CIA influence on public opinion
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At various times, under its own authority or in accordance with directives from the President of the United States or the National Security Council staff, the Central Intelligence Agency has attempted to influence domestic and international public opinion, and sometimes law enforcement. This article does not address, other than incidental to influencing opinion or actions reasonably associated with CIA security, possibly illegal domestic surveillance.
This is an area with many shades of gray. There is little argument, for example, that the CIA acted inappropriately in providing technical support to White House operatives conducting both political and security investigations, with no legal authority to do so. While there is an established history of assigning responsibilities for international psychological operations to various organizations, depending if the operation is overt or clandestine, there are also questions of the wisdom of a particular operation.
Things become much more ambiguous when law enforcement may expose a clandestine operation, a problem not unique to intelligence but also seen among different law enforcement organizations, where one wants to prosecute and another to continue investigations, perhaps reaching higher levels in a conspiracy.
Not all inappropriate activities were initiated or conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, but by other members of the United States Intelligence Community. In particular, the Federal Bureau of Investigation took a very broad view of its mandate to collect information to protect the state from domestic subversion. In other cases, the National Security Agency intercepted electronic communications without the warrants deemed necessary at the time.
It has been suggested that a number of things assigned to the CIA really did not need to be clandestine, and having an overt organization support initiatives desired by the U.S. government has much less political risk. The United States Information Agency (USIA) has always been an overt white propaganda organization. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, as distinct from the Voice of America (VOA), had been clandestinely funded through the CIA, but, with the VOA, now all come under the authority of a quasi-public corporation, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). BBG was part of USIA until 1999.
Another overt organization, the National Endowment for Democracy, was created in 1983. William Blum, an author and critic of the CIA and U.S. foreign policy, suggests it was set up to legally continue the CIA's prohibited activities of support to selected political parties abroad. See additional discussion under USA 1983.
- 1 History: pre-CIA and CIA
- 2 Authority for Psychological Operations
- 3 Use of mass media
- 4 Publication review and controversies
- 5 Assistance to entertainment
- 6 Chronology of long-term operations to influence opinion
- 6.1 USA 1950
- 6.2 USA 1951
- 6.3 USA 1951
- 6.4 USA 1952
- 6.5 USA 1953
- 6.6 USA 1959
- 6.7 USA 1967
- 6.8 USA 1968
- 6.9 USA 1974
- 6.10 USA 1975
- 6.11 USA 1976
- 6.12 USA 1977
- 6.13 USA 1978
- 6.14 USA 1983
- 6.15 USA 1992
- 6.16 USA 1994
- 6.17 USA 1997
- 6.18 Warren Commission
- 6.19 USA 2002
- 6.20 USA 2003
- 7 References
History: pre-CIA and CIA
In 1946, United States president Harry S. Truman ordered that the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), which was the CIA's immediate precursor, would be prohibited from "police, law enforcement or internal security functions." General Hoyt Vandenberg testified in 1947 that this restriction was intended to "draw the lines very sharply between the CIG and the FBI" and to "assure that the Central Intelligence Group can never become a Gestapo or security police." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal testified that the CIA would be "limited definitely to purposes outside of this country, except the collection of information gathered by other government agencies." The FBI would be relied upon "for domestic activities." The CIA did however receive information from the activities of other agencies, and did not necessarily notify internal or external oversight of activities beyond its mandate.
|“||Pursuant to the provisions of Section 102(d) of the National Security Act of 1947, the National Security Council hereby authorizes and directs that:
In the House floor debate, congressman Chester E. Holifield stressed that the work of the CIA:
|“||is strictly in the field of secret foreign intelligence – what is known as clandestine intelligence. They have no right in the domestic field to collect information of a clandestine military nature. They can evaluate it; yes.||”|
Consequently, the National Security Act of 1947 provided specifically that the CIA "shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal security functions." However, the 1947 Act also contained a vague and undefined duty to protect intelligence "sources and methods" which later was used to justify domestic activities ranging from electronic surveillance and break-ins to penetration of protest groups.
