Due to the release of the CIA’s Family Jewels and other files and documents made public related to the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. there has been a great many references to intelligence activities and covert action-operations that create confusion.
As one who has first-hand knowledge and experience in these matters I would like to bring some clarity to the murky waters.
First of all, any intelligence work done by our government, regardless of the department or agency that does it, is an official, legal, authorized and diligently vetted operation. The difference between this and covert work is that there is no official status of the action. Covert work must be done in a way that the doers of the work can deny they did it and they’re government can firmly and reliably state that they had nothing to do with it and knew nothing about it.
The most dangerous and delicate operation done by any department or agency of the United States Government can sometimes be the Covert Action/Operation. Then again the method can be employed in a way that it brings less human suffering and lives lost that would another method striving to solve the same problem.
Traditionally only the CIA was legally allowed to do such covert work but we have come to believe that it is probable such activities were carried out by the FBI as well as Intelligence officials of the various Departments within the Pentagon/DOD.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion about the difference.
Last Edited Monday, April 26, 2010 10:22 PM Central Time USA