Patriotic Betrayal

The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret
Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism

Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300205084
Excerpts (PDF)

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In this revelatory book, Karen M. Paget shows how the CIA turned the National PatrioticBetrayalStudent Association into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students used—often wittingly and sometimes unwittingly—as undercover agents inside America and abroad. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed the story, prompting the Agency into engineering a successful cover-up. Now Paget, drawing on archival sources, declassified documents, and more than 150 interviews, shows that the Ramparts story revealed only a small part of the plot.

A cautionary tale, throwing sharp light on the persistent argument, heard even now, about whether America’s national-security interests can be advanced by skullduggery and deception, Patriotic Betrayal, says Karl E. Meyer, a former editorial board member of the New York Times and The Washington Post, evokes “the aura of a John le Carré novel with its self-serving rationalizations, its layers of duplicity, and its bureaucratic doubletalk.”

Hugh Wilford, author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, calls Patriotic Betrayal “extremely valuable as a case study of relations between the CIA and one of its front groups, greatly extending and enriching our knowledge and understanding of the complex dynamics involved in such covert, state-private relationships; it offers a fascinating portrayal of post-World War II U.S. political culture in microcosm.”

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Bibliographies and Extended Endnotes

More praise for Patriotic Betrayal:

“The creation of the CIA in 1947 specifically barred it from domestic activities.  We might as well believe in the tooth fairy.  In 1967, Ramparts magazine published news that the CIA had infiltrated the National Student Association, manipulating its leaders and programs in behalf of the Cold War.  But now Karen Paget has taken the story to almost unbelievable behind-the-scenes revelations.  The extent and breadth of the CIA’s activities is filled with illegal domestic activities, fraught with duplicity, stupidity, and self-serving explanations.  Never mind that it corroded innocent activities and did significant harm to the US’s reputation and international standing. Patriotic Betrayal  is an insightful, incredulous tale; it should leave you shaking your head, at the true and appalling story this essential book tells.”
—Stanley Kutler, author of  Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes and The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon

“A dramatic insider’s account of how the CIA turned the National Student Association– unknown to most of its young, idealistic members– into a covert operational arm of the agency financed secretly through a web of foundation fronts.  Patriotic Betrayal is an important and impressively documented contribution to the history of the Cold War.” —David Wise, author of Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War with China, and coauthor of The Invisible Government

“Written with a lightness of touch that belies the huge research on which it is based, Patriotic Betrayal is a compulsive read. You will be astounded, educated and entertained.”—Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, author of The CIA and American Democracy

“Karen Paget’s Patriotic Betrayal cinematically evokes the passionate and often ruthless struggle for young hearts and minds at the height of the Cold War. Comprehensive, fair-minded, and a compulsive read, Patriotic Betrayal is destined to be a classic study of the CIA’s unprecedented intervention into US student affairs and its far-reaching consequences at home and abroad.”—Timothy Naftali, author of Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism

“The CIA’s infiltration of the National Student Association is the most egregious example in American history of governmental intervention in American civil society. Karen M. Paget’s exhaustively researched, deftly paced, and beautifully written study is not only the definitive study of this episode in American history, but will force a reinterpretation of the hidden dynamics of the domestic cold war.” —Richard Gid Powers, author of Not Without Honor:  The History of American Anticommunism, and Secrecy and Power:  The Life of J. Edgar Hoover