The CIA Used to Infiltrate the Media

Now the CIA is the media. This isn’t Operation Mockingbird, writes Caitlin Johnstone. It’s  much worse.

(Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Back in the good old days, when things were more innocent and simple, the psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency had to covertly infiltrate the news media to manipulate the information Americans were consuming about their nation and the world. Nowadays, there is no meaningful separation between the news media and the CIA at all.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald just highlighted an interesting point about the reporting by The New York Times on the so-called  Bountygate story the outlet broke in June of last year about the Russian government trying to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

“One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed ‘intelligence officials’) say today that it was a CIA claim,” Greenwald tweeted. “So media outlets – again – repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.”

Indeed, the NYT’s original story made no mention of CIA involvement in the narrative, citing only “officials,” yet this latest article speaks as though it had been informing its readers of the story’s roots in the lying, torturingdrug-runningwarmongering Central Intelligence Agency from the very beginning. The author even writes “The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.’s assessment,” with the hyperlink leading to the initial article which made no mention of the CIA. It wasn’t until later that The New York Times began reporting that the CIA was looking into the Russian bounties allegations at all.

This would be the same “Russian bounties” narrative which was discredited all the way back in September when the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan said no satisfactory evidence had surfaced for the allegations, which was further discredited today with a new article by The Daily Beast titled “U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops.“

The Daily Beast, which has itself uncritically published many articles promoting the CIA “Bountygate” narrative, reports the following:

“It was a blockbuster story about Russia’s return to the imperial “Great Game” in Afghanistan. The Kremlin had spread money around the longtime central Asian battlefield for militants to kill remaining U.S. forces. It sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.

But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had “low to moderate” confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.”

So the mass media aggressively promoted a CIA narrative that none of them ever saw proof of, because there was no proof, because it was an entirely unfounded claim from the very beginning. They quite literally ran a CIA press release and disguised it as a news story.

This allowed the CIA to throw shade and inertia on Trump’s proposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Germany, and to continue ramping up anti-Russia sentiments on the world stage, and may well have contributed to the fact that the agency will officially be among those who are exempt from Biden’s performative Afghanistan “withdrawal.”

In totalitarian dictatorships, the government spy agency tells the news media what stories to run, and the news media unquestioningly publish it. In free democracies, the government spy agency says “Hoo buddy, have I got a scoop for you!” and the news media unquestioningly publish it.

In 1977 Carl Bernstein published an article titled “The CIA and the Media” reporting that the CIA had covertly infiltrated America’s most influential news outlets and had over 400 reporters who it considered assets in a program known as Operation Mockingbird. It was a major scandal, and rightly so. The news media is meant to report truthfully about what happens in the world, not manipulate public perception to suit the agendas of spooks and warmongers.

Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like The New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The sole owner of The Washington Post is a CIA contractor, and WaPo has never once disclosed this conflict of interest when reporting on U.S. intelligence agencies per standard journalistic protocol.

Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans such as  John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price and Rick Francona, as are known CIA assets like NBC’s Ken Dilanian, as are CIA interns like Anderson Cooper and CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.

This isn’t Operation Mockingbird. It’s so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretence of separation, has been dropped.

This is bad. This is very, very bad. Democracy has no meaningful existence if people’s votes are cast without a clear understanding of what’s happening in their nation and their world. When their understanding is being shaped to suit the agendas of the very government they’re meant to be influencing with their votes, what you have is the most powerful military and economic force in the history of civilization with no accountability to the electorate whatsoever. It’s just an immense globe-spanning power structure, doing whatever it wants to whoever it wants. A totalitarian dictatorship in disguise.

And the CIA is the very worst institution that could possibly be spearheading the movements of that dictatorship. A little research into the many, many horrific things the CIA has done over the years will quickly show you that this is true; hell, just a glance at what the CIA was up to with the Phoenix Program in Vietnam will.

There’s a common delusion in our society that depraved government agencies who are known to have done evil things in the past have simply stopped doing evil things for some reason. This belief is backed by zero evidence, and is contradicted by mountains of evidence to the contrary. It’s believed because it is comfortable, and for literally no other reason.

The CIA should not exist at all, let alone control the news media, much less the movements of the US empire. May we one day know a humanity that is entirely free from the rule of psychopaths, from our total planetary behavior as a collective, all the way down to the thoughts we think in our own heads.

May we extract their horrible fingers from every aspect of our being.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her new book, Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, and her other books: Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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23 comments for “The CIA Used to Infiltrate the Media

  1. Wiffle
    April 22, 2021 at 17:36

    Go to any platform and 98% of commentators’ “opinions” are exact duplicates of what the unholy intel/press partnership has trained them to say.

