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Operation Mockingbird


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Operation Mockingbird was a secret [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Intelligence_Agency]Central Intelligence Agency
campaign to influence domestic and foreign media beginning in the 1950s.
The activities, extent and even the existence of the CIA project remain in dispute: the operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis' 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire. But Davis' book, alleging that the media had been recruited (and infiltrated) by the CIA for propaganda purposes, was itself controversial and has since been shown to have had a number of erroneous assertions.[1] More evidence of Mockingbird's existence emerged in the 2007 memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond, by convicted Watergate "plumber" E. Howard Hunt and The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America by Hugh Wilford (2008)[2].

History

In 1948, Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects (OSP). Soon afterwards OSP was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world."[3]
Later that year Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence the domestic and foreign media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham from The Washington Post to run the project within the industry. According to Deborah Davis in Katharine the Great; "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles."[4]
In 1951, Allen W. Dulles persuaded Cord Meyer to join the CIA. However, there is evidence that he was recruited several years earlier and had been spying on the liberal organizations he had been a member of in the later 1940s.[5] According to Deborah Davis, Meyer became Mockingbird's "principal operative".[6]
In 1977, Rolling Stone alleged that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists alleged by Rolling Stone Magazine to have been willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (The Miami News), Herb Gold (The Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times).[7] According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman), these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work.[8]
After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. These organizations were run by people with well-known left-wing views such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham, Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor).[7]
The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers. Frank Wisner was constantly looking for ways to help convince the public of the dangers of communism. In 1954, Wisner arranged for the funding of the Hollywood production of Animal Farm, the animated allegory based on the book written by George Orwell.[9]
According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts". Wisner was also able to restrict newspapers from reporting about certain events. For example, the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran (See: Operation Ajax) and Guatemala (See: Operation PBSUCCESS).[10]
Thomas Braden, head of the International Organizations Division (IOD), played an important role in Operation Mockingbird. Many years later he revealed his role in these events:
"If the director of CIA wanted to extend a present, say, to someone in Europe—a Labour leader—suppose he just thought, This man can use fifty thousand dollars, he's working well and doing a good job - he could hand it to him and never have to account to anybody... There was simply no limit to the money it could spend and no limit to the people it could hire and no limit to the activities it could decide were necessary to conduct the war—the secret war.... It was a multinational. Maybe it was one of the first. Journalists were a target, labor unions a particular target—that was one of the activities in which the communists spent the most money."[11]
Part of the Directorate of Plans

In August 1952, the Office of Policy Coordination and the Office of Special Operations (the espionage division) were merged to form the Directorate of Plans (DPP). Frank Wisner became head of this new organization and Richard Helms became his chief of operations. Mockingbird was now the responsibility of the DPP.[12]
J. Edgar Hoover became jealous of the CIA's growing power. He described the OPC as "Wisner's gang of weirdos" and began carrying out investigations into their past. It did not take him long to discover that some of them had been active in left-wing politics in the 1930s. This information was passed to Joseph McCarthy who started making attacks on members of the OPC. Hoover also gave McCarthy details of an affair that Frank Wisner had with Princess Caradja in Romania during the war. Hoover claimed that Caradja was a Soviet agent.[13]
Joseph McCarthy also began accusing other senior members of the CIA as being security risks. McCarthy claimed that the CIA was a "sinkhole of communists", and claimed he intended to root out a hundred of them. One of his first targets was Cord Meyer, who was still working for Operation Mockingbird. In August, 1953, Richard Helms, Wisner's deputy at the OPC, told Meyer that Joseph McCarthy had accused him of being a communist. The Federal Bureau of Investigation added credibility to the accusation by announcing it was unwilling to give Meyer "security clearance". However, the FBI refused to explain what evidence they had against Meyer. Allen W. Dulles and Frank Wisner both came to his defense and refused to permit an FBI interrogation of Meyer.[14]
Joseph McCarthy did not realize what he was taking on. Wisner unleashed Mockingbird on McCarthy. Drew Pearson, Joe Alsop, Jack Anderson, Walter Lippmann and Ed Murrow all went into attack mode and McCarthy was permanently damaged by the press coverage orchestrated by Wisner.[15]

Guatemala

Mockingbird was very active during the overthrow of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in Guatemala during Operation PBSUCCESS. People like Henry Luce were able to censor stories that appeared too sympathetic towards the plight of Arbenz. Allen W. Dulles was even able to keep left-wing journalists from travelling to Guatemala, including Sydney Gruson of the New York Times.[16]
Even in the wake of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles' 1952 presidential campaign pledge to "roll back the Iron Curtain", American covert action operations came under scrutiny almost as soon as Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated in 1953. He soon set up an evaluation operation called Solarium, which had three committees playing analytical games to see which plans of action should be continued. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the 5412 Committee in order to keep more of a check on the CIA's covert activities. The committee (also called the Special Group) included the CIA director, the national security adviser, and the deputy secretaries at State and Defence and had the responsibility to decide whether covert actions were "proper" and in the national interest. It was also decided to include Richard B. Russell, chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. However, as Allen W. Dulles was later to admit, because of "plausible deniability" planned covert actions were not referred to the 5412 Committee.
Eisenhower became concerned about CIA covert activities and in 1956 appointed David K. E. Bruce as a member of the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities (PBCFIA). Eisenhower asked Bruce to write a report on the CIA. It was presented to Eisenhower on 20 December 1956. Bruce argued that the CIA's covert actions were "responsible in great measure for stirring up the turmoil and raising the doubts about us that exists in many countries in the world today." Bruce was also highly critical of Mockingbird. He argued: "what right have we to go barging around in other countries buying newspapers and handing money to opposition parties or supporting a candidate for this, that, or the other office."[17]
After Richard Bissell lost his post as Director of Plans in 1962, Tracy Barnes took over the running of Mockingbird. According to Evan Thomas (The Very Best Men) Barnes planted editorials about political candidates who were regarded as pro-CIA.

First exposure

In 1964, Random House published Invisible Government by David Wise and Thomas Ross. The book exposed the role the CIA was playing in foreign policy. This included the CIA coups in Guatemala (Operation PBSUCCESS) and Iran (Operation Ajax) and the Bay of Pigs operation. It also revealed the CIA's attempts to overthrow President Sukarno in Indonesia and the covert operations taking place in Laos and Vietnam. The CIA considered buying up the entire printing of Invisible Government but this idea was rejected when Random House pointed out that if this happened they would have to print a second edition.[3]
John McCone, the new director of the CIA, also attempted to stop Edward Yates from making a documentary on the CIA for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). This attempt at censorship failed and NBC went ahead and broadcast this critical documentary.
In June, 1965, Desmond FitzGerald was appointed as head of the Directorate for Plans. He now took charge of Mockingbird. At the end of 1966 FitzGerald found out that Ramparts, a left-wing publication, had discovered that the CIA had been secretly funding the National Student Association.[18] FitzGerald ordered Edgar Applewhite to organize a campaign against the magazine. Applewhite later told Evan Thomas for his book, The Very Best Men: "I had all sorts of dirty tricks to hurt their circulation and financing. The people running Ramparts were vulnerable to blackmail. We had awful things in mind, some of which we carried off."[19]
This dirty tricks campaign failed to stop Ramparts publishing this story in March 1967. The article, written by Sol Stern, was entitled NSA and the CIA. As well as reporting CIA funding of the National Student Association it exposed the whole system of anti-Communist front organizations in Europe, Asia, and South America. It named Cord Meyer as a key figure in this campaign. This included the funding of the literary journal Encounter.[11]
In May 1967, Thomas Braden responded to this by publishing an article entitled, "I'm Glad the CIA is 'Immoral'", in the Saturday Evening Post, where he defended the activities of the International Organizations Division unit of the CIA. Braden also confessed that the activities of the CIA had to be kept secret from Congress. As he pointed out in the article: "In the early 1950s, when the cold war was really hot, the idea that Congress would have approved many of our projects was about as likely as the John Birch Society's approving Medicare."[20]
Meyer's role in Operation Mockingbird was further exposed in 1972 when he was accused of interfering with the publication of a book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy. The book was highly critical of the CIA's dealings with the drug traffic in Southeast Asia. The publisher, who leaked the story, had been a former colleague of Meyer's when he was a liberal activist after the war.[21]

Church Committee investigations

Further details of Operation Mockingbird were revealed as a result of the Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. According to the Congress report published in 1976:
"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets." Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[22]
In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy: "Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." However, he added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[23]

"Family Jewels" Report

According to the "Family Jewels" report, released by the National Security Archive on June 26, 2007, during the period from March 12, 1963 and June 15, 1963, the CIA installed telephone taps on two Washington-based news reporters.

See also


Further reading


Notes


  1. ^ Davis asserts that Deep Throat was Richard Ober, rather than Mark Felt, as has since been revealed
  2. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Wurlitzer-H...pd_sim_b_4
  3. ^ a b David Wise and Thomas Ross (1964). Invisible Government.
  4. ^ Deborah Davis (1979). Katharine the Great. pp. 137–138.
  5. ^ Cord Meyer (1980). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. pp. 42–59.
  6. ^ Deborah Davis (1979). Katharine the Great. pp. 226.
  7. ^ a b Carl Bernstein (20 October 1977). "CIA and the Media". Rolling Stone Magazine.
  8. ^ Nina Burleigh (1998). A Very Private Woman. pp. 118.
  9. ^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 33.
  10. ^ Alex Constantine (2000). Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA.
  11. ^ a b Thomas Braden, interview included in the Granada Television program, World in Action: The Rise and Fall of the CIA. 1975.
  12. ^ John Ranelagh (1986). The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA. pp. 198–202.
  13. ^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 98–106.
  14. ^ Cord Meyer (1980). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. pp. 60–84.
  15. ^ Jack Anderson (1979). Confessions of a Muckraker. pp. 208–236.
  16. ^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 117.
  17. ^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 148–150.
  18. ^ Cord Meyer (1980). Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA. pp. 86–89.
  19. ^ Evan Thomas (1995). The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. pp. 330.
  20. ^ Thomas Braden (20 May 1967). "I'm Glad the CIA is 'Immoral'". Saturday Evening Post.
  21. ^ Nina Burleigh (1998). A Very Private Woman. pp. 105.
  22. ^ Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities. April 1976. pp. 191–201.
  23. ^ Mary Louise (2003). Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation.


