, as it achieves its geopolitical and economic ends.

      So what Truman says is kind of a “blue sky” scheme, and I should imagine a way of speaking about the Kennedy assassination soon after it which shows that he realizes the status quo with CIA represents a problem which is well-nigh intractable and corrosive of representative government over the long term. His generation would have been able to see that 9/11 was a direct result of those trends he and Eisenhower both warned about but were powerless to change.

      Now we may settle into a period of oligarchy where popular debate is almost nil for truly massive decisions which are essentially high stakes gambles (war with Russia anyone?). The core of what is going on might have to do with securing energy sources, as it has generally been, and there may be Wall Street at the back of it (as Ruppert always said), but the concept of representative government which Truman and others stood for, or at least paid lip service to (because in those days, they knew most people cared) will be less and less honored if the powerful find it an obstacle to the efficient use of their power once they have decided upon a goal. Tyranny will be out in the open insofar as it can get away with showing itself and insofar as it can rely on the mob to uphold it against all critics. This is perhaps new for us, but it is old for world history.

      How to keep from going into a disastrous war and retain enough freedom at home is the ongoing problem. These hoaxes/false flags are a symptom of decay in the society, and a green light to tyranny I fear.

  5. ———————————–


    Don’t think there is much a president can do at this point to offset the embedded assault on constitutional governance. Truman was led, like so many other chief executives, down the garden path–misguided by ‘experts’ who knew how to rig the game and tilt the outcome to their advantage.

    Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter were particularly vulnerable to suggestion. Those who were savvy enough to rethink the channeled information were expertly marginalized or eliminated. But we haven’t seen many of their kind of late.

    I like this abreviated video; it succinctly describes inbred relationships between the haves and other haves, as they encircle, moving freely to sap what remains of our democratic republic. We cannot hope to survive as long as they set the rules and rule the roost.

  6. Seems President Truman has confessed to a great sin and it remains to be seen if we will greet him in heaven one day.

    This huge government machine has morphed into much more and it is probable the crooks have all joined forces to ensure their existence.

    May God help us, we need to vote out all the cronies and it appears Rand Paul may have a clue on how to right this sinking ship.

  7. Truman was anything but a good guy. For one thing, he was a 33° Mason, in the day when it really meant something. For another, he came up through the politics of a corrupt, mafia-like machine.

    But all we need to look at is his firing of McArthur, thus snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, to see who he really was: a tool, if not architect of the New World Order WWII was foisted on the world to usher in.

    Then there is the theory that the completely unnecessary nuking of Japan’s cities was actually a message to the USSR, intended to start the Cold War.

    So here he is, within days of the secret government having murdered a president who FIRED Allen Dulles, head of the CIA, and who declared that he was going to shatter the damned thing into a thousand pieces, meekly pondering the good intentions CIA was created with. Give me a break.

    I have discussed here a few times the nefarious, indeed purely evil, work of the Dulles brothers throughout the 50s, and I won’t repeat it, for the sake of everyone who has been here all along (if the newcomers want a recap, and ask, I will, however, oblige). “Give ’em hell Harry” is anything but the fellow he portrays himself to be in this self-serving Letter to the Editor. He knew perfectly well what CIA/State had been doing in collusion around the world in the long leads since he left office.

    Another thing I have beat the dead horse about in these pages is the sad fact that the Antifederalists did not win the argument in 1787, and the legitimate government of the United States was overthrown, creating the inevitable mess we now find ourselves in. This one I WILL return to, on the occasion of a fantastic piece Lew Rockwell published today, called Our Oligarchs Can Thank James Madison:

    Here is the first portion of its concluding remarks, giving a good taste of the story:

    The anti-Federalists lost and Madison won, so we can now witness the true extent to which a large republic has failed to prevent the rise of exploitive and powerful factions in the United States. The U.S. government now controls more than 2.5 trillion dollars that flow to the treasury every year, inviting every faction, large and small, that hopes to capture even a tiny fraction of this enormous pile of wealth for itself. Never in the history of the world has any single state spent so much and owed so much, while maintaining military bases in every corner of the world while spying, cataloging, taxing, regulating, and imprisoning so many.

    Truman was fully on board with the monster the federal government had become. He was no innocent, and any claims to that effect he was making can only be some kind of code.

  8. The corruption is quite in our face these days and not one of the criminals are brought to justice, they continue to receive their full pay or retire comfortably on our dime.

    Cannot count the number of stories published on VA medical facilities, destroying the records of veterans needing medical care in order to show the backlog disappeared and they get bonuses for a job well done. This is just sickening, as the brave who fought for our freedom are left to die with no medical care.

    The DHS, created to oversee all security agencies, has only ballooned the corruption of which our leader declares there is not one smidgeon of.

  9. If we want to regain a modicum of freedom, integrity and a reasonably responsible place in the world, the CIA needs to be shut down completely. And forever. They are like any other business, a business that creates business to keep themselves in business. And what a business! If the American people had the least idea of what this hardcore criminal organization that began, almost from its inception, to vie with the Presidency for ultimate power and for the right to create mayhem throughout the world, whose traditions are rooted in lies, deception and plausible denial; if Americans knew what the CIA has done to this country, its Constitution, Bill of Rights, history and traditions, not to speak of its leadership, our outrage would be boundless. Get rid of the scoundrels before a righteous lynch mob takes them down. Stop their funding, insist upon judicial review of their leaders, and let the nation’s wounds, and those of the world upon which the CIA has preyed without conscience since the moment of its creation, begin to heal.

  10. What is most scary about this tortuous history is the direct line from the assassination of President Kennedy to the shrub branch of the Bush family taking us to war for patently phony reasons in Iraq. They had us believing for ten plus years that this was the work of OBL when OBL was their friend. Who knows? Maybe he agreed to be the scapegoat. But in between we had Vietnam. Does anyone know why we did to Vietnam what we did to Vietnam? Or why we fought the first Iraq war? Or why Poppy Bush sent American troops into Panama and turned that country upside down? Because we could! That was the answer he gave. What kind of a man is this? What kind of family prerogative runs through the Bush family that makes them think they can do anything they want, anywhere they want, for any reasons that fly through their vacuous brains? Poppy Bush’s long nefarious connection to the CIA, the plausible denial that he put forth for the probable role he played in Dallas on 11/22/63 needs to be investigated. This family is out of control and if we can’t jail them, we need to make sure that this history is laid out for everyone to know and understand. And make sure that no present and/or future member of the Bush family is allowed, ever, to serve in any capacity in the US government.

    1. BTW – Faux speaks of how his computer was taken over and his internet provider insisted he owed a huge sum of money for downloads he did not do, and he has since managed to work off line.

      Have noticed recently and it’s recurrences are more frequent as the months go by, when clicking on an article from a respected site that is anti the current establishment, my virus protection alerts me something bad is goring to happen and it stops it.

      Would not be surprised to learn who is behind these attacks trying to disable our internet connectivity.

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