Monday, February 02, 2004


Reader chuco wrote in about this little article [from the New York Times]. Nexis didn't have the entire original, but an abbreviated abstract.

Sen Select Com on Apr 26 discloses that CIA plans to continue to employ as agents more than 25 journalists or other reprs of Amer news orgns. Says those persons are not covered by public pledge made in Feb by CIA Dir George Bush that agency would stop hiring correspondents 'accredited' by Amer publications and other news orgns. Com staff member repts that many of individuals were in exec positions at Amer news orgns. Panel recommends enactment of law precluding agency's 'operational use' of any person regularly involved in writing, editing or setting policy for US news orgns. Says it is concerned that use of Amer journalists and media orgns for clandestine operations is threat to press integrity. Rept cites instances in which efforts of CIA agents acting abroad as journalists were printed in domestic publications. Says it is aware other countries made use of 'internatl media' for propaganda and that US public is not insulated from such efforts. Cites examples of work by journalist agents including: book about China written covertly by agent which was revd in NY Times by another agent. Agency paid $170,000 a yr for publication of magazine in S Vietnam in '74 and '75. 2 news services maintained by CIA in Eur were subscribed to by major Amer newspapers. Penkovsky Papers, book purported to be based on repts of executed Soviet spy, was actually written by CIA agents. Employment of news orgns and publishing houses by CIA appears to have been reduced in recent yrs. Com described catagories of journalists who have worked as agents: staff members of gen circulation Amer news orgns. Com said it had found only 2 individuals in this category and that their relationship with agency was being ended under Bush's Feb directive. Staff members of limited-circulation Amer publications. Com reptd that it had found fewer than 10 persons now in this category. Freelance writers, part-time stringers for newspapers, magazines and news agencies, propaganda writers and employes of Amer publishing houses. Com says this is largest category. Journalists with whom CIA makes occasional, informal contact during which information is exchd or verified (M).

...anyway, this isn't news to most of us but I'm curious how many "operatives" of one kind or another are working in our media.