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TheMediaandtheAssassination

LisaPease

FromTheAssassinations:ProbeMagazineonJFK,MLK,RFKandMalcolmX
FeralHouse:Feb.1,2003
ISBN10:0922915822/ISBN13:9780922915828

Inthepopular1998movieTheTrumanShow(starringJimCarreyanddirectedbyPeterWeir),a
characternamedChristofcreatedahuge,fullycontainedbubbleenvironmentinwhichthetitle
character TrumanBurbankhasbeenraisedsincebirth.Trumandoesntknowit,butChristofhasbeen
broadcastingevery momentofTrumanslifetotheworldontelevisionbymeansofthousandsof
hiddencameras.Trumansonly knowledgeoftheworldcomesfromtheoneChristofhasbuiltforhim,
andasChristofsosuccinctlyputit,We accepttherealityoftheworldwithwhichwearepresented.
WhenTrumanattemptstoleavehishometownto seetherestoftheworld,Henoticesthattheplace
hehaslivedinallhislifepresentshimwithstrangeobstacles tohisescapeandirrationalcoincidences.
Trumansfaithinhisworldservestoimprisonhimformostofthefilm. Butwhenhefinallycomesto
believethatthetruthisotherthanwhathehasbeenpresentedwith,Trumans mentalfreedom
enableshimtoachievephysicalfreedom.
Howmanyofusrealizethat,tosomedegree,wealsoliveinaworldthatisnotwhollyasit
appears?And likeTrumansworld,thebarrierstoourdiscoveringtherealityofthatwhichgoeson
aroundusarenotsomuch physicalaspsychological.Themediapresentstousaversionoftheworld
thatdoesnottellthefullstory,andasBenjaminFranklinoncesaid,Halfthetruthisoftenagreatlie.
If,asthefamousbiblicalquotationengraved inthewallatCIAheadquarterssays,thetruthwillsetus
free,thenwhatdoliesdotous?Keepusimprisoned, likeTruman,inafictitiousbubblewhereweare
protectedfromtherealworld?ThelessonofTheTruman Showisespeciallyrelevanttothosewho
wishtomakesenseofthemediasreportageontheassassinationofPresidentKennedy.Thetruthis
outthereanditisnothardtofind,butwemustseekitoutfor ourselves.Asthisarticlewillshow,itis
unlikelythatthetruthwilleverbegiventousfreelybythemedia.
One of the first questions people raise when confronted with evidence of conspiracy in the
Kennedy assassinationisthis:ifanyoftheevidenceforconspiracyisvalid,whyhaventthemajormedia
organizations told us? Wouldnt breaking the story about a conspiracy be a careermaker for an
investigativereporter?
Onthesurfaceofit,thequestionappearstobelegitimate.Weassumethatthepurposeofthe
news mediaistogiveusfactsaboutnewsworthyeventstohelpusinterpretlifeinourtime.Butisthat
alegitimate assumption?
ThomasJeffersonusedtoholdtheopinionthatthepurposeofthemediawastotellusthe
truth.His opinionchangedradicallyonceheknewmoreabouttheeventsbeing(mis)represented.
Jeffersonrealizedthe importanceofthepressandthethreatalessthanhonestpresspresentstoa
nation.In1787,Jeffersonsaid, thebasisofourgovernmentistheopinionofthepeople,andgivena
choicebetweenagovernmentwithout newspapersornewspaperswithoutgovernment,hewould

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choosethelatter.In1799,havinglearnedabit more,hewrote,Ourcitizensmaybedeceivedfora
whileandhavebeendeceived;butaslongasthepresscan beprotected,wemaytrusttothemfor
light.Butby1807,theveilofidealismhadcompletelyfallenfrom Jeffersonseyes:

Nothingcannowbebelievedwhichisseeninanewspaper.Truthitselfbecomessuspiciousby
beingput intothatpollutedvehicle.Therealextentofthismisinformationisknownonlyto
thosewhoarein situationstoconfrontfactswithintheirknowledgewiththeliesoftheday.I
reallylookwith commiserationoverthegreatbodyofmyfellowcitizens,who,reading
newspapers,liveanddieinthe beliefthattheyhaveknownsomethingofwhathasbeen
passingintheworldintheirtime;whereasthe accountstheyhavereadinnewspapersarejust
astrueahistoryofanyotherperiodoftheworldasof thepresent,exceptthattherealnames
ofthedayareaffixedtotheirfables.Generalfactsmayindeed becollectedfromthem,suchas
thatEuropeisnowatwar,thatBonapartehasbeenasuccessfulwarrior
...butnodetailscanbereliedon.Iwilladdthatthemanwhoneverlooksintoanewspaperis
better informedthanhewhoreadsthem;inasmuchashewhoknowsnothingisnearertotruth
thanhewhose mindisfilledwithfalsehoodsanderrors
Perhapsaneditormightbeginareformationinsomewaysuchasthis.Dividehispaper
intofour chapters,headingthefirst,Truths;second,Probabilities;third,Possibilities;fourth,
Lies.Thefirstchapterwouldbeveryshort.1

OnemightbetemptedtodismissJeffersonscommentsasoverlycynicalandnotapplicabletoourtime.
Butour situationisverysimilar.Today,mostpeoplegettheirnewsfromtelevision.A1992study
conductedbythe CenterfortheStudyofCommunicationattheUniversityofMassachusettsat
Amherstfoundthatpeoplewho watchedalotofTVnewshadmoreincorrectanswersregardingfacts
ofthedaythanthosewhowatchedverylittleTVnews.
Sothequestionbecomesnotcanwetrustthemedia,butrather,whycantwe?Respected
reporter GeorgeSeldesfiguredthisoutinthecourseofhisownjournalismcareeraftermanyhard
lessons.HewassenttoMexicoin1927bytheChicagoTribunetoreportonthestateofaffairsthere.At
thattime,theoilcompanies andoilstockholderswereengagedinanalloutefforttogetridof
MexicosPresidentPlutarcoCalles,whowas seenatthattimeasasocialreformerwhoneededtobe
ousted.ANewYorkTimesreportertoldSeldes,Thereisonlyonesidetothisstory:weareallanti
Calles.Calleswascalled,atthattime(byfellowreportersin Mexico),anythingfromArabto
BolsheviktoahighdegreeMasonandacrook.Afterdoinghisown investigation,Seldesfounda
numberofpeoplewhohadcometoradicallydifferentconclusions,namely,that Calleswasagreat
emancipatorforhispeople,workingtorestorelandtoMexicansthathadbeentakenfrom themby
StandardOilandothercompanies.WhenSeldesreturnedfromMexico,hewrote20storiesforhis
paper,aseriesofproandconarticlesontensubjects.Forexample,hewrotetwopiecestitled
respectively, WhytheU.S.ShouldSeizeMexicoandWhytheU.S.ShouldNotSeizeMexico.The
firstfewproandcon articleswereprintedasis,butshortlythereafter,onlytheantiMexicooneswere
printed.2 Themediaowners wereactivelydecidingnottopresentbothsidesofthedebate.Andwhen

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Seldesrealizedthatmanymedia ownerswerealsostakeholdersinoilcompaniesthathadalottogain
orlosedependingonhowtheMexican rebellionturnedout,Seldesunderstoodwhythepropaganda
campaignwasbeingconducted.Hecondensedhis learningintothissimpleadvice:

