Saturday, November 3, 2007

U.S. Mass Media Collaboration With The CIA Historically

In his Oct. 20, 1977 Rolling Stone magazine article, “The CIA And The Media,” ( ) Carl Bernstein wrote that “More than 400 American journalists…have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.” Bernstein reported that for at least 25 years U.S. Establishment “journalists provided a full-range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies.” According to Bernstein, “reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA,” “Editors shared their staffs,” and “some of the journalists” who collaborated with the CIA prior to 1977 “were Pulitzer Prize winners.” Bernstein also revealed in his unpublicized 1977 article that:

“Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System [CBS], Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company [ABC], The National Broadcasting Company [NBC], the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald…”

The U.S. Establishment mass media’s policy of collaboration with the CIA proved to be of great use to the CIA in its spying activity, as well as in its public opinion manipulation activities. According to Bernstein, “the use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence-gathering employed by the CIA.” Bernstein also reported in 1977 that:

“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…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…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.”

Bernstein also indicated that “The CIA’s use of the American news media has been much more extensive than Agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed session with members of Congress." And according to the Clearing The Air book by former CBS News Correspondent Daniel Schorr:

“The congressional investigations failed to get to the bottom of the CIA infiltration of the news media…[the now-deceased former CIA Director] Colby said that during 1975, the CIA was using `media cover’ for 11 agents…but no amount of questioning would persuade him to talk about the publishers and network chieftains who had cooperated at the top.”

(Downtown 6/24/92)

Next: The New York Times ' Historical CIA Connection