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CIA’s declassified files: six fascinating stories

6 Of The Most Fascinating Stories From The CIA’s Huge Archive Of Now-Declassified Files

Business Insider

OH-6 helicopter

US Army An unmodified OH-6 helicopter in flight.

President Johnson thought the daily intelligence briefing was “dull” and wanted it “jazzed up”

William Newton gives a fascinating account of what it was like to write and present the president’s daily intelligence briefing, which gives a down-and-dirty “what you need to know” for the president. Unfortunately, it was a bit boring for LBJ.

“To our surprise, he told us that the President (or, more likely, Bromley Smith — it was never clear which) felt that the booklets were getting a trifle dull. Could we jazz them up a bit, without diluting their value as intelligence? Perhaps we could insert a ‘funny’ every now and then.”

The youngest recipient of the CIA’s Intelligence Star award was only 14 years old

In May 1966, the 14-year-old daughter of the CIA station chief in the Congo displayed incredible courage in confronting a group of burglars who had entered her bedroom and were planning to harm her. After they woke her, she “declared in Lingala [the local language] that he should keep his hands off her. Pulling on her dressing gown, she faced the armed robbers and warned them not to harm anyone in the house.”

The robbers were surprised by her confidence and said they only wanted money. She agreed to help them find cash but warned that the American Embassy “had ‘secret and magic’ ways of identifying people who harmed Americans.”

Later, after her parents were woken up and put into a corner of the bedroom, the girl’s mother talked back to the robbers in French and told them to leave. They eventually did, although the robbers were later captured by police, tried, and executed.

The daughter received the CIA’s second-highest award — the Intelligence Star — for “her quick appraisal of the situation, calm deportment, knowledge and use of the local language, exploitation of local lore, and resolute action,” the article says, adding that it “served her well as a teenager, and they continue to do so now in her career as a case officer in the Directorate of Operations.”

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