All through the history of the CIA, the agency has faced quite a number of controversies. Some of the controversies portray their involvement in human right abuses and several covert actions abroad and at home.
Concerning human rights involvement, the CIA has been summoned several times because of its brutal use of force and torture. At times, they train certain groups and fund them with the primary objective of having these same groups take part in eliminating civilians; in the worst scenarios, they would make numerous attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments especially in Africa and other developing countries, participate in human experimentation and leading assassinations and other targeted killings. The agency has been accused of being short of funds and whistleblower controls consequently leading to fraud and waste.
In drug trafficking, two departments of the CIA have responsibilities under the directorate of analysis namely, the CIA crime and narcotics center and the office of transnational issues. The former deals with extensive research in the field of international narcotics trafficking plus coordinated crime for policymakers as well as the law enforcement community. The other office engages in special functional expertise to evaluate current and developing threats to the United States national security and offers the highest military planners, U.S policymakers, and law enforcement with assessments, crisis support, and also the office is tasked with giving alerts in case of any impending danger.
According to research conducted by the scholars Gary Webb and Dr. Alfred McCoy, the CIA has been actively involved over the years in trafficking narcotics all over the globe. However, as expected, the CIA strongly denies such claims every time. For instance, back then during the cold war, many soldiers took part in transporting Heroin from the Southeast Asian region to the United States by means of airlines like Air America; the role of the CIA in this traffic was to take back all related profits to keep off possible enemies from taking control over the assets.
During the period in which Bush led the CIA, the agency actively backed up operation condor affairs and military dictatorships, especially in Latin America. In 2015, documents revealed a CIA report from April 28, 1978, clearly showing that CIA was well aware that the U.S government-supported Augusto Pinchet, a Chilean dictator and arranged for the assassination of the leading political opponent, Orlando Letelier who was at that time in exile in the U.S. In addition, there is a long history of the United States CIA connection with several African affairs. For example, the arrest of Nelson Mandela in 1962 happened after a CIA tip-off. Several incidents concerning the agency’s dealings in Africa came at the time of the cold war when the two nations, the US and the Soviet Union fought for dominance all over the continent.
Research into CIA’s work coupled with revelations by previous employees from the agency uncovered quite a number of covert operations that were initially hard to prove. The CIA worked to influence major events in Africa.
In 1960, Congo gained its independence and Patrice Lumumba was the first prime minister to take the job. Unfortunately, just after a few months, he was overthrown and later assassinated in 1961. Many years later to 2002, Belgium came forward as the responsible party in the killing but the US remained silent about its role in spite of suspicions. The then United States president Dwight Eisenhower had his concerns about communism and he feared Congo going down the same path as Cuba. A detailed book about Patrice’s assassination ‘Death in the Congo’ a source revealed that President Eisenhower wanted no further discussion after he ordered for the assassination of Lumumba. During the airing of BBC in 2000, Lawrence Devlin, the station chief in Congo then said that it was the plan of CIA to lace some poison in Lumumba’s toothpaste. Another survey from top-secret US government Documents from that period indicates that it was the prime focus of the CIA to remove Lumumba with a multitude of non-lethal efforts; assassination was the last option. Undoubtedly, the incident shows that the CIA wanted him dead.
During the years after 9/11, the Open Society Foundations and the Institute of Medicine reviewed numerous public records that portrayed the involvement of the CIA in abusing all prisoners held as suspected terrorists. The reports uncovered how the prisoners were tortured; interrogations were frequently cruel and degrading. The CIA came up with practices and implemented them to escalate anxiety and disorientation so that the detainees would yield to interrogations. Furthermore, they supported the application of unbearable painful methods like force-feeding detainees on hunger strikes. Medical professionals were employed at black sites to handle the detainees.
WikiLeaks published over 8,000 documents about the CIA in March 2107. The classified documents with the codename vault 7 had details about the abilities of the software programs the CIA operated with. The documents dated from 2013 to 2016 indicate that the software programs were able to control smart TVs, cars, as well as browsers like Opera, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Other compromised operating systems include those that operate on smartphones including Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS and other operating systems like Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. Without naming the source of the essential information, WikiLeaks proceeded to say that all files were exchanged among all former hackers working for the United States government and other contractors. All the unauthorized dealings and sections of the archive were given to WikiLeaks as proof.
Despite all the evidence, the director of the CIA Mike Pompeo addressed the CSIS in 2017 talking about WikiLeaks and calling them out as a hostile intelligence service used by state actors for example Russia. He added that giving them attention and airtime for their misplaced secrets would be debauchery against what the constitution holds dear.