External links

After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977, is reprinted below.
THE CIA AND THE MEDIA
How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up
BY CARL BERNSTEIN
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.
WORKING PRESS — CIA STYLE
To understand the role of most journalist‑operatives, it is necessary to dismiss some myths about undercover work for American intelligence services. Few American agents are “spies” in the popularly accepted sense of the term. “Spying” — the acquisition of secrets from a foreign government—is almost always done by foreign nationals who have been recruited by the CIA and are under CIA control in their own countries. Thus the primary role of an American working undercover abroad is often to aid in the recruitment and “handling” of foreign nationals who are channels of secret information reaching American intelligence.
Many journalists were used by the CIA to assist in this process and they had the reputation of being among the best in the business. The peculiar nature of the job of the foreign correspondent is ideal for such work: he is accorded unusual access by his host country, permitted to travel in areas often off‑limits to other Americans, spends much of his time cultivating sources in governments, academic institutions, the military establishment and the scientific communities. He has the opportunity to form long‑term personal relationships with sources and—perhaps more than any other category of American operative—is in a position to make correct judgments about the susceptibility and availability of foreign nationals for recruitment as spies.
“After a foreigner is recruited, a case officer often has to stay in the background,” explained a CIA official. “So you use a journalist to carry messages to and from both parties”
Journalists in the field generally took their assignments in the same manner as any other undercover operative. If, for instance, a journalist was based in Austria, he ordinarily would be under the general direction of the Vienna station chief and report to a case officer. Some, particularly roving correspondents or U.S.‑based reporters who made frequent trips abroad, reported directly to CIA officials in Langley, Virginia.
The tasks they performed sometimes consisted of little more than serving as “eyes and ears” for the CIA; reporting on what they had seen or overheard in an Eastern European factory, at a diplomatic reception in Bonn, on the perimeter of a military base in Portugal. On other occasions, their assignments were more complex: planting subtly concocted pieces of misinformation; hosting parties or receptions designed to bring together American agents and foreign spies; serving up “black” propaganda to leading foreign journalists at lunch or dinner; providing their hotel rooms or bureau offices as “drops” for highly sensitive information moving to and from foreign agents; conveying instructions and dollars to CIA controlled members of foreign governments.
Often the CIA’s relationship with a journalist might begin informally with a lunch, a drink, a casual exchange of information. An Agency official might then offer a favor—for example, a trip to a country difficult to reach; in return, he would seek nothing more than the opportunity to debrief the reporter afterward. A few more lunches, a few more favors, and only then might there be a mention of a formal arrangement — “That came later,” said a CIA official, “after you had the journalist on a string.”
Another official described a typical example of the way accredited journalists (either paid or unpaid by the CIA) might be used by the Agency: “In return for our giving them information, we’d ask them to do things that fit their roles as journalists but that they wouldn’t have thought of unless we put it in their minds. For instance, a reporter in Vienna would say to our man, ‘I met an interesting second secretary at the Czech Embassy.’ We’d say, ‘Can you get to know him? And after you get to know him, can you assess him? And then, can you put him in touch with us—would you mind us using your apartment?”‘
Formal recruitment of reporters was generally handled at high levels—after the journalist had undergone a thorough background check. The actual approach might even be made by a deputy director or division chief. On some occasions, no discussion would he entered into until the journalist had signed a pledge of secrecy.
“The secrecy agreement was the sort of ritual that got you into the tabernacle,” said a former assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence. “After that you had to play by the rules.” David Attlee Phillips, former Western Hemisphere chief of clandestine services and a former journalist himself, estimated in an interview that at least 200 journalists signed secrecy agreements or employment contracts with the Agency in the past twenty‑five years. Phillips, who owned a small English‑language newspaper in Santiago, Chile, when he was recruited by the CIA in 1950, described the approach: “Somebody from the Agency says, ‘I want you to help me. 1 know you are a true‑blue American, but I want you to sign a piece of paper before I tell you what it’s about.’ I didn’t hesitate to sign, and a lot of newsmen didn’t hesitate over the next twenty years.”
“One of the things we always had going for us in terms of enticing reporters,” observed a CIA official who coordinated some of the arrangements with journalists, “was that we could make them look better with their home offices. A foreign correspondent with ties to the Company [the CIA] stood a much better chance than his competitors of getting the good stories.”
Within the CIA, journalist‑operatives were accorded elite status, a consequence of the common experience journalists shared with high‑level CIA officials. Many had gone to the same schools as their CIA handlers, moved in the same circles, shared fashionably liberal, anti‑Communist political values, and were part of the same “old boy” network that constituted something of an establishment elite in the media, politics and academia of postwar America. The most valued of these lent themselves for reasons of national service, not money.
The Agency’s use of journalists in undercover operations has been most extensive in Western Europe (“That was the big focus, where the threat was,” said one CIA official), Latin America and the Far East. In the 1950s and 1960s journalists were used as intermediaries—spotting, paying, passing instructions—to members of the Christian Democratic party in Italy and the Social Democrats in Germany, both of which covertly received millions of dollars from the CIA. During those years “we had journalists all over Berlin and Vienna just to keep track of who the hell was coming in from the East and what they were up to,” explained a CIA official.
In the Sixties, reporters were used extensively in the CIA offensive against Salvador Allende in Chile; they provided funds to Allende’s opponents and wrote anti‑Allende propaganda for CIA proprietary publications that were distributed in Chile. (CIA officials insist that they make no attempt to influence the content of American newspapers, but some fallout is inevitable: during the Chilean offensive, CIA‑generated black propaganda transmitted on the wire service out of Santiago often turned up in American publications.)
According to CIA officials, the Agency has been particularly sparing in its use of journalist agents in Eastern Europe on grounds that exposure might result in diplomatic sanctions against the United States or in permanent prohibitions against American correspondents serving in some countries. The same officials claim that their use of journalists in the Soviet Union has been even more limited, but they remain extremely guarded in discussing the subject. They are insistent, however, in maintaining that the Moscow correspondents of major news organizations have not been “tasked” or controlled by the Agency.
The Soviets, according to CIA officials, have consistently raised false charges of CIA affiliation against individual American reporters as part of a continuing diplomatic game that often follows the ups and downs of Soviet‑American relations. The latest such charge by the Russians—against Christopher Wren of the New York Times and Alfred Friendly Jr., formerly of Newsweek, has no basis in fact, they insist.
CIA officials acknowledge, however, that such charges will persist as long as the CIA continues to use journalistic cover and maintain covert affiliations with individuals in the profession. But even an absolute prohibition against Agency use of journalists would not free reporters from suspicion, according to many Agency officials. “Look at the Peace Corps,” said one source. “We have had no affiliation there and they [foreign governments] still throw them out”
The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception for the following principal reasons:
■ The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence‑gathering employed by the CIA. Although the Agency has cut back sharply on the use of reporters since 1973 primarily as a result of pressure from the media), some journalist‑operatives are still posted abroad.
■ Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950s and 1960s with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism.
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
The CIA’s use of the American news media has been much more extensive than Agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed sessions with members of Congress. The general outlines of what happened are indisputable; the specifics are harder to come by. CIA sources hint that a particular journalist was trafficking all over Eastern Europe for the Agency; the journalist says no, he just had lunch with the station chief. CIA sources say flatly that a well‑known ABC correspondent worked for the Agency through 1973; they refuse to identify him. A high‑level CIA official with a prodigious memory says that the New York Times provided cover for about ten CIA operatives between 1950 and 1966; he does not know who they were, or who in the newspaper’s management made the arrangements.
The Agency’s special relationships with the so‑called “majors” in publishing and broadcasting enabled the CIA to post some of its most valuable operatives abroad without exposure for more than two decades. In most instances, Agency files show, officials at the highest levels of the CIA usually director or deputy director) dealt personally with a single designated individual in the top management of the cooperating news organization. The aid furnished often took two forms: providing jobs and credentials “journalistic cover” in Agency parlance) for CIA operatives about to be posted in foreign capitals; and lending the Agency the undercover services of reporters already on staff, including some of the best‑known correspondents in the business.
In the field, journalists were used to help recruit and handle foreigners as agents; to acquire and evaluate information, and to plant false information with officials of foreign governments. Many signed secrecy agreements, pledging never to divulge anything about their dealings with the Agency; some signed employment contracts., some were assigned case officers and treated with. unusual deference. Others had less structured relationships with the Agency, even though they performed similar tasks: they were briefed by CIA personnel before trips abroad, debriefed afterward, and used as intermediaries with foreign agents. Appropriately, the CIA uses the term “reporting” to describe much of what cooperating journalists did for the Agency. “We would ask them, ‘Will you do us a favor?’”.said a senior CIA official. “‘We understand you’re going to be in Yugoslavia. Have they paved all the streets? Where did you see planes? Were there any signs of military presence? How many Soviets did you see? If you happen to meet a Soviet, get his name and spell it right .... Can you set up a meeting for is? Or relay a message?’” Many CIA officials regarded these helpful journalists as operatives; the journalists tended to see themselves as trusted friends of the Agency who performed occasional favors—usually without pay—in the national interest.
“I’m proud they asked me and proud to have done it,” said Joseph Alsop who, like his late brother, columnist Stewart Alsop, undertook clandestine tasks for the Agency. “The notion that a newspaperman doesn’t have a duty to his country is perfect balls.”
From the Agency’s perspective, there is nothing untoward in such relationships, and any ethical questions are a matter for the journalistic profession to resolve, not the intelligence community. As Stuart Loory, former Los Angeles Times correspondent, has written in the Columbia Journalism Review: ‘If even one American overseas carrying a press card is a paid informer for the CIA, then all Americans with those credentials are suspect .... If the crisis of confidence faced by the news business—along with the government—is to be overcome, journalists must be willing to focus on themselves the same spotlight they so relentlessly train on others!’ But as Loory also noted: “When it was reported... that newsmen themselves were on the payroll of the CIA, the story caused a brief stir, and then was dropped.”
During the 1976 investigation of the CIA by the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church, the dimensions of the Agency’s involvement with the press became apparent to several members of the panel, as well as to two or three investigators on the staff. But top officials of the CIA, including former directors William Colby and George Bush, persuaded the committee to restrict its inquiry into the matter and to deliberately misrepresent the actual scope of the activities in its final report. The multivolurne report contains nine pages in which the use of journalists is discussed in deliberately vague and sometimes misleading terms. It makes no mention of the actual number of journalists who undertook covert tasks for the CIA. Nor does it adequately describe the role played by newspaper and broadcast executives in cooperating with the Agency.
THE AGENCY’S DEALINGS WITH THE PRESS BEGAN during the earliest stages of the Cold War. Allen Dulles, who became director of the CIA in 1953, sought to establish a recruiting‑and‑cover capability within America’s most prestigious journalistic institutions. By operating under the guise of accredited news correspondents, Dulles believed, CIA operatives abroad would be accorded a degree of access and freedom of movement unobtainable under almost any other type of cover.
American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing to commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against “global Communism.” Accordingly, the traditional line separating the American press corps and government was often indistinguishable: rarely was a news agency used to provide cover for CIA operatives abroad without the knowledge and consent of either its principal owner, publisher or senior editor. Thus, contrary to the notion that the CIA insidiously infiltrated the journalistic community, there is ample evidence that America’s leading publishers and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. “Let’s not pick on some poor reporters, for God’s sake,” William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee’s investigators. “Let’s go to the managements. They were witting.” In all, about twenty‑five news organizations including those listed at the beginning of this article) provided cover for the Agency.
In addition to cover capability, Dulles initiated a “debriefing” procedure under which American correspondents returning from abroad routinely emptied their notebooks and offered their impressions to Agency personnel. Such arrangements, continued by Dulles’ successors, to the present day, were made with literally dozens of news organizations. In the 1950s, it was not uncommon for returning reporters to be met at the ship by CIA officers. “There would be these guys from the CIA flashing ID cards and looking like they belonged at the Yale Club,” said Hugh Morrow, a former Saturday Evening Post correspondent who is now press secretary to former vice‑president Nelson Rockefeller. “It got to be so routine that you felt a little miffed if you weren’t asked.”
CIA officials almost always refuse to divulge the names of journalists who have cooperated with the Agency. They say it would be unfair to judge these individuals in a context different from the one that spawned the relationships in the first place. “There was a time when it wasn’t considered a crime to serve your government,” said one high‑level CIA official who makes no secret of his bitterness. “This all has to be considered in the context of the morality of the times, rather than against latter‑day standards—and hypocritical standards at that.”
Many journalists who covered World War II were close to people in the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime predecessor of the CIA; more important, they were all on the same side. When the war ended and many OSS officials went into the CIA, it was only natural that these relationships would continue. Meanwhile, the first postwar generation of journalists entered the profession; they shared the same political and professional values as their mentors. “You had a gang of people who worked together during World War II and never got over it,” said one Agency official. “They were genuinely motivated and highly susceptible to intrigue and being on the inside. Then in the Fifties and Sixties there was a national consensus about a national threat. The Vietnam War tore everything to pieces—shredded the consensus and threw it in the air.” Another Agency official observed: “Many journalists didn’t give a second thought to associating with the Agency. But there was a point when the ethical issues which most people had submerged finally surfaced. Today, a lot of these guys vehemently deny that they had any relationship with the Agency.”
From the outset, the use of journalists was among the CIA’s most sensitive undertakings, with full knowledge restricted to the Director of Central Intelligence and a few of his chosen deputies. Dulles and his successors were fearful of what would happen if a journalist‑operative’s cover was blown, or if details of the Agency’s dealings with the press otherwise became public. As a result, contacts with the heads of news organizations were normally initiated by Dulles and succeeding Directors of Central Intelligence; by the deputy directors and division chiefs in charge of covert operations—Frank Wisner, Cord Meyer Jr., Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Tracy Barnes, Thomas Karamessines and Richard Helms himself a former UPI correspondent); and, occasionally, by others in the CIA hierarchy known to have an unusually close social relationship with a particular publisher or broadcast executive.1
James Angleton, who was recently removed as the Agency’s head of counterintelligence operations, ran a completely independent group of journalist‑operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments; little is known about this group for the simple reason that Angleton deliberately kept only the vaguest of files.
The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were “taught to make noises like reporters,” explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. “These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told ‘You’re going to he a journalist,’” the CIA official said. Relatively few of the 400‑some relationships described in Agency files followed that pattern, however; most involved persons who were already bona fide journalists when they began undertaking tasks for the Agency.
