Drone wars are a new chapter in a familiar tale

At a time of lethal drone strikes against insurgent groups and secret operations against unseen enemies, it’s easy to think that the U.S. government is sliding into uncharted territory in its fight against al-Qaeda and other extremists.

And then it’s useful to recall that, in some ways, we’ve been here before.

Check out this 1965 NBC News program, “Science of Spying,” and be reminded of the long history of U.S. covert actions. It’s charmingly nostalgic and yet ultimately timeless.

“There are people who say that we, with regard to the CIA, are waging a secret war with an invisible government,” John Chancellor of NBC News says to former agency director Allen Dulles.

“At no time has the CIA engaged in any political activity or any intelligence activity that was not approved at the highest level,” Dulles responds.

Sound familiar?

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