Intelligence Relations with the Media

Generally, 1970s, 1980s, & 1990s

Although located under the broad CIA category, this file includes material on the relationship between the media and the intelligence community generally.


Topics included here:

1. Generally

2. 1970s

3. 1980s

a. Generally

b. Daniloff Affair

4. 1990s

1. Media Relations Generally

Alsop, Joseph W., with Adam Platt. "I've Seen the Best of It": Memoirs. New York: Norton, 1992.

According to Surveillant 2.4, the author "knew what CIA was up to in many places ... and had close ties to many senior figures in CIA in its early days.... The book's principal weakness lies in the author's too golden view of the Kennedy administration." Alsop includes a section on "CIA relations with press." See also, Yoder, Joe Alsop's Cold War (1995).

Heidenry, John. Theirs was the Kingdom: Lila and Dewitee Wallace and the Story of the Reader's Digest. New York: Norton, 1994.

McGehee, CIABASE, January 1995 Update Report says that this book "portrays the close relationship between the CIA and the Reader's Digest." It "names individuals, publications and books authored as part of the CIA's propaganda."

Mapother, John R. "Espionage versus Journalism." World Intelligence Review 15, no. 2 (Mar./Apr. 1996): 1.

The author notes that journalists are assumed by security agencies to be seeking classified information; and, therefore, are not terribly effective cover for intelligence operations. In any event, the use of journalists by the CIA was rare during the Cold War.


2. 1970s

Atlas World Press Review. Editors. "The CIA and the Press." 25 (Mar. 1978): 22-25. [Petersen]

Barbosa, Roberto. "The CIA and the Press: Foreign Reaction to Disclosures of Media Manipulation." Atlas World Press Review 25 (Mar. 1978): 22-25. [Petersen]

Carvalho, Bernardo A. The CIA and the Press. Freedom of Information Report No. 382. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri School of Journalism, 1977. [Petersen]

Columbia Journalism Review. Editors. "CIA, FBI, and the Media: Excerpts from the Senate Report on Intelligence Activities." 15 (Jul. 1976): 37- 42. [Petersen]

Crile, George, 3d. "The Fourth Estate: A Good Word for the CIA." Harper's, Jan. 1976, 28-30ff. [Petersen]

Cuneo, Ernest. "What's the Story Behind the CIA and Newsmen Abroad." Human Events 33 (22 Dec. 1973): 8 ff.

Petersen: "Former intelligence officer."

U.S. Congress. House. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Subcommittee on Oversight. "The CIA & the Media." Hearings. Washington, DC: GPO, 1979.

The Aspin Hearings.


3. 1980s

a. 1980s/Generally

American Intelligence Journal. Editors. "A Journalist's Perspective on Public Disclosures: Interview of Bob Woodward." 9, no. 1 (1988): 9-14.

Johnson, Loch K. "The CIA and the Media." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 2 (May 1986): 143-169.

Webster, William H. "Intelligence and the Media." Periscope 14, no. 1 (1989): 17-18.

b. Daniloff Affair

American Bar Association. Standing Committee on Law and National Security. "The Daniloff Affair: New Rules for American Correspondents?" Intelligence Report 8, no. 10 (1986): 7-8. [Petersen]

Daniloff, Nicholas. "How We Spy on the Russians." Washington Post Magazine, 9 Dec. 1979, 24 ff. [Petersen]

Daniloff, Nicholas. Two Lives, One Russia: The True Story of One American's Harrowing and Illuminating Experience as a Pawn of the KGB. New York: Avon Books, 1990.

Petersen identifies Daniloff as a "U.S. correspondent detained in the USSR." Surveillant 1.1 calls the book a "good account of the squealing that results when a smug and fragile journalist gets his toe caught in the door of cold-war espionage."

4. 1990s

[Deutch, John.] "DCI Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence." Periscope 21, no. 5 (1996): 1-2.

DCI John Deutch's statement of 17 July 1996 to the SSCI "concerning possible use of American journalists, American clergy or the Peace Corps." For text of Deutch's statement, Click HERE.

Hernandez, Debra Gersh.

1. "Posing as Journalists." Editor & Publisher, 2 Mar. 1996, 8-9, 22.

The author reviews the (then-)current flap about the CIA's use of journalists for intelligence collection and for operational cover.

2. "Journalists as Spies." Editor & Publisher, 10 Aug. 1996, 16-17, 36.

Hernandez reports on hearings before the SSCI. Quoted as testifying in favor of a total ban on the use of journalists in CIA operations or as cover for CIA officers are Terry Anderson, Ted Koppel, and Mort Zuckerman. Kenneth L. Adelman would leave the existing policy in place. Senators Kerrey (D-NE) and Glenn (D-OH) spoke against a total ban.

Parisi, Albert J. "The CIA and the Media." Editor & Publisher, 17 Nov. 1990, 20, 52.

This is a report on remarks made by the CIA's chief of media relations to the New Jersey press club. The emphasis is on greater CIA openness and on presenting the Agency as nonthreatening to journalists.

Pincus, Walter. "Turner: CIA Nearly Used a Journalist in Tehran." Washington Post, 1 Mar. 1996, A15.

"Stansfield Turner, a former CIA director, [has] described the ... circumstances that led him ... to waive agency regulations that prohibited the use of American journalists ... as cover for clandestine intelligence activities. Shortly after Muslim extremists occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran ... on Nov. 4, 1979, an American journalist in Iran 'who had unique access' met with CIA personnel to discuss how they 'thought he could help to resolve a problem,' Turner said in an interview.

Washington Post. "[Editorial:] Again, the CIA and the Press." 21 Feb. 1996, A18.

[Text] "The latest life-imitates-art entry involves the CIA. A task force assembled by the Council on Foreign Relations had suggested reviewing the agency's 20-year ban on recruitment of American journalists and journals for covert assignment. It was a controversial proposal, drawing the fire of, among others, the president of the council. But meanwhile somebody was telling The Post's Walter Pincus that, unbeknownst even to many intelligence officials, the CIA all along had a 'waiver' permitting use of journalistic cover on 'extraordinarily rare' occasions. To those who believe that generally the CIA should keep hands off but that in certain exceptional circumstances it should have the option of reaching in, the argument was over.

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