The Agency’s relationships with journalists, as described in CIA files, include the following general categories:
■ Legitimate, accredited staff members of news organizations—usually reporters. Some were paid; some worked for the Agency on a purely voluntary basis. This group includes many of the best‑known journalists who carried out tasks for the CIA. The files show that the salaries paid to reporters by newspaper and broadcast networks were sometimes supplemented by nominal payments from the CIA, either in the form of retainers, travel expenses or outlays for specific services performed. Almost all the payments were made in cash. The accredited category also includes photographers, administrative personnel of foreign news bureaus and members of broadcast technical crews.)
Two of the Agency’s most valuable personal relationships in the 1960s, according to CIA officials, were with reporters who covered Latin America—Jerry O’Leary of the Washington Star and Hal Hendrix of the Miami News, a Pulitzer Prize winner who became a high official of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. Hendrix was extremely helpful to the Agency in providing information about individuals in Miami’s Cuban exile community. O’Leary was considered a valued asset in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Agency files contain lengthy reports of both men’s activities on behalf of the CIA.
O’Leary maintains that his dealings were limited to the normal give‑and‑take that goes on between reporters abroad and their sources. CIA officials dispute the contention: “There’s no question Jerry reported for us,” said one. “Jerry did assessing and spotting [of prospective agents] but he was better as a reporter for us.” Referring to O’Leary’s denials, the official added: “I don’t know what in the world he’s worried about unless he’s wearing that mantle of integrity the Senate put on you journalists.”
O’Leary attributes the difference of opinion to semantics. “I might call them up and say something like, ‘Papa Doc has the clap, did you know that?’ and they’d put it in the file. I don’t consider that reporting for them.... it’s useful to be friendly to them and, generally, I felt friendly to them. But I think they were more helpful to me than I was to them.” O’Leary took particular exception to being described in the same context as Hendrix. “Hal was really doing work for them,” said O’Leary. “I’m still with the Star. He ended up at ITT.” Hendrix could not be reached for comment. According to Agency officials, neither Hendrix nor O’Leary was paid by the CIA.
■ Stringers2 and freelancers. Most were payrolled by the Agency under standard contractual terms. Their journalistic credentials were often supplied by cooperating news organizations. some filed news stories; others reported only for the CIA. On some occasions, news organizations were not informed by the CIA that their stringers were also working for the Agency.
■ Employees of so‑called CIA “proprietaries.” During the past twenty‑five years, the Agency has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers—both English and foreign language—which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives. One such publication was the Rome Daily American, forty percent of which was owned by the CIA until the 1970s. The Daily American went out of business this year,
■ Editors, publishers and broadcast network executives. The CIAs relationship with most news executives differed fundamentally from those with working reporters and stringers, who were much more subject to direction from the Agency. A few executives—Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times among them—signed secrecy agreements. But such formal understandings were rare: relationships between Agency officials and media executives were usually social—”The P and Q Street axis in Georgetown,” said one source. “You don’t tell Wilharn Paley to sign a piece of paper saying he won’t fink.”
■ Columnists and commentators. There are perhaps a dozen well known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources. They are referred to at the Agency as “known assets” and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency’s point of view on various subjects. Three of the most widely read columnists who maintained such ties with the Agency are C.L. Sulzberger of the New York Times, Joseph Alsop, and the late Stewart Alsop, whose column appeared in the New York Herald‑Tribune, the Saturday Evening Post and Newsweek. CIA files contain reports of specific tasks all three undertook. Sulzberger is still regarded as an active asset by the Agency. According to a senior CIA official, “Young Cy Sulzberger had some uses.... He signed a secrecy agreement because we gave him classified information.... There was sharing, give and take. We’d say, ‘Wed like to know this; if we tell you this will it help you get access to so‑and‑so?’ Because of his access in Europe he had an Open Sesame. We’d ask him to just report: ‘What did so‑and‑so say, what did he look like, is he healthy?’ He was very eager, he loved to cooperate.” On one occasion, according to several CIA officials, Sulzberger was given a briefing paper by the Agency which ran almost verbatim under the columnist’s byline in the Times. “Cycame out and said, ‘I’m thinking of doing a piece, can you give me some background?’” a CIA officer said. “We gave it to Cy as a background piece and Cy gave it to the printers and put his name on it.” Sulzberger denies that any incident occurred. “A lot of baloney,” he said.
Sulzberger claims that he was never formally “tasked” by the Agency and that he “would never get caught near the spook business. My relations were totally informal—I had a goodmany friends,” he said. “I’m sure they consider me an asset. They can ask me questions. They find out you’re going to Slobovia and they say, ‘Can we talk to you when you get back?’ ... Or they’ll want to know if the head of the Ruritanian government is suffering from psoriasis. But I never took an assignment from one of those guys.... I’ve known Wisner well, and Helms and even McCone [former CIA director John McCone] I used to play golf with. But they’d have had to he awfully subtle to have used me.
Sulzberger says he was asked to sign the secrecy agreement in the 1950s. “A guy came around and said, ‘You are a responsible newsman and we need you to sign this if we are going to show you anything classified.’ I said I didn’t want to get entangled and told them, ‘Go to my uncle [Arthur Hays Sulzberger, then publisher of the New York Times] and if he says to sign it I will.’” His uncle subsequently signed such an agreement, Sulzberger said, and he thinks he did too, though he is unsure. “I don’t know, twenty‑some years is a long time.” He described the whole question as “a bubble in a bathtub.”
Stewart Alsop’s relationship with the Agency was much more extensive than Sulzberger’s. One official who served at the highest levels in the CIA said flatly: “Stew Alsop was a CIA agent.” An equally senior official refused to define Alsop’s relationship with the Agency except to say it was a formal one. Other sources said that Alsop was particularly helpful to the Agency in discussions with, officials of foreign governments—asking questions to which the CIA was seeking answers, planting misinformation advantageous to American policy, assessing opportunities for CIA recruitment of well‑placed foreigners.
“Absolute nonsense,” said Joseph Alsop of the notion that his brother was a CIA agent. “I was closer to the Agency than Stew was, though Stew was very close. I dare say he did perform some tasks—he just did the correct thing as an American.... The Founding Fathers [of the CIA] were close personal friends of ours. Dick Bissell [former CIA deputy director] was my oldest friend, from childhood. It was a social thing, my dear fellow. I never received a dollar, I never signed a secrecy agreement. I didn’t have to.... I’ve done things for them when I thought they were the right thing to do. I call it doing my duty as a citizen.
Alsop is willing to discuss on the record only two of the tasks he undertook: a visit to Laos in 1952 at the behest of Frank Wisner, who felt other American reporters were using anti‑American sources about uprisings there; and a visit to the Phillipines in 1953 when the CIA thought his presence there might affect the outcome of an election. “Des FitzGerald urged me to go,” Alsop recalled. “It would be less likely that the election could be stolen [by the opponents of Ramon Magsaysay] if the eyes of the world were on them. I stayed with the ambassador and wrote about what happened.”
Alsop maintains that he was never manipulated by the Agency. “You can’t get entangled so they have leverage on you,” he said. “But what I wrote was true. My view was to get the facts. If someone in the Agency was wrong, I stopped talking to them—they’d given me phony goods.” On one occasion, Alsop said, Richard Helms authorized the head of the Agency’s analytical branch to provide Alsop with information on Soviet military presence along the Chinese border. “The analytical side of the Agency had been dead wrong about the war in Vietnam—they thought it couldn’t be won,” said Alsop. “And they were wrong on the Soviet buildup. I stopped talking to them.” Today, he says, “People in our business would be outraged at the kinds of suggestions that were made to me. They shouldn’t be. The CIA did not open itself at all to people it did not trust. Stew and I were trusted, and I’m proud of it.”
MURKY DETAILS OF CIA RELATIONSHIPS WITH INDIVIDUALS and news organizations began trickling out in 1973 when it was first disclosed that the CIA had, on occasion, employed journalists. Those reports, combined with new information, serve as casebook studies of the Agency’s use of journalists for intelligence purposes. They include:
■ The New York Times. The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.
Sulzberger was especially close to Allen Dulles. “At that level of contact it was the mighty talking to the mighty,” said a high‑level CIA official who was present at some of the discussions. “There was an agreement in principle that, yes indeed, we would help each other. The question of cover came up on several occasions. It was agreed that the actual arrangements would be handled by subordinates.... The mighty didn’t want to know the specifics; they wanted plausible deniability.
A senior CIA official who reviewed a portion of the Agency’s files on journalists for two hours onSeptember 15th, 1977, said he found documentation of five instances in which the Times had provided cover for CIA employees between 1954 and 1962. In each instance he said, the arrangements were handled by executives of the Times; the documents all contained standard Agency language “showing that this had been checked out at higher levels of the New York Times,” said the official. The documents did not mention Sulzberger’s name, however—only those of subordinates whom the official refused to identify.
The CIA employees who received Times credentials posed as stringers for the paper abroad and worked as members of clerical staffs in the Times’ foreign bureaus. Most were American; two or three were foreigners.
CIA officials cite two reasons why the Agency’s working relationship with the Times was closer and more extensive than with any other paper: the fact that the Times maintained the largest foreign news operation in American daily journalism; and the close personal ties between the men who ran both institutions.
Sulzberger informed a number of reporters and editors of his general policy of cooperation with the Agency. “We were in touch with them—they’d talk to us and some cooperated,” said a CIA official. The cooperation usually involved passing on information and “spotting” prospective agents among foreigners.
Arthur Hays Sulzberger signed a secrecy agreement with the CIA in the 1950s, according to CIA officials—a fact confirmed by his nephew, C.L. Sulzberger. However, there are varying interpretations of the purpose of the agreement: C.L. Sulzberger says it represented nothing more than a pledge not to disclose classified information made available to the publisher. That contention is supported by some Agency officials. Others in the Agency maintain that the agreement represented a pledge never to reveal any of the Times’ dealings with the CIA, especially those involving cover. And there are those who note that, because all cover arrangements are classified, a secrecy agreement would automatically apply to them.
Attempts to find out which individuals in the Times organization made the actual arrangements for providing credentials to CIA personnel have been unsuccessful. In a letter to reporter Stuart Loory in 1974, Turner Cadedge, managing editor of the Times from 1951 to 1964, wrote that approaches by the CIA had been rebuffed by the newspaper. “I knew nothing about any involvement with the CIA... of any of our foreign correspondents on the New York Times. I heard many times of overtures to our men by the CIA, seeking to use their privileges, contacts, immunities and, shall we say, superior intelligence in the sordid business of spying and informing. If any one of them succumbed to the blandishments or cash offers, I was not aware of it. Repeatedly, the CIA and other hush‑hush agencies sought to make arrangements for ‘cooperation’ even with Times management, especially during or soon after World War II, but we always resisted. Our motive was to protect our credibility.”
According to Wayne Phillips, a former Timesreporter, the CIA invoked Arthur Hays Sulzberger’s name when it tried to recruit him as an undercover operative in 1952 while he was studying at Columbia University’s Russian Institute. Phillips said an Agency official told him that the CIA had “a working arrangement” with the publisher in which other reporters abroad had been placed on the Agency’s payroll. Phillips, who remained at the Times until 1961, later obtained CIA documents under the Freedom of Information Act which show that the Agency intended to develop him as a clandestine “asset” for use abroad.
On January 31st, 1976, the Times carried a brief story describing the ClAs attempt to recruit Phillips. It quoted Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the present publisher, as follows: “I never heard of the Times being approached, either in my capacity as publisher or as the son of the late Mr. Sulzberger.” The Times story, written by John M. Crewdson, also reported that Arthur Hays Sulzberger told an unnamed former correspondent that he might he approached by the CIA after arriving at a new post abroad. Sulzberger told him that he was not “under any obligation to agree,” the story said and that the publisher himself would be “happier” if he refused to cooperate. “But he left it sort of up to me,” the Times quoted its former reporter as saying. “The message was if I really wanted to do that, okay, but he didn’t think it appropriate for a Times correspondent”
C.L. Sulzberger, in a telephone interview, said he had no knowledge of any CIA personnel using Times cover or of reporters for the paper working actively for the Agency. He was the paper’s chief of foreign service from 1944 to 1954 and expressed doubt that his uncle would have approved such arrangements. More typical of the late publisher, said Sulzberger, was a promise made to Allen Dulles’ brother, John Foster, then secretary of state, that no Times staff member would be permitted to accept an invitation to visit the People’s Republic of China without John Foster Dulles’ consent. Such an invitation was extended to the publisher’s nephew in the 1950s; Arthur Sulzberger forbade him to accept it. “It was seventeen years before another Times correspondent was invited,” C.L. Sulzberger recalled.
■ The Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS was unquestionably the CIAs most valuable broadcasting asset. CBS President William Paley and Allen Dulles enjoyed an easy working and social relationship. Over the years, the network provided cover for CIA employees, including at least one well‑known foreign correspondent and several stringers; it supplied outtakes of newsfilm to the CIA3; established a formal channel of communication between the Washington bureau chief and the Agency; gave the Agency access to the CBS newsfilm library; and allowed reports by CBS correspondents to the Washington and New York newsrooms to be routinely monitored by the CIA. Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.
The details of the CBS‑CIA arrangements were worked out by subordinates of both Dulles and Paley. “The head of the company doesn’t want to know the fine points, nor does the director,” said a CIA official. “Both designate aides to work that out. It keeps them above the battle.” Dr. Frank Stanton, for 25 years president of the network, was aware of the general arrangements Paley made with Dulles—including those for cover, according to CIA officials. Stanton, in an interview last year, said he could not recall any cover arrangements.) But Paley’s designated contact for the Agency was Sig Mickelson, president of CBS News between 1954 and 1961. On one occasion, Mickelson has said, he complained to Stanton about having to use a pay telephone to call the CIA, and Stanton suggested he install a private line, bypassing the CBS switchboard, for the purpose. According to Mickelson, he did so. Mickelson is now president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, both of which were associated with the CIA for many years.
In 1976, CBS News president Richard Salant ordered an in‑house investigation of the network's dealings with the CIA. Some of its findings were first disclosed by Robert Scheer in the Los Angeles Times.) But Salant's report makes no mention of some of his own dealings with the Agency, which continued into the 1970s.
Many details about the CBS‑CIA relationship were found in Mickelson's files by two investigators for Salant. Among the documents they found was a September 13th, 1957, memo to Mickelson fromTed Koop,CBS News bureau chief in Washington from 1948 to 1961. It describes a phone call to Koop from Colonel Stanley Grogan of the CIA: "Grogan phoned to say that Reeves [J. B. Love Reeves, another CIA official] is going to New York to be in charge of the CIA contact office there and will call to see you and some of your confreres. Grogan says normal activities will continue to channel through the Washington office of CBS News." The report to Salant also states: "Further investigation of Mickelson's files reveals some details of the relationship between the CIA and CBS News.... Two key administrators of this relationship were Mickelson and Koop.... The main activity appeared to be the delivery of CBS newsfilm to the CIA.... In addition there is evidence that, during 1964 to 1971, film material, including some outtakes, were supplied by the CBS Newsfilm Library to the CIA through and at the direction of Mr. Koop4.... Notes in Mr. Mickelson's files indicate that the CIA used CBS films for training... All of the above Mickelson activities were handled on a confidential basis without mentioning the words Central Intelligence Agency. The films were sent to individuals at post‑office box numbers and were paid for by individual, nor government, checks. ..." Mickelson also regularly sent the CIA an internal CBS newsletter, according to the report.
