The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government-David Talbot
July 26, 1947- President Harry S. Truman signs into law the National Security Act, establishing the formation of an intelligence agency dedicated to serving the president. The end result is the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency. Later in life, Truman came to regret the law as the CIA grew beyond his original intentions into an unaccountable, dangerous and highly suspicious agency seemingly under the control of no one. Stories of operatives such as Allen Dulles, Bill Harvey, Richard Helms, David Atlee Phillips, Cord Meyer, Jr. and James Jesus Angleton are both endless and legendary. But what was really going on within the CIA and what was the true nature of its relationship with the White House? David Talbot presents to us his investigative report into the dark side of the CIA and the secret government within the United States.
January 29, 1969-Allen W. Dulles dies at the age of 75 of complications from pneumonia in Washington, D.C. Dying with him is an unknown number of secrets of the U.S. intelligence apparatus. The former director of the CIA, former intelligence operative of the OSS and member of the Warren Commission, was relieved of his post by President Kennedy following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April, 1961. Kennedy and Dulles continued to maintain a strained relationship that would never fully heal. Although officially relieved of duty, Dulles continued to engage in intelligence operations and keep close contact with top members of the CIA. And nearly fifty years after his death, his name evokes both admiration and fear. However, as more information comes to light about the dark operations of the agency he lead, the more we are exposed to the dark side of Allen W. Dulles and his older brother and former Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles.
In March, 1945, the Allied forces in conjunction with the OSS, conducted Operation Sunrise, the black operation that obtained the freedom of several high-ranking Nazis including Karl Wolff. Dulles, at the time working for the OSS, spearheaded the campaign which was done secretly under the radar of the oval office. This mission would be one of many in Dulles’ career that could have caused international turmoil and embarrassment. Operation Sunrise was followed by equally as controversial programs such as Operation Paperclip, ZR/RIFLE and MK/ULTRA the agency’s attempt at a real life Manchurian Candidate. All of the details are included in this book and the full story is beyond shocking.
The agency faced its biggest challenge under the Kennedy Administration. Kennedy, convinced that he was unable to trust information provided by the CIA, vowed to shatter the agency and placed the control of covert operations under the control of the military. Following his assassination, the policy was reversed, authorizing covert operations in domestic and international affairs resulting in disastrous foreign policy which culminated with the Vietnam War. Dulles wouldn’t live to see the war’s end, but his agency’s role in the conflict is still the topic of debate. Talbot’s account of the strained relationship between the Kennedys and the CIA reveals an administration at war with its own intelligence community and one that ended violently in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Many of the figures in the book are now deceased, but the book reveals a very disturbing part of U.S. history that continues to haunt this nation and forces us to ask ourselves what power truly is and who really wields it? And just how much do we know about the intelligence community and what their objectives are? Additionally, the book a critical asset to JFK assassination researchers and those who desire to know the truth about what happened in Dealey Plaza.