John D. Marks, co-author of "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence," last night accused former U.S. presidents of using the CIA as a "tool of the presidency."
Marks, speaking at an Institute of Politics seminar on The Senate and Foreign Policy, said that the CIA has "short-circuited our democratic processes" because it is accountable only to the president and is not subject to restrictions, like budget review and Congressional inquiries, applicable to all other government agencies.
Marks said that domestically the CIA considers college campuses fair game. He said that on "virtually every college campus there are CIA operators looking for recruits, especially foreign students."
During the Johnson administration the CIA probably participated in the infiltration of radical organizations, Marks said. But he added that the CIA was "much cleaner," meaning less active domestically, than other government intelligence agencies.
"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" is the first book ever to be subject to government censorship prior to publication.
The book outlines CIA activities over the last 25 years. It describes in detail covert CIA operations in Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, and more recently its activities in Chile.
The book has 160 deletions requested in Federal court by the CIA because of alleged breaches of national security. Blank spaces left in the book represent the approximate length of each deletion.
Marks said the book does not show the CIA as an "animal out of control." He said he wanted to show the CIA as being controlled by the president.
Marks said the CIA is used when leaders feel they cannot get away with a policy action in public. The CIA has become a "panacea for all policy problems," he said.
He also said the United States is violating our treaties with international organizations, because it is using the CIA to intervene in the affairs of foreign governments.
It is time the U.S. limited the role of the CIA and enacted legislation closely defining what the role of the CIA will be, he said.