Covert actions are now crucial to U.S. foreign policy. Under the CIA's charter, the government maintains plausible deniability for all these actions. This means a robust relationship with the Ukraine Security Service and. Plausible deniability is the ability of people to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any . Non-attribution to the United States for covert operations was the original and principal purpose of the so-called doctrine of "plausible denial. . — Council on Foreign Relations, an American foreign policy think tank, in the . Covert operations loomed large in Cold War debates about the legitimacy and morality of intelligence organizations. . discretion, supported by the principle of “ plausible deniability”. . Secondly, since relationships between.
Overview[ edit ] Arguably, the key concept of plausible deniability is plausibility. It is relatively easy for a government official to issue a blanket denial of an action, and it is possible to destroy or cover up evidence after the fact, and this might be sufficient to avoid a criminal prosecution, for instance.
However, the public might well disbelieve the denial, particularly if there is strong circumstantial evidence, or if the action is believed to be so unlikely that the only logical explanation is that the denial is false.
Plausible deniability - Wikipedia
The concept is even more important in espionage. Intelligence may come from many sources, including human sources. The exposure of information to which only a few people are privileged may directly implicate some of those people in the disclosure.Richard Helms needed to work on his plausible denial face.
Take for example a scenario where an official is traveling secretly, and only one of his aides knows the specific travel plans. The official is assassinated during his travels, and the circumstances of the assassination strongly suggest that the assassin had foreknowledge of the official's travel plans.
The probable conclusion is that his aide has betrayed the official. There may be no direct evidence linking the aide to the assassin, but collaboration can be inferred from the facts alone, thus making the aide's denial implausible.
For example, in the 19th century, Charles Babbage described the importance of having "a few simply honest men" on a committee who could be temporarily removed from the deliberations when "a peculiarly delicate question arises" so that one of them could "declare truly, if necessary, that he never was present at any meeting at which even a questionable course had been proposed. Senate committee, the Church Committeein — conducted an investigation of the intelligence agencies.
In the course of the investigation, it was revealed that the CIAgoing back to the Kennedy administrationhad plotted the assassination of a number of foreign leaders, including Cuba 's Fidel Castro.
Legitimizing the use of covert action in the eyes of the American people
But the president himself, who clearly was in favor of such actions, was not to be directly involved, so that he could deny knowledge of it. This was given the term 'plausible denial'.
- Plausible deniability
- Post Iraq, U.S. must rely on covert action
The idea was that the CIA and, later, other bodies could be given controversial instructions by powerful figures—up to and including the President himself—but that the existence and true source of those instructions could be denied if necessary; if, for example, an operation went disastrously wrong and it was necessary for the administration to disclaim responsibility.
Legislative barriers after the Church Committee[ edit ] The Hughes—Ryan Act of sought to put an end to plausible denial by requiring a Presidential finding that each operation is important to national security, and the Intelligence Oversight Act of required that Congress be notified of all covert operations. But both laws are full of enough vague terms and escape hatches to allow the executive branch to thwart their authors' intentions, as the Iran—Contra affair has shown.
Indeed, the members of Congress are in a dilemma: President Barack Obama noted this in his May 28 West Point speech, saying the United States is unlikely to engage in another ground war any time soon.
Washington can rely on the CIA working with Special Operations Forces to provide clandestine intelligence, training and, where necessary, political funding and paramilitary support for foreign groups aligned to U.
A successful covert operation requires certain conditions on the ground: With Ukraine and its environs, all these components are in place: Putin, an experienced ex-KGB operative, has been drawing straight from the covert action playbook in Ukraine.
He is inserting Russian Special Forces into the fray, trying to pass them off as Ukrainian pro-Russian activists. Despite Russian denials, however, the political dissidents in Eastern Ukraine are being funded and supported substantially by Moscow.
To deal with this newly aggressive Russia, it may be instructive to study how Washington dealt with an aggressive Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Post Iraq, U.S. must rely on covert action | Reuters
The similarities are uncanny. Drawing red lines is hard — difficult even with a weaker country. So, it may be with Putin.