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New Research Paper Shows some of the Frank Assessments of African Leaders by the CIA

For decades, the CIA has analyzed African heads of state ahead of their visits to the United States, profiling them through “visit pieces” for the use of government officials, according to Judd Devermont, a former White House Africa director. Devermont, now a non-resident senior adviser of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, published a research paper based on declassified CIA documents, press releases and publications between 1961 and 1987. The visit piece profiled Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie as a having “unusual personal vigour and determination”. Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda was described as “highly emotional” and Senegal’s founding leader, Leopold Sedar Senghor, was described as having “an impressive blend of intellectual and political skills”. Devermont believes that, while some of these pieces were accurate, others were misleading.