Thursday, November 11, 2010

The CIA and the Media

Time for something a little different. This piece written by Carl Bernstein and published in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1977, takes a look at the relationship between the CIA and the mainstream media. Though, I do wonder if this piece is a little self-serving, it is still worth a read.
It is lengthy, 2500 words. So obviously I will be excerpting it.

How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up

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.

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.

(I find the claim of a reduction since 1973 questionable. Do we just take the author's word on that? How can that be substantiated?)

■ 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.

(Imagine at this time, the mainstream media being controlled by fewer corporations, how much easier it is to have access to and cooperation from fewer media outlets?)

-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 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 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.

Regarding the Church committee cover up?

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 multivolume report contains nine pages in which the use of journalists is discussed in deliberately vague and sometimes misleading terms.

Where did it begin?

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.

In this paragraph Bernstein indicates the cooperation between the CIA and the media began before the CIA was officially formed, harkening back to the OSS (the CIA's predecessor)

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.

There is way, way more to this article then what I have posted. It is simply to lengthy to post.
Therefore, I encourage you to click the link and read it all!


  1. Very timely post Penny, the criminal subversion that Carl Bernstein revealed was known and revealed as Operation Mockingbird. It was the brainchild of Nazi enthusiasts and OSS operatives Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner, who you may recall were the principals involved in Project Paperclip. Project Paperclip, a.k.a. Operation Paperclip, was the military and intelligence importation and assimilation of virulent, high-value Nazis of strategic use to the U.S. government.

    For more information on Operation Mockingbird please go here: Operation Mockingbird

  2. Hi Pen,

    Oh, I wrote a long comment here and the library login just ate it. Groan.

    Long and short. Hollywood, and media, and the news are all the same thing - the creation of a narrative delivered with visuals and sound. It's all the same people and... it's all the same owners. Which is to say Jewish people. And here's Carl Bernstein, a Jew, telling us "It's the CIA!". Yeah thanks Carl, any Jewish people in there amongst it all? "What? Jewish People? I have no idea what you are talking about!" Sure, of course.

    Not forgetting of course that the events depicted in the flick All The President's Men (that gave Bernstein his cred) were all given a big media tick of approval in precisely the same way that the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty a few years earlier, wasn't. If you know what I mean. Which is to say that Bernstein is every bit as spooky as his bullshit mate Woodward (who is such a giveaway!).

    In some ways mockingbird is a red herring. The CIA, Hollywood, the news, the media, all of it, are merely part of a totality with all of them working for international banking. I mean, think about the Liberty. What does the utter absence of the Liberty from every form of media say about Bernstein's talk of a couple hundred people paid to work for the CIA? That it's small potatoes? Sounds fair to me.

  3. Hey HHQ!

    Oh yes, Operation Paperclip. I am quite familiar with that one.
    All the high value nazi's imported into the US, to make use of the skills they had honed under Hitler.

    To the winner, the spoils.
    Thanks for the link to additional information on Operation Mockingbird, I thought about going that route, but, sometimes over lengthy posts can be way to overwhelming.

  4. Hey Nobody!

    You bring up some good points that I will both agree and disagree with.

    I agree with your opinion that Bernstein is every bit as "spooky" as all the persons he cited in his article.
    Which is why I said I found some of what he wrote a bit self-serving.

    The example I cited was after 1973 there was a reduction in the use of CIA operatives in the media.
    An incredibly self-serving statement for Bernstein.

    It certainly helps to lend credibility to himself as someone on the outside (not CIA affiliated)
    which is questionable.

    The Watergate story reeks of connections IMO.

    Also look at the use of the media in the lead up to the attack on Iraq?
    For one, Judith Miller!

    Judith Miller was obviously connected to the intelligence apparatus. "reporting" for the New York Times, she was doing nothing but leaking the intelligence that was advantageous to the war cause.
    Shouldn't she have been doing some serious questioning?
    I would think so.

    As to the influence of the zionists....
    This is where I disagree a bit with you.
    The zionists were not so influential in the media or government that far back. Not like they are now. At least in my opinion.

    If they were that influential you can bet your bottom dollar the zionists would have made sure the high value nazi's would have made their way to Israel to seed all their programs, intelligence, space, medical and otherwise.

  5. Part One: “The DRAFT”

    Perhaps the most powerful evidence indicating that select Senior Administration Officials and Senior Military personnel may have had foreknowledge of the plot to assassinate the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is found in the DRAFT of National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) Number 273. There are several smoking guns, but the one that initially stands out as the most obvious is the date of the DRAFT, which was subsequently signed by McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President for National Security. The DRAFT was written and dated November 21st, 1963 less than 24 hours before the assassination. It was ostensibly the result of the meetings that took place the previous day at the Honolulu Conference. The text of the DRAFT of NSAM 273:

    11/21/63 DRAFT TOP SECRET

    The President has reviewed the discussions of South Vietnam which occurred in Honolulu, and has discussed the matter further with Ambassador Lodge. He directs that the following guidance be issued to all concerned:

    1. It remains the central object of the United States in South Vietnam to assist the people and Government of that country to win their contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy. The test of all decisions and U.S. actions in this area should be the effectiveness of their contribution to this purpose.

    The first sentence is indeed quite revelatory of its dubious nature: “The President has reviewed the discussions of South Vietnam which occurred in Honolulu, and has discussed the matter further with Ambassador Lodge.”

    That is false. The majority of those who attended the Honolulu Conference arrived on the 19th and the remainder arrived in the early morning of the 20th. The conference itself took place on the 20th. The DRAFT was written the next day, the 21st. JFK and Jackie left Washington aboard Air Force One for their 2-day, 5-city “whirlwind” Texas trip on the 20th. So, the conference took place all day on the 20th in Hawaii without the President in attendance, since he and the First Lady were en route to Texas from Washington that day. It is therefore quite clear that the President could not have reviewed the discussions conducted in Honolulu in depth, nor could he have spoken with Ambassador Lodge in a meaningful way about the conference by the very next day (the 21st). After all, the attendees were still in Hawaii and JFK was still in Texas on a very tight schedule. The next day he was dead (on the 22nd). So, to which President does this document refer in its first sentence?

  6. the president was Lyndon Johnson?