Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) writes "covert operations are necessary in certain circumstances . . . " (Op-Ed Page, Nov. 22). Then he lists recommendations by the House and Senate Iran-Contra committees, one of which is "covert operations should be of the kind that the public would support if it were to know of them." Hamilton doesn't try to justify or explain just why it is that covert operations are, in fact, necessary.
And I ask, if the actions would be supported by the public, why do they need to be covert? (Because the actions break international laws; because our allies would be offended if they knew?)
I contend the real reason we have covert actions is because the public would not support them. The CIA's actions should be confined to gathering and dispensing information.
Is it Hamilton's understanding that the American public would approve of the CIA executing secret military missions or toppling duly elected governments? I think not.