In this gripping narrative history, Seth G. Jones reveals the CIA's involvement in a landmark victory for democracy during the Cold War. In 1982, while Soviet- backed Polish prime minister Wojciech Jaruzelski worked to crush a budding opposition movement through martial law, the CIA began a sophisticated intelligence campaign supporting dissident groups--particularly trade union-turned-political force Solidarity. With President Ronald Reagan's support, American funds bankrolled clandestine newspapers, broadcasting, and information warfare. This initiative, code-named QRHELPFUL, proved vital in establishing a free and democratic Poland.
Long overlooked by CIA historians and Reagan biographers, the story features an extraordinary cast of characters--including spymaster Bill Casey, CIA officer Richard Malzahn, Solidary leader Lech Walesa, and Pope John Paul II. Based on in-depth interviews and recently declassified evidence, A Covert Action celebrates a decisive victory over tyranny for U.S. intelligence behind the Iron Curtain, one that prefigured the Soviet collapse.