  2. Simon U
    April 22, 2021 at 03:46

    Are we sure including Tucker in this list is fair given he is the only msm outlet for Tulsi and Mate. Dore etc ?

  3. Jahala Hawkins
    April 22, 2021 at 00:57

    Or is it so much that those people who couldn’t hack it in the CIA made it to the top of the Media and since they are still auditioning to get a slot at the big boy table they let some things slide and other things go … as we all do… based on the discernment of others who we may or may not be so inclined to trust…. all in the the name of National Security.

  4. DH Fabian
    April 21, 2021 at 23:20

    A point that people don’t want to admit: Whatever the government chooses to do, it’s out of our hands. Of course, we’ll go through all the familiar steps, expressing outrage, etc. If enough people yell loud enough, those in power will issue their usual promises of reform. Yay, we won! Next year, one out of roughly 1,000 police killings will be highlighted by media again, and we’ll repeat the process.

  5. Hot Dog
    April 21, 2021 at 19:00

    Douglas Adams, brilliant author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, invented the Infinite Improbability Drive to cross vast intersteller distances in a mere nothingth of a second without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace. Following in his footsteps I adopted the Infinite Improbability Filter, which I use to parse every statement from governments. I recommend it. Afghans have to be paid by Russians to shoot the invaders and occupiers of their country ?? Infinitely improbable. Saddam Hussein had nuclear bombs in aluminum tubes that he could fly over US cities ?? ?? Infinitely improbable. A bunch of guys in a cave can knock down a skyscraper in Manhattan ?? Infinitely improbable. Joe Biden will put an end to war ?? ?? Infinitely improbable. The USA is spreading democracy in oil producing nations ??? Infinitely improbable. Russia won the 2016 election ??? Infinitely improbable. The CIA are the good guys ??? Infinitely improbable. Believe the corporate media ??? ??? Infinitely improbable. (hXXp:// RIP Adams.

  6. Rex Williams
    April 21, 2021 at 18:52


    Well done, Caitlin.First time I have seen any indication of that in the media and even I have known about it for a decade. Not just drug-running, but the world control of heroin. Australian soldiers filling in the role of protector of the crops in Afghanistan and also killing innocent civilians, a matter now under investigation but proven already.

    Thankfully, when you list the past members of that infamous group and the controlling role they enjoy in today’s media, one should not forget the contributions made by many ex-CIA personnel seen on the pages of Consortium News and what a valuable contribution they have made to this publication. Many thanks to them.

    I am sure that there will be many comments on this subject today.

  7. rosemerry
    April 21, 2021 at 15:22

    Using the word “intelligence” for the nonsense that the USA collects and tries to get us to believe is pathetic!! Use your brains, US people and do not assume that because YOUR leaders want to attack and destroy designated enemies all over the globe,that other people are just like you. You are NOT in existential danger from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea- YOU are the ones doing the threatening, the attacking, the lying, the sanctions, the offensive descriptions of leaders with no attempt to be diplomatic and certainly no effort to understand the points of view of anyone outside your little circle of “élite” elected or appointed or bought rich men and women living in the Cold War years and educated into violent hatred of anyone different.

    • Claire
      April 21, 2021 at 22:20

      Thanks so much for your comment! It is excellent !!

    • DH Fabian
      April 21, 2021 at 23:26

      The catch there is that the masses almost always fall for it. It it wasn’t only the MSM who promoted those tales. I’m one among a whole lot of people who got blocked off of a number of liberal discussion boards for doubting the (Clinton) Democrats’ claims of “Russian interference” from the start.

  8. Jimm
    April 21, 2021 at 13:07

    As usual, Caitlin gets to the heart of the matter. And the ultimate insult is we citizens fund this cabal 100%. The simple but not-so-simple answer is DECLASSIFY, DECLASSIFY, DECLASSIFY, (pull back the curtain).

    • Hot Dog
      April 21, 2021 at 18:48

      Thanks Jimm, free Julian Assange to get on with publishing facts. The empire will never declassify. Why would it ?

      • robert e williamson jr
        April 22, 2021 at 12:54

        Hot Dog, I could not agree more, but Hot Damn there is more so much more. Is it possible that the revelations in this book I discuss might free Julian? The book proves miss use of secrecy classifications that were used to cover up an act of executive action with extreme prejudice

        The pivotal events that allow the re-opening of the JFK murder case are exposed in Josiah Thompson’s “LAST SECOND IN DALLAS”.

