Intelligence


Covert Operations

A "covert" operation differs from a "clandestine" operation in that the former seeks to hide the identity of the operation's sponsor, while the latter seeks to hide the operation itself. See Joint Pub 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, 1 December 1989. A clandestine operation, if properly conducted, remains totally concealed. The authorities in the target area never know that anything happened. A covert operation, on the contrary, must have a product. For this reason the service carrying out a covert operation knows from the start that it cannot keep the activity itself a secret; it aims instead for plausible denial.

Historically, the Central Intelligence Agency mounted covert operations, while the Special Forces conducted clandestine operations. Unlike Special Forces clandestine operations, since 1974 CIA covert operations required a Presidential finding and notification to the US Congress.

After the end of the cold war, many covert operations conceived and frequently carried out by the United States seem, in retrospect, to be acts of near folly, if not worse. But these operations were carried out by intelligent well-trained men whose dedication and patriotism were beyond reproach.

Introduction

Locale

Operation

Dates

Cold War
Soviet Russia REDBLOCK 1945 1991
China 1945 1963
Philippines 1945 1960
Korea 1945 1953
Soviet Russia REDSKIN 1947 1963
Italy 1947 1948
Greece 1947 1953
East Europe [Splinter Factor] 1948 1956
Austria 1948 1962
East Germany 1949 1969
West Germany 1949 1974
Albania 1949 1958
Italy 1950 1975
Vietnam 1950 1973
The Ramparts Affair 1950 1967
Burma 1950 1961
Bulgaria 1950 1955
Soviet Russia REDSOX 1950 1964
Soviet Russia REDCAP 1951 1965
Radio Free Europe 1951 1971
Romania 1951 1954
Operaton Gladio 1951 197?
Iran 1953
Formosa 1950
Greece 1952 1972
Poland 1953 1960
Guatemala 1953 1954
British Guiana 1953 1964
Costa Rica 1953 1958
Syria 1956 1957
Middle East 1957 1958
Indonesia 1957 1958
Tibet 1957 1959
Haiti 1959 1963
Cuba Operation Zapata 1959 1961
Guatemala 1960
France / Algeria 1960
Ecuador 1960 1963
North Vietnam Black Entry 1960 1972
Peru 1960 1965
Dominican Republic 1960 1966
Cuba Assassination Attempts 1961 1963
Cuba Operation Mongoose 1961 1962
Congo 1961 1964
Brazil 1960 1964
Chile 1961 1964
Guatemala 1962 1985
Guyana 1962 1968
Laos 1962 1973
Cambodia 1963 1973
Uruguay 1964 1970
Chile 1964 1973
Greece 1964 1974
Bolivia 1964 1975
Indonesia 1965
Ghana 1966
Katzenbach Committee 1966
Vietnam Phoenix 1967 1971
Panama 1969 1991
Costa Rica 1970 1971
Iraq 1972 1975
Australia 1973 1975
Angola 1975 1976
Zaire 1975 1978
Jamaica 1976 1980
Seychelles 1979 1981
Grenada 1979 1984
Iran Eagle Claw 1979 1980
Afghanistan Cyclone 1979 1992
Solidarity 1980 1989
El Salvador 1980 1994
Libya 1981 1989
Dominica Red Dog / Bayou Of Pigs 1981
Nicaragua 1981 1990
Suriname 1982 1984
Morocco 1983
Angola 1985 1988
Haiti 1986 1994
Iran-Contra 1987
Noriega 1988 1989
Bulgaria 1990
Iraq 1990 1991
Albania 1991
Post Cold War
Iraqi National Congress 1991 2003
Arms to Bosnia 1994
Croatia Operation Storm 1995
Iran Gingrich "Add" 1995 1996
Yeltsin 1996
Kosovo Operation Root 1997 1999
Serbia 1999 2000
Al-Qaeda The Plan 1999 2001
Al-Qaeda 2001 ongoing
Iran 2001 ongoing
Belarus 2001 ongoing
Venezuela 2002 ongoing
Georgia Rose Revolution 2003
Iraq 2003 ongoing
Ukraine Orange Revolution 2004 2005
Kyrgyzstan Tulip Revolution 2005 2005
Syria 2013 2017
Venezuela 2016 2017



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