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Secret and Sanctioned: Covert Operations and the American Presidency 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195100983
ISBN-10: 0195100980
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Repercussions from abuses of power by back-to-back Democratic and Republican presidents (Johnson and Nixon) still echo through American life. If congressional assertion of control in response to the presidential misuse of the CIA was perhaps too extreme, then this volume attempts to present the other side. Basing this work on his doctoral dissertation at Boston College, the author, now an assistant professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy, presents a brief chronological treatment of covert operations by American presidents from George Washington through George Bush. International law and morality are dismissed as constraints as Knott tries to refute Frank Church's Senate Report on Intelligence Activities (1976). Historians will find little new here, and critics will remain unconvinced, but it is a readable effort that raises the issue of the proper role of the CIA and covert operations in the foreign policy of a republic. Recommended for specialized collections.
William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Raises the issue of the proper role of the CIA and covert operations in the foreign policy of a republic."--Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 25, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195100980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195100983
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Stephen Knott starts this fast paced book by recounting the myth that covert operations in America began with the Cold War, and searches for the truth or falsity of this belief. Then Knott recounts the history of covert operations in America, beginning during the Revolutionary war with George Washington. Knott points out how the founding fathers understood the value of secrecy and espionage run by the executive branch to maintain secrecy and deniability.
Knott explains how Washington created a contingency fund to pay for spies and secret diplomacy. Jefferson bribed Indians to gain territory and started to overthrow the Pasha of the Barbary pirates. Madison planned covert operations to gain Spanish Florida, to gain land, stop Indian attacks, and get Spain out of North America. Then Knott describes the efforts of Joel Poinsett for President Madison in Argentina and Chile where he tried to incite independence from Spain, and cut down the influence of the British. Eventually Poinsett worked in Mexico on behalf of President Monroe. Andrew Jackson sent Robert Anthony to Mexico to try and get Texas, to help protect New Orleans. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln supported covert efforts throughout Europe and Canada supporting the Union through propaganda in newspapers.
Knott concludes the book by showing how during the nineteen-seventies, congressmen wanted to control covert operations and set up a congressional oversight in the belief that this is what the founding fathers would have wanted. But, as we have seen, the founding fathers believed in covert operations with no congressional oversight, because even then congress could not keep a secret. Knott's book is full of surprising anecdotes detailing the use of covert operations by the founding fathers.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're a history and/or spy geek like me, you must do yourself a favor and pick up "Secret & Sanctioned: Covert Operations & the American Presidency" by my professor, Stephen Knott.

A man renown for being unable to tell a lie, George Washington, was in fact a master of spy craft and deception. As POTUS he established a "contingency fund" to carry out covert operations, a fund that was used by his successors. Successors like Jefferson & Madison, men who opposed a permanent military establishment, would use the fund to great effect without resorting to full-blown military operations. Lincoln & Seward relied on the same fund to preserve the Union, fighting the Confederacy at home & abroad. You'll discover one of the great diplomats/spies you've never heard of, Joel Poinsett. And of course find out how the Congress - and I'll resist a partisan jab here - went and screwed it all up.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book was purchased for a class that i needed for school. I had a horrible time trying to get into the book. The book did arrive on time
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Format: Hardcover
My book arrived promptly and in excellent condition. Great book exploring covert operations and their necessity in foreign and domestic affairs.
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