        Like I have stated already please don’t take my word for this. Read the book thanks to the Zapruder film and the recordings taken that day of police radios being still of a quality to allow top notch analysis of them, irrefutable evidence has been verified. The story of facts have changed the nature of what we now know to be true. Facts that are provided with their mathematical proof.

        If you believe in science, especially science as pursued in this investigation by individuals of exculpatory character and honesty you will learn the latest scientific interpretations of the evidence analysis.

        Something that, as it turn out cannot be said about the Ramsey Panel.

        Thompson’s investigation has neutered the Warren Commission and other various government attempts, see the House Select Committee effort and the Ramsey Panel’s efforts to cover up the truth.

        This results in exposing the lies the CIA committed to trying to cover up their involvement. Lies ironically exposed by individuals investigating the murder, lies discovered in part by the release of JFK documents in 2017. Why did CIA lie from day one, Nov. 22,1963?

        DECLASSIFY, DECLASSIFY, DECLASSIFY, Jimm you got it, and the curtain has been pulled back slightly if not more by this investigation.

        Time for all to pressure CIA for the truth.

        Thanks CN

  9. Anonymot
    April 21, 2021 at 10:11

    Yes, excellent about the media, but there’s a far greater importance than that; the CIA IS, yes IS the American government. Certainly, it manages the public through its controlling influence on the MSM, but its controlling interest in foreign affairs has been followed by its creeping increasingly into the domestic field, also. It has been fighting for supremacy over both the State Department and the FBI for years and won the former hands down via the Bush and Obama years. Hillary at the State Department was the CIA’s dream! The devastation that followed, from the burning of everything from Libya to the Ukraine was their wildest wishes come true.

    Trump ran on the idea that the intelligence agencies were too invasive and he battled with them from the beginning, but the CIA knows where everyone’s skeletons are hidden and Trump has a pile of them. What the CIA then did was point out to him that he had little room to squiggle or they would put him in jeopardy. As a sop, they allowed him to spend four years not hating Russia and instead, hating China, climate change, the EU, etc. while he allowed them to dictate what the CIA wanted done domestically, pipelines, the border, etc. That made them tower over the FBI.

    Now that the CIA helped dump Trump with their media control, they are back in the saddle with Biden, Russia, the CIA’s favorite target for WW III, is back on the front burner with its usual hocus pocus stories about the Ukraine, Iran is heating up and so is China.
    But America is now the mosquito attacking the elephant and the CIA with all of its ignorance and incompetence is back, leading the dance with their partners in the military and the military industrial complex.

    It will be great fun to go out with a bang.

  10. Philip Reed
    April 21, 2021 at 10:08

    Whatever happened to Carl Bernstein? Where is that guy from Watergate and Mockingbird? Now turned into a CNN shill.
    Sad. Thanks Caitlin for reiterating what most of us know but always needs your persistent clarification.
    Just a short beef with your article. Why did you feel it necessary to include Tucker in your list of CIA connected media personalities? Especially based on a link to an article that was an obvious hit piece on Tucker. Tucker has morphed into one of the only MSM personalities who attacks hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle. He reports on subjects that none of the other corporate media outlets won’t touch out of pure political felty to the Democratic Party. He used to take sides years ago. No longer the case. He often has Glenn Greenwald on in recent times and they are obviously simpatico with each other. Give Tucker a break Caitlin. He’s the only one on MS corporate media who dares to deviate from the “ chosen narrative “.

  11. Stevie Boy
    April 21, 2021 at 08:02

    Unfortunately, this is also true of all the members of the ‘Five Eyes’ sewer.
    In the UK, MI6, MI5, GCHQ and the other related institutions infest the MSM. The BBC and the Guardian being two obvious direct mouthpieces for the security services. And, the CIA run their operations directly out of RAF bases (Eg. Anne Sacoolas and her husband).
    During the World Wars, the security services maybe had a legitimate role in fighting obvious enemies. However, now we are the enemy !
    Can this sewer ever be drained ?

  12. Thomas Scherrer
    April 21, 2021 at 07:03

    Nothing like a low grade form of election rigging.

  13. Donald Duck
    April 21, 2021 at 06:19

    A slow-burning coup has been emerging in the West since the 1990s.; it is now reaching its full fruition. Political parties, the MSM, the military and spook organisations, state and corporate bureaucracies, a trillionaire class, film and entertainment industries have congealed into a massive technocratic centrist blob. Orthodox politics and ideology is now a thing of the past. These now are the controlling force behind a quasi-religious narrative that now seems unassailable. Where this is taking us in anybody’s guess. Maybe into the eugenicist Brave New World or of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel ‘We’ first published in 1924.

