This Really Happened

Now, somebody has to be held accountable.

Covert action has supported our nation’s security goals for decades — from fighting the Cold War to killing Osama Bin Laden. But it’s also part of a long American history of justifying the means to an end, one that’s led to unethical and illegal actions across the world.

You could spend hours reading about past covert affairs without understanding how the executive branch manages missions or the classified intel around them — and, it’s not just you. Congress is tasked with overseeing those efforts, and even it has a hard time breaking through the layers of bureaucracy meant to keep our secrets safe.

But when the war drum starts beating, where does it leave lawmakers tasked with checking and balancing? Two skeletons in the CIA’s closet might help give us some answers.

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GUESTS: Lana Ponting, MKULTRA Survivor; Julie Tanny, MKULTRA Survivor; Oona Hathaway, Yale University; Sam Worthington, InterAction


Secrecy’s End, Oona Hathaway, Minnesota Law Review

Covert Action, Congressional Inaction, Stephen R. Weissman, Foreign Affairs

Brainwashed: The echoes of MKULTRA, Canadian Broadcasting Association

In Vaccines We Trust? The Effect of The CIA’s Vaccine Ruse on Immunization In Pakistan, Monica Martinez-​Bravo and Andreas Stegmann, Journal of the European Economic Association