In an story published in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1977, Carl Bernstein reveals that over 400 American journalists had secretly carried out CIA assignments for over two decades. Here are some excerpts:
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.
“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 a patriotic viewpoint, having journalists work for the CIA in foreign countries is perfectly reasonable. But why the cover up by the Senate Intelligence Committee? Could it be that the CIA also influences “journalism” in the broadcast and newspaper media to this day? Could it be that it is not limited to foreign countries?
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.
It wasn’t just individuals – mainstream media of the highest order willingly participated.
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.
At what point in our history did the CIA stop using “journalists”? Don’t kid yourself . . . next time you watch the nightly news shows on MSNBC, CNN, or FOX . . . consider the probability that the talking head represents something other than honest journalism. Especially those who broadcast live during hurricanes.
Click here for the entire Rolling Stone CIA and the Media story, republished on Carl Bernstein’s website.