The number of times the U.S. government has had to apologize for crimes, some committed with full knowledge of the head of state and covered up is alarming. Being the world superpower is not a privilege as many may think, it is actually a great responsibility to all humanity as stated by John Kerry after serving his term as the Secretary of State. The government has had some hard spots but its actions in such times of hardship have not always been in the best interest of American citizens and the world at large. While cover-ups are sometimes claimed to protect national security, many declassified files have actually revealed the highest level of rot in the U.S. government. These are ten worst U.S. government crimes ever covered up by a serving U.S. government in history.
Richard Nixon turned from one of the most loved presidents in U.S. history to the biggest embarrassment to the Republicans in just 18 months. He later resigned before being impeached, but impeachment is not all he feared, the shame that would come from the Watergate committee proceedings was just too messy. The president himself was complicit in a move by his re-election team to bug the DNC headquarters. The hearings revealed that the president had recorded all his conversations since 1971 providing the prosecution with the very sword that killed him, well nearly. The impeachment was definite after more than seven white house officials including the attorney general had been found guilty of the crime.
One of the tapes directly confirmed the president’s knowledge of the evil plot. A check used to pay the former CIA operative and an FBI agent that took part in the robbery was also from President Richard Nixon’s campaign fund itself. The president said he was resigning in the interest of national security, but his alleged desire to serve was now his damnation. His vice president who took office after the resignation pardoned him later, so Nixon died in 1994 a clean man with the worst presidential history ever. Getting a U.S. president to resign in fear of impeachment was the highest embarrassment sustained by the U.S. government in its history. That was the explanation of just how far someone can go to retain the most senior job in the world. Maybe he should have dropped the little trick because he was likely to win anyway.
2. Alcohol Poisoning
In December 1920, the U.S. government banned one of the most loved drinks in America, booze namely gin and whiskey. This was an impossible task even for the mighty U.S. government, the ban of manufacturing distribution and sale of alcohol was widely defied with most people saying the clause did not include consumption. The people resorted to refining cheap industrial grade alcohol which has toxic substances as it is meant for cleaning and fuel and not consumption.
The rogue brewers would refine the waste alcohol and resell it in a less toxic form, considering the scarcity of the product at the time and the national economic stress, the people just had no choice. The Public Health Services, however, made the worst decision any government agency can ever make. They decided to add more toxic substances including mercury, zinc, and kerosene to the cheaply refined alcohol in a bid to deter the habit. The result was 10,000 direct deaths and thousands of related complications. This was just too embarrassing especially after the ban had to be lifted a decade later after utter failure. Surely! Such a sad loss for everyone.
3. Cancerous Polio Vaccines
War on polio was the most significant victory in the medical world achieved in the 60s, but the joy would soon fade when the actual danger posed to over 1 million Americans, and more people around the world was explained. The scientists used monkey kidney cell culture to Create the vaccines; the first bunch contained live polio viruses that caused 255 fatal cases and the government humbly apologized, however, the millions of doses containing the cancer-causing SV40 was never admitted.
The dangerous vaccines were supplied to Americans for nearly a decade despite the knowledge of the possible relationship between the virus and cancer in the 50s. That would probably the worst case of medical complacency in history had intervention not been declared in 1965. The CDC later confirmed the incident but claimed getting cancer from the vaccine was not definite despite researches proving otherwise. The deadly vaccines are attributed to thousands of cancer cases in America alone.
4. CIA Mind Control Experiments on Americans and Canadians
The alleged use of LSD and other strong acidic mind control chemicals by communists stirred the CIA to carry out one of the most dehumanizing experiments in history. The CIA is no stranger to conspiracy theories, but this one was so shaming especially after the revelation of its dark nature at the congressional hearing in 1977. The operation dabbed MK-Ultra came when the agency was having its glory days in the American public. The experiment started with willing subjects but as more symptoms developed, more test subjects were needed, but no one was willing to be used anymore, so the CIA did what the CIA does best, employ extreme measures.
They coerced some people including convicts and low-level criminals to participate. They even went ahead to try out the medicines on unsuspecting Americans and Canadians, some with mental disability and others, just unsuspecting fellow CIA employees. As patriotic as the motive may sound, these experiments had no humane side. Whitey Bulger, a crime boss that fell victim to it, described the worst experience of his life including seeing bleeding walls and cameras turning into dog heads. He felt so violent and wanted to fight with everything. The cruel nature was confirmed by sex workers who allegedly served unsuspecting dosed customers under observation by the agency. Maybe we should leave bad things to the bad guys only next time, right?
5. The DOJ Sinaloa Cartel Deal
What happens when the largest anti-trafficking agency in the world cooperates with the largest drug trafficker in the world? It was a damning marriage that the DEA will never be able to explain. The Sinaloa cartel smuggled over $1bn worth of cocaine and heroin into the United States. Their time as the leading cartel in Mexican trafficking led to drug wars that led to over 120,000 deaths in drug wars. They also supplied the most extensive ever drug addiction in U.S. history leading up to the largest ever drug abuse deaths. However, in alleged bid to catch other bad guys, the DEA struck a deal and obtained a DOJ approval from U.S. prosecutors that prevented them from arresting top Sinaloa leadership as they, in turn, reported on other traffickers.
The deal that lasted between the 90s to 2012 allowed the Sinaloa under El Chapo Guzman to expand into the most advanced criminal organization in the world nearly crippling Mexico and killing thousands of Americans including DEA agents. Ismael Jesus Zambada after his arrest brought the controversial deal to light. The protection covered all top Sinaloa leaders including the Sinaloa lawyer. It is still unclear which players the DEA was after since the Sinaloa has been the biggest threat to American public health for the better part of 2 decades.