Myownmottoformanyyearshassimplybeenthis:takenothingforgranted.Ifyoutake
nothingfor granted,andtrytofindthefacts,youwillsoonbesafefromfalsepropaganda;you
willrecognize propaganda,trueorfalse,andyouwillbeabletoacceptthetruth.
Ifyoulookforthesocialeconomicmotiveyouwillnothavetowaitforhistorytotell
youwhat waspropagandaandwhatwasthetruth.3

Intheearly1900s,anAmericanjournalistnamedJohnSwintonrespondedtoatoasttothe
independentpress withthissurprisinglyhonestanddevastatingrebuke:

Thereisnosuchthing,atthisdateoftheworldshistory,inAmerica,asanindependentpress.
Youknow itandIknowit.Thereisnotoneofyouwhodarestowriteyourhonestopinions,
andifyoudid,you knowbeforehandthatitwouldneverappearinprint.Iampaidweeklyfor
keepingmyhonestopinion outofthepaperIamconnectedwith.Othersofyouarepaid
similarsalariesforsimilarthings,andanyof youwhowouldbesofoolishastowritehonest
opinionswouldbeoutonthestreetslookingforanother job.
IfIallowedmyhonestopinionstoappearinoneissueofmypaper,beforetwentyfour
hours myoccupationwouldbegone.Thebusinessofthejournalistsistodestroythetruth,to
lieoutright,to pervert,tovilify,tofawnatthefeetofmammon,andtosellhiscountryandhis
raceforhisdailybread. YouknowitandIknowit,andwhatfollyisthistoastingan
independentpress?
Wearethetoolsandvassalsofrichmenbehindthescenes.Wearethejumpingjacks,
theypull thestringsandwedance.Ourtalents,ourpossibilitiesandourlivesareallthe
propertyofothermen. Weareintellectualprostitutes.4

Journalistswhohavetriedtostandupandtellthetruthaboutveryimportanteventshavetypicallymet
with doom.AprilOlivermetajournalisticValleyofDeathwhensheandcoproducerJackSmith
createdaCNN specialbythatnameabouttheuseofnervegasintheVietnamWar.Aftercallsfrom
RichardHelms,Henry KissingerandColinPowell,CNNlostitsnerveandpulledthestory.WhenGary
WebbreportedintheSanJose MercuryTimesabouttheCIAsconnectiontothedrugtradeinLos
Angeles,Webbwasultimatelyforcedoutof hisjob.AwardwinningCBSproducerKristinaBorjesson
washandedherwalkingpapersuponthediscoverythat shehadbeencollectingmassiveevidence
indicatingamissilehadstruckTWAFlight800.Severalstoriesalong theselinesaredetailedby
BorjessoninherbookIntotheBuzzsaw(PrometheusBooks,2002).Thebuzzsaw,as shedescribesit,is
whatyouwalkintowhenyoureachoutforanimportantstory.Thesystemwillripyouto shreds.

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Sowhattriggersthisbuzzsaw?AskRobertParry,theformerAssociatedPressmanturned
Newsweek reporterwhofoundhimselfsuddenlypersonanongratawhenhesurfacedthenewsthat
NationalSecurity staffershadbeenphonyinguprecordsofchronologiestoprotectReaganfrom
accusationsofdirectknowledgeoftheIranContraaffair.Newsweek,totheirinitialcredit,ranthe
story.Butwhenthestoryhitthestands,Parry suddenlyfoundhisworldturnedupsidedown.Atatalk,
yearslater,Parryrecountedthisexperience,andhis understandingofwhythebuzzsawspranginto
actioninhiscase:

Andthereactionwasincredible.Manyofmycolleaguesinthepressattackedus.TheWall
Street Journal,notjustinitseditorialpagesbutitsnewscolumnsattackedus...andNewsweek
decidedthat theywantedtoretractthestory...
Soanyway,hereweare,andtheproblemisitshardtounderstandifyouhavent
livedinWashington,itmaynotmakealotofsense,butIllexplainitanywaytherewere
threechoicesatthis point:
ChoiceAwastotellthetruth,tosaythatthePresidenthadviolatedavarietyoflaws,
committedfelonies,andviolatedourconstitutionalsafeguardsaboutthewaywecarryout
warsinour country,andimpeachhim.OptionA.
ThentherewasOptionBtotellthetruthandhaveCongresssortofsaywell,its
okaywithus,whichcreatesadangerousprecedentforthefuture.Thatis,thatnowpresidents
wouldsaywellhey, lookattheReaganexample,youknow,ifhecanwagewarprivately,why
cantI?SothatwasOptionB.
AndthentherewasOptionCtopretenditdidnthappen,ortopretendthat,say,
some LieutenantColonelhaddoneitall.SoWashington,Iguessunderstandably,settledon
OptionC.
AnditdidnthitmeuntiloneeveninginMarchof87.TheTowerboardhadjustcome
outwithitsreport,whichbasicallysaidthatthePresidentwasalittlebitasleepattheswitch.
Buthey,youknow, itwasreallythesecrazynutswhodidit.Andwehadoneofthese
Newsweekdinnerstheyrefancy affairsanditwasattheBureauChiefshouse,andtheyre
catered,andtheresatuxedoedwaiter,and hepoursthewine,theresnicefood,andIwas
new.IcameoutofAP,whichiskindofaworkingclass/workingmanskindofnews
organization,soIwasntusedtothis.Andwehadasourguestthat evening,BrentScowcroft,
whohadbeenontheTowerBoard.AndDickCheney,whowasgoingtobethe rankingminority
figureonthehouseIranContraCommittee.Andweregoingthroughthislittledelightful
dinner,andatonepointBrentScowcroftsays,Well,Iprobablyshouldntbesayingthis,butifI
wereadvisingAdmirablePoindexter,andhehadtoldthePresidentaboutthediversion,Id
advisehim tosaythathehadnt.Andbeingnewtothiswholesortofgame,Istoppedeating,
andlookedacrossthetableandsaidGeneral!YourenotsuggestingthattheAdmiralshould
commitperjury,areyou?And therewaskindoflikeanembarrassedlittlesilenceatthetable,
andtheeditorofNewsweek,whowas sittingnexttome,saysIhopepartlyjokinglybutI
dontknowsays,Sometimeswehavetodowhats goodforthecountry.