Salant's investigation led him to conclude that Frank Kearns, a CBS‑TV reporter from 1958 to 1971, "was a CIA guy who got on the payroll somehow through a CIA contact with somebody at CBS." Kearns and Austin Goodrich, a CBS stringer, were undercover CIA employees, hired under arrangements approved by Paley.
Last year a spokesman for Paley denied a report by former CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr that Mickelson and he had discussed Goodrich's CIA status during a meeting with two Agency representatives in 1954. The spokesman claimed Paley had no knowledge that Goodrich had worked for the CIA. "When I moved into the job I was told by Paley that there was an ongoing relationship with the CIA," Mickelson said in a recent interview. "He introduced me to two agents who he said would keep in touch. We all discussed the Goodrich situation and film arrangements. I assumed this was a normal relationship at the time. This was at the height of the Cold War and I assumed the communications media were cooperating—though the Goodrich matter was compromising.
At the headquarters of CBS News in New York, Paley's cooperation with the CIA is taken for granted by many news executives and reporters, despite tile denials. Paley, 76, was not interviewed by Salant's investigators. "It wouldn't do any good," said one CBS executive. "It is the single subject about which his memory has failed."
Salant discussed his own contacts with the CIA, and the fact he continued many of his predecessor's practices, in an interview with this reporter last year. The contacts, he said, began in February 1961, "when I got a phone call from a CIA man who said he had a working relationship with Sig Mickelson. The man said, 'Your bosses know all about it.'" According to Salant, the CIA representative asked that CBS continue to supply the Agency with unedited newstapes and make its correspondents available for debriefingby Agency officials. Said Salant: "I said no on talking to the reporters, and let them see broadcast tapes, but no outtakes. This went on for a number of years—into the early Seventies."
In 1964 and 1965, Salant served on a super-secret CIA task force which explored methods of beaming American propaganda broadcasts to the People's Republic of China. The other members of the four‑man study team were Zbigniew Brzezinski, then a professor at Columbia University; William Griffith, then professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology., and John Haves, then vice‑president of the Washington Post Company for radio‑TV5. The principal government officials associated with the project were Cord Meyer of the CIA; McGeorge Bundy, then special assistant to the president for national security; Leonard Marks, then director of the USIA; and Bill Moyers, then special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson and now a CBS correspondent.
Salant's involvement in the project began with a call from Leonard Marks, "who told me the White House wanted to form a committee of four people to make a study of U.S. overseas broadcasts behind the Iron Curtain." When Salant arrived in Washington for the first meeting he was told that the project was CIA sponsored. "Its purpose," he said, "was to determine how best to set up shortwave broadcasts into Red China." Accompanied by a CIA officer named Paul Henzie, the committee of four subsequently traveled around the world inspecting facilities run by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty both CIA‑run operations at the time), the Voice of America and Armed Forces Radio. After more than a year of study, they submitted a report to Moyers recommending that the government establish a broadcast service, run by the Voice of America, to be beamed at the People's Republic of China. Salant has served two tours as head of CBS News, from 1961‑64 and 1966‑present. At the time of the China project he was a CBS corporate executive.)
■ Time and Newsweek magazines. According to CIA and Senate sources, Agency files contain written agreements with former foreign correspondents and stringers for both the weekly news magazines. The same sources refused to say whether the CIA has ended all its associations with individuals who work for the two publications. Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.
For many years, Luce's personal emissary to the CIA was C.D. Jackson, a Time Inc., vice‑president who was publisher of Life magazine from 1960 until his death in 1964.While a Time executive, Jackson coauthored a CIA‑sponsored study recommending the reorganization of the American intelligence services in the early 1950s. Jackson, whose Time‑Life service was interrupted by a one‑year White House tour as an assistant to President Dwight Eisenhower, approved specific arrangements for providing CIA employees with Time‑Life cover. Some of these arrangements were made with the knowledge of Luce's wife, Clare Boothe. Other arrangements for Time cover, according to CIA officials including those who dealt with Luce), were made with the knowledge of Hedley Donovan, now editor‑in‑chief of Time Inc. Donovan, who took over editorial direction of all Time Inc. publications in 1959, denied in a telephone interview that he knew of any such arrangements. "I was never approached and I'd be amazed if Luce approved such arrangements," Donovan said. "Luce had a very scrupulous regard for the difference between journalism and government."
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Time magazine's foreign correspondents attended CIA "briefing" dinners similar to those the CIA held for CBS. And Luce, according to CIA officials, made it a regular practice to brief Dulles or other high Agency officials when he returned from his frequent trips abroad. Luce and the men who ran his magazines in the 1950s and 1960s encouraged their foreign correspondents to provide help to the CIA, particularly information that might be useful to the Agency for intelligence purposes or recruiting foreigners.
At Newsweek, Agency sources reported, the CIA engaged the services of' several foreign correspondents and stringers under arrangements approved by senior editors at the magazine. Newsweek's stringer in Rome in the mid‑Fifties made little secret of the fact that he worked for the CIA. Malcolm Muir, Newsweek's editor from its founding in 1937 until its sale to the Washington Post Company in 1961, said in a recent interview that his dealings with the CIA were limited to private briefings he gave Allen Dulles after trips abroad and arrangements he approved for regular debriefing of Newsweek correspondents by the Agency. He said that he had never provided cover for CIA operatives, but that others high in the Newsweek organization might have done so without his knowledge.
"I would have thought there might have been stringers who were agents, but I didn't know who they were," said Muir. "I do think in those days the CIA kept pretty close touch with all responsible reporters. Whenever I heard something that I thought might be of interest to Allen Dulles, I'd call him up.... At one point he appointed one of his CIA men to keep in regular contact with our reporters, a chap that I knew but whose name I can't remember. I had a number of friends in Alien Dulles' organization." Muir said that Harry Kern, Newsweek's foreign editor from 1945 until 1956, and Ernest K. Lindley, the magazine's Washington bureau chief during the same period "regularly checked in with various fellows in the CIA."
"To the best of my knowledge." said Kern, "nobody at Newsweek worked for the CIA... The informal relationship was there. Why have anybody sign anything? What we knew we told them [the CIA] and the State Department.... When I went to Washington, I would talk to Foster or Allen Dulles about what was going on. ... We thought it was admirable at the time. We were all on the same side." CIA officials say that Kern's dealings with the Agency were extensive. In 1956, he left Newsweek to run Foreign Reports, a Washington‑based newsletter whose subscribers Kern refuses to identify.
Ernest Lindley, who remained at Newsweek until 1961, said in a recent interview that he regularly consulted with Dulles and other high CIA officials before going abroad and briefed them upon his return. "Allen was very helpful to me and I tried to reciprocate when I could," he said. "I'd give him my impressions of people I'd met overseas. Once or twice he asked me to brief a large group of intelligence people; when I came back from the Asian‑African conference in 1955, for example; they mainly wanted to know about various people."
As Washington bureau chief, Lindley said he learned from Malcolm Muir that the magazine's stringer in southeastern Europe was a CIA contract employee—given credentials under arrangements worked out with the management. "I remember it came up—whether it was a good idea to keep this person from the Agency; eventually it was decided to discontinue the association," Lindley said.
When Newsweek waspurchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument he built, and played, with help from the press.) Phil Graham was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graharn, who committed suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.
In 1965‑66, an accredited Newsweekstringer in the Far East was in fact a CIA contract employee earning an annual salary of $10,000 from the Agency, according to Robert T. Wood, then a CIA officer in the Hong Kong station. Some, Newsweek correspondents and stringers continued to maintain covert ties with the Agency into the 1970s, CIA sources said.
Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of the arrangements.
All editors‑in‑chief and managing editors of the Post since 1950 say they knew of no formal Agency relationship with either stringers or members of the Post staff. “If anything was done it was done by Phil without our knowledge,” said one. Agency officials, meanwhile, make no claim that Post staff members have had covert affiliations with the Agency while working for the paper.6
Katharine Graham, Philip Graham’s widow and the current publisher of the Post, says she has never been informed of any CIA relationships with either Post or Newsweek personnel. In November of 1973, Mrs. Graham called William Colby and asked if any Post stringers or staff members were associated with the CIA. Colby assured her that no staff members were employed by the Agency but refused to discuss the question of stringers.
■ The Louisville Courier‑Journal. From December 1964 until March 1965, a CIA undercover operative named Robert H. Campbell worked on the Courier‑Journal. According to high‑level CIA sources, Campbell was hired by the paper under arrangements the Agency made with Norman E. Isaacs, then executive editor of the Courier‑Journal. Barry Bingham Sr., then publisher of the paper, also had knowledge of the arrangements, the sources said. Both Isaacs and Bingham have denied knowing that Campbell was an intelligence agent when he was hired.
The complex saga of Campbell’s hiring was first revealed in a Courier‑Journal story written by James R Herzog on March 27th, 1976, during the Senate committee’s investigation, Herzog’s account began: “When 28‑year‑old Robert H. Campbell was hired as a Courier‑Journal reporter in December 1964, he couldn’t type and knew little about news writing.” The account then quoted the paper’s former managing editor as saying that Isaacs told him that Campbell was hired as a result of a CIA request: “Norman said, when he was in Washington [in 1964], he had been called to lunch with some friend of his who was with the CIA [and that] he wanted to send this young fellow down to get him a little knowledge of newspapering.” All aspects of Campbell’s hiring were highly unusual. No effort had been made to check his credentials, and his employment records contained the following two notations: “Isaacs has files of correspondence and investigation of this man”; and, “Hired for temporary work—no reference checks completed or needed.”
The level of Campbell’s journalistic abilities apparently remained consistent during his stint at the paper, “The stuff that Campbell turned in was almost unreadable,” said a former assistant city editor. One of Campbell’s major reportorial projects was a feature about wooden Indians. It was never published. During his tenure at the paper, Campbell frequented a bar a few steps from the office where, on occasion, he reportedly confided to fellow drinkers that he was a CIA employee.
According to CIA sources, Campbell’s tour at the Courier‑Journal was arranged to provide him with a record of journalistic experience that would enhance the plausibility of future reportorial cover and teach him something about the newspaper business. The Courier‑Journal’s investigation also turned up the fact that before coming to Louisville he had worked briefly for the Hornell, New York, Evening Tribune, published by Freedom News, Inc. CIA sources said the Agency had made arrangements with that paper’s management to employ Campbell.7
At the Courier‑Journal, Campbell was hired under arrangements made with Isaacs and approved by Bingham, said CIA and Senate sources. “We paid the Courier‑Journal so they could pay his salary,” said an Agency official who was involved in the transaction. Responding by letter to these assertions, Isaacs, who left Louisville to become president and publisher of the Wilmington Delaware) News & Journal, said: “All I can do is repeat the simple truth—that never, under any circumstances, or at any time, have I ever knowingly hired a government agent. I’ve also tried to dredge my memory, but Campbell’s hiring meant so little to me that nothing emerges.... None of this is to say that I couldn’t have been ‘had.’”.Barry Bingham Sr., said last year in a telephone interview that he had no specific memory of Campbell’s hiring and denied that he knew of any arrangements between the newspaper’s management and the CIA. However, CIA officials said that the Courier‑Journal, through contacts with Bingham, provided other unspecified assistance to the Agency in the 1950s and 1960s. The Courier‑Journal’s detailed, front‑page account of Campbell’s hiring was initiated by Barry Bingham Jr., who succeeded his father as editor and publisher of the paper in 1971. The article is the only major piece of self‑investigation by a newspaper that has appeared on this subject.8
■ The American Broadcasting Company and the National Broadcasting Company. According to CIA officials, ABC continued to provide cover for some CIA operatives through the 1960s. One was Sam Jaffe who CIA officials said performed clandestine tasks for the Agency. Jaffe has acknowledged only providing the CIA with information. In addition, another well‑known network correspondent performed covert tasks for the Agency, said CIA sources. At the time of the Senate bearings, Agency officials serving at the highest levels refused to say whether the CIA was still maintaining active relationships with members of the ABC‑News organization. All cover arrangements were made with the knowledge off ABC executives, the sources said.
These same sources professed to know few specifies about the Agency’s relationships with NBC, except that several foreign correspondents of the network undertook some assignments for the Agency in the 1950s and 1960s. “It was a thing people did then,” said Richard Wald, president of NBC News since 1973. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people here—including some of the correspondents in those days—had connections with the Agency.”
■ The Copley Press, and its subsidiary, the Copley News Service. This relationship, first disclosed publicly by reporters Joe Trento and Dave Roman in Penthouse magazine, is said by CIA officials to have been among the Agency’s most productive in terms of getting “outside” cover for its employees. Copley owns nine newspapers in California and Illinois—among them the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune. The Trento‑Roman account, which was financed by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, asserted that at least twenty‑three Copley News Service employees performed work for the CIA. “The Agency’s involvement with the Copley organization is so extensive that it’s almost impossible to sort out,” said a CIA official who was asked about the relationship late in 1976. Other Agency officials said then that James S. Copley, the chain’s owner until his death in 1973, personally made most of the cover arrangements with the CIA.
According to Trento and Roman, Copley personally volunteered his news service to then‑president Eisenhower to act as “the eyes and ears” against “the Communist threat in Latin and Central America” for “our intelligence services.” James Copley was also the guiding hand behind the Inter‑American Press Association, a CIA‑funded organization with heavy membership among right‑wing Latin American newspaper editors.
■ Other major news organizations. According to Agency officials, CIA files document additional cover arrangements with the following news‑gathering organizations, among others: the New York Herald‑Tribune, the Saturday‑Evening Post, Scripps‑Howard Newspapers, Hearst Newspapers Seymour K. Freidin, Hearst’s current London bureau chief and a former Herald‑Tribune editor and correspondent, has been identified as a CIA operative by Agency sources), Associated Press,9 United Press International, the Mutual Broadcasting System, Reuters and the Miami Herald. Cover arrangements with the Herald, according to CIA officials, were unusual in that they were made “on the ground by the CIA station in Miami, not from CIA headquarters.
“And that’s just a small part of the list,” in the words of one official who served in the CIA hierarchy. Like many sources, this official said that the only way to end the uncertainties about aid furnished the Agency by journalists is to disclose the contents of the CIA files—a course opposed by almost all of the thirty‑five present and former CIA officials interviewed over the course of a year.
COLBY CUTS HIS LOSSES THE CIA’S USE OF JOURNALISTS CONTINUED VIRTUALLY unabated until 1973 when, in response to public disclosure that the Agency had secretly employed American reporters, William Colby began scaling down the program. In his public statements, Colby conveyed the impression that the use of journalists had been minimal and of limited importance to the Agency.
He then initiated a series of moves intended to convince the press, Congress and the public that the CIA had gotten out of the news business. But according to Agency officials, Colby had in fact thrown a protective net around his valuable intelligence in the journalistic community. He ordered his deputies to maintain Agency ties with its best journalist contacts while severing formal relationships with many regarded as inactive, relatively unproductive or only marginally important. In reviewing Agency files to comply with Colby’s directive, officials found that many journalists had not performed useful functions for the CIA in years. Such relationships, perhaps as many as a hundred, were terminated between 1973 and 1976.
Meanwhile, important CIA operatives who had been placed on the staffs of some major newspaper and broadcast outlets were told to resign and become stringers or freelancers, thus enabling Colby to assure concerned editors that members of their staffs were not CIA employees. Colby also feared that some valuable stringer‑operatives might find their covers blown if scrutiny of the Agency’s ties with journalists continued. Some of these individuals were reassigned to jobs on so‑called proprietary publications—foreign periodic
Journalism and the CIA: The Mighty Wurlitzer

by Daniel Brandt From NameBase NewsLine, No. 17, April-June 1997

[Image: snake.gif]
Alongside those Greek morality plays and Biblical injunctions, we are also reminded by history itself that the use of unethical means to achieve a worthy end can be self-destructive. Power, by definition, is isolated from the correcting signals of external criticism. Or perhaps the feeling of fighting evil fits so comfortably, that it's difficult to shed even after objective circumstances change.


The history of U.S. intelligence since World War II follows both patterns. The Office of Strategic Services, the CIA's predecessor, had jurisdiction over wartime covert operations and propaganda in the fight against fascism. OSS chief William Donovan recruited heavily among social and academic elites. When the CIA was launched in 1947 at the beginning of the Cold War, these pioneers felt that they had both the right and the duty to secretly manipulate the masses for the greater good.
OSS veteran Frank Wisner ran most of the early peacetime covert operations as head of the Office of Policy Coordination. Although funded by the CIA, OPC wasn't integrated into the CIA's Directorate of Plans until 1952, under OSS veteran Allen Dulles. Both Wisner and Dulles were enthusiastic about covert operations. By mid-1953 the department was operating with 7,200 personnel and 74 percent of the CIA's total budget.
Wisner created the first "information superhighway." But this was the age of vacuum tubes, not computers, so he called it his "Mighty Wurlitzer." The CIA's global network funded the Italian elections in 1948, sent paramilitary teams into Albania, trained Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan, and pumped money into the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the National Student Association, and the Center for International Studies at MIT. Key leaders and labor unions in western Europe received subsidies, and Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were launched. The Wurlitzer, an organ designed for film productions, could imitate sounds such as rain, thunder, or an auto horn. Wisner and Dulles were at the keyboard, directing history.
The ethos of the fight against fascism carried over into the fight against godless communism; for these warriors, the Cold War was still a war. OSS highbrows had already embraced psychological warfare as a new social science: propaganda, for example, was divided into "black" propaganda (stories that are unattributed, or attributed to nonexistent sources, or false stories attributed to a real source), "gray" propaganda (stories from the government where the source is attributed to others), and "white" propaganda (stories from the government where the source is acknowledged as such).[1]
After World War II, these psywar techniques continued. C.D. Jackson, a major figure in U.S. psywar efforts before and after the war, was simultaneously a top executive at Time-Life. Psywar was also used with success during the 1950s by Edward Lansdale, first in the Philippines and then in South Vietnam. In Guatemala, the Dulles brothers worked with their friends at United Fruit, in particular the "father of public relations," Edward Bernays, who for years had been lobbying the press on behalf of United. When CIA puppets finally took over in 1954, only applause was heard from the media, commencing forty years of CIA-approved horrors in that unlucky country.[2] Bernays' achievement apparently impressed Allen Dulles, who immediately began using U.S. public relations experts and front groups to promote the image of Ngo Dinh Diem as South Vietnam's savior.[3]
The combined forces of unaccountable covert operations and corporate public relations, each able to tap massive resources, are sufficient to make the concept of "democracy" obsolete. Fortunately for the rest of us, unchallenged power can lose perspective. With research and analysis -- the capacity to see and understand the world around them -- entrenched power must constantly anticipate and contain potential threats. But even as power seems more secure, this capacity can be blinded by hubris and isolation.
Troublesome notes were heard from the Wurlitzer in the 1960s -- but not from American journalism, which had already sold its soul to the empire. Instead, the announcement that the emperor had no clothes was made by a new generation. Much that was dear to this counterculture was stylistic and superficial, and there were many within this culture itself, and certainly within the straight media, who mistook this excess baggage for its essence. Nevertheless, the youth culture's rumpled opposition was sufficient to slow down the machine and let in some light.
The ruling class failed to see the naked contradiction that they had created. They expected that the most-privileged, best-educated generation in history could be forcibly drafted to fight a dirty war against popular self-determination some 8,000 miles away -- a war that clearly had more to do with anticommunist ideology and corporate greed than it did with the defense of America. The elites didn't have a clue that this was even a problem; President Johnson's knee-jerk response to the student antiwar movement, for example, was to pressure the CIA into uncovering the nefarious (and nonexistent) foreign influences behind it.
Thus the crack in the culture that eventually encouraged American media to take a look at themselves. With rare exceptions,[4] it was the alternative press that began to question racism, police brutality, Vietnam, the defense establishment, and the JFK assassination. In 1967 Ramparts magazine exposed a portion of the CIA's covert funding network, whereupon the New York Times and Washington Post began naming more names. By then the Wurlitzer would never sound the same, particularly after the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy invited further suspicions.
The counterculture burned out once the war wound down, but it had already dented the lemming-like consensus that typified an earlier period. For roughly ten years, between 1967 and 1977, Americans learned something of their secret history. From the perspective of twenty additional years, the results were mixed and much remains secret. But it's scary to think of where we might be now if the counterculture had never happened.
During the last half of those ten years, sandwiched between Watergate coverage on one end, and Congressional investigations of the CIA on the other, the media showed some interest in examining their own intelligence connections. The first shoe was dropped by Jack Anderson in late August, 1973, when he revealed that Seymour Freidin, head of the Hearst bureau in London, was a CIA agent. Freidin, already in the news because the Republicans paid him $10,000 in 1972 to spy on the Democrats, confirmed Anderson's story. At that point William Colby, the new CIA director, was asked by the New York Times and the Washington Star-News if any of their staff were on the CIA payroll.
James (Scotty) Reston of the NYT was satisfied with an evasive answer, but when the Star-News editorial board met with Colby, they made some progress. The other shoe dropped with an article by Oswald Johnston on November 30: the Star-News learned from an "authoritative source" (Colby) that the CIA had some three dozen American journalists on its payroll. Johnston named only one -- Jeremiah O'Leary -- who was one of their own diplomatic correspondents. (The Star-News stopped publishing in 1981, at which point O'Leary joined Reagan's national security staff. From 1982 until his death in 1993, he was with the Washington Times.)
That was the first and last time that Colby was helpful on this topic. Some believe that the new director was under pressure from the "young Turks" (junior staffers) at the Agency, who were granted a mandate by Colby's predecessor to cough up the "family jewels" -- a list of illegal exploits that could be culled from the CIA's files. Already there were rumors that the CIA was guilty of illegal spying on the antiwar movement -- rumors that were confirmed a year later by Seymour Hersh, whose sources were some of these same "young Turks."
Why was Colby initially forthcoming on the issue of the CIA and the media, and why did he then start stonewalling? Some believe that he was attempting a "limited hangout" as the best way out of a position that made him nervous, while others feel that he was implicitly threatening to provide additional names in order to scare off the media. Colby had reason to be worried: by late 1973, investigative journalism was in the air because of Watergate -- an issue that had more than the usual share of CIA connections.
Colby's stonewalling continued for the remainder of his tenure, even as a Senate committee led by Frank Church desperately tried to squeeze more names out of him. George Bush replaced Colby in January, 1976, and eventually agreed to a one-paragraph summary of each file of a CIA journalist, with names deleted. When the CIA said it was finished, the Church committee had over 400 summaries.
The committee staff was shocked at the extent of the CIA's activity in this area, and felt that they still didn't have the story. But they were running out of time, and expected that the Senate's new permanent oversight committee would continue their work. The Church committee's final report contained only a handful of vague and misleading pages on the CIA and the media. "It hardly reflects what was found," stated Senator Gary Hart. "There was a prolonged and elaborate negotiation [with the CIA] over what would be said."[5]
The House investigation of the CIA, under Otis Pike, had more problems than the Senate investigation. The full House voted to suppress its committee's final report under pressure from the executive branch, at which point Daniel Schorr of CBS leaked a copy to the Village Voice. This report contained just twelve paragraphs on the topic of the CIA and the media, including the tidbit about the CIA's "frequent manipulation of Reuters wire service dispatches."[6] Another paragraph gave some idea of the scope of the CIA's efforts in this area:
Some 29 percent of Forty Committee-approved covert actions were for media and propaganda projects. This number is probably not representative. Staff has determined the existence of a large number of CIA internally-approved operations of this type, apparently deemed not politically sensitive. It is believed that if the correct number of all media and propaganda projects could be determined, it would exceed Election Support as the largest single category of covert action projects undertaken by the CIA.[7]
One enterprising researcher took this 29 percent figure, and extrapolating from figures on CIA expenditures for covert operations, found that the cost of propaganda in 1978 was around $265 million and involved 2,000 personnel. Comparing this to figures for other news agencies, he concluded that the CIA "uses far more resources in its propaganda operations than any single news agency.... In fact, the CIA propaganda budget is as large as the combined budgets of Reuters, United Press International and the Associated Press."[8] CBS took Daniel Schorr off the air after he leaked the Pike committee report. This was most likely a convenient opportunity for William Paley, chairman of CBS, who didn't approve of Schorr's interest in the network's own CIA connection. Former CBS News president Sig Mickelson, who by 1976 was president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, said that in October 1954, Paley called him into his office for a friendly discussion with two CIA officials. Schorr mentioned this on Walter Cronkite's show, and in an op-ed piece for the New York Times (Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the late publisher of the Times, had been cozy with the CIA also). "There are executives and retired executives," Schorr wrote, "who could help dispel the cloud hanging over the press by coming forward to tell the arrangements they made with the CIA."[9]
Little had changed since 1974, when Michael J. Harrington, a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, leaked Colby's closed-door testimony about CIA involvement in the 1973 coup in Chile. Harrington soon found himself the target of a formal Ethics Committee investigation; now Schorr was also their target. Apparently Congress was fearful that the executive branch might paint them as bungling and irresponsible when it came to keeping secrets, and then use this as a club to deprive them of access to information.
If Congress felt this way, it was more than simple paranoia. In 1976 the CIA began cranking up their Wurlitzer on the matter of Richard Welch, a station chief in Athens who was assassinated by urban guerrillas at the end of 1975. The CIA's exploitation of this timely tragedy had both an immediate target and a general target. Ostensibly the CIA was complaining about an obscure Washington magazine called CounterSpy, which had been printing CIA names. In the same spirit, Philip Agee's just-published diary of CIA tricks in Latin America was loaded with names, and was already an international sensation. But the general target of this campaign was more important -- the CIA managed to change the nature of the debate. Suddenly it was no longer a question of what dirty work the CIA might be doing, but rather a question of what happens when the press recklessly endangers the lives of our brave boys overseas.
The fact that Welch's name had been published by the East Germans five years earlier, and that he could be identified as a CIA officer from his listing in the unclassified 1973 State Department Biographic Register, were both ignored. In any case, it was hardly a secret in Athens -- the group that killed Welch had been stalking his predecessor, Stacy Hulse, until Welch moved into the Hulse residence five months earlier. Colby eventually admitted to a House subcommittee that Welch's cover was inexcusably weak, and that the publication of his name in an Athens newspaper had only an indirect effect on his assassination.[10]
Colby could say this two years later because by then his comments were destined for a back page. The battle to rein in the CIA was already lost. In 1982 Congress passed a controversial new law that made publication of CIA names a felony under certain conditions. Although these conditions rarely applied to journalists, the wide coverage on this issue served to intimidate most publishers and editors.
Today the CIA, which once issued an automatic "no comment" when asked anything by reporters, is playing an adept game of "soft cop, hard cop" public relations. In 1991 an internal CIA task force recommended a more active posture by the public affairs office when responding to requests for assistance (that year they handled 3,369 telephone inquires from reporters, provided 174 unclassified background briefings for them at Headquarters, and arranged 164 interviews with senior Agency officials).[11] The "hard cop" was discovered by Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation. In 1995 she was telephoned by Vin Swasey, CIA deputy director of public affairs, who strongly objected to an editorial because it included the names of nine former station chiefs in Guatemala.[12] Reuters was persuaded by Swasey's colleagues to run the story without the names.