CIA, however, was under no restriction in sponsoring organizations outside the US. In 1967 it was revealed that the Congress of Cultural Freedom, founded in 1950, had been sponsored by the CIA. It published literary and political journals such as Encounter (as well as Der Monat in Germany and Preuves in France), and hosted dozens of conferences bringing together some of the most eminent Western thinkers; it also gave some assistance to intellectuals behind the Iron Curtain. The CIA states that, "Somehow this organization of scholars and artists — egotistical, free-thinking, and even anti-American in their politics — managed to reach out from its Paris headquarters to demonstrate that Communism, despite its blandishments, was a deadly foe of art and thought".
Authority for Psychological Operations
Since psychological operations can involve many variants of truth, it is useful to know the formal definitions used in the Intelligence Community. These definitions come from the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB), which, in 1954, was the White House organization that approved or disapproved covert and clandestine activities. Policy-level control has always been under the Department of State.
White is acknowledged as an official statement or act of the U.S. Government, or emanates from a source associated closely enough with the U.S. Government to reflect an official viewpoint. The information is true and factual. It also includes all output identified as coming from U.S. official sources.
Authorized to engage in white activity directed at foreign audiences are: The State Department, USIA, the Foreign Operations Administration (a predecessor of the Agency for International Development), the Defense Department and other U.S. Government departments and agencies as necessary
The source of gray propaganda is deliberately ambiguous.
The true source (U.S. Government) is not revealed to the target audience. The activity engaged in plausibly appears to emanate from a non-official American source, or an indigenous, non-hostile source, or there may be no attribution.
Gray is that information whose content is such that the effect will be increased if the hand of the U.S. Government and in some cases any American participation are not revealed. It is simply a means for the U.S. to present viewpoints which are in the interest of U.S. foreign policy, but which will be acceptable or more acceptable to the intended target audience than will an official government statement.
Responsibility for gray is assigned to the OCB designee, USIA and State. The following criteria will assist in determining the responsibility for the execution of a proposed gray activity. If the answer to any of the three questions below is affirmative, the activity is the sole responsibility of the OCB designee. If government interest is not to be revealed but the answer to all three questions listed below is negative, the activity may fall within the charter of State, USIA or the OCB designee:
a. Would the disclosure of the source occasion serious embarrassment to the U.S. Government or to the agencies responsible for the information activity?
b. Would the activity or the materials disseminated be seriously discredited if it were to become known that the U.S. Government were responsible?
c. Would the outlet be seriously damaged if it were to become known that the activity is subsidized or otherwise assisted by the U.S. Government?
The activity engaged in appears to emanate from a source (government, party, group, organization, person) usually hostile in nature. The interest of the U.S. Government is concealed and the U.S. Government would deny responsibility. The content may be partially or completely fabricated, but that which is fabricated is made to appear credible to the target audience. Black activity is also usually designed to cause embarrassment to the ostensible source or to force the ostensible source to take action against its will.
Black propaganda can be considered clandestine, as the source is unknown.
Responsibility for engaging in black propaganda and other related activities is assigned solely to the designee of the OCB. Likewise it should be kept in mind that activities, either gray or black, conducted into denied areas from their peripheries, other than radio, are the sole responsibility of the OCB designee.
Psychological operations was assigned to the pre-CIA Office of Policy Coordination, with oversight by the Department of State. The overall psychological operations of the United States, overt and covert, were to be under the policy direction of the Department of State during peacetime and the early stages of war:
The Secretary of State shall be responsible for:
(1)The formulation of policies and plans for a national foreign information program in time of peace. This program shall include all foreign information activities conducted by departments and agencies of the U. S. Government.
(2)The formulation of national psychological warfare policy in time of national emergency and the initial stages of war.
(3) The coordination of policies and plans for the national foreign information program and for overt psychological warfare with the Department of Defense, with other appropriate departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, and with related planning...
