Executive actions of the CIA

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"Executive action" redirects here. For the 1973 film, see Executive Action (film). "Executive action" may also mean, generally, an action taken by the executive branch of a government without legislative approval; for example, an executive order.


Executive Action is a term that may have been used by the Central Intelligence Agency starting in the early 1950s. It refers to assassination operations[citation needed][verification needed]. It is said that these operations may have been conducted by the CIA's Division D, a subsection of the agency's Directorate of Operations[citation needed]. A possible list of "Executive Action" operations may include an attempt to kill Fidel Castro using a cigar injected with Botulism toxin[citation needed] and an alleged plan to kill rebel leader Che Guevara[citation needed].

The Ford administration forbade assassination in 1976 with Executive Order 11905. A Washington Post article, c. 1989[citation needed][verification needed], may have reported that a "secret" ruling of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Legal Advisor had interpreted that Ford's Executive Order only banned intentional killings of foreign leaders, thus clearing the way for "accidental" killings of foreign leaders; for example, during the confusion of a coup or invasion. Since this ruling was one of at least four preceding the U.S. invasion of Panama, some[who?] saw the ruling as giving a green light for Manuel Noriega to be killed "accidentally". Noriega survived the invasion and surrendered to US forces.

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