Secret Government Paper. Essa Sample

Published: 2023-10-16
Secret Government Paper. Essa Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Intelligence services Media Cold War
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1072 words
9 min read

After the Second World War, there occurred a fierce geopolitical and arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. This occurrence is referred to as the Cold War. The Cold War was a period of informational espionage with these two heavyweights and their allies trying their best to precede the other (Arnold et al. 9). This competition led to the foundation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigations by the US government, to curtail Soviet efforts both on local soil and on the global stage (13). This essay examines how these intelligence agencies were utilized by the executive both locally and abroad. Using Kathryn Olmstead’s book, Challenging the Secret Government, as a review source this note shall analyze the reporting of criminal acts by the government through the intelligence agencies, the subsequent investigations, and the American citizens’ reactions.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Role of Journalists

The role of journalists in revealing these cover-ups by the intelligence agencies was a key aspect as Kathryn discusses it in detail. The coup de grace that laid the foundation for investigative journalism into the executive was the Watergate scandal. The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein covered the scandal (Olmsted 24). The political scandal involving the then-president Richard Nixon led to his resignation (24). A substantial number of reporters tried to emulate Bernstein and Woodward by questioning and investigating the government. However, those who did were few and received no prize for their work; instead, they were shunned and rebuked not only by Washington but also by their colleagues (183). Moreover, there was the fear that investigating and reporting the actions of the intelligence agencies to the public would do more bad than good, by compromising the country’s efforts against their rivals.

The press was particularly eager to uncover sensational government secrets since they garnered an astronomical appeal from American citizens and profits (McChesney 137). Woodward and Bernstein had left a particular journalist pop culture image that enticed many reporters into delving into the executive dirty laundry (Olmsted 183). The prevailing response from American citizens was a shock; they were shocked that the government was using methods, which went against American ideals. Despite the reaction by American people, some investigations were not followed up, and the reports were buried before any concrete evidence could be gathered. These cases were attributed to "issue attention cycle" which explained that public attention could not be focused on one single thing for a long time (Olmsted 186).

Congress Investigations

Pressure from the press forced Congress to begin investigations. Reports on abuses by the FBI and assassinations by the CIA gained sensational following and investigators had no choice but to investigate the intelligence agencies (8). The Senate selected an investigation team that would pry into the suspected abuses of power by the American intelligence bodies. The investigative team was dubbed ‘Church Committee’ (Johnson 10). The investigation by the Church Committee brought to light several operations that went against American ideals. The ‘Opening of Mail’ was one such operation, the CIA expropriated, opened and recorded more than 200 000 letters between 1950 and 1973 (14). Another operation uncovered was ‘COINTELPRO’ an FBI project that was aimed at spying, disgracing, invading and disarraying American political organizations (Chomsky). The committee also investigated government-sanctioned assassinations of foreign leaders including; Chile’s Rene Schneider, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Zaire’s Patrice Lumumba (Johnson 17).

This investigation and reporting of these operations presented a problem to the Congress and the press. America's global image was that of a democratic government with the diffusion of power. However, the discovery of these operations by the intelligence agencies were the opposite of these ideals (Olmsted 188). To the rest of the world, America was 'the nation on the hill' the concept of interference with foreign states did not reflect this (187). However, after the World War, the press and the American people recognized the need for intelligence agencies to counter the intelligence networks that were founded by the Soviet Union (188). Herein lay the conundrum, whether the need to compete with the intelligence structure of the country's rivals was worth the disregard of the nation's ideals. Various press houses went as far as suppressing specific reports due to the dilemma they faced. The executive assumed that the people did not need or want to know of the operations being undertaken, and they were right for most (195).


Congress was forced to exercise certain authorities over the CIA and FBI to monitor and have some control over their operations. However, there had to be some form of autonomy for the intelligence bodies to successfully operate within the country and internationally (Arnold and Roberta 237). Several committees and teams have been assigned the role of oversight over FBI and CIA operations, investigations and budget allocation (Johnson 13). Congress, however, faced several challenges in trying to manage intelligence bodies, first is the executive power. The executive power derived from the president equips these intelligence agencies with a level of autonomy that is hard to tether.

Furthermore, intelligence bodies are charged with national security. It is difficult for Congress to control these bodies when a threat to the countries security is prevalent. The events of the cold war and the uncovering of heinous illegal operations brought to light the underbelly of espionage and international intelligence. These operations highlighted the need to oversee intelligence bodies and the dangers that these agencies constituted if allowed to operate with absolute sovereignty.

Works Cited

Arnold, James R, and Roberta Wiener. Cold War: The Essential Reference Guide. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.

Chomsky, Noam. “Triumphs of Democracy, by Noam Chomsky (Excerpted from Language and Responsibility).” Archive.Org, 2010,

Johnson, Loch K. "Congressional supervision of America's secret agencies: The experience and legacy of the Church Committee." Public Administration Review 64.1 (2004): 3-14.

McChesney, Fred S. "Sensationalism, newspaper profits and the marginal value of Watergate." Economic Inquiry 25.1 (1987): 135-144. of Form

Olmsted, Kathryn S. Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the Cia and Fbi. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Internet resource. of Form

Cite this page

Secret Government Paper. Essa Sample. (2023, Oct 16). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism