Operation Gladio, or How to Run a Secret Paramilitary Force

A stay-behind operation is essentially the last line of defense against an occupying power. During the Cold War, the CIA and NATO feared that many countries in Europe could fall to communism, be it democratically or with Soviet "assistance." Stay-behind networks were covert groups tasked with destabilizing any future government deemed communistic by either the CIA or NATO.

Stay-behind groups were trained in disinformation, political assassinations, and false-flag attacks -- false-flag attacks are violent acts attributed to an uninvolved party. If a country became socialist through democratic channels, that was of no concern to stay-behind groups.
Terrorizing populations into political compliance

Their job was to terrorize by any means, and as a result the CIA and NATO often recruited from the far-right of society, from its fascist elements. These paramilitary groups were based all throughout Europe, had underground arms-caches, trained with US Green Berets and the SAS, and answered to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SAUCER.)

As per tradition, the SAUCER is a US general that answers to the Pentagon. The Pentagon exercised very effective control over many Gladio operations. It was not until 1990 that the first of these secret paramilitary armies was revealed to the public, and later proved to have existed in nearly every country in Europe, with the Dutch stay-behind group being the only one independent of NATO.

A 1990 European resolution condemned Gladio as being a parallel clandestine service escaping all democratic scrutiny. In Italy and in Turkey, where communism had the potential to become a majority democratic movement, Gladio operatives carried out terrorist attacks which were meant to convince the population of the need for a dictatorial, pro-Washington regime.

According to the Guardian, "US intelligence agents were informed in advanced about several right-wing terrorist bombings, including the Dec. 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan, and the Piazza della Loggia bombing in Drescia five years later, but did nothing to alert the authorities or prevent the attacks."

The number of attacks carried out by Gladio operatives is too long to list, but it proves how false-flag attacks have been used by the CIA to further Washington's international agenda. Given history, and the increasing powers that have been given to the CIA since the start of the War on Terror it stands to reason that there are stay-behind groups in countries where the CIA fears Jihadi takeovers. The existence of groups in the line of Operation Gladio, fortunately for the CIA, can neither be confirmed nor denied.