On Tuesday, Wikileaks published a batch of internal CIA documents to its site that exposed the breadth and scope of the Central Intelligence Agency's spying and hacking operations. The documents suggest that the CIA has at its disposal a sophisticated set of tools for spying on people using their smartphones, computers, and even their smart TVs manufactured by companies like Samsung. The documents are still being combed through by researchers, but the result of the leak is already leading to a growing chorus of Americans who believe the CIA serves no useful purpose and deserves to be dismantled immediately.
These people are not alone. In fact, Wikileaks used as its password for the documents a quote often attributed to John F. Kennedy who, disgusted by the CIA's role in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba that had just taken place, said he would "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the wind," according to the Intercept.In fact, the Kennedy State Department made some moves to strip the CIA of its covert action capacity at the time, but the CIA director at the time, John McCone, burned all copies of a report by the agency's inspector general that could be used against the agency to strip it of its power. That was in 1961, Two years later, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and "conspiracy theories" to this day suggest it may have been the CIA who took him out.
It is now 55 years later, and as the recent Wikileaks "Vault 7" documents dump suggests, the CIA has not moved away from its tendency to engage in practices that those who exist outside of the "intelligence community" might describe as somewhat less than ethically sound. Many see no useful purpose for the CIA and the role it plays in maintaining the power of the so-called "deep state." Many people believe perhaps it's time for the agency to finally be "splintered into a thousand pieces and scattered in the wind," as John F. Kennedy suggested.
At least one of the 2016 Presidential candidates once advocated for the CIA to be dismantled, and it was not the guy who won. According to Politico, in 1974 Bernie Sanders was running for the Senate on Vermont's Liberty Union Party ticket, and he called for an end to the CIA.
"(The CIA is) a dangerous institution that has got to go," Sanders told an audience in 1974, describing the agency as a tool of American corporate interests that repeatedly toppled democratically elected leaders and accountable to no one "except right-wing lunatics who use it to prop up fascist dictatorships."
It's highly likely that President Donald Trump is not a fan of the CIA due to comments he has made and a general animosity between him and the intelligence community. Whether he has the political acumen, or if it's even possible for a President to dismantle or otherwise greatly reduce the power of the CIA is an unknown. Kennedy, the last President who went on record calling for an end to the CIA, wound up dead in Dallas not too long after.
Americans are dismayed by what many see as a government agency that has become too powerful and too often intent on working against the better interests of the American people. The power that the CIA has amassed is not described in the U.S. Constitution, and yet it seems to act out its alleged crimes with impunity. Some call it a principle arm of the "shadow government," while others consider it a part of the overarching "deep state" that has become common parlance in political activist circles as of late.
The growing distrust that Americans have long had toward the CIA may be traced back in part to the views and the eventual assassination of John F. Kennedy, but perhaps they've reached a new height with the Wikileaks "Vault 7" documents. Perhaps the time has come for Americans to take a stand and fight against the CIA, and as Kennedy suggested, splinter it into pieces and scatter it to the wind.
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