The Fourth Force
Dec. 1975

The Bay of Pigs in 1961 was a large military exercise. It involved an Air Force, a Navy, and a sizable over the beach force of Cuban expatriates. The insurrection against the Sukarno Government in Indonesia 1958 involved more than 42,000 rebel troops, a good-sized CIA clandestine Air Force, and a Navy, including submarines.

In Tibet in 1959-60, more than 14,000 insurgent Khamba tribesmen were supported by a major airlift of arms over the Himalayan mountains. All of these programs, and many more, were under the operational control of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Yet the federal law that created the CIA to "coordinate the intelligence activities of other government departments and agencies" does not authorize clandestine activities such as those listed above.

Where did the CIA get its power? How could a small agency created to coordinate intelligence have grown to such a force that it assassinates rulers of governments and raises armies in support of rebel cabals around the world? Congress does not fund these operations. Yet the CIA has the power and the money to mount them.

When the CIA sought thousands of arms and tons of ammunition for India's border police, it got them from the United States military. When the CIA wanted 42,000 rifles airlifted to Indonesian rebels, it got the United States military to do it. When the CIA needed long-range transport aircraft to drop Tibetan sabotage teams on Chinese roadways in northwest China, it got the planes, the training, and the equipment from the United States military. But the United States military is held accountable for its equipment and is banned from engaging in clandestine activities. How does the CIA arrange this? How does the CIA repeatedly defy the rest of the United States government? The answer lies in its ominous role as this country's mysterious Fourth Force.

Years ago, the War Plans scenario for a bipolar world visualized that the two great powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, would exchange massive nuclear blows. The seats of government in both nations would be destroyed, along with their industrial capacities. The armed forces of both nations would be crippled and there would be chaos because all major cities would have been annihilated and radioactive fallout would have rendered enormous areas uninhabitable.

It was believed then and may still be that the war would be won by the nation that could pull itself together fastest after the initial exchange and put a force into the other country for the purpose of control and reorganization.

In the 1940s Washington came up with a War Plan that called for the creation of mobile, airlifted forces with global capability that could be dispatched immediately to areas in the Soviet Union where damage and radioactivity would be minimal following nuclear war. These forces would have the ability to form a military government and establish a communications system in the devastated areas. But one link in the plan had to be created before the nuclear exchange. Networks of agents had to be in place in "safe zones" of the Soviet Union to form the nucleus of any command-and-control system that would be established. Furthermore, the designation of the safe zones was a function of top-level war plans and was determined by the prepositioning, during peacetime, of CIA agents as well as Russians in the Soviet Union working for the CIA.

While the military was pondering this problem, the CIA came onto the scene. The United States Army had had experience in military government during World War II and it had done a good job, especially in Italy after the Germans were defeated and in Japan under General Douglas MacArthur.

The Office of Strategic Services had been close to the civil affairs and military government functions and was a precursor of the CIA; so the military turned to the fledgling CIA for help with its World plan. At that time the CIA was assisting with the administration and questioning tens of thousands of defectors from eastern Europe. The Agency had countless leads into eastern Europe and some, if exploited properly, would even stretch into Russia.

Thus the CIA came to take an active part in this supersecret war planning. The Agency established a presence in the Pentagon and in the major United States military headquarters all over the world. The Agency had available hundreds of skilled former military men. Most retained their reserve status while others were given equivalent rank. Some CIA personnel carried letters of authority that gave them rank above that of any three-star general or admiral... The CIA was moving in.

In the War Plans game, the CIA is scheduled to play the actual role of the Fourth Force - the name given to it in the Pentagon. The CIA Fourth Force would serve under the Supreme Allied Command. The Army, Navy, and Air Force would have paramount roles in time of all-out war. Then the CIA, the Fourth Force, would go into action.

This Fourth Force was not an intelligence force; the military, even before the days of the Defense Intelligence Agency, (DIA) which was created in 1961, was extremely jealous of its own intelligence capability and did not want any CIA meddling. But it readily accepted the CIA as the Fourth Force, in a paramilitary sense, for duty during wartime.

The CIA, under Allen Dulles, put exceptionally able operatives into each military headquarters. The over-worked planning staffs found these extra hands ready and eager to help with any small task. Such offices as Subsidiary Plans, Special Operations, Psychological Warfare, and Unconventional Warfare began to spring up and they were all loaded with "helpful" CIA men.

The law that created the CIA specifically prohibited the Agency from building up forces for clandestine operations. The Secretary of Defense in the late 1940s, Louis Johnson, had informed the Director of Central Intelligence that if the Agency needed military equipment it would have to pay cash for whatever it ordered. In those days the CIA budget was small, so this order effectively controlled any undue clandestine use of military equipment in foreign countries by the CIA.

President Eisenhower continued the policy. One of the old Clandestine Operations documents known as NSCID 10/2 Later updated to NSC 5412/2 and it set forth limitations concerning the role the CIA could play in clandestine operations. In the margin of one of the master copies of NSC 5412/2 Eisenhower had noted in his own handwriting that nothing was to be given to the CIA that would enable it to create a force that would permit it to operate over any lengthy period of time, or to be able to operate in such a manner that the operation would not remain "covert". In other words, clandestine operations were to be small and "one time" so said Eisenhower.