The final months of 1977 produced three significant pieces of journalism on the CIA and the media, just before the issue was abandoned altogether. The first, by Joe Trento and Dave Roman, reported the connections between Copley Press and the CIA. Owner James S. Copley cooperated with the CIA for three decades. A subsidiary, Copley News Service, was used as a CIA front in Latin America, while reporters at the Copley-owned San Diego Union and Evening News were instructed to spy on antiwar protesters for the FBI. No less than 23 news service employees were simultaneously working for the CIA. James Copley, who died in 1973, was also a leading figure behind the CIA-funded Inter-American Press Association.[13]
The next article was by Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. In a long piece in Rolling Stone, he came up with the figure of 400 American journalists over the past 25 years, based primarily on interviews with Church committee staffers. This figure included stringers and freelancers who had an understanding that they were expected to help the CIA, as well as a small number of full-time CIA employees using journalism as a cover. It did not include foreigners, nor did it include numerous Americans who traded favors with the CIA in the normal give-and-take between a journalist and his sources. In addition to some of the names already mentioned above, Bernstein supplied details on Stewart and Joseph Alsop, Henry Luce, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Hal Hendrix of the Miami News, columnist C.L. Sulzberger, Richard Salant of CBS, and Philip Graham and John Hayes of the Washington Post.
Bernstein concentrated more on the owners, executives, and editors of news organizations than on individual reporters. "Lets's not pick on some poor reporters, for God's sake," William Colby said at one point to the Church committee's investigators. "Let's go to the management. They were witting." Bernstein noted that Colby had specific definitions for words such as "contract employee," "agent," "asset," "accredited correspondent," "editorial employee," "freelance," "stringer," and even "reporter," and through careful use of these words, the CIA "managed to obscure the most elemental fact about the relationships detailed in its files: i.e., that there was recognition by all parties involved that the cooperating journalists were working for the CIA -- whether or not they were paid or had signed employment contracts."[14]
The reaction to Bernstein's piece among mainstream media was to ignore it, or to suggest that it was sloppy and exaggerated. Then two months later, the New York Times published the results of their "three- month inquiry by a team of Times reporters and researchers." This three-part series not only confirmed Bernstein, but added a wealth of far-ranging details and contained twice as many names. Now almost everyone pretended not to notice.
The Times reported that over the last twenty years, the CIA owned or subsidized more than fifty newspapers, news services, radio stations, periodicals and other communications facilities, most of them overseas. These were used for propaganda efforts, or even as cover for operations. Another dozen foreign news organizations were infiltrated by paid CIA agents. At least 22 American news organizations had employed American journalists who were also working for the CIA, and nearly a dozen American publishing houses printed some of the more than 1,000 books that had been produced or subsidized by the CIA. When asked in a 1976 interview whether the CIA had ever told its media agents what to write, William Colby replied, "Oh, sure, all the time."
Since domestic propaganda was a violation of the their charter, the CIA defined the predictable effects of their foreign publications as "blowback" or "domestic fallout," which they considered to be "inevitable and consequently permissible." But former CIA employees told the Times that apart from this unintended blowback, "some CIA propaganda efforts, especially during the Vietnam War, had been carried out with a view toward their eventual impact in the United States." The Times series concluded that at its peak, the CIA's network "embraced more than 800 news and public information organizations and individuals."[15]
By the time the Times series appeared, Congress was looking for a way out of the issue. Obligingly, Stansfield Turner promised that the CIA would avoid journalists "accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." There were at least three problems with this that most press coverage overlooked: many stringers and freelancers are not accredited; it didn't cover any foreign-owned media; and as Gary Hart complained at the time, the new policy included a provision that allowed the CIA to unilaterally make exceptions whenever it wished.[16]
Within several years of this alleged policy, the new Reagan administration ignored it in favor of a shooting war in Central America, one component of which was an illegal CIA-administered propaganda war at home. Edgar Chamorro, a contra sympathizer in Miami with a background in public relations, was recruited by the CIA in late 1982. After two years of following the CIA's instructions regarding the manipulation of U.S. journalists and even members of Congress, Chamorro went public with his story.[17] By now Congress was clearly out-maneuvered, even though it alone held the purse strings that controlled funding for the war.
The inability of Congress to address the CIA-media problem in the 1970s meant that more powerful forces were at work. In fact, while Congress was wringing its left hand over illegal CIA activities, its right hand was helping the CIA overhaul its Wurlitzer. Ever since 1967, when the Katzenbach committee was tasked by Lyndon Johnson to study the problem of the CIA's use of domestic organizations, the agenda at the highest levels had been to remove such activities from the CIA's payroll and continue them under a new umbrella. In the unclassified portion of their report, this committee recommended giving money openly through a "public-private mechanism." "The CIA's big mistake was not supplanting itself with private funds fast enough," observed Gloria Steinem, who had been part of the CIA's global network.[18]
The Asia Foundation was given a large "severance payment" so that they could find private funding,[19] and the Congress for Cultural Freedom got over $4 million from the Ford Foundation.[20] In 1971, Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe were spun off and funded separately by new legislation. While this hardly diminished the CIA's control of these radio stations, it did help public relations by facilitating "deniability."[21] Then in 1983, Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy, with funding to carry on many of the activities that the CIA once carried out covertly within its own budget.
Bits and pieces of the old Wurlitzer were still evident everywhere: John Richardson, Jr., the new chairman of NED, had been president and CEO of Radio Free Europe during the 1960s, and some of the NED's dozens of grants were issued to groups that solicited aid for the contras.[22] "It is not necessary to turn to the covert approach," commented Colby in regard to the NED program. "Many of the programs which ... were conducted as covert operations [can now be] conducted quite openly, and consequentially, without controversy."[23] As if to prove his point, Colby's wife was soon a member of NED's board of directors.
Two major changes since the 1980s -- the collapse of socialism and the centralization of domestic and transnational media, suggest that the CIA now has everything well in hand. But it is far too early to tell. The pressure to stay competitive in the global marketplace could provoke economic nationalism in places where the CIA was once free to roam. France and Germany, for example, have recently expelled CIA agents. At the same time, the Soviet people are having second thoughts about all those benefits of U.S.-imposed capitalism. China remains aggressive and uncompromising; they may even tolerate less interference from us in their political process than we do from them.
It's a different world, and it's unfamiliar. A blue-ribbon panel of the Council on Foreign Relations suggested last year that the CIA be freed from some policy constraints on covert operations, such as the use of journalists and clergy as cover. This is alarming. Unlike the typical corporate-funded think tank, filled with pro-Pentagon pundits, the folks at CFR are either running the world or they know who does. For 70 years they've rarely recommended anything that has not become policy. Furthermore, they've thoroughly co-opted the major media (see sidebar).
There have also been official announcements that the CIA is mission-creeping into economic intelligence and computer-age information warfare. This might reflect a bit of nostalgia for the job security and moral clarity of the Cold War, or it could be a premonition that the American Century is over and the masses are expected to get uppity. Perhaps the First Amendment has always been something of a con -- a matter of "freedom," but only for those who own the presses, or for those who lived in an earlier century, before psywar and public relations experts.
Then again, stay tuned -- the credibility gap is back. A recent poll shows that Americans are fed up with mainstream news media. "Very favorable" ratings for television network news fell from 30 percent in 1985 to just 15 percent this year, and for large national newspapers it dropped 12 percent. A majority now believe that news stories are often inaccurate.[24]
After factoring in the new global economics and recalculating the prospects for the middle class, all bets are off. The poor performance of Congress and the press on the issue of journalists and the CIA may mean that the next time around, the elites will lack even the credibility to stage another co-opting charade of "oversight." That could prove beneficial, particularly if next the time threatens to be as inconsequential and diversionary as the last time.
1. Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1975), pp. 70-71.
2. Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982), pp. 111-114; Thomas P. McCann, An American Company: The Tragedy of United Fruit (New York: Crown Publishers, 1976), pp. 45-48.
3. Eric Thomas Chester, Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee, and the CIA (Armonk NY and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1995), pp. 160-183.
4. The first anti-CIA book appeared in 1964: David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Invisible Government (New York: Random House). CIA director John McCone, and other officials acting under his direction, contacted the publisher in an effort to stop it.
5. Carl Bernstein, "The CIA and the Media," Rolling Stone, 20 October 1977, pp. 65-67.
6. "The CIA Report the President Doesn't Want You to Read," Village Voice, 20 February 1976, p. 40.
7. Ibid, p. 36.
8. Sean Gervasi, "CIA Covert Propaganda Capability," Covert Action Information Bulletin, No. 7, December 1979 - January 1980, pp. 18-20.
9. Daniel Schorr, Clearing the Air (New York: Berkley Medallion Books, 1978), pp. 204-206, 275-277.
10. Norman Kempster, "Identity of U.S. Spies Harder to Hide, Colby Says," Los Angeles Times, 28 December 1977, pp. 1, 8.
11. Central Intelligence Agency, Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence from the Task Force on Greater CIA Openness, 20 December 1991, 15 pages.
12. Allan Nairn, "The Country Team," The Nation, 5 June 1995, p. 780.
13. Joe Trento and Dave Roman, "The Spies Who Came In From the Newsroom," Penthouse, August 1977, pp. 44-46, 50.
14. Bernstein, p. 58.
15. John M. Crewdson and Joseph B. Treaster, "The CIA's 3-Decade Effort to Mold the World's Views," New York Times, 25 December 1977, pp. 1, 12; Terrence Smith, "CIA Contacts With Reporters," New York Times, p. 13; Crewdson and Treaster, "Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the CIA," New York Times, 26 December 1977, pp. 1, 37; Crewdson and Treaster, "CIA Established Many Links to Journalists in U.S. and Abroad," New York Times, 27 December 1977, pp. 1, 40-41.
16. While it's true that Gary Hart's complaint was not widely covered (there's one paragraph in the Los Angeles Times on 16 December 1977, p. 2), it is still amazing that when this clause was rediscovered in early 1996, indignant columnists pretended that it had been a secret all along. The truth is, journalists haven't been doing their homework for the last 18 years. This led the Society of Professional Journalists to earn a flunking grade for their 23 February 1996 press release: "An executive order during the Carter administration was thought to have banned the practice [of the recruitment of journalists by the CIA]. After a Council on Foreign Relations task force recommended that the ban be reconsidered, it was revealed that a 'loophole' existed allowing the CIA director or his deputy to grant a waiver. After protests, Deutch refused to rule out the practice, saying in some cases it might be necessary." To rephrase this politely, it took 18 years for the SPJ to become aware of the fine print in the CIA's policy. This is probably due to poor reporting from newspapers such as the Washington Post, which the innocents at SPJ must think of as not only "liberal," but also competent. So why, when the Post's intelligence reporter, Walter Pincus, was told about the waiver last year, did he write it up as a scoop in the 22 February 1996 Washington Post??? Perhaps Pincus really didn't know. Or perhaps ever since Pincus took money from the CIA in the early 1960s, it has affected his reporting on this issue.
17. Edgar Chamorro, Packaging the Contras: A Case of CIA Disinformation (New York: Institute for Media Analysis, 1987), 78 pages; Jacqueline Sharkey, "Back in Control," Common Cause Magazine, September/October 1986, pp. 28-40.
18. "CIA Subsidized Festival Trips: Hundreds of Students Were Sent to World Gatherings," New York Times, 21 February 1967.
19. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (New York: Dell Publishing, 1975), p. 179.
20. Peter Coleman, The Liberal Conspiracy: The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Struggle for the Mind of Postwar Europe (New York: The Free Press, 1989), pp. 224-225.
21. Marchetti and Marks, pp. 174-178.
22. John Kelly, "National Endowment for Reagan's Democracies," The National Reporter, Summer 1986, pp. 22-26; Council on Hemispheric Affairs and Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Center, National Endowment for Democracy (NED): A Foreign Policy Branch Gone Awry (Resource Center, Box 4506, Albuquerque NM 87196), 1990, 93 pages.
23. William Colby, "Political Action -- In the Open," Washington Post, 14 March 1982, p. D8.
24. Jack Nelson, "Major News Media Trusted Less, Poll Says," Los Angeles Times, 21 March 1997.