    Well we’d better wake up soon, or we are not going to wake up at all.

  14. Tony
    April 21, 2021 at 06:18

    How many Brit Humes are there?

    According to his Wikipedia page, he worked for syndicated columnist Jack Anderson between 1970
    and 1972. And he was, in 1972, briefly put under CIA surveillance.

    But here’s a strange coincidence, the head of the CIA’s Office of Security, Howard Osborn, put Jack Anderson under surveillance in February 1972. This was called Project Mudhen. The surveillance team was called ‘Sugar’ and an ‘observation nest’ was set up across the road from Anderson’s office.

    The CIA agents were then given cryptonyms “… Brit Hume was stuck with the inglorious sobriquet
    Eggnog. “

    This claim is made in Jim Hougan’s book ‘Secret Agenda’ page 102.

  15. April 21, 2021 at 03:32

    Tumour: A ‘body’ can be 99 percent healthy yet one cancerous cell can cause much damage growing into a tumour. Although it realizes that by destroying the very body it feeds on it is also destroying itself yet that end does not prevent its greed for reproduction. Most US citizens are well aware where the tumour lies and its progress.
    For those who have the interest I made a short video illustrating the thesis above regarding the possibility that US is suffering a malignant tumour in three areas.The three areas are the war machine, wall street, education. It can be found on YouTube. John Hagan.

  16. robert e williamson jr
    April 21, 2021 at 00:16

    Great stuff! Explained so even the weak minded can grasp the warning.

    The completion of compromising what was left of the media started in earnest with 911 I believe. The predominate portion of anything “news” was 911.

    Suddenly the government was controlling the programing simply by calling new conferences whenever.

    Advertisers were cleaning up with ratings off the charts and they ended up selling out. Government reps and

    officials from all areas of the intelligence community had two hats that facilitated their morphing from the high

    end administrators of their respective specialties “hat” to their official program consultants “hat” and voila they

    owned the media. All the while the news staffs seemed not to know their hat from their asses.

    But after all it was the patriotic thing to do. Home Land Security. Does anyone feel safer now?

    These days to find the real news, significant factual stories, you are going to have to seek them out and vet them yourself.

    Not something the average person has time to do. (Maybe with COVID it’s possible)

    The courts are broken, the media is broken, the IRS is so short on funding it has become worthless unless it’s a

    Mom and Pop operation they can afford to go after. Our own government seems hell bent on destroying the

    USPS, the educational system is broken, the airlines having been deregulated are becoming more dangerous.

    On top of all that news outlets seem incapable of broadcasting both the trial coverage of the Floyd tragedy and

    one of the hottest stories on the planet, which is Israels sinking of Iranian oil tankers. Never mind that Russia

    has moved nukes to the Ukrainian border.

    With the Feb. 15th 2021 release of Josiah Thompson’s new book LAST SECOND IN DALLAS “we the people can get something going”.

    The books stands on it’s own and I suggest it not be taken lightly, a very revealing investigative effort that

    provides indisputable new evidence. Technology over took those who sought to bury the

    truth. Remember this is a report on an investigation of a murder and not of a “conspiracy”. But please don’t take my word for it.

    This is a volume that needs to be shoved up a certain intelligence agencies arse so we can see what it spits up.

    We are in very real trouble here in this country and something must be done.

    Biden cannot be let of the hook, he needs to pressed very hard on answering some questions himself about what this new set of facts mean.

    The proverbial “cat is out of the bag”.

    Thanks CN

  17. Dave
    April 20, 2021 at 21:17

    Ms Johnstone is spot on, as usual. The CIA — aka the Christian Investment Authority — is no longer needed. Of course, it never was needed, given that the USA taxpayer funds more than fifteen other “intelligence” agencies, including State Dept. intelligence, the FBI, the various military intelligence groups, etc. The CIA was from its beginning an extra-legal, law-breaking, and often illegal operative group representing the filth, the sleaze of America’s corporate and banking empires. If the CIA is defunded, don’t worry about its work force. They will re-emerge in the media, the think-tanks, the corporate bureaucracies, the military-industrial complex, and foreign government sinecures. Anyway, good riddance to bad rubbish…at least an honest and responsible American can hope the CIA is disbanded as soon as possible.

    • Guy
      April 21, 2021 at 20:18

      John F.Kennedy had plans to do just that but look where it got him . How to accomplish the eradication of such a corrupt agency though. Now the whole Western world is trapped .

    • S.P. Korolev
      April 22, 2021 at 04:17

      Haven’t heard that acronym before, excellent! My favourite is ‘Capitalism’s Invisible Army’…

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