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Sowiththatlittlebitofcontext,letsgobacktoNovemberof1963.Thecountryhadmadeitthrough
the harrowingOctober1962missilecrisis,whentheU.S.andtheSovietUnionnearlycametonuclear
blowsover Cuba.Thepressdetermined(initially)thatamanwhohadtiestotheSovietUnionwas
suspectedofkillingthe president.Ifpeopleinthepressdidsniffanearlywhiffofconspiracy,would
theyhaveprintedit?Evenifthe reporteronthegroundhadwrittensuchastory,wouldnthisorher
editorhavesaidnottorunthatstoryfor thegoodofthecountry?Whowouldhavehadthegutsto
inflameanalreadyverytensesituationinthewake ofaslainPresident?
Then,astheyearswentby,eachmediaoutletbecamemoreandmoreentrenchedinreporting
the Oswalddiditversionofevents.Whichofthemwouldhavehadthegutstostandupandsayhey,
didwehave thatstorywrongherestherealtruth!Howoftendopeopleinpowerinyourownlives
comeforwardand admitegregiouserror?Evenifthemediareportersandorganizationsweretrulyfree
toreportwhateverthey wanted(whichaswehaveseenisdefinitelynotthecase),themediawould
havebeenhardpressedtoretract allitsearlierstoriesanddefendanewposition.
Therearethosethatarguefurtherthough,saying,nosecretstayssecretforever.Tothat
point,wewoulddowelltorememberwehaveneverlearnedtheidentityofDeepThroat,the
famousinformerwhogaveBobWoodwardandCarlBernsteinguidanceastheyuncoveredthe
Watergatestory.StillotherswillpointtoWoodwardandBernsteinasexamplesofreporterswhowere
braveanddidstanduptotellthetruth.Butthosewhohavedoneextensiveresearchonthe
WatergateepisodewilltellyouthatWoodwardandBernsteinmaywellhaveservedaspawnsto
otherswhowantedtoportraytheeventsinaparticularlight.5
Butthatsnottheendofwhywecanttrustthepress,especiallyinthecaseoftheKennedy
assassination.Thereisamuchmoreinsidiousreason.TheCIAhasenormouscontroloverthepress,
andthislittleknownfacthasonlybrieflyandsporadicallybeenreportedoninthemainstreammedia
outlets.TheCIAsrelationshipwiththepressbearsexamination,asitwasuseddirectlyandprovably
inthiscasetoshapereportingontheissuessurroundingtheKennedyassassination.

ControllingtheMedia
Everythingisquiet.Thereisnotroublehere.Therewillbenowar.Iwishtoreturn.
FredrickRemington,writinghisemployerWilliamRandolphHearstfromHavanain1897

Pleaseremain.YoufurnishthepicturesandIllfurnishthewar.
WilliamRandolphHearstsresponsetoRemingtonregardingwhatbecameknownasthe
SpanishAmericanWar.(Source:CitizenHearst,W.A.Swanberg,1963)

Thefamousexchangeaboveindicatestheunprecedentedpoweramediaownerhas.Inthis
case,afew extremelywealthyindividuals,notablyHearstandJosephPulitzer,wereabletomanipulate
thegovernmentinto theSpanishAmericanWarbyinflamingpublicopinionwithpropagandaand
yellowjournalism.
Forashorttimeintheearlypartofthetwentiethcentury,therewasagreatdiversityof
opinionspresentinthemedia:muckraking,asitsdetractorscalledinvestigativereporting,wasatits

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zenith.IdaTarbell hadwoninternationalfamewithherbrilliantexposoftheStandardOilCompany,
serializedinMcClures magazinebeforebecomingabook.UptonSinclairexposedthehideouspractices
ofthemeatpackagingindustry throughTheJungle,aworkwhichwasserializedinthesocialist
newspaperAppealtoReason,ayearbeforebeingpublishedasabook.ButasWorldWarIbrokeout,
criticizingtheestablishmentbecametaboo,andtheU.S.PostOfficerefusedtodeliverAppealtoReason
andothersimilarpublications.Advertiserspressuredthe mediatolightenup.Andfairlyquickly,
muckrakingdisappearedfromthescene,nevertoreturntothesame degree.Fromtimetotime,
journalistslikeGeorgeSeldes,I.F.Stone,andmorerecentlyRobertParry,wouldselfpublishwhenthey
realizedtheycouldnottellthetruthboldlyandfullyinotherpeoplespublications.Butthese small
circulationnewslettersandjournalscouldnevercompetewithmediagiantssuchasCBSortheNew
York Times.
TheEstablishmentinthiscountryknewearlyonhowimportantitwastocontrolthepress.Just
asthe representativeformofgovernmentwassetuptopreventdirectdemocracy,orrather,mob
rule,sotoodidthe presshavetobeprotectedfromwhatWalterLippmanncalledthedefective
organizationofpublicopinion. Truthcouldbeapowerfulweapon,onetheeliteswereloathtoshare
withmasses.Butkeepingthetruthoutofthepresspresentedaquandary.Theelitesthemselves
neededtoknowwhatthetruthwas.How couldtheelitesgettheinformationandstillmanagetokeep
ithiddenfromtherestoftheworld?AsLippmann (whoservedinanintelligenceunitdesignedtoaid
theU.S.negotiatingteaminParisasWW1ended)argued,in hisessayPublicOpinion,representative
governmentcannotbeworkedsuccessfully,nomatterwhatthebasis ofelection,unlessthereisan
independent,expertorganizationformakingtheunseenfacts[ofthenewworld] intelligibletothose
whohavetomakethedecisions.Ina1937work,HaroldLasswell,oneofthefathersof modern
communicationtheory,madeasimilarandmoreexplicitsuggestion:Propagandamustbecoordinated
withinformationandespionageserviceswhichcansupplymaterialtothepropagandistsandreport
progressofpropagandawork.Lasswell,Lippman,andotherspresagedwhatWilliamWildBill
DonovanwouldeventuallyrecommendtoPresidentFranklinRooseveltasWorldWarIIunfolded.
In1940,RooseveltsentDonovantoEuropetoscopeoutwhatwashappeninginGermanyand
elsewhere.WhenDonovanreturned,herecommendedthecreationoftheOfficeofStrategicServices,
theOSS,predecessortotodaysCentralIntelligenceAgency.InhisMemorandumofEstablishmentof
ServiceofStrategicInformation,(datedJune10,1941)DonovanoutlinedtoRooseveltthat,in
additiontosettingupaformalintelligenceservicetogatherandprocessinformationregardingthe
NazisinGermany,thereisanotherelementinmodernwarfarethattheGermansweremastering
thatposedafarmoreinsidious,seriousthreat,andthatisthepsychologicalattackagainstthemoral
andspiritualdefensesofanation.9DonovanurgedthePresidenttocreateandfundanorganization
toactivelyengageinpropagandaandotheractionsthatcouldbeusedtodemoralizetheenemy.To
Donovan,propagandawasjustoneiteminthepsychologicalwarfaretoolbox,whichtohimconsisted
ofanything,physicalorintellectual,thatcouldbeusedtobreakthewilloftheenemy.AstheOSSWar
Reportstates,Ontheonehand,[Donovan]sawitasconditioningthemindsofthepeopleasawhole;
ontheother,heconceivedofitasastrategicweaponfortheexploitationofparticularobjectives,
whetherpoliticalormilitary.10Someactivitiesweredownrightsinister.Thedefinitionofpsychological

