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.