(4)Plans prepared by this organization for overt psychological
warfare in time of national emergency or the initial stages of war shallprovide for:
a. Coordination of overt psychological warfare with:
b. The employment and expansion, insofar as is feasible, of the activities and facilities which compose the national foreign information program in time of peace, in order to assure rapid transition to operations in time of national emergency or war.
c. Control of the execution of approved plans and policies by:
(1) the Department of Defense in theaters of military operations;(2) the Department of State in areas other than theaters of military operations.
d. Transmittal of approved psychological warfare plans and policies to theater commanders through the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After the OPC was consolidated into the CIA, there has been a psychological operations staff, under various names, in what has variously been named the Deputy Directorate of Plans, the Directorate of Operations, or the National Clandestine Service.
Subsidies of groups not under CIA control
In 1947, the Soviet-dominated Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) was created by Joseph Stalin. The conference, at which it was created, was a response of Eastern European countries to invitations to attend the July 1947 Paris Conference on the Marshall Plan. The Cominform's stated purpose was to coordinate the work of Communist parties, under Soviet direction, so the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin called the conference in response to divergences among the eastern European governments on whether or not to attend the Paris Conference on Marshall Aid in July 1947.
The initial seat of the Cominform was located in Belgrade (then the capital of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). After the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the group in June 1948, the seat was moved to Bucharest, Romania. The expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Cominform for Titoism initiated the Informbiro period in that nation's history.
The intended purpose of the Cominform was to coordinate actions between Communist parties, and a scores of Communist-controlled professional, artistic and intellectual groups under Soviet direction. The Kremlin had set up the Cominform in the early years of the cold war to coordinate the activities of the Cominform acted as a tool of Soviet foreign policy and Stalinism.
In response, CIA psychological operators decided that the Cominform-controlled groups could best be countered by Western groups not only of intensely anti-Communist right-wing groups, but groups across the ideological spectrum. Many of them were unaware of CIA subsidy, or only a few leaders knew of the subsidy, and were not expected to follow orders. Wilford cited, as examples, the small magazines Partisan Review and The New Leader, received C.I.A. funds in one way or another, owed nothing to the agency, either in their founding or in their operations, and were not "front" organizations. Other groups formed by the CIA, however, were true fronts, although some of the individuals being sponsored were unaware of the source of funds.
Use of mass media
The Central Intelligence Agency has made use of mass media assets, both foreign and domestic, for its covert operations. It was first reported on in the late 1960s, when it became known that the Congress for Cultural Freedom was largely funded by the CIA. In 1973, the Washington Star-News reported that CIA had enlisted more than thirty Americans working abroad as journalists, citing an internal CIA inquiry ordered by CIA director William E. Colby. The Church Committee was the first congressional committee established in the 1970s to look specifically into the CIA's past activities. Some classified information in the (unpublished) report of the Pike Committee was leaked to The Village Voice, which showed more details on the CIA's media manipulation. The Committee mentioned that the:
|“||CIA, as no doubt every other major intelligence agency in the world, has manipulated the media. Full-time foreign correspondents for major U.S. publications have worked concurrently for CIA, passing along information received in the normal course of their regular jobs and even, on occasion, travelling to otherwise non-newsworthy areas to acquire data. Far more prevalent is the Agency's practice of retaining free-lancers and "stringers" as informants...CIA acknowledges that "stringers" and others with whom the Agency has a relationship are often directed to insert Agency-composed "news" articles into foreign publications and wire services. U.S. intelligence officials do not rule out the possibility that these planted stories may find their way into American newspapers from time to time, but insist that CIA does not intentionally propagandize in this country."||”|
Publication review and controversies
CIA employees and contractors do sign an agreement to submit their works for pre-publication review. In some cases, there was no major problem, but other security review took litigation to resolve. It has been argued that some of the deletions requested by CIA were more to cover embarrassments than actual sources and methods, but various disclosures or subsequent declassifications, in other cases, might have been judgment calls, but the proposed deletion made some sense.
