Harry S. Truman
| Harry S. Truman |
May 8, 1884|
Lamar, Missouri, U.S.
December 26, 1972 (Age 88)|
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Alma mater||Independence High School, Kansas City Law School|
|Member of||Phi Beta Kappa|
Unlike modern US Presidents, Truman evidenced considerable concern about the rise of the deep state. He was however, ultimately ineffective in stopping its more or less complete takeover of the US government.
Letter Bomb attempt
Truman was concerned about the power of the FBI, writing in 1947: “Dear Bess... We want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail... Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him. I'm not and he knows it. If I can prevent [it] there'll be no NKVD or Gestapo in this country. Edgar Hoover's orgnization would make a good start toward a citizen spy system. Not for me.”
National Security Act of 1947
Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force.
Russ Baker notes that Truman was very reluctant to sign the act since it also created the CIA and the National Security Council. He apparently didn't see the need for an organisation such as the CIA in peacetime, but was persuaded to sign off on it against his better judgment[Why?][How?], something that he later came to regret.
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government.... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.”
Harry S. Truman - 
Call for reform
As if alert to the dangers of the crystallising deep state within the US government, one month after the JFK Assassination, Truman wrote a letter to the New York Times, in which he noted that "for some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government." He called for reform of the CIA, opining that "there is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it." It is unclear whether he was aware of its role in JFK's assassination, or whether this timing is coincidental. Either way, the letter was broadly ignored and the call for reform was not taken up.
A Document by Harry S. Truman
|Title||Document type||Publication date||Subject(s)||Description|
|Document:Limit CIA Role To Intelligence||letter||21 December 1963||CIA||A letter just after the assassination of JFK which was published once and then vanished down the memory hole.|
An appointment by Harry S. Truman
|David Bruce||US/Ambassador to France||17 May 1949||10 March 1952|
- Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 , 1947
- Dallek 2008, pp. 62–63.
- Document:Limit CIA Role To Intelligence