A new declassifed CIA report unearthed by the FOIA investigive cooperative MuckRock contains some shocking commentary on how the intelligence community views and interacts with the media. The 1984 series of internal memos, part of the CIA’s recent CREST release (CIA Records Search Tool) of over 900,000 newly declassified documents, were drafted in response to a study on unathorized leaks and disclosures written by legendary CIA officer Eloise Page.
The CIA Inspector General [IG] was tasked by CIA Director Bill Casey to investigate and review CIA vulnerabilities to media scrutiny. One of Eloise Page’s suggestions involved CIA and agency friendly individuals gaining influence at universities and journalism schools in order to change and shape curriculum.
“Remember that the organization has official contacts with inluenctial people outside… We have periodic sessions with college and university presidents, some of them undoubtedly with schools of journalism.” This is the section Director Casey got excited about, which he called attention to as the brief was circulated among departments. The idea of direct campus influence is aimed at shaping the end media product, and to have some influence very early on in young journalists’ careers, resulting in a “challenge to the practice of publishing indiscriminately” – that is, ensuring CIA consultation prior to news being published. Perhaps the most sinister line in the below passages is “given some curriculum changes, the next generation of reporters might show some elevation of ethics.”