Such review, of course, does not apply to books written by people who have left the country and declared enmity against the Agency, such as Philip Agee and the book Inside the Company. Sam Adams' book War of Numbers was published posthumously, based on notes he had hidden while a Vietnam analyst.
Assistance to entertainment
In the mid-1990s, the CIA named Chase Brandon, an operations officer who was assigned to South America, as liaison to Hollywood. Brandon's film credits include The Recruit, The Sum of All Fears, Enemy of the State, Bad Company and In the Company of Spies. He has consulted for television programs including The Agency, Alias and JAG. He has appeared on Discovery, Learning Channel, History Channel, PBS, A&E, and has been interviewed on E! Entertainment, Access Hollywood, and Entertainment Tonight.
The Guardian journalist John Patterson criticizes the CIA assistance as being only to complimentary productions, including not running material, such as "the original pilot episode of The Agency, which was pulled. It featured the spymasters preventing a plot by a Bin Laden-backed terrorist cell to blow up a fictionalized Harrods. The airing of such an episode might have pointed up the real CIA's corresponding lack of success in foiling the World Trade Center attacks."
According to Brandon, the agency would not endorse Spy Game, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The final rewrite "showed our senior management in an insensitive light and we just wouldn't want to be a part of that kind of project", said Brandon, who also withheld approval from 24, a Fox series about a fictional intelligence agency, CTU, that also suggests all is not hunky-dory in the company's upper echelons. And The Bourne Identity, based on the 1984 novel by Robert Ludlum, was "so awful that I tossed it in the burn bag after page 25".
Patterson observed "It used to be the case that if a movie explicitly condemned CIA actions - such as Under Fire - the studios could be counted on to bury it. That was no longer true after Costa-Gavras's Missing won Jack Lemmon an Oscar in 1982, and Iran-Contra slimed the CIA in the late 1980s. Since then, "CIA renegade" has become a dependable staple not just of big-budget movies like Enemy of the State, but also of a million straight-to-cable action-schlockfests starring Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal."
In 2012, Tricia Jenkins released a book, The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television, which further documents the CIA's efforts at manipulating its public image through entertainment media from the 1990s to the present. The book explains that the CIA has used motion pictures to boost recruitment, mitigate public affairs disasters (like Aldrich Ames), bolster its own image, and even intimidate terrorists through disinformation campaigns. That same year CIA was portrayed by Aidan Gillen in the third installment of the Christopher Nolan's Batman film series.
Chronology of long-term operations to influence opinion
Philip Agee suggested that funding from the CIA to the National Student Association, which had been formed in 1947, may have begun in 1950. Tom Braden, head of the CIA International Organizations Division, is not clear, in an article, whether it was 1950 or 1951, but it clearly began in the 1950s and continued until 1967. Braden said that the Division was established in 1950, when Director of Central Intelligence Allen W. Dulles overruled Frank Wisner, who headed the quasi-autonomous Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). Until 1952, OPC was the covert action branch of the U.S. government, loosely part of CIA but also with direct access and appeal to the Secretaries of Defense and State.
Agee cites a New York Times interview with Frederic Delano Houghteling, then NSA secretary, as saying that the CIA gave him several thousand dollars to pay traveling expenses for a delegation of 12 representatives to a European international student conference.
Under Frank Wisner and the Office of Policy Coordination, Operation Mockingbird was set up to put anticommunist messages into US news media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, to run the news aspects of the operation. Columbia Broadcasting System began co-operating with the CIA. "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." 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.”
Forerunner of Domestic Contact Service/OSINT
This function, run by the Domestic Contact Service (also called the Domestic Contact Division) of the CIA, was legal, as it did not violate the CIA prohibitions of police power or spying on Americans. It was a voluntary debriefing of Americans with useful information. It is now considered part of Open Source Intelligence OSINT.
