Covert action is often viewed in a fundamentally different manner from more mainstream exercises of national power. Neither a military nor a law enforcement activity, covert action is cloaked in an aura of secrecy that endows any discussion with the allure of things concealed. But in many ways the similarities are stronger than the differences: all encompass both persuasive and coercive methods; all prefer to rely upon cooperation much more than compulsion; and all are designed to provide the American people with the means to preserve their liberty as well as the security upon which that liberty depends.
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