Course No. 8000 | .MP4, AVC, 2000 kbps, 854×480 | English, AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24×28 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.59 GB
Lecturer: Professor Hugh Wilford, PhD
Since the eve of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency has been tasked by the U.S. government with keeping watch on an increasingly dangerous and unstable world. Few organizations are as fascinating, as mysterious—and as controversial.
Is the CIA operating as it was intended to, or is it in desperate need of repair?
What lessons has the CIA learned from its greatest successes and its worst failures?
How does intelligence gathering actually work, both for and against U.S. interests?
Has the CIA fulfilled its difficult mission for the world’s largest democracy thus far?
According to CIA expert Hugh Wilford, there’s a fundamental tension buried within the heart of the CIA’s mission to protect the American government and people: a tension between democratic accountability and the inherent need for secret government power. Throughout its epic (and surprisingly recent) history, the CIA has swung back and forth between these principles.
What many don’t realize is that it’s U.S. citizens who check the CIA’s power, and who bear the responsibility of staying informed about what the CIA has done and continues to do at home and abroad in their name. In The Agency: A History of the CIA, Professor Wilford of California State University transforms decades of academic research into an engrossing 24-lecture course that helps you better understand the roles the CIA has played in recent American history, from the eve of the Cold War against communism to the 21st-century War on Terror. With his outsider’s objective perspective, Professor Wilford offers an unbiased exploration of the CIA’s inner workings, its successful—and disastrous—operations, its innovations in technology and espionage, and its complex relationship with U.S. presidents and popular culture. In this course, you will find all the information you need to be able to make your own conclusions about what the CIA might have done right, what it might have done wrong, and what it should do in the future.
Investigate the CIA’s Great Successes…
Prior to the birth of the CIA in 1947, Americans entertained strong suspicions of international involvement and excessive government power. That changed, however, with the onset of World War II and the subsequent Cold War against communism—both of which paved the way for advocates of intelligence and international intervention to overcome the nation’s “anti-spy” tradition.
So, what can we make of the CIA’s record in espionage and intelligence? Does it all add up to a failure or to a success?
To answer this complicated question, The Agency guides you through decades of espionage and covert operations. After a look at the CIA’s origins—including the agency’s most obvious predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS—and the organization’s evolution from a strict intelligence agency to the United States’s premier covert-action unit, you’ll delve into some of the most remarkable and fascinating successes, including:
The sound intelligence the CIA’s U-2 spy plane program provided to President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which highlights the agency’s prowess in using technological innovations to fulfill its mission;
The admirable performance of the CIA throughout much of the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s, during which it provided solid battlefield intel and sensible strategic assessments about the negative long-term prospects of U.S. involvement; and
The recent successful disruptions of terrorist plots in the ongoing War on Terror, including the foiling of a June 2018 plot (involving the deadly toxin ricin) by a suspected Islamist extremist in Cologne, Germany.
…and Its Stunning Failures
A balanced exploration of the CIA should also take into account the CIA’s many controversial intelligence errors, and Professor Wilford devotes equal time to these historic failures.
You’ll learn how these—sometimes catastrophic—moments came about as the result of everything from bureaucratic knots to the Agency’s surprising lack of human intelligence about volatile regions around the world, including the former communist bloc in Eastern Europe and the Muslim world.
Throughout The Agency, you’ll consider how the CIA often failed or fell short concerning:
The Soviet Union’s acquisition of the atomic bomb,
The fall of China to the forces of communism,
North Korea’s invasion of South Korea,
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and
How long it took to notice the rise of radical Islamism (including the September 11 attacks).
Meet the Men Who Shaped the CIA
Professor Wilford also takes you inside the shadowy world of the CIA, revealing not just how it operated on the domestic and international stage, but also how it operated as its own organization that evolved in step with changing times in American history.
You will meet the individuals who shaped the CIA over the course of decades—some of whom had different ideas of what role the CIA should play at home and abroad—including figures such as:
William “Wild Bill” Donovan: If any individual could be called the father of the CIA, it’s Donovan, appointed by President Roosevelt in 1941 to coordinate intelligence information with historically unprecedented powers over civilian and military agencies (a department renamed the Office of Strategic Services after the Pearl Harbor attack).
George F. Kennan: This State Department Russia expert, responsible for the conversion of the CIA into a covert-ops shop, urged the U.S. government to adopt a series of aggressive measures against the Soviet Union—including the policy of rolling back the borders of the communist empire.
Edward Lansdale: As a CIA operative in Vietnam, Lansdale waged political warfare against the northern Vietnamese government of Ho Chi Minh (including the use of psy-ops targeting Catholics in the north); his story helps you form a more complete understanding of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
James Angleton: One of the CIA’s most compelling personalities, Angleton was responsible for leading a dramatic hunt for Soviet moles inside the CIA—a search which had an enormous impact on the agency’s mission at a crucial moment in its existence and which personified national fears that the CIA would abuse its covert power.
Explore Fascinating CIA Operations
How, exactly, did the CIA plan and conduct its intelligence gathering and covert action? The Agency leads you through various operations throughout the CIA’s history; ops that are equal parts controversial and thrilling.
PB-SUCCESS, the CIA’s codename for its 1954 Guatemala operation that proved (for the CIA, at least) that covert action could be a Cold War magic bullet;
The Berlin Tunnel, the CIA’s first major venture into SIGINT (signals interception) that involved the construction of a secret tunnel from the U.S. sector to the Soviet side; and
MK-ULTRA, a program run by biochemist Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA’s Technical Services Staff that studied the possible effects of hallucinogens in interrogations.
You’ll also get fresh perspectives on historical moments with which you may already have some passing familiarity, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Iran-Contra Affair, and the Iraq War. In many cases, the lectures lead you to consider important questions about both the nature of the CIA and its role in shaping modern history. What makes particular regions of the world ripe for the CIA’s attention? How successful are techniques like drone strikes, rendition, and interrogation? Is the CIA more productive or counterproductive when it comes to foreign affairs?
Along the way, you will also explore how the reality of the CIA compares with the wealth of popular culture that depicts the agency, as well as how the CIA itself has directly and intentionally used literature, film, and other media as tools in its own operations.
An Objective Look at the CIA
For his entire life, Professor Wilford has been fascinated by spies and spying—a fascination that’s undeniably contagious. He’s researched and published extensively on the history of the CIA and international U.S. relations, and has interviewed former spies.
“I’m not going to come down strongly on one side of the debate about the CIA,” Professor Wilford says. “As someone who grew up in England, I still have a bit of an outsider perspective that I think helps make my approach to the CIA fairly objective.”
The result is a thorough, well-balanced exploration of one of America’s most intriguing organizations. So, join the debate with The Agency and start forming your own opinions about an organization that will continue to play a pivotal, game-changing role in history for years to come.
01. Secrecy, Democracy, and the Birth of the CIA
02. George Kennan and the Rise of Covert Ops
03. The CIA, China, and the Korean War
04. The Iran Coup of August 1953
05. Regime Change in Guatemala
06. Operation Rollback in Eastern Europe
07. U-2 Spy Missions and Battleground Berlin
08. The CIA in Syria, Indonesia, and the Congo
09. Under Orders: The Agency Targets Castro
10. Missile Crisis in Cuba and at Langley
11. Unquiet American: Edward Lansdale in Vietnam
12. CIA Fronts and the Ramparts Exposé
13. Spies in Hollywood: Romance and Thriller
14. Nixon, Kissinger, and the Coup in Chile
15. Watergate, Nixon, and the Family Jewels
16. James Angleton and the Great CIA Molehunt
17. Colby, Church, and the CIA Crisis of 1975
18. The CIA, Carter, and the Hostage Crisis in Iran
19. Reagan, Casey, and the Iran-Contra Scandal
20. Afghanistan, the Soviets, and the CIA
21. Intelligence Failure: The Road to 9/11
22. CIA Advance in Afghanistan, Retreat in Iraq
23. CIA Renditions, Interrogations, and Drones
24. The CIA Balance Sheet: Wins and Losses