Subsidies to international organizations
As Tom Braden, who headed the agency's International Organization Division between 1951 and 1954, wrote in 1967, when the subsidies were disclosed,
Agee wrote that the CIA, in 1952, funded then NSA president William Dentzer, who later went on to become [ United States Agency for International Development ] (AID) director in Peru. The New York Times also identified Cord Meyer, Jr. as having headed the NSA operation.
NSA leaders knew of the CIA sponsorship, although members, including those representing the organization internationally, may have had no more direction than persuasion from the leadership. The former were members, not employees, and could not be directed with threats of expulsion. In addition to representation as a form of psychological operation, some of the leadership, according to Agee, provided intelligence reports to CIA.
Another organization set up on 26 June 1950, as the cultural arm of the International Organizations Division, was the Congress for Cultural Freedom. According to libcom.org, which describes itself as "libertarian communist," it was intended to be anti-communist without necessarily pro-Western or pro-American. The Congress intended to
build up the reputation of artists in the West whose work could in some way be viewed as supportive or at least uncritical of American foreign policy and free trade, and to show Western Europe as somewhere where the arts were both supported and allowed to flourish uninhibited by the ruling elite. Due to its secrecy (any detection of state intervention in the Arts on this scale would have made a mockery of the idea that the West allowed more cultural freedom than the Soviets), it managed to fund artistic activity which would never have received US State Department funding – the abstract impressionists, serialist composers, and many other “progressive” artists loosely aligned to the Non-Communist Left (NCL). “The CIA estimated the NCL as a reliably anti-Communist force which in action would be, if not pro-Western and pro-American, at any rate not anti-Western and anti-American.”
Yet more complex is the clandestine support of perfectly legal organizations and individuals, especially with no interference with their expression, when it is believed that their beliefs, perhaps expressed in other places in the world, advance American policies. In 1967, a number of clandestine subsidies to associations and journals became public. Given the CIA's prohibition from domestic activities, support of US groups with worldwide presence, such as the National Student Association, were especially problematic. The exposure, by Ramparts magazine, of CIA subsidies to the National Association, according to Time, led to the term "orphans", referring to nearly 100 private agencies that had been getting CIA money, and were affected by a Presidential order that support must end by the end of 1967. Time succinctly summarized the issue with "the question is whether, in a free society, it is right, wise—or necessary—for supposedly independent organizations to receive secret subsidies."
Whatever the merits or demerits of the CIA's methods, most of these groups served the U.S. well in its contest for the faith and understanding of the world's workers and thinkers, students and teachers, refugees from yesterday and leaders of tomorrow. This led to the appointment of a presidential commission, headed by Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach, to figure out how the gap left by the CIA should be filled. ... a politically ambitious former California newspaper publisher who served with the CIA between 1950 and 1954, added further details. In an article in the Saturday Evening Post, Braden indignantly defended the CIA against charges that it had been "immoral" by recording some of the extremely useful things it accomplished early in the cold war.
According to Agee, in 1951, the National Student Association opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee.
The Robertson Panel was a committee commissioned by CIA in 1952 in response to widespread Unidentified Flying Object reports, especially in the Washington, D.C. area. The panel was briefed on U.S. military activities and intelligence; hence the report was originally classified Secret. Later declassified, the Robertson Panel's report concluded that UFOs were not a direct threat to national security, but could pose an indirect threat by overwhelming standard military communications due to public interest in the subject. Most UFO reports, they concluded, could be explained as misidentification of mundane aerial objects, and the remaining minority could, in all likelihood, be similarly explained with further study.
The Robertson Panel concluded that a public relations campaign should be undertaken in order to "debunk" UFOs, and reduce public interest in the subject, and that civilian UFO groups should be monitored. See the more recent article Arthur C. Lundahl#Unidentified Flying Objects, which addresses discussions in 1967.
By 1953, according to Braden, the US subsidy program was operating in earnest.
