1947 December 14

National Security Council Issues First Covert Action Order to CIA


The newly created National Security Council on this day issued its first secret order to the equally new Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) directing it to engage in covert actions. The order authorized “covert psychological operations designed to counter Soviet and Soviet-inspired activities.” The first major CIA covert actions involved the payment of millions of dollars to influence the elections scheduled for Italy in April 1948.

Both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Council were created by the National Security Act, which President Harry Truman signed on July 26, 1947. The law took effect on September 18, 1947.

Congress formally granted secrecy to the CIA on June 20, 1949, even though the agency had been acting secretly for a year and a half.

Learn more about the CIA: Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (2007)

Read the Church Committee report on CIA activities: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_book1.htm

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