Secrets of the CIA (2006)

4 January 2006 | Caroline Davies

Danny Wallace reveals the dodgy, the disastrous, and the scandalous stories from the case files of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA didn't exist seventy years ago, but today it's one of the most powerful organisations in the world. With an estimated $15 billion budget and 25,000 people working for it, the CIA has more money and power than most developing countries — but that immense power has often been used to cause immense death and destruction around the world.

Recently, attention has been on extraordinary rendition and the use of drones, but over the years the CIA has been responsible for a catalogue of atrocities. At times it's supported Augusto Pinochet and Saddam Hussein. It's destabilised governments and countries, supported genocidal regimes, and turned a blind eye to drug trafficking — all to follow its goal of protecting American ‘interests’.

This documentary travels through the decades to explore the history of the CIA's operations, including: the recruitment of Nazi war criminals; the experimentation with mind control; the Iranian coup; the failed invasion of Cuba; the Iran-Contra affair; its support for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan; the invasion of Iraq; and its horrendous activities in Africa, Asia and South America.