There is little I see to quarrel with in Irving Howe’s original statement on the CIA and students (March—April DISSENT) or with Lewis Coser’s forceful statement published above. I would only call attention to the disappointing fact that too many of the NSA leaders have tried to brazen their way through the moral jungle into which they have wandered, while others have failed to grasp what was wrong in their action. Certainly, the least one might have expected was some gesture on their part—a mass resignation of the NSA officers and executive board, for example, or that the whole issue be submitted to discussion in the form of an emergency national convention that might elect a new leadership.
I wish to discuss briefly a somewhat different side of the question —namely, the failure of most people to grasp what, precisely, the CIA is. The sensational side of the revelations has distorted this and given the impression that its main activity revolves around the fe...
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