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warfareincludedpropaganda,sabotage,guerillaactivities,bribery,blackmail,assassination...11Note
thatagreatmajorityofDonovansassetswerejournalists.WhileAmericansdonttypicallyassociate
journalistswithassassinations,weshouldunderstandwhyjournalistsinforeigncountriesareoften
assumedtobespies,andaresometimesabductedandevenkilled,thankstothisprecedentsetduring
WorldWarII.
DuringWWII,theOSShadseveralseparateofficesresponsibleforvariousactivitiesrelatingto
propaganda,covertactionandpsychologicalwarfare.WhenWWIIcametoaclose,severalofthose
groupswerecombinedintotheOfficeofPolicyCoordination(OPC),aninnocuoussounding
organizationsetupundertheauspicesoftheStateDepartmentandledbyFrankWisnerthatsought
tocontinuethecovertactionthatDonovanhadenvisionedasnecessarytosuccessfulpsychological
warfareoperations.UnderWisner,theOPCbecamethefastestgrowingunitwithinthenascentCIA,
risinginpersonnelfrom302in1949to2,812in1952,alongwith3,142overseascontractpersonnel.In
thesameperiod,thebudgetrosefrom$4.7millionto$82million.12
FromhisseatattheheadofOPC,WisnerkeptthehighlysecretandvaluablePropaganda
AssetsInventory,morecommonlyknownasWisnersWurlitzer.Theinventoryrepresenteda
networkofmorethan800newsandpublicinformationorganizationsandindividualsopinion
makersthatcouldbecalleduponatanytimetoplaythetuneofWisnersmaking.13Thenetwork
includedjournalists,columnists,bookpublishers,editors,entireorganizationssuchasRadioFree
Europe,andstringersacrossmultiplenewsorganizations.WhentheOPCwascombinedwiththe
OfficeofSpecialOperations(OSO)toformwhatwenowcalltheCIA,themediaassetscamewithit.
TomBradenbecameanearlyheadofpropagandaoperationswhentheCIAwasformed.
Braden,whooncewroteanarticletitledImGladtheCIAisImmoral(andyearslater,
recommendedtheabolishmentoftheCIA14),alsoheadedupQKOPERA,thecodenameforthe
CongressofCulturalFreedom.15ThisbodywassetuptocombatCommunisteffortstopaintAmerica
asculturallybereft.TheCongresssponsoredartists,writers,poets,musiciansandothercultural
figures,somewiththeirconsent,andsomewithout.TheCIAdidnotlimititselftopropagandizing
aboutnewsitems.TheCIAsponsoredOlympicathletes,scientists,andanyonewhocouldbeusedto
promotethenotionofthesuperiorityofAmericanculture.Thepsychologicalwarfarecampaignwas
analloutassaultonpeoplesabilitytothinkandfeelfreelynotjustinCommunistcountries,butall
overtheglobe.
HighlyregardedjournalistswereespeciallyvaluabletoWisnerandtheCIAseffortsbecause
theyhadtheluxuryofbeingabletowritematerialthattoppolicymakerswouldactuallyread.As
formerCIAofficerMilesCopelandnoted,thePresidentoftheUnitedStates,theSecretaryofState,
CongressmenandeventheDirectoroftheCIAhimselfwillread,believeandbeimpressedbyareport
fromCySulzberger,ArnauddeBorchgrave,orStewartAlsopwhentheydontevenbothertoreada
CIAreportonthesamesubject.16AndalthoughtheCIAdidnothavethelegalauthorityto
propagandizeAmericans,thatdidntstopthemfromtryingtofanwindsabroadthatwouldblowback
acrosstoAmerica.TheNewYorkTimesreportedthattheCIAhadaformaloperationknownas
KMFORGETinwhichstoriesplantedbytheagencyinonecountrywouldbeclippedandmailedto
mediainothercountries,andsucheffortsenhancedthelikelihoodthatthestorieswouldbeseenby

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anAmericancorrespondentandtransmittedhome.17CIAoperativeDarrellGarwoodsharedthe
informationthattheCIAwasveryconcernedaboutdomesticperceptionsoftheAgency,despitethe
prohibitionfromitactingagainstU.S.citizens:Inordertoachieveitsselfperceivedobjectives,the
CIAbelieveditwasnotenoughtobeimmunefromcongressionalorjudicialcontrol.Theagencyfeltit
wasalsoimperativethatantiCIAsentimentandleftistleaningsingeneralhadtobedefusedand
combatedoneveryfront.Tothisend,theCIAinfiltratedthegrovesofacademia,themissionarycorps,
theeditorialboardsofinfluentialjournalandbookpublishers,andanyotherquarterswherepublic
attitudescouldbeeffectivelyinfluenced.18Inthe70s,theCIAwasexposedashavingillegallyspied
onAmericansandhavinginfiltratedmanyantiwarorganizations.TheCIAspecificallytargeted
Ramparts,oneofthefewlargecirculationmagazinestotalkopenlyabouttheholesintheofficial
storyregardingtheKennedyassassination.
StewartAlsop,who,alongwithhisbrotherJoseph,wasaCIAconduitforinformationon
occasion,gaveusaspecialperspectiveontheCIAstargetingofreportersforassets:Thekey
relationshipoftheWashingtonpressis,ofcourse,itsrelationshipwiththegovernment.Butthe
relationshipofthepresswiththepressisalsoimportantmuchmoreimportantthanmostoutsiders
realize.19Often,asamajorstorybreaks,reporterswhoareremovedfromtheeventsgettheirstories
fromotherjournalists.Naturally,therespectedjournalistsorthosewiththegreatestaccessto
informationaregivenplentyofcredibilitybyfellowjournalists.Forexample,pressclubwereafocus
ofCIAactivity.AformerCIAofficialtoldhowthemanageroftheMexicoCitypressclubwasaCIA
agentwhotookadvantageofhispositiontoinfluenceotherjournalists.Heusedtoworkvery
successfully,theCIAmanexplainedtotheNewYorkTimes.Someguysarelazy.Theydbesittingat
thebarandhedslipthemthingsandtheydphoneitin.20
TheCIAalsorealizedthethreatthathonestjournalistscouldbetocovertactions.Forexample,
duringtheGuatemalacampaign,NewYorkTimesreporterSydneyGrusonwaskeptoutofGuatemala.
ThishappenedwhenAllenDullescomplainedtotheTimesthatneitherhenorhisbrother,JohnFoster
Dulles,believedthatGrusonwascapableofreportingwithobjectivityontheupcomingrevolution
(whichwasmanufacturedandconductedbytheCIA).ArthurHaysSulzbergercompliedwiththeCIAs
requestandkeptGrusoninMexicoCityonthepretensethattheremightbesomespilloveractionin
Mexico.21
AlthoughtheOSShadmadeextensiveadhocuseofjournalists,WisnerrealizedthattheCIAs
effortsinthisarearequiredamoreformalizedapproach.Togetherwithinputfromhisfriendand
WashingtonPostpublisherPhilGraham,WisnercreatedOperationMOCKINGBIRD.Appropriately
namedafterabirdthatcanimitatethecallsofotherbirds,MOCKINGBIRDwasexposedbyDeborah
DavisinherbookKatherinetheGreat,detailingthelifeofKatherineGraham,PhilGrahamswifeand
theeventuallongtimeowneroftheWashingtonPost.Daviswrote:

[A]ccordingtoaformerCIAanalystwhohadworkedonMOCKINGBIRD,eachjournalistwasa
separateoperation,requiringacodename,afieldsupervisor,andafieldoffice,atanannual
costoftensorhundredsofthousandsofdollarstherehasneverbeenanaccurate
accounting.22

