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Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency

William J. Daugherty (Author)
Synopsis Since its inception in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency has been vital to maintaining national security. Yet the covert action programs managed by the intelligence agency at the behest of American presidents have often been misunderstood and the agency itself deemed suspect in its operations and priorities. In Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency, William J. Dougherty, a seventeen year veteran operations officer with the C.I.A., explains the nature of the intelligence discipline of covert action and presidential decision making process since World War II. By examining the agency’s history in this way, he establishes and clarifies the role of covert action as a necessary tool of presidential statecraft. Daugherty refutes the widespread notion that the C.I.A. often behaves, in the words of the late Idaho senator Frank Church, like a “rough elephant” rampaging out of control, initiating risky covert action programs without the knowledge, much less the sanction, of either Congress or the White House. Daugherty illustrates how these and other misperceptions about covert action is a legitimate foreign policy option and examines the congressional and legal oversight of these actions. Citing congressional investigations, recently declassified documents, and his own experience in covert action policy and oversight, Daugherty demonstrates that the C.I.A.’s covert addition to explaining how covert programs transform presidential foreign policy into reality, he details how each president conducted the approval, oversight, and review processes for covert action and examines specific instances in which U.S. presidents have expressly directed C.I.A. covert action programs to suit their broader policy objectives. A former Marine Corps aviator with a combat tour in Vietnam, Daugherty’s first tour with the C.I.A. was in Iran, where he was one of fifty-two Americans held hostages for 444 days during the Carter administration. Combining unique inside perspective with sober objectivity in judging the true nature and scope of C.I.A. covert actions during the last half century, Daugherty reveals an agency whose essential functions are necessary in a complex and often dangerous modern world.
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About the author

William J. Daugherty

William J. Daugherty holds a Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School and is Associate Professor of government at Armstrong Atlantic State niversity in Savannah, Georgia. A retired senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, he is the author of In the Shadow of the Ayatollah: A CIA Hostage in Iran.

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Bibliographic information

Title Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Manas Publications
Language: English
isbn 8170492262
length xxvii+298p., Bibliography; Index; 23cm.