In 2000, the Italian Senate was more explicit, saying:
"Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as had been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence," meaning CIA mainly.
Former director William Colby admitted in his memoirs that covert western armies were a major CIA initiative, begun post-WW II, and restricted "to the smallest possible coterie of the most reliable people, in Washington (and) NATO" to keep the initiative secret.
Yet once its existence was confirmed, the EU parliament drafted a sharply critical resolution saying:
"These organisations (sic) operated and continue to operate completely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control....call(ing) for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organisations."
Only Italy, Belgium and Switzerland did them, the GHW Bush administration not commenting when it was preparing for war against Iraq, fearing it might harm its alliance.
Gladio, however, was real, designed like Winston Churchill's British Special Operations Executive (SOE) - to help anti-Nazi resistance forces carry out insurgencies in occupied territories. After NATO's 1949 creation, the so-called Clandestine Committee of the Western Union (CCWU) was secretly integrated into its operations, by 1951 called the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC).
Then in 1957, a second secret army called Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) was established by NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR), giving America overall command and control. It relyied heavily on dedicated anti-communists, largely from the political right, including former Nazis and like-minded terrorists, operatives to weaken the political left and neutralize and defeat Soviet Russia, ostensibly in case of invasion, the chance for which was practically nil.