By 1953 we were operating or influencing international organizations in every field where Communist fronts had previously seized ground, and in some where they had not even begun to operate. The money we spent was very little by Soviet standards. But that was reflected in the first rule of our operational plan: "Limit the money to amounts private organizations can credibly spend." The other rules were equally obvious: "Use legitimate, existing organizations; disguise the extent of American interest: protect the integrity of the organization by not requiring it to support every aspect of official American policy."
A front organization organized in 1959 was the Independent Service for Information, set up at Harvard specifically for the purpose of getting some young anti-Communist Americans to attend a huge youth festival being organized by the Communists in Vienna. Among those sponsored were Gloria Steinem who had just spent a year and half in India, where she befriended Indira Gandhi and the widow of the “revolutionary humanist” M. N. Roy, and had met a researcher who seems to have been a C.I.A. agent or contact. Steinem was hired to run the I.S.I. and to recruit knowledgeable young Americans who could debate effectively with the Communist organizers of the festival, defending the United States against Communist criticism of segregation and other American failings.
In February 1967, Ramparts magazine reported that the CIA had been funding the National Student Association through a series of foundation cutouts. Resulting journalistic and other investigations led to the cessation of most CIA subsidies.
After reading of the disclosures, Tom Braden wrote about looking at "a creased and faded yellow paper. It bears the following inscription in pencil:
"Received from Warren G. Haskins, $15,000. (signed) Norris A. Grambo." For I was Warren G. Haskins. Norris A. Grambo was Irving Brown, of the American Federation of Labor. The $15,000 was from the vaults of the CIA, and the piece of yellow paper is the last memento I possess of a vast and secret operation whose death has been brought about by small-minded and resentful men."
It was my idea to give the $15,000 to Irving Brown. He needed it to pay off his strong-arm squads in Mediterranean ports, so that American supplies could be unloaded against the opposition of Communist dock workers. It was also my idea to give cash, along with advice, to other labor leaders, to students, professors and others who could help the United States in its battle with Communist fronts.
Relationships with organized labor are not surprising, given the World War II activity of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Labor Branch under Arthur Goldberg. European labor groups often provided OSS with volunteers to penetrate occupied Europe, and, with greatest danger, into Nazi Germany. " [Arthur] Goldberg, head of the Labor Division of the OSS clandestine intelligence unit, later appointed to the US Supreme Court by President John F. Kennedy—was known at the time for his defense of the Chicago Newspaper Guild during its 1938 strike against the Hearst Corporation. Joining OSS/London in 1943, Goldberg convinced colleagues and OSS director, Gen. William J. Donovan, of the need to establish contact with underground labor groups in occupied and Axis countries. ... Because such groups were already major forces of internal resistance behind enemy lines, they constituted a ready made source of valuable military and political intelligence."
- Verify date
Philip Agee left CIA employment, taking notes for his book, Inside the Company. In that book, he stated that he left with a good reputation. John Barron reports his resignation was forced "for a variety of reasons, including his irresponsible drinking, continuous and vulgar propositioning of embassy wives, and inability to manage his finances".
A book by former CIA employee Victor Marchetti, with John Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, went into litigation over security review. At the appellate level, the judgment was affirmed in part, vacated in part and "remanded for such further proceedings as may be necessary in accordance with this opinion."
Phillip Agee's book, Inside the Company, was published without CIA approval. Agee, an avowed CIA opponent who moved to Cuba, disclosed a large number of the names and cryptonyms of personnel and operations. In 1991, Agee told Swiss journalist Peter Studer that “The CIA is plainly on the wrong side, that is, the capitalistic side. I approve KGB activities, communist activities in general. Between the overdone activities that the CIA initiates and the more modest activities of the KGB, there is absolutely no comparison.”
"After Colby left the Agency on January 28, 1976, and was succeeded by George H.W. Bush, the CIA announced a new policy: “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contractual 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” At the time of the announcement, the Agency acknowledged that the policy would result in termination of less than half of the relationships with the 50 U.S. journalists it said were still affiliated with the Agency. The text of the announcement noted that the CIA would continue to “welcome” the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists. Thus, many relationships were permitted to remain intact."