Sidebar from NameBase NewsLine, No. 17, April-June 1997:


Journalists at Work: Who's Watching the Watchdogs?

In the handful of self-critical articles about the media that appeared twenty years ago, the matter of CIA connections with executives, editors, and reporters was emphasized. While this makes for good copy and is certainly worth repeating, it also fails to challenge American journalism at it weakest point: the corrupting influence of fame and fortune. Someone who has looked at this issue recently is James Fallows, formerly of Atlantic Monthly. Fallows argues in his recent book, Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy, that his profession is becoming seriously compromised.
The name recognition that comes from flaccid punditry can be lucrative on the lecture circuit. Or if you have a name already, perhaps by doing something useless or naughty at the White House, you can acquire pundit status by writing a kiss-and-tell book. Big stars such as Cokie Roberts can collect five figures simply by offering up flattering platitudes at a corporate convention.
Another problem is the revolving door between the media and government. It's considered a badge of honor for a journalist to have spent time working for the White House, whereas it should be seen as a conflict of interest. Some suggest that it's okay to make the switch once -- Bill Moyers can call himself a journalist after working for Lyndon Johnson, but David Gergen has been spinning through the door so often that it makes the rest of us dizzy. Gergen flacked for Nixon, Ford, Reagan and finally Clinton, and between administrations he was an editor at U.S. News & World Report and a commentator for PBS. Come to think of it, James Fallows himself, the new editor at U.S. News & World Report, was the chief speech writer for Jimmy Carter.
Pundits and superstars aside, the larger problem is that the media is owned by the ruling class. With the increased media centralization of the last twenty years, their lock on the masses is now so complete that when they maintain an appearance of objectivity, it's only out of habit. (Sentences containing the words "ruling class" are scribbled self- consciously these days -- a measure of how well they have cornered the market on perception, and perverted what class consciousness we once had into a mass-consumer consciousness.)
How can one distinguish between news and propaganda when the overlaps and interlocks are so pervasive? John Chancellor was with NBC, then with Voice of America, and then again with NBC. John Scali was with ABC, and then with Nixon, and then again with ABC. Ben Bradlee, of Watergate and Washington Post fame, was once a propagandist in Paris, taking orders from the CIA station chief, and was friends with James Angleton. Bradley's sister-in-law was Mary Meyer, divorced from Cord Meyer. She was JFK's lover, and her 1964 murder was never solved. Robert John Myers was in the CIA for twenty years, at one time as an assistant to William Colby, and became publisher of the New Republic in 1968. Generoso Paul Pope, Jr. was in the CIA the year before he bought the National Enquirer in 1952. Laughlin Phillips, co-founder of the Washingtonian, was in the CIA for fifteen years. Former top CIA officials Cord Meyer, Jr. and Tom Braden became columnists (unlike Braden, Meyer rarely talks about his CIA career). George R. Packard and L. Bruce van Voorst were with the CIA before they joined Newsweek, and Philip Geyelin worked for the CIA while on leave from the Wall Street Journal.
There's always Katharine Graham, one of the world's richest women, who is now recognized as a victim of the male-dominated culture because her new autobiography says it's so. In a 1988 speech at CIA headquarters, Graham warmed to her audience: "We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."
Over 100 pundits, news anchors, columnists, commentators, reporters, editors, executives, owners, and publishers can be found by scanning the 1995 membership roster of the Council on Foreign Relations -- the same CFR that issued a report in early 1996 bemoaning the constraints on our poor, beleaguered CIA. By the way, first William Bundy and then William G. Hyland edited CFR's flagship journal Foreign Affairs between the years 1972-1992. Bundy was with the CIA from 1951-1961, and Hyland from 1954-1969.
How the CIA Paid for Judy Miller's Stories
All the News That's Fit to Buy