6. The Guatemala Syphilis Experiments
The U.S. public health department is the most untrusted department in the country all because of its conduct in the mid-20th century. The PHS and the U.S. national institute of health co-sponsored doctor John Cutler, now the most hated doctor in U.S. history, to conduct experiments on the ability of penicillin to treat syphilis and other STDs. The research lasted from 1946 to 1948 when more than 5000 unsuspecting Guatemalan men and women were infected with the diseases then treated and some even re-infected intentionally.
The welfare of the patients was not part of the job description for Cutler and his friends. They only kept track of penicillin performance, not the shame in the complications and death of victims. The research which was condemned by both President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the time of exposure was so unethical especially considering the subjects were neither aware of the experiment nor willing to participate. Some of the people used as test subjects actually died without any security protocol being put in place to cover their welfare, it was just too shameful. The Guatemalan government refused to make any compensation, the U.S. government however apologized for the evil practice with Obama saying Never again, probably the most reassuring apology ever given by a sitting president.
7. Tuskegee Syphilis Test Scandal
The black community still has near zero trusts in the PHS after this demonic experiment. Every mention of this conspiracy still sickens despite the years of apology and reform promises. It is probably the worst and most inhumane and racist medical research ever conducted on American soil. After a shutdown of his Penicillin experiments in Guatemala, Dr. John Cutler, the same unrepentant doctor, was contracted by the then Tuskegee Institute now Tuskegee University to research in America. They had published fliers promising “colored people” a treatment for bad blood. Most of the unsuspecting men recruited had never visited a doctor and knew nothing of Syphilis treatment. They only came for some relief to the pain just to meet their death from the county health services.
The details are quite sickening; they were not treated, but simply given placebos, aspirin and mineral supplements and monitored as they died or became insane. The PHS was fully aware of the practices of this evil experiment and in fact, advised doctors in Macon county not to treat the subjects even after Penicillin became the prescribed treatment after 1947. The government at first denied the practice until an employee of the PHS leaked the details of the damage. One hundred twenty-eight people died, over 50 spouses infected and 19 children affected at birth, it was disgusting even for president Bill Clinton when he had to bear the shame of apologizing for these evil deeds. The $10 million settlement for the victims did nearly nothing to calm the angry public, recent reforms in the PHS and enforcement of the “NO Harm” policy has however saved the demonized department.
8. Fidel Castro’s Assassination Attempts
Instead of gathering intelligence on the state of security back home, CIA agents were busy planning a series of failing assassinations against the Cuban president, even on the day the U.S. president was being assassinated. The iconic Cuban leader is still termed the CIA’s biggest curse. The commitment of the Kennedy administration to undermine the Cuban communist government and kill its stubborn president went way over the bounds. The files revealed by the state department disclosing investigations into JFK’s assassination have only done better in demonizing the CIA and even the image of the late president.
The most interesting plots included poisoned pills, a poisoned cigarette, a poisoned swimsuit, and even a boobytrapped seashell. The ultimate failure came with the failed assassination attempt using a poisoned ball pen rigged with a toxic hypodermic syringe meant to kill him instantly. The attempt failed on the fateful day of the US’s youngest ever president’s assassination allowing his arch enemy to outlive him by five decades. His obsession with killing Castro has never been fully explained, but the extent of diplomatic boundaries crossed by the CIA and other government officials to finish Castro did more to make him great and damn the U.S. government instead.
9. NSA Illegal Spying and Hacking Activities
This saga simply raised the question on when does spying for the sake of security turn into outright information piracy. Files confirming the bugging of almost every phone on the globe including interception of calls by world leaders including Angela Markel the Germany Councilor are the first confirmation of NSA information piracy ever revealed. Snowden further explained that the NSA had gone as far as bugging the EU offices, all embassies in the U.S. as well as many foreign government establishments. It was most damning especially after the condemnation of the local unauthorized surveillance of millions of Americans most of whom pose zero threat to national security. Information piracy over the internet has become a global crisis after many private operators accessed and misused private information on billions of people, but no one expected the largest security agency in the world to do it too.
The government approved the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to gather information and profile foreign threats to security. A court order later leaked involving a requirement for telecommunication companies to submit data daily to the agency revealed that things were definitely not as legal as earlier imagined. Edward Snowden, a former CIA operative who went rogue, would later release the most damning details on the U.S. spying program. The Snowden files revealed that the NSA basically watches information of almost every American as well as communications over 200 other fiber optic cables. Snowden revealed that the NSA instigated over 61,000 hacks on China, spied on communications by all Italians over the internet. He also sold more classified information to Russia in exchange for asylum. He is currently the highest-ranking CIA agent wanted in the U.S. for espionage. His revelations have shamed both the U.S. and U.K. governments the most on their mishandling of global private information.
10. The Vietnam War Cover-ups
War is costly regarding both money and lives, and the Vietnam war was among the saddest wars America has ever fought. The number of civilian lives lost in the war, suffering endured by U.S. servicemen and their families turned bitter when the Pentagon papers released revealed that the 1964 war declaration was in fact based on false information. The war cry was called in after an alleged second attack on the USS Maddox. The alleged victim of the attack was actually shooting at phantom North Vietnamese boats according to the pilot of the jet called to offer back up.
The confusion in the reports delivered to Washington was so evident according to the declassified Pentagon papers. The Pentagon analyst in charge of screening the report provided his fears to the Senate committee in the 70s, but the government was too determined to start a war. His suspicions were confirmed in 2006 when the released information including phone calls on the attack proved the commandos of the two destroyers off the North Vietnam coast gave conflicting reports about the attack. Just too embarrassing.