Columbia University President Lee Bollinger currently sits between RAND Corporation Board of Trustees Chairman Ronald Olson and Coca-Cola Company board member Barry Diller on the Washington Post Company media conglomerate’s board of directors. Yet, as I noted in a June 1, 2007 blog posting:
“The RAND Corporation think-tank was recently given a $210.6 million `cost-reimbursement plus fee-for need contract' by the U.S. Air Force `to provide for RAND Project Air Force,' which produces studies and analyses for the U.S. war machine. Coincidentally, Donald Rumsfeld was a Trustee of the RAND Corporation from 1977-1987, 1988-1998, and 1999-2001, before serving as the Bush Administration’s Secretary of Defense between 2001 and 2006.”
And the Coca-Cola Company is also currently the target of an anti-corporate boycott campaign (http://www.killercoke.org/) because of its apparent involvement in human rights violations in Colombia and elsewhere around the globe.
Washington Post Company Chairman of the Board, Donald Graham, also sits next to Columbia University President Bollinger on the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Pulitzer Prize Board. So don’t expect the Washington Post Company’s weekly news magazine, Newsweek, to put a photograph of any Columbia or Barnard student anti-war activists on its cover in September 2007, like it did once in September 1968.
Following is the first part of an article about the Washington Post Company and Newsweek magazine’s hidden history which originally appeared in the February 17, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper, Downtown:
Newsweek Magazine’s Historical CIA Connection—Part 1
Downtown telephoned Newsweek magazine’s switchboard in February 1993 and asked to speak to a press spokesperson for the magazine. Newsweek’s switchboard receptionist then connected Downtown to the answering machine of a Newsweek media writer named Josh Hammer, and Downtown asked Hammer for an official comment on whether Newsweek has ever acted as a tool of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency since 1948 and whether there’s ever been any CIA connection to Newsweek?
“I’ve got nothing to tell you. It’s a ridiculous question, to begin with. And, second of all, I’m a media writer here and I have no idea why you asked me that question in the first place…But I can tell you it’s a ridiculous question. There’s been no involvement here with the CIA. And I don’t know why you’re suppositioning that,” the Newsweek media writer replied when he returned Downtown’s telephone call.
Yet in his 1983 book, The Imperial Post: The Meyers, The Grahams and The Paper That Rules Washington, Tom Kelly wrote the following:
“Newsweek did have a CIA connection. One CIA agent who worked in Paris…recalls that agents were told quietly that purposeful stories, true or false, could always be planted in the `Periscope’ column.”
Although Newsweek magazine likes to pose as an independent, politically liberal newsweekly, the Central Intelligence Agency connections with Newsweek and its Washington Post newspaper parent company have apparently been extensive since the late 1940s.
Newsweek’s European correrspondent in Paris between 1953 and 1957 was Ben Bradlee. After 1957, Bradlee worked for Newsweek’s Washington Bureau as a reporter, until he was named to be Newsweek’s Washington Bureau Chief in 1961. By 1965, Bradlee was also a Newsweek Senior Editor. Between 1965 and 1991, Bradlee was the managing editor or executive editor of the Washington Post newspaper of Newsweek’s parent company. During the 1990s, Bradlee sat on the board of directors and was a vice-president of the Washington Post Company.
Bradlee has denied any past connections to the CIA. But during the 1980s, former Village Voice writer Deborah Davis came into possession of a set of revealing Justice Department documents. According to the second edition of Davis’s book, Katharine The Great: Katharine Graham and `The Washington Post’, “the documents show” that in the early 1950s, “Mr. Bradlee went to the Rosenberg prosecutors in New York under orders of `the head of the CIA in Paris,’ as he told an assistant prosecutor, and that from their material he composed his `Operations Memorandum’ on the case, which was the basis of all propaganda subsequently sent out to foreign journalists.”
The grandfather of former CIA Director Richard McGarrah Helms—an international financier named Gates White McGarrah—“was a member of the board of directors of the Astor Foundation which owned Newsweek” prior to its sale to the Washington Post Company in 1961, according to Katharine The Great. The same book also revealed that in 1961 Bradlee “is said to have heard from his friend Richard Helms, who heard it from his grandfather that Newsweek would be put up for sale.” Bradlee then obtained a check from the Washington Post Company head at that time, Philip Graham, for $1 million, to give to former CIA Director Helms’s grandfather as a down payment for the purchase of Newsweek.
At the urging of former Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Bradlee in the mid-1960s, the Washington Post published “the Penkovsky papers, a CIA concoction which had been offered through a legitimate publisher as the authentic revelation of a Soviet double agent,” according to The Imperial Post: The Meyers, The Grahams and The Paper That Rules Washington.
A former wife of CIA European Covert Operations Chief Cord Meyer—Mary Pinchot-Meyer—was the sister-in-law of Bradlee between 1956 and Pinchot-Meyer’s mysterious death in 1964.
Katharine The Great also contends that when Bradlee was the Washington Post’s executive editor during the early 1970s, he directed the investigation which pressured President Nixon to resign in 1974 because “the leaders of the intelligence community” wanted “the president of the U.S. to fall.” Katharine The Great also asserted that “there is no doubt that the use of the Washington Post to take down Nixon was both a counter-intelligence operation of the highest order and the dirty trick par excellence.”
During the 1950s—even before it became a subsidiary of the Washington Post Company—Newsweek had “connections to intelligence,” according to Katharine The Great.
The CIA covertly set up Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to broadcast CIA propaganda to Eastern Europe and Russia in 1950. In 1976, the former vice-president for radio and television of Newsweek’s parent company—John Hayes—was named to be the chairman of the Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty board of directors.
During the early 1960s, “a secret CIA task force” was set up “to explore methods of beaming American propaganda broadcasts to China,” according to Katharine The Great. The Newsweek-affiliated John Hayes was “named to this secret CIA task force,” as was former CBS News president Richard Salant, now-Schumann Foundation President Bill Moyers, the ex-husband of Ben Bradlee’s sister-in-law [Cord Meyer], CIA Chief of Station in Ethiopia Paul Henze and former Columbia University Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski ("who had been on the agency payroll for several years”), according to Deborah Davis’ Katharine The Great book.
Prior to adding Newsweek to his company’s stable of media properties in 1961, the Washington Post’s publisher from 1946 to 1963—Philip Graham—worked closely with CIA officials. According to Katharine The Great, in a 1977 Rolling Stone magazine article, Carl Bernstein reported “that Agency officials…thought of Philip Graham as `somebody you could get help from,’ meaning he helped arrange journalistic cover for agents.” Graham was also “one of the architects of a now widespread practice, the use and manipulation of journalists by the CIA;” and “individual relations with intelligence had in fact been the reason that the Post Company had grown as fast as it did after the war” since “Philip Graham’s commitment to intelligence had given his friends Frank Wisner and Allen Dulles an interest in helping to make the Washington Post the dominant news vehicle in Washington, which they had done by assisting with its two most crucial acquisitions, the [Washington] Times-Herald and WTOP-TV radio and television stations,” according to Katharine The Great [WTOP-radio was later sold and WTOP-TV was later exchanged in the 1970s by the Washington Post Company, for other media properties]. (end of part 1)
Next: Columbia University’s Washington Post Company/Newsweek Link and Newsweek Magazine’s Historical CIA Connection—Part 2