ALEXANDER COCKBURN

[Image: pic.php?f=miller.jpg]December 9, 2005

[SIZE=+3]T
he Bush era has brought a robust simplicity to the business of news management: where possible, buy journalists to turn out favorable stories and, as far as hostiles are concerned, if you think you can get away with it, shoot them or blow them up.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]As with much else in the Bush era, the novelty lies in the openness with which these strategies have been conducted. Regarding the strategies themselves, there's nothing fundamentally new, both in terms of paid coverage, and murder, as the killing in 1948 of CBS reporter George Polk suggests. Polk, found floating in the Bay of Salonika after being shot in the head, had become a serious inconvenience to a prime concern of US covert operations at the time, namely the onslaught on Communists in Greece.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Today we have the comical saga of the Pentagon turning to a Washington DC-based subcontractor, the Lincoln Group, to write and translate for distribution to Iraqi news outlets booster stories about the US military's successes in Iraq. I bet the Iraqi newspaper reading public was stunned to learn the truth at last.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]More or less simultaneously comes news of Bush's plan, mooted to Tony Blair in April of 2004, to bomb the hq of Al Jazeera in Qatar. Blair argued against the plan, not, it seems, on moral grounds but because the assault might prompt revenge attacks.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Earlier assaults on Al Jazeera came in the form of a 2001 strike on the channel's office in Kabul. In November, 2002 the US Air Force had another crack at the target and this time managed to blow it up. The US military claimed that they didn't know the target was an Al Jazeera office, merely "a terrorist site".[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]In April 2003 a US fighter plane targeted and killed Tariq Ayub, an Al Jazeera reporter on the roof of Al Jazeera's Baghdad office. The Arab network had earlier attempted to head off any "accidental" attack by giving the Pentagon the precise location of its Baghdad premises. That same day in Iraq US forces killed two other journalists, from Reuter's and a Spanish tv station, and bombed an office of Abu Dhabi tv.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]On the business of paid placement of stories in the Iraqi press there's been some pompous huffing and puffing in the US among the opinion-forming classes about the dangers of "poisoning the well" and the paramount importance of instilling in the Iraqi mind respect for the glorious traditions of unbiased, unbought journalism as practised in the US Homeland. Christopher Hitchens, tranquil in the face of torture, indiscriminate bombing and kindred atrocities, yelped that the US instigators of this "all-the-news-that's fit-to-buy" strategy should be fired.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Actually, it's an encouraging sign of the resourcefulness of those Iraqi editors that they managed to get paid to print the Pentagon's handouts. Here in the Homeland, editors pride themselves in performing the same service, without remuneration.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Did the White House slip Judy Miller money under the table to hype Saddam's weapons of mass destruction? I'm quite sure it didn't and the only money Miller took was her regular Times paycheck.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]But this doesn't mean that We The Taxpayers weren't ultimately footing the bill for Miller's propaganda. We were, since Miller's stories mostly came from the defectors proffered her by Ahmad Chalabi's group, the Iraqi National Congress, which even as late as the spring of 2004 was getting $350,000 a month from the CIA, said payments made in part for the INC to produce "intelligence" from inside Iraq.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]It also doesn't mean that when she was pouring her nonsense into the NYT's news columns Judy Miller (or her editors) didn't know that the INC's defectors were linked to the CIA by a money trail. This same trail was laid out in considerable detail in Out of the Ashes, written by my brothers, Andrew and Patrick Cockburn, and published in 1999.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]In this fine book, closely studied (and frequently pillaged without acknowledgement) by journalists covering Iraq the authors described how Chalabi's group was funded by the CIA, with huge amounts of money ** $23 million in the first year alone *- invested in an anti-Saddam propaganda campaign, subcontracted by the Agency to John Rendon, a Washington pr operator with good CIA connexions.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Almost from its founding in 1947, the CIA had journalists on its payroll, a fact acknowledged in ringing tones by the Agency in its announcement in 1976 when G.H.W. Bush took over from William Colby that "Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any US news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station."[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Though the announcement also stressed that the text the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists, there's no reason to believe that the Agency actually stopped covert payoffs to the Fourth Estate.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Its practices in this regard before 1976 have been documented to a certain degree. In 1977 Carl Bernstein attacked the subject in Rolling Stone, concluding that more than 400 journalists had maintained some sort of alliance with the Agency between 1956 and 1972.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]In 1997 the son of a well known CIA senior man in the Agency's earlier years said emphatically, though off the record, to a CounterPuncher that "of course" the powerful and malevolent columnist Joseph Alsop "was on the payroll".[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Press manipulation was always a paramount concern of the CIA, as with the Pentagon. In his Secret History of the CIA, published in 2001, Joe Trento described how in 1948 CIA man Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects, soon renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency, the very first in its list of designated functions was "propaganda".[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Later that year Wisner set an operation codenamed "Mockingbird", to influence the domestic American press. He recruited Philip Graham of the Washington Post to run the project within the industry.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Trento writes that[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]"One of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers." Other journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA, included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times).[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]By 1953 Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies, including the New York Times, Time, CBS, Time. Wisner's operations were funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers."[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]In his book Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA, Alex Constantine writes that in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts".[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner said recently, apropos the stories put into the Iraqi press by the Lincoln Group, that it wasn't clear whether traditionally-accepted journalistic practices were violated. Warner can relax. The Pentagon, and the Lincoln Group, were working in a rich tradition, and their only mistake was to get caught.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]Harold Pinter's Great Speech and How the CIA May Have Silenced Paul Robeson[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Harold Pinter is by no means the first eloquent enemy of the American Empire to have got the Nobel Prize for literature. In 1967 for example, when revulsion was rising across the world at the U.S.*inflicted bloodbath in Vietnam, the committee picked the Guatemalan writer, Miguel Asturias, whose work was notable for its savage depictions of the US-backed destruction of democracy in Guetemala in 1954, at the instigation of the United Fruit Company. (Asked for its reaction to Asturias' selection, United Fruit's high command said stiffly that it had never heard of Asturias and would have no comment.)[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]I can't find the text of Asturias' acceptance speech, but I would guess that it didn't rival the intensity and fury of Pinter's depictions of the ravages of the American Empire since 1945. It was as though the works of Noam Chomsky had been compacted into one searing rhetorical lightening bolt. It will go into the history books, alongside such imperishable excoriations of empire as the speeches Thucidides put into the mouths of the Melians, and Tacitus into the mouth of Calgacus.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Here some of Pinter's most savage paragraphs (the full speech ran on CounterPunch on Wednesday):[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]But my contention here is that the US crimes in the [postwar] period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer. The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Pinter recorded the speech sitting in a wheel chair. He's just fought off an onslaught cancer of the esophagus and was suffering new pains in his legs. Michael Billlington, the drama critic of The Guardian, gave a good account of Pinter's delivery.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Pinter deployed a variety of tactics: the charged pause, the tug at the glasses, the unremitting stare at the camera. I am told by Michael Kustow, who co-produced the lecture, that after a time he stopped giving Pinter any instructions. He simply allowed him to rely on his actor's instinct for knowing how to reinforce a line or heighten suspense.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Although the content of the speech was highly political, especially in its clinical dissection of post-war US foreign policy, it relied on Pinter's theatrical sense, in particular his ability to use irony, rhetoric and humour, to make its point. This was the speech of a man who knows what he wants to say but who also realises that the message is more effective if rabbinical fervour is combined with oratorical panache.At one point, for instance, Pinter argued that "the United States supported and in many cases engendered every rightwing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the second world war". He then proceeded to reel off examples. But the clincher came when Pinter, with deadpan irony, said: "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest." In a few sharp sentences, Pinter pinned down the willed indifference of the media to publicly recorded events. He also showed how language is devalued by the constant appeal of US presidents to "the American people". This was argument by devastating example. As Pinter repeated the lulling mantra, he proved his point that "The words "the American people" provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance." Thus Pinter brilliantly used a rhetorical device to demolish political rhetoric.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]But it was the black humour of the speech I liked best. At one point, Pinter offered himself as a speechwriter to President Bush - an offer unlikely, on this basis of this speech, to be quickly accepted. And Pinter proceeded to give us a parody of the Bush antithetical technique in which the good guys and the bad guys are thrown into stark contrast: "My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians." Pinter's poker face as he delivered this only reinforced its satirical power.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]One columnist predicted, before the event, that we were due for a Pinter rant. But this was not a rant in the sense of a bombastic declaration. This was a man delivering an attack on American foreign policy, and Britain's subscription to it, with a controlled anger and a deadly irony. And, paradoxically, it reminded us why Pinter is such a formidable dramatist. He used every weapon in his theatrical technique to reinforce his message. And, by the end, it was as if Pinter himself had been physically recharged by the moral duty to express his innermost feelings.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]I remarked after reading Pinter's text that it's a sign of the debility of the American Empire that its agents didn't manage to kill off his nomination, or--having failed at that--to kill Pinter before he was able to record his remarks. Hyperbole, but only up to a point.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Consider the CIA's probable poisoning, at a fraught political moment, of Paul Robeson, the black actor, singer, and political radical. As Jeffrey St Clair and I wrote a few years ago in our book Serpents in the Garden, in the spring of 1961, Robeson planned to visit Havana, Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The trip never came off because Robeson fell ill in Moscow, where he had gone to give several lectures and concerts. At the time, it was reported that Robeson had suffered a heart attack. But in fact Robeson had slashed his wrists in a suicide attempt after suffering hallucinations and severe depression. The symptoms came on following a surprise party thrown for him at his Moscow hotel.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Robeson's son, Paul Robeson, Jr., investigated his father's illness for more than 30 years. He believes that his father was slipped a synthetic hallucinogen called BZ by U.S. intelligence operatives at the party in Moscow. The party was hosted by anti-Soviet dissidents funded by the CIA.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Robeson Jr. visited his father in the hospital the day after the suicide attempt. Robeson told his son that he felt extreme paranoia and thought that the walls of the room were moving. He said he had locked himself in his bedroom and was overcome by a powerful sense of emptiness and depression before he tried to take his own life.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Robeson left Moscow for London, where he was admitted to Priory Hospital. There he was turned over to psychiatrists who forced him to endure 54 electro-shock treatments. At the time, electro-shock, in combination with psycho-active drugs, was a favored technique of CIA behavior modification. It turned out that the doctors treating Robeson in London and, later, in New York were CIA contractors. The timing of Robeson's trip to Cuba was certainly a crucial factor. Three weeks after the Moscow party, the CIA launched its disastrous invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. It's impossible to underestimate Robeson's threat, as he was perceived by the U.S. government as the most famous black radical in the world. Through the 1950s Robeson commanded worldwide attention and esteem. He was the Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali of his time. He spoke more than twenty languages, including Russian, Chinese, and several African languages. Robeson was also on close terms with Nehru, Jomo Kenyatta, and other Third World leaders. His embrace of Castro in Havana would have seriously undermined U.S. efforts to overthrow the new Cuban government.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Another pressing concern for the U.S. government at the time was Robeson's announced intentions to return to the United States and assume a leading role in the emerging civil rights movement. Like the family of Martin Luther King, Robeson had been under official surveillance for decades. As early as 1935, British intelligence had been looking at Robeson's activities. In 1943, the Office of Strategic Services, World War II predecessor to the CIA, opened a file on him. In 1947, Robeson was nearly killed in a car crash. It later turned out that the left wheel of the car had been monkey-wrenched. In the 1950s, Robeson was targeted by Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist hearings. The campaign effectively sabotaged his acting and singing career in the states.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Robeson never recovered from the drugging and the follow-up treatments from CIA-linked doctors and shrinks. He died in 1977.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Footnote: an earlier version of the first item appeared in the print edition of The Nation that went to press last Wednesday
[/SIZE]

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=18604
Quote:As Jeffrey St Clair and I wrote a few years ago in our book Serpents in the Garden, in the spring of 1961, Robeson planned to visit Havana, Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The trip never came off because Robeson fell ill in Moscow, where he had gone to give several lectures and concerts. At the time, it was reported that Robeson had suffered a heart attack. But in fact Robeson had slashed his wrists in a suicide attempt after suffering hallucinations and severe depression. The symptoms came on following a surprise party thrown for him at his Moscow hotel.
Robeson's son, Paul Robeson, Jr., investigated his father's illness for more than 30 years. He believes that his father was slipped a synthetic hallucinogen called BZ by U.S. intelligence operatives at the party in Moscow. The party was hosted by anti-Soviet dissidents funded by the CIA.
Robeson Jr. visited his father in the hospital the day after the suicide attempt. Robeson told his son that he felt extreme paranoia and thought that the walls of the room were moving. He said he had locked himself in his bedroom and was overcome by a powerful sense of emptiness and depression before he tried to take his own life.
Robeson left Moscow for London, where he was admitted to Priory Hospital. There he was turned over to psychiatrists who forced him to endure 54 electro-shock treatments. At the time, electro-shock, in combination with psycho-active drugs, was a favored technique of CIA behavior modification. It turned out that the doctors treating Robeson in London and, later, in New York were CIA contractors. The timing of Robeson's trip to Cuba was certainly a crucial factor. Three weeks after the Moscow party, the CIA launched its disastrous invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. It's impossible to underestimate Robeson's threat, as he was perceived by the U.S. government as the most famous black radical in the world. Through the 1950s Robeson commanded worldwide attention and esteem. He was the Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali of his time. He spoke more than twenty languages, including Russian, Chinese, and several African languages. Robeson was also on close terms with Nehru, Jomo Kenyatta, and other Third World leaders. His embrace of Castro in Havana would have seriously undermined U.S. efforts to overthrow the new Cuban government.
Another pressing concern for the U.S. government at the time was Robeson's announced intentions to return to the United States and assume a leading role in the emerging civil rights movement. Like the family of Martin Luther King, Robeson had been under official surveillance for decades. As early as 1935, British intelligence had been looking at Robeson's activities. In 1943, the Office of Strategic Services, World War II predecessor to the CIA, opened a file on him. In 1947, Robeson was nearly killed in a car crash. It later turned out that the left wheel of the car had been monkey-wrenched. In the 1950s, Robeson was targeted by Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist hearings. The campaign effectively sabotaged his acting and singing career in the states.
Robeson never recovered from the drugging and the follow-up treatments from CIA-linked doctors and shrinks. He died in 1977.

In this instance, BZ may have been the drug used, as its primary functions - to incapacitate and disorient - would have been incredibly unsettling to a bright, articulate, man who did not know he had been drugged.

It appears that Robeson then received a full course of Cameronian shock therapy, in The Priory no less. A very interesting detail for British readers of this thread.

:eviltongue: