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Restore the CIA's Clandestine Services

October 04, 1986

I quite agree with Mike Ackerman's position (Editorial Pages, Sept. 18) that the CIA's clandestine services should be fully restored, and that they should be focused on Mideast terrorists, and not on a quasi-official, ineffective war in Nicaragua.

I believe, however, that Ackerman is begging for a historicaL repeat of the dismantling of the service when he chooses to use words such as "elimination," "surgical removal," and "discreet supervision."

The American people should know, in general, what the CIA is proposing to do, but not specific targets or details such as when or how the task is to be accomplished.

If the CIA is planning to assassinate terrorists or terrorist trainers and supporters, so be it. But let's call it assassination, not "surgical removal." And let's recognize the fact that if the operations are to be successful, secrecy is vital. The word, please note, is "secret," not "discreet supervision."

If people know and take responsibility for the actions of the covert arm of the military, there will be no expressions of shock, dismay and disbelief when the job is done effectively, or when it is bungled, as will certainly happen occasionally.

An enemy has declared war on us and has dictated the terms and conditions of the war. It is our right to survive and defend ourselves. The enemy has left us little choice as to the method of defense. I do not believe we have anything to be ashamed of as long as we recognize what we are doing and why are doing it. So let's quit fooling ourselves with spook buzzwords and get on with the job.


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