Declassified CIA Memos Discussing the Press

Apparently, intervening in foreign democratic elections and installing brutal regimes abroad wasn’t enough for the CIA in the 20th century. Formerly classified documents reveal the agency’s attempts to intervene in journalism schools to generate favorable CIA coverage in the press.

A series of 1984 memos from the CIA Inspector General’s (IG) office reveals some alarming views on the press and how to deal with them. Among other things, the memo shows that 33 years before the Agency declared WikiLeaks a hostile non-state intelligence service, they were viewing the general press in the same terms.

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A later suggestion similarly pointed out that “the media have owners, Boards of Directors, managing editors et al” and that the Agency “had some success for a while in staving off” something, the details of which remain redacting allegedly to protect the Agency’s sources and methods.

That the CIA admits secrecy has been used to “shroud abuse” is an interesting development. As for what was staved off, my guess would perhaps be the political organizing of the general public. The effects of a nefarious agency such as the CIA have often influenced the malicious side of governments into treating domestic populations as if they’re the enemy, disturbingly enough.

Robust civic engagement is definitely one of the main ways to turn the U.S. and other countries around though. This truth is related to Hume’s Paradox — which basically says that the power in a country ultimately rests with its general population, if only it’s able and willing to use it.

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