1953 August 19

CIA Coup in Iran

 

In probably the most famous covert action in its history, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on this day engineered a coup that overthrew the legitimate government of Iran. Although of little interest to the American public at the time, the coup aroused deep hostility to the U.S. that became a factor in anti-American feelings among Iranians, as evidence by the 1979 hostage crisis, when Iranian militants seized and held hostage 52 Americans.

From a civil liberties standpoint, the coup was only one of many covert actions by the CIA — many of which violated the principles of American democracy — that were conducted with essentially no meaningful Congressional oversight. The CIA gained official approval to conduct covert actions on December 17, 1947, and June 18, 1948; and on June 20, 1949, Congress made the agency’s budget secret. The full extent of secret CIA activities did not become widely known until the investigations by the Senate Church Committee (created on January 27, 1975) and the House Pike Committee (created on February 19, 1975).

Read about the history of the CIA: Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (2007)

Read the Senate Church Committee report on CIA assassination plots: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_ir.htm

Watch a documentary on CIA covert actions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJZ8THm_0Jo

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!