Jacobin: The CIA Is Not Your Friend
The CIA is rebranding as a rational, progressive arm of the US state. And some liberals are buying it.
The Central Intelligence Agency used to be the “bad guy.” After the coup in Chile and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam; after spying on and repressing the antiwar movement; after secret mind-control experiments and bizarre assassination plots, the agency became liberals’ ultimate bogeyman.
Since then, the CIA has rebranded: now home to nerdy liberals like Edward Snowden or true-hearted defenders of democracy like Joe Wilson, the liberal public sees it as an important balance to war-mongers from Dick Cheney to Donald Trump. The revelation that Russian operatives apparently provided Wikileaks with the Podesta e-mails cemented the CIA’s new image. Langley valiantly tried to warn voters that the election had been hijacked, but petty politics got in the way. Now some liberals are pinning their hopes for an electoral mulligan on the intelligence community’s ability to discredit Trump.
This fantasy comes from liberals’ desire to ostentatiously distance themselves from Russia’s increasingly belligerent foreign policy and to displace the blame for Clinton’s surprising, but deserved, loss. But make no mistake, liberals: despite its new image, the CIA is not your friend.