American Corporate MSM Is Merged With CIA And Has Been Since The 1950s
American Corporate MSM Is Merged With CIA And Has Been Since The 1950s by Brandon Turbeville
TDC Note – As we have written about Operation Mockingbird here and here, along with a great many other writings, the CIA is a rogue shadow government operating within the federal government of the U.S.
Hat tip to Washington’s Blog for collating much of this information.
With the recent back and forth seemingly taking place between two different factions of the American Deep State and playing out before the entire country, a few alternative media outlets have begun to question whether or not certain mainstream media outlets are actually connected to the Deep State, most notably the CIA. With an unimaginable scale of disinformation being released and promoted throughout mainstream channels on a daily basis, all propagandizing the public to go along with the desired direction of the American establishment, few could assume otherwise. However, such connections between American mainstream outlets and the CIA are more than mere conjecture, they are well known and have been documented for some time.
For instance, back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Operation Mockingbird, a plan known to many researchers today but known to virtually no one at the time it was originally being implemented, was a secret CIA effort to influence and control the American media and, thus, to influence and control the information received (as well as the opinions) of the American people. The first report of the program came in 1979 in the biography of Katharine Graham, the owner of the Washington Post, written by Deborah Davis.
Davis wrote that the program was established by Frank Wisner, the director of the Office of Policy Coordination, a covert operations unit created under the National Security Council. According to Davis, Wisner recruited Philip Graham of the Washington Post to head the project within the media industry. Davis wrote that, “By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.” Davis also writes that Allen Dulles convinced Cord Meyer, who later became Mockingbird’s “principal operative,” to join the CIA in 1951.
But while Davis’ book may have been the first mention of Operation Mockingbird by name, Carl Bernstein addressed the CIA influence over the media in 1977. According to Bernstein’s Rolling Stone article, after 1953, the media control program was overseen by Allen Dulles, the CIA Director. Bernstein says that, at that time, the CIA had influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. Bernstein wrote,
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.
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 general outlines of what happened are indisputable; the specifics are harder to come by. CIA sources hint that a particular journalist was trafficking all over Eastern Europe for the Agency; the journalist says no, he just had lunch with the station chief. CIA sources say flatly that a well‑known ABC correspondent worked for the Agency through 1973; they refuse to identify him. A high‑level CIA official with a prodigious memory says that the New York Times provided cover for about ten CIA operatives between 1950 and 1966; he does not know who they were, or who in the newspaper’s management made the arrangements.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 most instances, 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 “journalistic cover” in Agency parlance) 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.
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. Many signed secrecy agreements, pledging never to divulge anything about their dealings with the Agency; some signed employment contracts., some were assigned case officers and treated with. unusual deference. Others had less structured relationships with the Agency, even though they performed similar tasks: they were briefed by CIA personnel before trips abroad, debriefed afterward, and used as intermediaries with foreign agents. Appropriately, the CIA uses the term “reporting” to describe much of what cooperating journalists did for the Agency. “We would ask them, ‘Will you do us a favor?’” said a senior CIA official. “‘We understand you’re going to be in Yugoslavia. Have they paved all the streets? Where did you see planes? Were there any signs of military presence? How many Soviets did you see? If you happen to meet a Soviet, get his name and spell it right …. Can you set up a meeting for is? Or relay a message?’” Many CIA officials regarded these helpful journalists as operatives; the journalists tended to see themselves as trusted friends of the Agency who performed occasional favors—usually without pay—in the national interest.
. . . . .
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.
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.
American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing to commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against “global Communism.” Accordingly, the traditional line separating the American press corps and government was often indistinguishable: rarely was a news agency used to provide cover for CIA operatives abroad without the knowledge and consent of either its principal owner, publisher or senior editor. Thus, contrary to the notion that the CIA insidiously infiltrated the journalistic community, there is ample evidence that America’s leading publishers and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. “Let’s not pick on some poor reporters, for God’s sake,” William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee’s investigators. “Let’s go to the managements. They were witting.” In all, about twenty‑five news organizations including those listed at the beginning of this article) provided cover for the Agency
In addition to cover capability, Dulles initiated a “debriefing” procedure under which American correspondents returning from abroad routinely emptied their notebooks and offered their impressions to Agency personnel. Such arrangements, continued by Dulles’ successors, to the present day, were made with literally dozens of news organizations. In the 1950s, it was not uncommon for returning reporters to be met at the ship by CIA officers. “There would be these guys from the CIA flashing ID cards and looking like they belonged at the Yale Club,” said Hugh Morrow, a former Saturday Evening Post correspondent who is now press secretary to former vice‑president Nelson Rockefeller. “It got to be so routine that you felt a little miffed if you weren’t asked.”
. . . . .
From the outset, the use of journalists was among the CIA’s most sensitive undertakings, with full knowledge restricted to the Director of Central Intelligence and a few of his chosen deputies. Dulles and his successors were fearful of what would happen if a journalist‑operative’s cover was blown, or if details of the Agency’s dealings with the press otherwise became public. As a result, contacts with the heads of news organizations were normally initiated by Dulles and succeeding Directors of Central Intelligence; by the deputy directors and division chiefs in charge of covert operations—Frank Wisner, Cord Meyer Jr., Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Tracy Barnes, Thomas Karamessines and Richard Helms himself a former UPI correspondent); and, occasionally, by others in the CIA hierarchy known to have an unusually close social relationship with a particular publisher or broadcast executive.1
James Angleton, who was recently removed as the Agency’s head of counterintelligence operations, ran a completely independent group of journalist‑operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments; little is known about this group for the simple reason that Angleton deliberately kept only the vaguest of files.
The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were “taught to make noises like reporters,” explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. “These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told ‘You’re going to he a journalist,’” the CIA official said. Relatively few of the 400‑some relationships described in Agency files followed that pattern, however; most involved persons who were already bona fide journalists when they began undertaking tasks for the Agency.
Forty years later, Bernstein’s article is still a must read for understanding the CIA’s relationship to the corporate media.
Indeed, a declassified memo from 1965 confirms much of what Bernstein wrote about in 1977. This memo was addressed to the Deputy Director of the Directorate of Intelligence, Ray S. Cline, and revealed the names of several high profile journalists who were “receiving intelligence” from Cline. By “intelligence,” however, one can read simply that reporters were receiving their marching orders for publication and print from the CIA. The memo contained the names Joseph C. Hersch, Walter Lippmann, John Scott, Joseph Alsop, Wallace Carroll, Cy Sulzberger, Henry Gemill, Charles Bartlett, Max S. Johnson, Harry Schwartz, Bill Shannon, Jess Cook, Stewart Alsop, William S. White, Chalmers Roberts, Murrey Marder, Charles J.V. Murphy, Russell Wiggins, Alfred Friendly, Ted Szulc, and Kay Graham. The outlets listed include Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, NBC, TIME, Publishers’ Newspaper Syndicate, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Saturday Evening Post, United Features Syndicate, Washington Post, Fortune, and Newsweek.