Segments in this Video

America's Secret Government (15:12)


After the Iran-Contra scandal, many Americans are questioning the trustworthiness of the American government. Bill Moyers studies the scandal and discusses the ways in which the president and other government officials' actions are unconstitutional.

Defending the Enterprise (04:51)

Officials of the American military, Central Intelligence, National Security, and several other agencies all worked together to create the secret government which operates outside of the authority of the nation called The Enterprise. Oliver North explains the value of democracy even as he violates the very values he promotes.

History of American Secret Government (09:34)

Following the Second World War, America suddenly became the world’s most powerful nation; the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe, swiftly beginning the Cold War. The American tactics against the Russians included employing Nazis as spies even though they were well known war criminals wanted by the French.

Guatemala (05:11)

The secret government of the United States has a long history of infiltrating foreign governments in order to manipulate the political or social climates of those nations. The democratically elected Guatemalan president in 1954 was Arcoba Arbenz, and he allowed a small communist party to survive in the country; the American government swiftly undercut and removed him from power.

Cuba (03:42)

Another instance in the history of the US secret government was the invasion of Cuba, yet another covert operation ordered by the president without congressional approval. Richard Bissell, a former CIA operative, talks about the circumstances surrounding U.S. employment of the Mafia during these operations.

Vietnam (10:32)

In the jungles of Vietnam in 1968, American soldiers were undertaking another covert operation which then morphed into the Vietnam War which led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Vietnam was seen by the secret government as the ultimate test of stemming the tide of worldwide communism.

American Covert Operations (15:21)

Congress has not officially declared war since 1941, but there had been many covert operations, hundreds signed into action by Ronald Reagan. In 1975, congress did investigate the secret government; Senator Frank Church chaired this operation. The secret government also wages war against the American people, such as the bugging of MLK by the FBI.

Following Presidential Orders (08:44)

North claims he will blindly follow the orders of the President, even when they are unlawful; many military officials, including George Gorman, were enraged by this because it is against the military code. National Security is put at risk when the American people are not aware of the secret dealings of the government.

Future of American Government (06:57)

The American government is supposed to gather its authority from the will of the people; many people are battling for justice in America and better National Security. Public debate and consensus will always be the basis of a healthy democracy.

Credits: A Constitution in Crisis (03:02)

Credits: A Constitution in Crisis

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The Secret Government: A Constitution in Crisis

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A special produced with Bill Moyers on the Constitutional crisis created by the growing power and independence of the Executive branch of government. The program received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Analysis of a Current story. Funded by PaineWebber and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Length: 88 minutes

Item#: BVL148755

ISBN: 978-1-64347-466-3

Copyright date: ©1987

Closed Captioned

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