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DaviswrotethatWisnerownedrespectedmembersofNewsweek,CBS,theNewYorkTimes
andmanyothers,accordingtoaformerCIAanalystwhohadworkedwithMOCKINGBIRD.Carl
BernsteinreportedsimilarinformationinhisfamousRollingStonepiecefromOctober1977,entitled
TheCIAandtheMedia,inwhichheoutlinedhowmembersofallthemajormediainthiscountry
owedsomeallegiance,whetherpaidorasvolunteers,totheCIA.AccordingtoBernstein,someofthe
manywhohaveservedtheCIAwittinglyareWilliamPaley,thelongtimetopexecutiveofCBS;Henry
LuceoftheTimeInc.empire;andArthurHaysSulzbergeroftheNewYorkTimes.Alsoincludedare
membersofABC,NBC,theAssociatedPress(AP),UnitedPressInternational(UPI),Reuters,Hearst
Newspapers,ScrippsHoward,Newsweek,theMutualBroadcastingSystem,theMiamiHerald,the
SaturdayEveningPost,andtheJohnHayWhitneyownedNewYorkHeraldTribune.Bernsteinnoted
thatthemostvaluablerelationshipstheCIAhadwerewithCBSandtheNewYorkTimes.Theonly
majormediaabsentfromhispiecewashisownformeremployer,theWashingtonPost.Davisbook
doesmuchto showthatbothPhilandKateGraham,inadditiontosenioreditorBenjaminBradlee,
weresupportiveoftheCIA. InBradleescase,hevisitedtheRosenbergsprosecutorsinNewYorkby
orderoftheheadoftheCIAinParis, afterwhichhewroteanOperationalMemorandumoutlining
thecaseagainsttheRosenbergsthatwasthen disseminatedto40differentcountriesacrossfour
continents.23 BradleelaterbecamefriendlywithRichard Helms,andnotifiedPhilGrahamwhenHelms
grandfatherputNewsweekontheblock.(TheWashingtonPost subsequentlypurchasedNewsweek.)
HowdidtheCIApayforallofthesepropagandaefforts?ByskimmingofftheMarshallPlan
funds.Wisnerand hisgroupcalledthefundscandy.CIAagentGilbertGreenwayrecalled,We
couldntspenditall.Iremember oncemeetingwithWisnerandthecomptroller.MyGod,Isaid,how
canwespendthat?Therewerenolimits, andnobodyhadtoaccountforit.Itwasamazing.24
JamesJesusAngleton,headoftheCIAsCounterintelligencedepartmentfor25years,kepthis
ownslush fundthathedidnothavetoaccountforwhichwasusedinparttopayjournalists.According
toBernstein, Angletonranacompletelyindependentgroupofjournalistoperativeswhoperformed
sensitiveandfrequently dangerousassignments.25

OnecouldwriteabookontheCIAsrelationshipwiththemedia,culture,science,sports,religion
(priestswere usedascover,andtheCIAmaintainsacloserelationshipwiththeVatican)andother
areasinwhichtheCIAleveragedassetstomakeadramaticimpactaroundtheworld.TheChurch
Committeeinthe70sdevotedalarge sectioninitsfinalreporttotheseactivities,andevenso,only
scratchedthesurface.ButletsfocusnowonthespecificrelationshipsbetweentheCIAandthemedia
astheypertaintothereportingontheassassinationof PresidentKennedy.

TheCIAandtheAssassinationReportage
DayonecoverageoftheassassinationincludedreportsthatsixtoeightshotswerefiredinDealey
Plaza.But soon,thereportswereallconsistentthreeshotsfired.Howandwhywasthestory
changed?Similarly, Kennedysthroatwoundwentthrougharapidevolution.InTomWickersoriginal
articlefortheNewYorkTimesontheassassination,Wickerstatedthat:

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Mr.Kennedywashitbyabulletinthethroat,justbelowtheAdamsapple,theysaid.This
woundhad theappearanceofabulletsentry...26

Withinafewdays,however,theofficialstoryhadchanged:thebulletwoundinthethroathad
morphedintoan exitwound.Yearslater,curiously,WickerwouldlistforWalterKarpofHarpers
magazinethehazardsto journalistswhochallengedtheofficialstoryregardingmattersofimportance
topowerfulpeople.Hislistincludedlostaccess,complaintstoeditorsandpublishers,socialpenalties,
leakstocompetitors,avarietyof responsesnoonewants.27 OnewondersifWickerencounteredany
ofthesepersonallyafterinitiallyreporting thethroatwoundtobeanentrancewound,giventheTimes
closerelationshipwiththeCIA.Itisabitterirony ofsourcejournalism,Karpwrote,thatthemost
esteemedjournalistsarepreciselythemostservile.Foritisby makingthemselvesusefultothe
powerfulthattheygainaccesstothebestsources.Sobeforeweblindlytrust ourmostesteemed
journalists,letsrememberKarpsinformation.
DanRatherofCBSwasthefirsttobreakthenewsthatthePresidentwasdead.HowardBliss,in
hisbook NowtheNews,wrotethatwithinCBSandelsewhere,therehasalwaysbeenamysteryasto
howitwasthat RatherwasthefirsttobreakthisnewsonCBSradioandhowCBStelevisionwasthe
firsttelevisionnetworkto reportthis.CBSwasalsothekeytotrackingdownAbrahamZapruder,the
manwhofilmedtheassassination fromDealeyPlaza.RatherwasthefirsttoseetheZapruderfilm,and
gaveadescriptionofwhathesawonthat filmthathasnevermatchedwhatthepublicsawinthatfilm.
RatherdescribedKennedysheadfallingforward withconsiderableforce.28 Butallofuswhohave
seenthefilmknowthatKennedysheadgoesbackandtothe left.Wasthefilmeditedsincethatfirst
timeRathersawit?OrwasRathersomehowthatwrongaboutwhathe saw?DidCBSclose
relationshipwiththeCIAhaveanythingtodowiththeseevents?CBSWalterCronkite,whose
heartbreakingannouncementofKennedysdeathissearedforeverinourcollectiveconsciousness,was
saidtohavebeenontheCIAslistofassetsbySamJaffe.29 SamJaffewasanFBIinformantwhowasalso
working withtheCIA.30 TheCIAwasforbiddentooperatedomestically,buttheFBIofcoursewasnot.
Onoccasion,the CIAaskedtheFBItoworkwithanoperative,presumablybecauseanythingof
importancereportedtotheFBI wouldbeforwardedbacktoCIAthroughtheFBIliaisonoffice.31
C.D.JacksonorderedRichardStolleytoacquiretheZapruderfilmforLifemagazine.C.D.
Jacksonwasa formerOSSoperative,aswellasafriendofAllenDulles.CouldthatCIArelationshiphave
hadanythingtodo withthepurchase,whicheffectivelykeptthefilmlockedupandawayfrompublic
viewformanyyears?
HughAynesworthwasoneoftheDallasreporterswhocoveredtheeventsimmediately
followingthe assassinationofPresidentKennedyforhispaper.Wasitjustacoincidencethat
Aynesworthhadappliedtowork attheCIAonemonthpriortothisevent?
PriscillaJohnsonhadobtainedaninterviewofLeeHarveyOswaldduringhisstayintheSoviet
Union.ShehadalsomadefriendswithadefectorhighlyprizedbytheCIA:Stalinsdaughter.Afterthe
assassination,she additionallymadefriendswithMarinaOswaldandlaterwrotethebookMarinaand
LeewhichMarinadeemeda packoflies.CIAdocumentshavesincerevealedanadhocrelationship
withPriscillaJohnson,andaconfidence expressedin1962byCIAofficerDonaldJameson,chiefofthe

