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Congress passed the National Security Act on July 26th, 1947, after Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal solicited New York investment broker Ferdinand Eberstadt to conduct a report on the feasibility of creating the National Security Council and condensing military services within the Department of Defense. Lawmakers used Ferdinand Eberstadt’s paper to write the National Security Act. Under the National Security Act of 1947, a Director of Central Intelligence position was created along with the Central Intelligence Agency. Source: (Church Committee Final Report Page 21)


The Church Committee’s Final Report states, “nowhere in the 1947 Act was the CIA explicitly empowered to collect intelligence or intervene secretly in the affairs of other nations.” The CIA was authorized to carry out unspecified “services of common concern” and could “carry out such other functions and duties.” The vagueness of what the Central Intelligence Agency is allowed or not allowed to do is by design. As noted by the Church Committee’s final report, the phrase “such other functions” would be used by the CIA to bring the Agency into “espionage, covert action, paramilitary operations, and technical intelligence collection.” Source: (Church Committee Final Report Page 21)

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In 1948 the United States launched the Marshall Plan to help Europe rebuild after World War ll. What many people do not know is that the CIA siphoned funds from the Marshall Plan to create the Office of Policy Coordination, which became the CIA’s first covert action branch. The Office of Policy Coordination created and ran Operation Mockingbird, a domestic propaganda campaign to promote the interests of the Central Intelligence Agency, seventy-two years later, and Operation Mockingbird is still active.  


Source: 1 (Church Committee’s Final report Page 49), Source: 2 (NBC Article: Pentagon sets sights on public opinion)


A common misconception is that the Central Intelligence Agency infiltrates major media corporations unbeknownst to them, when, in fact, these media corporations are complicit in propagandizing the public. The CIA actively recruited top executives of major news corporations to do their bidding, to publish stories that were both favorable to the Central Intelligence Agency and furthered the interests of the Agency domestically and internationally. 

Source: (The CIA and The Media By Carl Bernstein)

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The Church Committee’s Final Report has italicized text that was “substantially abridged at the request of the executive agencies.” An explanation about the italicized text is linked above and can find it in the footnotes of page 179


“Until February 1976, when it announced a new policy toward US media personnel, the CIA maintained covert relationships with about 50 American journalists or employees of US media organizations. They are part of a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and, at times, attempt to influence foreign opinion through the use of covert propaganda. The individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of foreign newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services, and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.” Source: (Church Committee’s Final Report Page 192)


When the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was created in 1948, Frank Wisner was appointed as the Director of the OPC. Wisner launched Operation Mockingbird and recruited Phillip Graham of the Washington Post to be his contact within the media industry. Phillip Graham recruited others in media, including James Truitt, Russell Wiggins, Phil Geyelin, John Hayes, Stewart Alsop, Joseph Alsop, and James Reston. They were all part of what Deborah Davis in her book Kathrine The Great called the Georgetown Set.

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According to Nina Burleigh’s book A Very Private Woman, Joseph Alsop, one of Phillip Graham’s first recruits managed to bring many others in media under the Mockingbird’s wing. The recruits included his son Stewart Alsop at the New York Herald Tribune, Ben Bradlee of Newsweek, James Reston at the New York Times, C.D. Jackson of Time Magazine, Walter Pincus at the Washington Post, Walter Winchell of the New Daily Mirror, Hal Hendrix at the Miami News, Whitelaw Reid of the New York Herald Tribune, Jerry O’Leary of the Washington Star, William C. Baggs at Miami News, Charles L. Bartlett of the Chattanooga Times, Herb Gold of the Miami News, Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann, William Allen White, and Edgar Ansel Mowrer all of the Chicago Daily News.


The Church Committee’s Final Report gave the public proof of the existence of these covert propaganda tactics used by our government. The CIA refused to reveal their sources within, so Deborah Davis, Nina Burleigh, and Alex Constantine, among many others, did it for them. Alex Constantine in his article Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA he wrote, ” in 1950 some 3,000 salaried and contracted CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts.”

On February 11th, 1976, the Central Intelligence Agency announced new guidelines governing its relationships with US media organizations. The new guidelines prohibited contractual or paid relationships with any news correspondent accredited to any US news service. According to the Church Committee’s Final Report, ” of those 50 relationships fewer than one-half will be terminated under the new CIA guidelines.” Source: (Church Committee’s Final Report Page 195)

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The main argument against Operation Mockingbird being a proven conspiracy ends with the evidence provided in the Church Committee’s Final Report along with the many books that have been published on Operation Mockingbird. The Central Intelligence Agency themselves confirmed Operation Mockingbird’s existence in recently declassified documents. 


The proof that Operation Mockingbird did not end in 1976 is the fact that the Pentagon spent 4.7 billion dollars in 2009 on what the Defense Department called “the human terrain.” An investigation by the Associated Press found that the Department of Defense, which is who the CIA gets their funding from, “will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising, and public relations.” 


The CIA uses this money to set up entities like the Joint Hometown News Service, which a real news service located on an abandoned airbase in San Antonio, Texas. According to the investigation done by the Associated Press, “each of these glowing stories was written by Pentagon staff. Under the free service, stories go out with authors’ names but not their titles and do not mention Hometown News anywhere. In 2009, Hometown News planed to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases, and 1,600 radio interviews, among other work.” Below is a picture captured by Eric Gay of the Associated Press that shows newspaper clippings the Joint Hometown News Service got published in mainstream media.

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Conspiracy theories are products of our minds, subjected to different opinions, and molded to our personal beliefs. It is why two people who believe in the same conspiracy will often disagree on aspects of this conspiracy. What led the Operation Mockingbird conspiracy to fester was the CIA’s denial of the program’s existence and their refusal to name sources in media. 

Therefore, obvious intelligence community talking points parroted by talking heads in media and calling out the propagandist who masquerade as journalists are jobs left to the public, leaving the propagandist to be sifted out ideologically. We believe an anchor, columnist, or Youtuber who says things that we agree with because it is comforting to us, and whether or not the person is a propagandist isn’t even an afterthought to most. The original crafters of Operation Mockingbird, like Frank Wiser, would envy the power that the United States Intelligence Community now holds over the American people.


Written by Joziah Thayer

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