In 1978, Philip Agee and a group of associates founded the Covert Action Information Bulletin, which promoted "a worldwide campaign to destabilize the CIA through exposure of its operations and personnel."
The National Endowment for Democracy was established as an overt quasi-public corporation, primarily funded by the U.S. government. In his doctoral dissertation, Hale cites a widespread opinion that NED provides, overtly, political assistance previously provided clandestinely by the CIA. "This has led most observers – including many NED supporters – to conclude that NED is attempting to do overtly what was done covertly by the CIA in the past....NED has been careful to avoid any links with the CIA." NED's own history cites the problems created by CIA clandestine approaches to affecting opinion related to U.S. goals: "When it was revealed in the late 1960s that some American PVO's were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of "a public-private mechanism" to fund overseas activities openly." It contains four institutes, which, in some cases, parallel groups, such as the International Organizations Division, that had been in the CIA Directorate of Plans, the predecessor to the National Clandestine Service:
- Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), which represents the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), representing the Democratic Party,
- National Republican Institute for International Affairs (later renamed the International Republican Institute or "IRI"), representing the Republican Party,
- American Center for International Labor Solidarity, also known as the "Solidarity Center," and formerly the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI), which represents the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
The NED recognizes the somewhat controversial inclusion of institutes for the main American political parties as "Even some who favored the Endowment's program questioned why—contrary to American political tradition—organizations affiliated with America's two political parties should receive federal funding... As for their being favored over other entities, these four Institutes represent large public American institutions with substantial nationwide constituencies. This sets them apart from NGOs that work in the areas of democracy and human rights."
CIA provided assistance in making the film version of Patriot Games, by Tom Clancy. This movie varied substantially from the book, although not as far as other films based on Clancy novels.
CIA analyst Sam Adams' book, War of Numbers, is published posthumously. Adams had resigned from the Agency in protest over the inaccuracy of CIA estimates (i.e., order of battle) about the size of the opposing forces in the Vietnam War. He argued, up to the DCI level, that the figures were being manipulated to satisfy the White House and Department of Defense.
Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey, counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, states that the CIA withheld information from the Warren Commission and frustrated the efforts of the Congressional Committee he represented.
According to a 1997 New York Times article, the CIA conducted a covert propaganda campaign to squelch criticism of the Warren Report. The CIA urged its field stations to use their "propaganda assets" to attack those who didn't agree with the Warren Report. In a dispatch from CIA headquarters, the Agency instructed its stations around the world to:
- counteract the "new wave of books and articles criticizing the [Warren] Commission's findings...[and] conspiracy theories ...[that] have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization";
- "discuss the publicity problem with liaison and friendly elite contacts, especially politicians and editors;" and
- "employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. ... Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. ... The aim of this dispatch is to provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists..."
Another movie, The Recruit, received CIA assistance. Director Roger Donaldson said " When the Agency commits to providing their support to a project, that can include letting a photographer shoot stills to help in designing sets, or, in certain instances, having the actors spend time in the building. By visiting Langley, the director says, he came to “understand how the space worked and looked. I needed a real sense of how a new person would feel when they saw the place for the first time."
- Saunders, Frances Stonor (1999), The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, New Press, ISBN 1-56584-664-8
- Blum, William (2003), Killing Hope, Common Courage Press, ISBN 1-56751-252-6, "(revised edition)"
- Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, United States Senate ("Church Committee") (April 26, 1976), Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans. Book II
- Espionage and Counterespionage Operations, December 12, 1947, National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 5 (NSCID 5)
- Warner, Michael, Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-50, pp. 1995 Edition – Volume 38, Number 5, retrieved 2007-04-15
- Paper Prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board: Principles to Assure Coordination of Gray Activities (PDF), Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950-1955: The Intelligence Community, United States Department of State, May 14, 1954, FRUS document 181
- The Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare Planning (PDF), Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950-1955: The Intelligence Community, United States Department of State, March 9, 1950, NSC 59/1; FRUS document 2
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