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CIAsSovietRussia/CovertActiondivision,that MissJohnsoncanbeencouragedtowriteprettymuch
thearticleswewant.32
PriscillamarriedGeorgeMcMillan.McMillanwroteabookabouttheMartinLutherKing
assassinationinwhichheclaimedthatJamesEarlRayaloneshotKing.NevermindthatMcMillan
himselfhadtoldareporter beforehebeganhisworkthathedidnotplantoinvestigatethe
assassination,andthathewasthereforefreeto writeabooksolelyaboutRayslife.Thereporterwho
publishedthatcommentin1969wasthesameonethat reviewedhisbookin1976:JeremiahOLeary,
yetanotheracknowledgedCIAmediaasset.33 Thebookcameout asthenewlyformedHouseSelect
CommitteeonAssassinations,formedtoinvestigatetheassassinationsofJohn KennedyandMartin
LutherKing,wasstrugglingtogetabudgetthatwouldenableittoaccomplishits monumentaltask.
OLeary,whowasfriendswithDavidAtleePhillips,theCIAspropagandamaster,wrotea glowing
reviewofGeorgesbook,endingwiththisbreathtakinglyobviouspropagandamotive:TheHouse
Select Committee,amongothers,shouldtakethereportingofGeorgeMcMillanintoaccountwhenit
beginsprobing themurderofKing.McMillanhasdoneagooddealofthecommitteesworkalready
whenitcomestodeciding whethertheworldknowsallthereistoknowaboutRayandwhyhesetout
tokillDr.King...34 SowehaveaCIAassetpushingabookbyanothermanwithpossibletiesthroughhis
wifetotheCIAsayingJamesEarlRayactedalone.Coincidence,orconspiracy?
SethKantorwasanotherjournalistwhowroteearlyaccountsoftheassassination,havingbeen
present inDealeyPlazathedayKennedywasshot.HewasaskedbyhisScrippsHowardeditorin
WashingtontocallHal HendrixathisFloridahomeforsomebackgroundonOswald.Hendrixprovided
allkindsofdetailsabout Oswaldssocalleddefection,histimeinRussia,andmorethatwouldsoon
becomepublicknowledge.Years later,Kantorfoundinlongsuppressedevidencethatthiscallhad
beenscrubbedfromthelistofcallshehad madethatday.Whyhadthecallbeenpurged?Kantor
suspecteditwasbecauseHalHendrixwasknowntobe deeplyconnectedtotheCIA.(HendrixsAgency
connectionwasexposedduringtheChurchCommittees investigationintotheCIAscoupplotting
againstChileanleaderSalvadorAllende.)DavidPhillips,thehighlevel CIApropagandachiefmentioned
earlier,whohadbeenseenwithOswaldbyanassociateashortmonthbefore theassassination,wasa
friendofHalHendrix.DidPhillipsgiveHendrixtheinfoonOswaldtopasstoKantor?

WhenJimGarrisonstartedhisinvestigationintotheKennedyassassination,ultimatelyarrestingand
prosecuting ClayShawforparticipationintheassassinationplot,anNBCWhitePaperspecialwas
producedwiththeexpresspurposeofshootingGarrisondown.IsitacoincidencethatWalterSheridan,
theNBCproducerofaspecialon GarrisonthatwasdeemedsoonesidedthatGarrisonwasgiventime
onairtorebutit,usedtoworkforthe NSA?NSAisagroupsosecretthatonlyDepartmentD,the
groupthatconductedassassinationplotswithinthe CIA,knewaboutthegroupandworkedwithit.
WhenGarrisonsinvestigationtookoffin1967,theCIAsentoutworldwidetoallStationChiefs
a directivefortheirmediaassets.ThefulltextofthisdirectiveispublishedinthebackofJames
DiEugeniosbook DestinyBetrayed:JFK,CubaandtheGarrisonCase.Considerthefollowingexcerpts,
astheypertaindirectlyto thiscase:

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RE:ConcerningCriticismoftheWarrenReport

1. OurConcern.FromthedayofPresidentKennedysassassinationon,therehasbeen
speculation abouttheresponsibilityforhismurder.Althoughthiswasstemmedforatime
bytheWarren Commissionreport,...therehasbeenanewwaveofbooksandarticles
criticizingtheCommissions findings.Inmostcasesthecriticshavespeculatedastothe
existenceofsomekindofconspiracy, andoftentheyhaveimpliedthattheCommission
itselfwasinvolved.

2. ThistrendofopinionisamatterofconcerntotheU.S.government,includingour
organization.... Ourorganizationitselfisdirectlyinvolved:amongotherfacts,we
contributedinformationtothe investigation.Conspiracytheorieshavefrequentlythrown
suspiciononourorganization,for examplebyfalselyallegingthatLeeHarveyOswald
workedforus.Theaimofthisdispatchistoprovidematerialcounteringanddiscrediting
theclaimsoftheconspiracytheorists,soastoinhibit thecirculationofsuchclaimsinother
countries.Backgroundinformationissuppliedinaclassifiedsectionandinanumberof
unclassifiedattachments.

3. Action.Wedonotrecommendthatdiscussionoftheassassinationquestionbeinitiated
whereitis notalreadytakingplace.Wherediscussionisactive[business]addressesare
requested:

a. Todiscussthepublicityproblemwithliaisonandfriendlyelitecontacts(especially
politicians andeditors),pointingoutthattheWarrenCommissionmadeas
thoroughaninvestigationas humanlypossible,thatthechargesofthecriticsare
withoutseriousfoundation,andthat furtherspeculativediscussiononlyplaysinto
thehandsoftheopposition.Pointoutalsothat partsoftheconspiracytalkappear
tobedeliberatelygeneratedbyCommunist propagandists.Urgethemtousetheir
influencetodiscourageunfoundedandirresponsible speculation.
b. Toemploypropagandaassetsto[negate]andrefutetheattacksofthecritics.Book
reviews andfeaturearticlesareparticularlyappropriateforthispurpose.The
unclassified attachmentstothisguidanceshouldprovideusefulbackground
materialforpassingto assets.Ourplayshouldpointout,asapplicable,thatthe
criticsare(I)weddedtotheories adoptedbeforetheevidencewasin,(II)politically
interested,(III)financiallyinterested,(IV) hastyandinaccurateintheirresearch,or
(V)infatuatedwiththeirowntheories.Inthe courseofdiscussionsofthewhole
phenomenonofcriticism,ausefulstrategymaybeto singleoutEpsteinstheory
[fromhisproconspiracybookInquest]forattack,usingthe attachedFletcher
KnebelarticleandSpectatorpieceforbackground.(AlthoughMarkLanesbookis
muchlessconvincingthanEpsteinsandcomesoffbadlywhereconfrontedby

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knowledgeablecritics,itisalsomuchmoredifficulttoanswerasawhole,asone
becomes lostinamorassofunrelateddetails.)

