The third “blind” man was retired US Air Force Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, an early critic of the CIA that stood at the head of the then founded security state. In his book titled The Secret Team, published in 1973, he charts the birth of the modern security state through President Harry S. Truman, who in late 1947, signed into law the National Security Act.
He explains how this seminal event “in addition to establishing the Department of Defense (DoD) with a single Secretary at its head and with three equal and independent services — the Army, Navy, and Air Force — also provided for a National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Prouty served from 1955 to 1964 as the focal point for contacts between the CIA and the DoD on matters pertaining to “special operations” – the official language for covert activities. In this capacity, Prouty worked directly with CIA Director Dulles and his brother John Foster, who was then Secretary of State, and also with several different Secretaries of Defense and chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, and many other government officials. Prouty had become disillusioned with the CIA after witnessing that they “had been diverted” from the original assignment that he and the legislators who drafted the Act had so carefully planned.
In his book, Prouty debunks the CIA’s most important “cover story” which is that of an “Intelligence” agency. Prouty affirms that while the CIA does make use of “intelligence” and “intelligence gathering”, this is largely a front for its primary interest – clandestine operations.
In his book, Prouty quotes Truman to explain how “the CIA had gone into clandestine operations and had been ‘injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations’, and ‘has been so much removed from its intended role.’”
The diversion from its intended role was according to Prouty, “attributable to the growing and secret pressures of some other power source.” Again quoting Truman, Prouty explains how the CIA had become: ”a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”
Prouty goes on to define this other power source. “The CIA is the center of a vast and amorphous mechanism that specializes in Covert Operations … or as Allen Dulles always called it, ’Peacetime Operations.’ In this sense, the CIA is the willing tool of a higher level High Cabal, that may include representatives and highly skilled agents of the CIA and other instrumentalities of the government, certain cells of the business and professional world and, almost always, foreign participation.”
Within this unique position, the CIA can prod the other arms of government into doing its bidding. Prouty explains how “[t]he CIA’s greatest strength derives from its ability to activate various parts of the U.S. Government, usually the Defense Department, with minor inputs designed to create a reaction.”
Expanding on the evolution of the security state, Prouty explains how “The CIA did not begin as a Secret Team, as a ‘series of tiny but powerful cabals’, as the ‘invisible government’, or as members of the ‘secret elite’. But before long it became a bit of all of these.”
His dissection of the secret team also includes the ever-present “revolving-door” between government and corporations: “At the heart of the Team, of course, are a handful of top executives of the CIA and of the National Security Council (NSC), most notably the chief White House adviser to the President on foreign policy affairs. Around them revolves a sort of inner ring of Presidential officials, civilians, and military men from the Pentagon, and career professionals of the intelligence community. It is often quite difficult to tell exactly who many of these men really are, because some may wear a uniform and the rank of General and really be with the CIA, and others may be as inconspicuous as the executive assistant to some Cabinet officer’s chief deputy. Out beyond this ring is an extensive and intricate network of government officials with responsibility for, or expertise in, some specific field that touches on national security or foreign affairs: ‘Think Tank’ analysts, businessmen who travel a lot or whose businesses (e.g. import-export or cargo airline operations) are useful, academic experts in this or that technical subject or geographic region, and quite importantly, alumni of the intelligence community — a service from which there are no unconditional resignations. All true members of the Team remain in the power center whether in office with the incumbent administration or out of office with the hard-core set. They simply rotate to and from official jobs and the business world or the pleasant haven of academe.”
The gradual strategic infiltration of government departments also appears to be a specialty of the secret team. Prouty cites how “[o]n the basis of security [Dulles] would place people in all areas of the Government, and then he would move them up and deeper into their cover jobs until they began to take a very active part in the role of their own cover organizations.”
The global power of the secret team according to Prouty comes from its “vast intragovernmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses. The Secret Team has very close affiliations with elements of power in more than three-score foreign countries and is able when it chooses to topple governments, to create governments, and to influence governments almost anywhere in the world.”