Document of the Week: When Ordering the Assassination of a World Leader Required Secrecy

Source: Foreign Policy

There was a time when ordering the overthrow or assassination of a foreign head of state was a top-secret affair, not something the so-called leader of the free world would boast about on morning television. But U.S. President Donald Trump did just that last month, complaining on Fox & Friends that his plans to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were ultimately nixed by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis. “I would’ve rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn’t want to do it,” Trump said.

But while Trump may be the first U.S. president to brag publicly about putting another world leader in the crosshairs, he is hardly the first to do so.

Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon triggered a series of covert actions aimed at either preventing Chilean leftist politician Salvador Allende’s from being inaugurated president of Chile or overthrowing him if he took office, which he did on Nov. 3, 1970. The White House ultimately triggered a military coup against Allende, who died by suicide in the presidential palace in 1973, shooting himself with an AK-47 rifle that was reportedly give to him by the Cuban leader Fidel Castro.



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