4. Inprivatetomediadiscussionsnotdirectedatanyparticularwriter,orinattacking
publications, whichmaybeyetforthcoming,thefollowingargumentsshouldbeuseful:

a. NosignificantnewevidencehasemergedwhichtheCommissiondidnotconsider.
b. Criticsusuallyovervalueparticularitemsandignoreothers.Theytendtoplace
more emphasisontherecollectionsofindividualwitnesses.Acloseexaminationof
the Commissionsrecordswillusuallyshowthattheconflictingeyewitness
accountsarequoted outofcontext,orwerediscardedbytheCommissionforgood
andsufficientreason.
c. Conspiracyonthelargescaleoftensuggestedwouldbeimpossibletoconcealin
theUnited States...NotethatRobertKennedy,AttorneyGeneralatthetimeand
JohnFKennedys brother,wouldbethelastmantooverlookorconcealany
conspiracy
d. Criticshaveoftenbeenenticedbyaformofintellectualpride:theylightonsome
theoryand fallinlovewithit
e. Oswaldwouldnothavebeenanysensiblepersonschoiceforacoconspirator.He
wasa loner,mixedup,ofquestionablereliabilityandanunknownquantitytoany
professional intelligenceservice
f. AstochargesthattheCommissionsreportwasarushjob,itemergedthree
monthsafter thedeadlineoriginallyset.ButtothedegreethattheCommission
triedtospeedupits reporting,thiswaslargelyduetothepressureofirresponsible
speculationalready appearing,insomecasescomingfromthesamecriticswho,
refusingtoadmittheirerrors, arenowputtingoutnewcriticisms.
g. Suchvagueaccusationsasthat,morethantenpeoplehavediedmysteriously,
canalways beexplainedinsomenaturalwaye.g.:theindividualsconcernedhave
forthemostpartdiedofnaturalcauses.TheCommissionstaffquestioned418
witnesses(theFBIinterviewed farmorepeople,conduction25,000interviewsand
reinterviews),andinsuchalargegroup, acertainnumberofdeathsaretobe
expected.(WhenPennJones,oneoftheoriginatorsof thetenmysteriousdeaths
line,appearedontelevision,itemergedthattwoofthedeaths onhislistwere
fromheartattacks;onefromcancer,onewasfromaheadoncollisionona bridge,
andoneoccurredwhenadriverdriftedintoabridgeabutment.)

5. Wherepossible,counterspeculationbyencouragingreferencetotheCommissionsReport
itself. Openmindedforeignreadersshouldstillbeimpressedbythecare,thoroughness,
objectivityand speedwithwhichtheCommissionworked.Reviewersofotherbooksmight
beencouragedtoadd totheiraccounttheideathat,checkingbackwiththereportitself,

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theyfounditfarsuperiortotheworkofitscritics.Thesesentimentssoundfamiliar?If
youvebeenreadinganticonspiracy literature,theyshould.Thesethemesareoftenhit
hardandrepeatedlyinsuchliterature.)This documentwasmarkedfordestruction,but
somehowsurvived.Howmanyothersuchdirectiveswill weneverseebecausedestruction
instructionswerefollowed?

Whoreceivedthoseinstructions,ultimately?Whiletheanswertothatquestioncannotbeeasily
proven,astheCIAneveracknowledgesoutrightitsassetsandworkshardtoprotecttheiranonymity,it
isindeedcurioushowmanyoftheanticonspiracycrowdhavesignificanttiestotheCIA.
ConsiderthejournalistsmostvocallynippingatGarrisonsheelsthroughouthisinvestigation:Hugh
Aynesworth,JamesPhelan,andEdwardEpstein.Woulditbesimplycoincidenceifallofthemwere
foundtohavearelationshipwiththeCIA?
AynesworthwasthesameDallasjournalistalreadydiscussedwhohadappliedtoworkforthe
CIAinOctoberof1963.Whetherornothewasacceptedisnotassignificantashisalreadyexpressed
preferenceforemployment.AndaccordingtoBernsteinandothers,manyjournalistswerehappyto
serveinvolunteerrolesfortheagency.DuringtheGarrisoninvestigation,Aynesworthwasinformingto
boththeFBIandtheWhiteHouseonGarrisonsactions.Thishardlygiveshimcredibilityasanimpartial
journalisticobserver,andcallsintoquestionthemotiveforhisnearrabidattacksinNewsweekonthe
man.
JamesPhelan,thesecondjournalistinthisantiGarrisontriumvirate,wasalsoinformingtothe
FBIonGarrisonsactivities.Phelansactivitiesalsowentbeyondjournalism.Hetriedtobribeakey
Garrisonwitnesstogethimtochangehisstory.Evenmoreimportantly,Phelanwasagoodfriendof
RobertMaheu,themangiventhejobofformulatingCIAplanstoassassinateCastro.Garrisonwas
pointingthefingerattheCIAandantiCastroCubanswhomhebelievedworkedinconcertto
assassinatePresidentKennedy.ItshardtoimaginePhelanwouldlethisfriendbeimplicated.Itseasier
toimaginethatMaheuwasclosetoPhelanbecausehetrustedhimtokeephisandtheCIAssecrets.
EdwardEpstein,thethirdantiGarrisontriumviratemember,wroteanarticlewhichquickly
grewintothebookCounterplot.ThebookmockedGarrisonscaseagainstClayShaw.ButwasEpstein
animpartialobserver?InanothersurvivingmessagefromCIAheadquarterstoitsoperatives,Epsteins
preCounterplotarticlewasrecommendedassourcematerialfortheantiGarrisoncampaign.Inlater
days,EpsteinconfessedopenlytohiscloseworkingrelationshipwiththeCIA,althoughheclaimedthat
relationshipbeganwithhisworkonhisnextbook,Legend,inwhichEpsteintriedtosuggestthatthe
assassinationwasreallytheresultofaSovietconspiracy.
Onehastoask,isitjustacoincidencethateachofthesejournalistshasprovabletiestothe
CIA?Orworse,isitsimplythecasethatsomanyjournalistsareaffiliatedwiththeCIAthatitwould
havebeenhardnottofindsuchanassociation?Althoughthefirstsuggestionischilling,thelatter
possibilityisevenmoredisturbing!
EpsteinwasacontributortoReadersDigest,anotherorganizationwithaprovenrelationshipto
36
theCIA. WhenEpsteininterviewedthefamousSovietdefectorYuriNosenko,theCIAprovided
ReadersDigestwithDonaldJamesonasaconsultantthesamemanwhohadsaidofPriscillaJohnson

