Gates: The Final Word
Mon November 27, 2006 11:25 am

For readers who continue to be interested in Bob Gates' nomination as Secretary of Defense, and are interested in CIA history as well, I recommend this Web site:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB208/index.htm

The site includes not only information from the national security archives, but also an excellent, fair, and highly readable excerpt about Gates from Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA, by John Prados. This book is widely regarded as the most authoritative history of the CIA. The except contains this passage from Gates' own memoir about the CIA during the Cold War, From the Shadows, concerning his role as Deputy Director of Intelligence under director William Casey during development of the arms-for-hostages deal that became known as the Iran-Contra scandal:

"I would go over those points in my mind a thousand times in the months and years to come, but the criticisms still hit home. A thousand times I would go over the "might-have-beens" if I had raised more hell than I did with Casey about nonnotification of Congress, if I had demanded that the NSC get out of covert action, if I had insisted that CIA not play by NSC rules, if I had been more aggressive with the DO in my first months as DDCI, if I had gone to the Attorney General."

Prados's overall treatment of Gates' role could be described as "leans favorable" while presenting the opposing case. The Web site also has links to the relevant congressional hearings.

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