It seems clear to me that the Central Intelligence Agency has become as corrupt as the rest of the DC government. Some of the latest uncoverings of the CIA come courtesy of a new declassified CIA report unearthed by the FOIA investigative cooperative MuckRock, and indicate that the agency saw that media as the enemy and sought they might launch an offensive strike to manipulate the public perception of the news.
The report contains a series of 1984 internal memos, part of the CIA’s recent CREST release (CIA Records Search Tool) of over 900,000 newly declassified documents.
These were drafted in response to a study on unauthorized leaks and disclosures written by CIA officer Eloise Page.
First, let’s be reminded of the CIA’s involvement in American media going all the way back to 1975.
Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge provides some of the declassified documents and writes:
The CIA Inspector General [IG] was tasked by CIA Director Bill Casey to investigate and review CIA vulnerabilities to media scrutiny. One of Eloise Page’s suggestions involved CIA and agency friendly individuals gaining influence at universities and journalism schools in order to change and shape curriculum. As MuckRock explains:
The IG passed the task onto someone on his staff, who produced a four page SECRET memo for IG James Taylor, who passed it onto Director Casey. The IG specifically endorsed the proposal for a program where the Agency would intervene with journalism schools, which is discussed further below.
Below are among the most significant sections from the 1984 formerly Secret report.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”: Ironically enough these are actual words coming out of the CIA applied not to itself – a secretive spy agency which frequently operates above and outside of the law (Iran-Contra, COINTELPRO, Operation Mockingbird, Church Committee findings… to name a few examples) – but these are words applied to the media. The CIA further likens investigative journalism with enemy foreign espionage: “we can cite precise parallels in methods and results, if not in motivations, between the media’s attempts to penetrate us and our opposition’s attempts to do the same.”
“Maybe it’s time for an offense [against the media]”: The 1980’s was a time when the CIA continued to be on the defensive in the face of startling findings by the 1975-1976 Church Committee. The Congressional committee, chaired by Frank Church, uncovered rank and pervasive lawlessness by the CIA and other government agencies like the FBI and NSA, including foreign assassination plots, illegal wiretaps, widespread domestic spying and post office infiltrations, planting fake media stories, and embedding spies and agency-friendly journalists in American and foreign newsrooms. Many of these programs had been reportedly rolled back or eliminated by the 80’s. The 1984 document perhaps represents a period of CIA internal regrouping or restrategizing for a new offensive in shaping public perceptions.
“Remember that the organization has official contacts with influential people outside… We have periodic sessions with college and university presidents, some of them undoubtedly with schools of journalism.” This is the section Director Casey got excited about, which he called attention to as the brief was circulated among departments. The idea of direct campus influence is aimed at shaping the end media product, and to have some influence very early on in young journalists’ careers, resulting in a “challenge to the practice of publishing indiscriminately” – that is, ensuring CIA consultation prior to news being published. Perhaps the most sinister line in the below passages is “given some curriculum changes, the next generation of reporters might show some elevation of ethics.”
CIA Do’s and Don’ts – “direct CIA sponsporship [of media influence campaigns] would be pilloried”: The CIA prepared a practical guide on how to subtly combat the media while avoiding Congressional oversight, including providing the public with a “sanitized list of examples” of media disclosures the CIA sees as hurting its mission, as well as setting up proxy organizations to shape the media indirectly in order to conceal the CIA’s role. Another section of the full document, which can be accessed here, speaks of a hoped-for chilling effect that prosecution of a prominent journalist might induce: “A single well-publicized, high-level conviction would do a lot.”
We are of course reminded of today’s war on WikiLeaks and whistleblowers. Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently declared WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service”.The CIA is now actively working to destroy the media and whistleblowing organization which has broken endless stories while partnering with news outlets around the world.
CIA to its staff of intelligence officers: Don’t announce a program to curb the media’s excesses… Don’t forget that public confidence in the press is low.
Later CIA documents and historical studies confirm that much of the strategy laid out in these memos were carefully implemented and developed. One example among many can be seen in a 1997 classified internal CIA study called, Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story. The now declassified paper was authored by the agency’s Center for the Study of Intelligence, which is a kind of in house think tank which also works closely with CIA Public Affairs – the official media relations wing.
“Managing a Nightmare” details the steps the CIA went through to crush California journalist Gary Webb’s investigative series exposing CIA-Nicaraguan Contra drug running. The CIA report boasted of “a ground base of already productive relations with journalists” which was leveraged to quell “a genuine public relations crisis.” It also admitted to using proxies and friendly journalists in major news rooms to attack both Gary Webb and his investigative story.
Former CIA agent and author Kevin Shipp told me that he believes the CIA once had high standards and looked after the best interest of the country, but after the Cold War he thinks the agency began to do things to justify its existence. His books are a keen insight into what the CIA used to be.
What the CIA has become is largely a propaganda wing of the Deep State with the former head of the CIA John Brennan basically calling for what amounts to be coup of President Donald Trump if Special Robert Mueller is fired.
Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, a top German journalist, told the world that went on public television stating that he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, also adding that noncompliance with these orders would result in him losing his job.
Inside of a year, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte died of an apparent heart attack at age 56.
Don’t forget the CIA has its own heart attack gun.
There is more than enough evidence to confirm that the CIA has its tentacles in American media and that is not a good thing for freedom of the press nor for the free flow of information.