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McMillanthatshecouldbepersuadedtowritewhatevertheCIAwantedherto.OneofJamesons
roleswastobringSovietdefectorstoselectedjournalists.ThiswasoneofthewaysinwhichtheCIA
plantedstoriesinmagazinesandbooks.(TheCIAhadalreadypublishedThePenskovkiyPapers,a
supposeddiaryofadefectorwhichwaslaterproventobeaworkofCIAfiction.)WhenEpsteinwanted
toverifyNosenkosveracity,hecalledJamesAngleton,thethenoustedlongtimeheadoftheCIAs
counterintelligenceunit.EpsteinhadalreadyencounteredAngletonscloseassociateRayRoccaduring
hisresearchforhisfirstbook,Inquest,alukewarmaccountofhowtheWarrenCommissionhadmade
mistakesinreachingitsconclusion.
EpsteinisofspecialinterestbecausehewasanactiveandearlymemberoftheJFK
assassinationresearchcommunity.Washethereoutofgenuineinterest,ormighthehavebeena
plant,reportingbackonwhatwasdiscoveredandinjectinghisown(orothers)opinionsintothe
researchcommunity?Membersoftheresearchcommunityhaveexpressedvehementopinionson
bothsides(somesayinghewasclearlyaplant,otherssuggestinghewasblackmailedintochanginghis
storytosupporttheagency.Thelattercaseishardertobelieveashiswritingshowsaclearand
apparentlysincereappreciationfortheAgency.)
AftertheGarrisoninvestigationended,in1970acuriouseventtranspired.JohnLeonardhad
writtenreviewsintheNewYorkTimesoftwoKennedyassassinationbooks:JimGarrisonsfirstbook,
HeritageofStone,andJamesKirkwoodsnearlovelettertoClayShaw,AmericanGrotesque.Inthe
review,headlinedWhoKilledJohnF.Kennedy?Leonardhadincludedtwoparagraphsthatdetailed
someoftheremainingmysteriesaboutthecase,aswellasLeonardsownexpressedviewthat
Somethingstinksaboutthiswholeaffair...Withinhours,however,thosetwoparagraphswere
removedfromthepaper,andanalteredheadlineofTheShawGarrisonAffairwassubstituted.
Despitehisbestefforts,Leonardwasneverabletofindoutwhohadmadethechangestohispiece.
Weveeveryrighttobeparanoid,Leonardsaid.37
JumpaheadtothetimeoftheHouseSelectCommitteeonAssassinations(HSCA).Whilethe
WarrenCommissionfailedtotrulyinvestigatethecrime,theHSCAseffortscanberecognizedasmore
diligentinmanyways.Butintheend,RobertBlakelyandRichardBillingsgotthefirstbookoutonthe
HSCAsinvestigation,enablingthemtoputthefirstspinonthereport,whichconcludedtherewasa
probableconspiracy.Andhowdidtheyspinit?Bysayingthattheconspiracywasmobbased.Blakey
becametheleaderoftheHSCAafterDickSpraguewasoustedinwhatappearedtotheresearch
communitytobeacoordinatedmediacampaign.SpraguehadthreatenedtosubpoenaCIArecordsand
officialsandconductanhonest,noholdsbarredinvestigationofpossibleAgencyinvolvementinthe
case.Shortlythereafter,pressreportsofallegedabusesofhispastposition(whichlaterprovedfalse)
workedtooustSpraguefromthecommitteechairmanship.InthewakeofhisdeparturecameBlakey,
whoopenlyexpressedhistrustfortheCIA,sayinghehadworkedwiththemfor20years.AsforRichard
Billings,hewasveryclosetotheCIAandhadevengoneonthedangerousBayoPawleyCIAmission
withCubanexilestoCuba.Coincidence,orconspiracy?
Fastforwardtothe1990s.ThreebooksbytwoauthorsfriendlywithU.S.intelligencepurport
yetagainthatLeeHarveyOswald,JamesEarlRayandSirhanSirhanallactedalone.Thetwoauthors
areGeraldPosnerandDanMoldea.PosnerbecamefamousforhisworkontheJosefMengelecase,in

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whichhetriedtoexplainhowtheCIAnevercouldquitecatchupwiththishorrificperpetratorofNazi
atrocities.Afterthat,hewroteabookontheChinesedrugtrade,andthankedthevariousintelligence
sourcesthatprovidedhimtheaccessnecessarytodohisresearch.HefollowedthatbookwithTheBio
Assassins,afictionalnovelglorifyinganoldtimeCIAoperativestuckinanewfangledbureaucraticpost
ColdWarAgency.HisnextbookwasHitlersChildren.HowtheheckdoesonefindthechildrenofNazi
higherupsifnotwithgreathelpfromintelligenceservices?Hisfirstthreebookswerepublishedby
McGrawHill.HitlersChildrenwaspublishedbyRandomHouse,andmarkshisfirstworkunderthe
aegisofRobertLoomis,whosewifeGloria(accordingtoJoanMellen)wasJamesAngletonssecretary
ofmanyyears.LoomiswasresponsibleforJimPhelansbookinwhichherecountshisexperienceson
theGarrisoncase,amongothers.LoomisnextbookwithPosnerwasCaseClosed,Posnerswidely
promotedbutnotwidelyrespectedworkontheJFKcase.DavidWrone,arespectedhistoryprofessor,
describedCaseClosedassotheorydriven,sorifewithspeculation,andsofrequentlyunableto
conformhistextwiththefactualcontentinhissourcesthatitstandsasoneofthestellarinstancesof
irresponsiblepublishingonthesubject.38
PosnerandLoomisteamedupagaininthelate90stoproduceKillingtheDream,Posners
bookontheMartinLutherKingassassination.ItcomesasnosurprisetofindhebelievesJamesEarlRay
killedMLKandthattherewasnogovernmentparticipationinaconspiracy.
DanMoldeawroteoneofthefewbooksontheRobertKennedyassassination.Aformer
professedproponentofconspiracyinthatcase,MoldeawrotethatnotonlydidSirhanactalone,but
thatheadmittedtoshootingKennedy,astatementthatSirhan,thosepresentduringthisconversation,
andSirhanslawyervehementlydenySirhanevermade.Moldeaisclosetothemanmostoften
suspectedofbeingtherealassassininthatcase,ThaneEugeneCesar.MoldeaisalsoclosetoCarl
Shoffler,thecopwhowasthefirstonthescenetocapturetheWatergateburglarsandwho,asJim
Houganandothershaveshown,hastiestotheintelligencecommunity.Moldeaalsoincludesinhis
pantheonofheroesWalterSheridan,whowasdiscussedearlierinthisvolume.Asyouwillsee,
Moldeasobjectivitymust,aswiththeotherslistedhere,becalledintoquestion.
Areyoufeelingqueasyyet?IftheCIAisusingitsownmediaassetstocoverupthetruthabout
theKennedyassassination,whatisthesecrettheysodesperatelyneedtoprotect?DidDavidFerrie
knowit?DidGeorgedeMohrenschildt?Bothdiedundermysteriouscircumstancesdirectlyfollowing
meetingswithreporters.
DavidFerrieslast(known)visitorwasWashingtonPostnationalsecurityreporterGeorge
Lardner,Jr.LardnerclaimedheleftDavidFerrieat4a.m.thedayGarrisonhaddecidedtocallFerrie
beforetheGrandJury.ThereisnoreasontosuspectLardnerhadahandinFerriesdeath,butthe
coronerthoughtthebodyindicatedanearlierdeath,andclaimed4a.m.wasthelatestpossibletime
ofhisdeath.Inasimilarlybizarrecircumstance,EdwardEpsteinwasthelastpersontotalkwithOswald
associateandCIAassetGeorgedeMohrenschildtjustpriortohisallegedsuicideontheveryday
GaetonFonzioftheHouseSelectCommitteeonAssassinationshadcometodeMohrenschildtsFlorida
hometospeakwithdeMohrenschildt.Theseeventsmaytrulybebizarrecoincidences.Butitsnot
impossibletobelievethatsomeonewasmonitoringtheactivitiesofFerrieanddeMohrenschildt
throughthesejournalists,andifinformationwastocomeoutthatmightbeparticularlysensitive,

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someonemayhaveseenfittosilencethewitnesses.
RalphMcGehee,aformerCIAoperativewhoeventuallyquittheAgencyindisgustoverthe
operationshehad learnedaboutduringhis25yearcareerthere,obtainedadocumentfrom1991
throughtheFreedomof InformationAct(FOIA)regardingtheoperationsoftheCIAsPublicAffairs
Office(PAO).Innosmallterms,the Agencyboldlyannouncestheculminationofitspressoperations:

PAOnowhasrelationshipswithreportersfromeverymajorwireservice,newspaper,news
weekly,and televisionnetworkinthenation.Thishashelpedturnsomeintelligencefailure
storiesinto intelligencesuccessstories...Inmanyinstances,wehavepersuadedreportersto
postpone,change, hold,orevenscrapstories

BeartheserelationshipsinmindasyoureadorwatchthenextinstallmentrelativetotheKennedy
assassination.BearinmindGeorgeSeldesadmonitiontotakenothingforgranted.Realizethatifthe
CIAwasbehindtheassassination,wearenotgoingtohearaboutitthroughtheCIAcontrolledmedia.

17