The article talks of how the Institute for Historical Review’s appraisal notes how the CIA uses “clandestine propaganda and disinformation programs, to “keep you, the American public from knowing what is going on.” The notion that the CIA has long been involved in propaganda to shape what remains known and unknown in the public sphere has re-emerged once again, with news of a declassified CIA memo surfacing.
The memo was sent on September 17, 1965. It was sent to the Deputy Director via the Executive Director-Controller and had the subject line ‘Ray Clines Efforts with Certain of the Press to Improve Public Confidence in Agency.” The memo reveals a network of journalists who received regular intelligence from a senior CIA analyst named Ray Cline.
At the time, Cline was also Deputy Director of the Directorate of Intelligence.
The memo begins by stating how “rising clamor impairing public confidence in the Agency as an institution and in the competence of some of its personnel it may be that there is a need to explore new approaches to methods of restoring diminishing faith in the Agency’s competence.”
According to a report on Glomar Disclosure, a number of the journalists were former CIA officers which were involved with the dissemination of information and propaganda as well as other CIA operations (2).
The report gives the example of one journalist called Joseph Alsop. In the memo, it suggests that Alsop may have had a similar relationship with Cline. In 1953, Alsop agreed to cover the elections in the Philippines for the CIA and went to the Philippines as a journalist who was actually gathering important information for the CIA.
Cline states that he had met up with Alsop on the journalist’s request in order to “discuss international events of interest to him for the purpose of writing his columns, giving him guidance as to my thinking on these subjects whenever it was possible.”
Glomar Disclosure continues that such meetings had been requested by the Director of the CIA. Cline’s report also states that Alsop provided him with information related to Viet Cong strength.
The 1965 CIA memo also praises the media’s penchant for manipulating the public’s perception of the CIA. In order to improve public perception of the agency, Ray Cline would give the network of journalists’ extensive briefings based on briefings given to the National Security Council by the CIA’s director. One briefing was given to Joseph Alsop’s brother, Stewart Alsop, the former officer of the CIA’s Office of Strategic Services.
Relationships with Journalists
According to the Glomar Disclosure report, the memo repeatedly highlighted how the information provided to the media was either not sensitive, unclassified or just “general analysis.” It notes how even a brief description of such information had been redacted due to the fact it would have revealed:
“The identity of a confidential human source, a human intelligence source, a relationship with an intelligence or security service of a foreign government or international organisation, or a non-human intelligence source.”
As Glomar Disclosure writes, this is a “classic example” of the CIA improperly attempting to withhold information by using a broad exemption.
The CIA has long been linked to having relationships with the media designed for propaganda and manipulation purposes. One of the most infamous cases of the CIA’s links with the press was revealed by Carl Bernstein, one of two journalists who covered the Watergate Scandal. Bernstein revealed more than 400 US reporters who had “secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” As Global Research writes in an article titled ‘Truth, Propaganda and Media Manipulation’:
Interestingly, the use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence-gathering employed by the CIA” (3).
What are your thoughts on the CIA having relationships with journalists and the media to shape public perception and manipulate the dissemination of information? We would love to hear our readers’ thoughts on such controversial topics.
References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: What Is Propaganda CIA and Hollywood Are Offering Perfect Examples
(2) Glomar Disclosure
(3) Global Research