Allen Welsh Dulles

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Allen W. Dulles

Allen Welsh Dulles (April 7, 1893January 29, 1969) was the first civilian Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and also the longest serving director of the Central Intelligence Agency(1953-1961) of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and a member of the Warren Commission.

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[edit] Family

Dulles was the younger brother of John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower's Secretary of State, and the grandson of John W. Foster, another U.S. Secretary of State and brother to diplomat Eleanor Lansing Dulles. His uncle (by marriage) Robert Lansing also was a U.S. Secretary of State. His nephew, Avery Dulles, is a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and a Jesuit priest.

[edit] Background in Intelligence

Dulles was appointed by William J. Donovan to become head of operations in New York for the Coordinator of Information (COI), which was set up in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center, taking over offices staffed by Britain's MI6. The COI was the precursor to the Office of Strategic Services, renamed in 1942. Dulles was then transferred to Berne, Switzerland for the rest of World War II, and notably was heavily involved in the controversial and secret Operation Sunrise. He is featured in the classic Soviet TV series Seventeen Moments of Spring for his role in that operation.

He worked on intelligence regarding German plans and activities. Dulles's career was jump-started by the information provided by Fritz Kolbe, a German diplomat and a foe of the Nazis. Kolbe supplied secret documents regarding active German spies and plans regarding the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.

In the 1948 Presidential election, Allen Dulles was Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey's chief advisor. The Dulles brothers and James Forrestal helped form the Office of Policy Coordination.

[edit] Director of CIA

In 1953, Dulles became the first civilian director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which had been formed in 1947 as part of the National Security Act; earlier directors had been military officers. The Agency's covert operations were an important part of the Eisenhower administration's new Cold War national security policy known as the "New Look".

Under Dulles's direction, the CIA created MK-Ultra, a top secret mind control research project which was managed by Sidney Gottlieb.

At Dulles' request, President Eisenhower demanded that Senator McCarthy discontinue issuing subpoenas against the CIA. In March, McCarthy had initiated a series of investigations into potential communist subversion of the Agency. Although none of the investigations revealed any wrongdoing, the hearings were still potentially damaging, not only to the CIA's reputation, but to the security of sensitive information as well. During the time, Dulles was personally overseeing Operation Mockingbird, a program which influenced American media companies.

Dulles went on to be successful with the CIA's first attempts at removing foreign leaders by covert means. Notably, the elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran was deposed in 1953 (via Operation Ajax), and President Arbenz of Guatemala was removed in 1954.

During the Kennedy Administration, Dulles faced increasing criticism. The failed Bay of Pigs Invasion and several failed assassination plots utilizing CIA-recruited operatives from the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans directly against Fidel Castro undermined the CIA's credibility, and pro-American but unpopular regimes in Iran and Guatemala that he helped put in place were widely regarded as brutal and corrupt. After the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco, he and his staff (including Director for Plans Richard Bissell) were forced to resign (September 1961).

Dulles published the book The Craft of Intelligence (ISBN 1-59228-297-0) in 1963.

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Dulles as one of seven commissioners of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Despite his knowledge of the several assassination plots by the CIA against Castro, he is not documented to have mentioned these plots to any investigating authorities during the Warren Commission.

[edit] Death

In 1969 Dulles died of influenza, complicated by pneumonia, at the age of 75. He was buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Preceded by:
Gen. Walter Bedell Smith
Director of Central Intelligence
February 26, 1953 - November 29, 1961
Succeeded by:
John McCone
Preceded by:
William Harding Jackson
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
1951 - 1953
Succeeded by:
Charles Pearre Cabell


[edit] Books by Dulles

[edit] Further reading

  • Andrew, Christopher (1996). For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0-06-092178-1.
  • Srodes, James, Allen Dulles: Master of Spies, Washington: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1999.
  • Audio stream of Lecture given by Dulles : 'The Role of Intelligence in Policy Making' [1]
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Allen Welsh Dulles

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