CIA cold war and hot war activity was coming to light for the first time and was falling into the crosshairs of Congress and the media. Anti-communist arguments had been a sufficient rationale, up to this point, to conduct black ops in the foreign and domestic arena. Not anymore. This gold mine was being shut down. The war against commies was no longer palatable to Congress or to the public.
DEA Saves the Day for Disgraced Cold Warriors
But the new three-letter agency, which was created by executive fiat on the exact same day that the long successful anti-red rationale for war was shut down by Congress, saved the day for previously covert and sometimes overt warriors who were facing unemployment. The array of soon-to-be homeless CIA Agents now had a home in a brand new start-up agency – with an elusive unrestrained seamless foreign and domestic mission – that needed immediate staffing. What a concept. A war on a substance. Go anywhere; foreign, domestic; and do anything – covert and overt – against anyone! No more need for a big propaganda campaign to build up public contempt for foreign foe after foreign foe or domestic foe after domestic foe with a lot of expensive hype. Many CIA Agents were given positions in the new organization which possessed few restrictions in the foreign arena.
As the grand adventure in Vietnam, and accompanying cold war interventions around the globe, largely came to a screeching halt with Nixon's disgrace, the activities were now re-branded and re-legitimized. Just in time! Whew, that was close! Quick thinking by Tricky Dick kept the covert arena alive and immune from scrutiny for at least another 25-30 years until a new kind of taxpayer war fatigue would set in.