But the CIA was gathering power as the Fourth Force. It began in Europe, where military maneuvers were to be held in Germany. All the armed forces, including the Fourth Force, were to take part. Each service had its own equipment, established by the War Plan.

As the exercise took shape and the military forces began to prepare for their roles, the CIA asked for weapons, trucks, radios, jeeps, and other items it would need to "play" Fourth Force. This was a problem. The military couldn't fund the CIA and the CIA could not go to Congress itself and ask for military equipment on a permanent basis. The military forces came up with a solution. The Army, Navy, and Air Force all created "phony" CIA cover units. Then they let the CIA "equip" these units according to the War Plan and in time the CIA acquired a huge stockpile of military equipment, even aircraft, ostensibly for its formal Fourth Force mission.

Over the next few years the CIA amassed more and more equipment. Its phony Army, Navy, and Air Force units did not have the usual "equipment lists" or "tables of equipment" that other United States military organizations had; so the Agency had in effect an open-ended horn of plenty. Warehouses in England, Germany, Libya, Okinawa, and the Philippines, among others, were bulging with CIA-owned military hardware. Then, since all of this had cost nothing, the CIA began to use its money to buy foreign weapons. For example, the CIA bought boatloads of Russian, Czechoslovak, Polish, and other weapons that the Israelis had captured from the Egyptian army in the 1956 war. The CIA soon had substantial stockpiles of foreign equipment.

By the mid-1950s the CIA was ready to exploit its new capability. It turned its back on hard-core Soviet and East European targets and began to operate secretly in the realm of the Third World. When it wanted to equip a rebel cabal to overthrow some government, the CIA did not have to ask anyone for weaponry. It could ask the Air Force for planes to fly "training equipment" into some country; and the next thing anyone knew a well-equipped and well financed rebel force would be rising up against an "enemy" government.

The United States armed forces, meanwhile, had no idea how much equipment the CIA had gleaned from them. I recall in 1962 telling Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the CIA had "hundreds of military units and that they were all well armed and equipped". He said he didn't know it had become as extensive as that. Lemnitzer, a member of the recent Rockefeller CIA Commission, turned to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David M. Shoup, and asked if the Marines had such units. Shoup replied that they had a few, and added: "This must explain why I was asked by an Army unit on Okinawa for 14,000 rifles one day. I never could figure out why the Army needed 14,000 Marine rifles. Now I realize that I gave them to a CIA 'Army' unit". Those rifles found their way to Meo tribesmen fighting for the CIA in its private war in Laos.

This Fourth Force technique was carried so far that it was the CIA that actually selected and purchased the first M-16 rifles. The CIA had aircraft of its own, types that it concealed in the military inventory even when the services had none like them such as the L-28, the U-2, and the RB-69. The CIA sent the first sizable units of large helicopters into South Vietnam and moved in thousands of men under military cover to maintain them. These concentrations of men, ostensibly maintaining helicopters and no more, became early targets for the Viet Cong. They eventually had to be protected by United States military forces that might not have been sent if the CIA had not required them to protect its huge bases, a fact that does much to explain the early phases of the escalation of the Vietnam war.

The CIA has the world's largest private airline. It is generally known as Air America and it is part of the Pacific Corporation. But Air America itself has on occasion had more than one hundred subordinate affiliates all over the world. At one time Air America had more than four thousand men each on two separate bases. Of course, these bases appeared to be U.S. military bases and needed protection, which in turn involved the assignment of regular military forces.

Four government panels have been studying the CIA, plodding through stacks of irrelevant bits and pieces, swamped by titillating tidbits that lead nowhere. None of them knows about the Fourth Force, and they probably would not be able to identify and understand it if they found it. The Fourth Force is a major power. It has been used to start major wars and is at full strength today. The beginnings of Fourth Force activity may already be seen in the Middle East, and when the CIA is ready, action will begin there. This is the real CIA.

The Rockefeller Commission did not look into this because it had been penetrated on behalf of the CIA by David Belin, its chief counsel and former counsel of the Warren Commission. In fact, Belin still reports to the CIA. The Senate committee will not get into this because it has been penetrated by its chief counsel, William G. Miller. Miller was recruited by the CIA in the fifties when he was in Harvard, and the CIA assisted him by getting him a Foreign Service assignment in Iran from where he regularly reported to the CIA.

The House committee investigating the CIA will not get into this subject because its leadership has never really wanted a thorough investigation of the CIA. The committee is little known and it will not dig deeply. This committee is working on government reorganization activities and is administered by Presidential aide Donald Rumsfeld. This top committee has an active and important subcommittee on the Reorganization of the CIA. The CIA may be reorganized, but there is little chance that any of the present investigations will get deeply and significantly into the Fourth Force concept.

With the end of effective operations in Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam, the CIA will be shifting its apparatus from southeast Asia back to the United States. Then it will become embroiled in some small conflagration which will rage into an inferno until we are again at war. This is inevitable. And the fires the CIA ignites are costly to extinguish. The most recent one the Vietnam war cost $220 billion and 58,000 American lives.