Free Effective Covert Operation Essay Sample


The essay is an in depth analysis of why United States of America Intelligence are struggling with designing and carrying put effective covert operations. Historically, intelligence is as old as the existence of human race but came to limelight later in their lives. It is worth noting that with the advent of technology and globalization usually characterized by free movement of good, capital human/labor as well as services, the world has turned into a global village. With this, came numerous advantages but also a number of serious negative consequences more importantly security issues. Various countries in the world thus have taken initiatives to ensure that it is protected from surprise attack from their 'enemies'. In America, the Central Investigation Agency, CIA was formed. It is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government that reports to Director of National Intelligence, and is bestowed with the responsibility of offering national security intelligence to relevant U.S top official as well as policy makers. The CIA is the only body that carries out covert activities as requested by the American president.

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Over the years, collecting intelligence information has been done by such methods as covert operation and or a clandestine operation. The paper focuses on the former which refers to activities carried out by intelligence or security agencies, most cases in foreign countries in a manner that trying to link the agencies or intelligence becomes a difficult issue. The purpose of the operation is to accomplish their operation objectives devoid of any parties knowing who supported or approved such an activity. It is important to note here that not only is it required that the identity of the two parties are concealed and kept in secret but also that the sponsor of the activity can plausibly deny any connection with the action.

Being a superpower, the United States of America faces a number of security challenges or threats. This coupled with technological advancement and the known failed covert operations seem to make things worse than before. Opponent have queried the efficacy of the secret organization, particularly in recent past when previous officials are known to sell some vital secrets to Russian, and the CIA management was unsuccessful to warn of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Thus there is need to effectively collect and analyze intelligence information for the sake of the country and its citizens. Thus the benefits of carrying out covert operations as well as the various pitfall associated with it calls for CIA to struggle in designing and to carrying out an effective covert operation.

History Covert operation in America

The Central Intelligence Agency the only agency in the United States of America mandated by law to carry out covert operation was formed in the wake of cold war. Since then it is responsible for revealing information with regards to threats facing U.S and to carry out actions aimed at neutralizing such identified threats. Historically, Washington George the first American intelligence chief is credited for being the first American at the age of twenty one years to collect intelligence information back in 1753. The British sent him to Ohio so that he could collect information on how strong the French military was. During that time, he was to closely observe citadels establish French troop strength as well as establishing their intentions and how they had planned to counter British invasion. Throughout the mission, he was skillful as he successfully exploited the social environment of the military drinking as well as eating sessions. Two years down the line, during Indian and French war, his commander went into war without gathering adequate information. The result was a defeat coupled with fatality and serious injuries. From that he wrote, "There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy, & nothing that requires greater pains to obtain."

Washington did spend close to 10% of his salary on intelligence. In 1776 he formed Knowlton's Rangers shouldered with the responsibility of carrying out reconnaissance to counter Britons; hailed for being the first American military intelligence agency. His skills made him have in place intelligence being carried out in New York City and Philadelphia which was a stronghold of the Britons. With this, he was capable of reporting on how the British military moved their plans and intentions.

Additionally, there were instances where Washington used persons as spies for a particular mission. Honeyman a recruit from the work of Washington was talked to move to Brunswick and enter cattle trade which he supplied meat to the British troop. With such a position, he was able to associate with them and particularly the commander from where he collected information and gave it to Washington. With such information, his troop attacked British troop at Delaware River the morning after chrismas. The later were defeated as they partied the whole night and had no time to reorganize.

It is apparent that all these effort pertaining intelligences focused mainly in Europe regions that seemed to pose a threat in taking power. From the early history, extensive covert operations were carried out during the era of Carter. Efforts were put in place to collect as many information as possible during Vietnam War. Later, there was a sharp decline of the same attributable to exposure of questionable CIA deed that emerged during the Church Committee hearing and secondly the president Carter and his administration pushed and encouraged openness in governance. Despite these facts, CIA did sponsor some covert operations in Angola, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In the times of Reagan and Bush, there was rise in covert operations. When Reagan took power in 1981, he faced Islamic fundamentalists. His administration countered thi8sby carrying out a series of unparallel covert operations. He supported anti-communist forces. One notable of his operation was when CIA collided with the government of Iran in which it involved firearms and freeing of American hostages. Bush, H.W George did conduct military operation against General Manuel Noriega. William Clinton, a democrat came with the notion of fostering government openness, this was short-live as he employed covert operation to help his administration accomplish main agenda for instance building Haiti, addressing aggressive genocidal forces in Yugoslavia and Bosnia among others.

George W. bush heavily employed covert operation during his administration. Immediately after the September 11 2001 attack the president declared war on terrorism. This is exemplified by bombing of Afghanistan on October 7 2001. All this was made possible by CIA covert operations that provided the relevant information. Under his regime president Obama has also used covert operation to address emerging issues especially in Africa. There are reports that the United States of America has covert plan in place to be launched and implemented in Horn of Africa, Middle East and Asia with the aim partly of assassinating individuals deemed to be enemies of the United States of America. Zimbabwe and Sudan have also been under American covert operation under president Obama. In spite of this long history the hay day of covert operations is during the Cold War that involved two strongly opposing power blocks which were unwilling engaging into real war.

Benefits or purpose of covert operation

It is no doubt that covert operations are associated with a number of advantages, for that matter, the American government has strived to ensure that the advantages are not down graded. The operation is known to offer a chance of reinforcing unconcealed activities that are influential or increasing the predictions of achievement of such activities. Thus U.S government will take part in affairs of the target country and withdraw from various activities when it is apparent that being involved in such activities will be of no benefit to country and this will be a higher probability that the sponsor is not known.
Covert operations have been hailed to providing the relevant authorities about issues of security concerns particularly terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and drug trafficking. For instance, the arrest of a Nigerian nation who was to board an American airline with the intention to bomb or hijack it was made known to the relevant authority in time, thanks to covert operations.

Additionally, the principle of plausible deniability is an advantage in itself. It calls for CIA to conduct covert operations and it clearly provide for not being able to identify the sponsor if identified the sponsor can deny. The whole operation gives an avenue to carrying out a firm but silent diplomacy. This has help bolster the growth of democracy and sustain peaceful democratic countries.

Examples of covert operations carried by U.S

As previously mentioned, one reason that keep the United States relevant authorities to designing and carrying out effective covert operations stems from the various failed covert operations. There are other pitfalls that seem to undermine the entire process which is vital in providing policy makers and other top government official vital information that help in safeguarding the interest of Americans and their country. Critiques of the concept argue that covert operation when they fail more often than not lead to disastrous consequences that worsen the long-term diplomatic relationship between and among involved nations.

Despite the fact that there were a number of successful covert operations carried out by the CIA, some operations were no doubt went contrary to the expectation hence a fail. It is a fact that at present America face security issues from international terrorism, drug trafficking, transfers of weapon of mass destructions, as well as organized crimes. To counter these covert operation have been used since 1753. Among the successful covert operations include the one carried out during the reign of Eisenhower to oust the president of Guatemala, the capturing of Saddam Hussein among others. However, these efforts were accompanied by serious costs.

One notable covert operation that failed terribly was the one aimed at assassinating the then Cuban president Fidel Castrol. The invasion to Cuba was marked with a number of drawbacks among them; the whole plan was already known, the operational security were indeed compromised before President Kennedy assumed office, there were also a number of strategic and tactical shortcomings. Additionally, the failure is attributed to the fact that the CIA did not consult with Directorate of Intelligence deliberately.

Similarly, a failed covert operation did take place between 1949 and 1954 in Albania. The operations were of paramilitary nature usually deemed very controversial and difficult to conceal. Such operations are known to damage a reputation of a given country if it doesn't go right. Although it is assumed that the objective of the operation hosted by Britain and supported by CIA was to oust Hoxha leader of the communist government ended in a disaster.

It is worth noting also that what necessitate designing and carrying out effective covert operation are the drawbacks of disadvantages associated with the whole concept. One serious issue associated with covert operation is holding individual accountable for their wrong doings. Criticism from varied quotas has propagated for reconciliation of covert action, public deniability as well as democracy.

From a diplomatic point of view, although there are a number of covert operations that are deemed successful, there is no doubt that the few that terribly failed tarnish the name of the United States of America. Once such reputation is destroyed bad blood thus exists between the involved countries and it is a difficult task to rebuild and regain initial reputation. To counter this, policies have been passed and implemented to help ensure that before engaging into such an action, thorough analysis of the situation has been done to evaluate all possible and feasible alternatives. For instance with the advantage of hindsight, bitter seeds of hatred are usually left and when actions are not taken to address them tend to grow into serious problem such as between U.S.A and Iraq.

Opponents have argued against the success and costs associated with covert operations. For instance, the amount of dollars used to trainees exemplified by the 42,000 in Indonesia to oust Sukarno back in 1958. There are also question asked for instance what did America gain by trying to bring down Fidel Castro, what have we gained by bringing Saddam Hussein and the rest down? Obviously, there are reasons but do they really match with the loss of resources and human lives? This thus called for the relevant authorities to give the whole idea of covert operations a second thought aimed at constantly designing and executing covert operations in manner that will address the criticism.

Additionally, due to existence of aggressive press units allover the world, covert actions can no longer be kept secretive for long. Examples of media blowing things to the public can be seen by what happened to Iran/contra with the USA as well as the Matrix Churchill issue in the United Kingdom. To evade negative publicity by media, it is only rational for the country to strive in developing and carrying out effective covert operations.

It is worth noting that it was with the failure of Bays of Pigs that saw to it that change in how covert operation opts to be carried out was inevitable. Last but not least, covert operations are escalating in nature. In situations where covert operations seem not to work, obviously the next, next and next steps deemed rational and logical are taken. Usually, the whole thing increases the size of the operation till it becomes no longer covert operation. A clear example is provided with what happened in Cuba.

From the issues discussed above, of failed covert operations and drawback of the operations, U.S has struggled to design and carryout effective covert operations. The lessons leant from the failure necessitated the government together with other relevant stakeholders to rethink on covert operations with the aim of clearly establishing the limit of covert operations, how to cooperate as well as the ethical and moral considerations of the whole operation.


In conclusion, it is apparent that the issue of intelligence in the United States of America has a long history dating back in 1753. In part covert operations which refers to activities carried out by intelligence or security agencies, most cases in foreign countries in a manner that trying to link the agencies or intelligence becomes a difficult issue have been used in one way or another by all American presidents to counter issue deemed to be of security concern to America and her citizens.

Through globalization and advent of technology, it is evident that more than never American are vulnerable to their 'enemies'. This coupled with criticism; the failed covert operation exemplified by what happened in Iran, Cuba and Guatemala, there has been need for covert operation is kept effective and efficient. Arguably, the benefits derived from the whole concept, its drawbacks or pitfall plus the criticism have been central in ensuring that American works towards having in place a successful design of covert operation. There is no doubt that the tool is still of importance currently and even in the near future provided it is crafted in a way that ethical and moral issues are accounted for.


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