tv CIA and the Press CSPAN August 16, 2015 9:33pm-9:54pm EDT
was at the society for historians of american foreign relations annual meeting in virginia. we spoke with professors and graduate students about research. this interview is about 20 minutes. steven scully: david hadley, a graduate and candidate at the university of columbus. let's talk about "times like these." in researching this, what did you learn? david hadley: what i really learned is that the cia and the press have a at times riedentious and very va relationship between the two of them and it was really founded early on in this common understanding of cold war the of the united states is facing this new threat after world war ii in the soviet union. and there is, in the early days, there is a really strong sense that they had to work together
in advance american interests. overtime that really declined. over time that really declined. starts as ans institution pushing back against the cia, that is when the cia got into trouble for the first time in the united states. steven scully: how so? by 1975, the cia which has, for most of its existence, been trying to avoid permanent congressional investigation of its activities, finds itself under investigation by two different committees in the two houses of congress. the church committee and the pike committee. that really turned out a lot of the cia's -- i don't want to call it during laundry. dirty laundry.
there is a cia report that was a collection of questionable cia activities that went on from 1959 until 1972. because therely is a greater willingness on the part of the press to challenge the cia. the entire thing starts because 1974,r hersh, in december publishes a story about the cia has a massive- domestic surveillance campaign going on in the united states which is a direct contravention of the agency charter as it is prohibited from operating within the confines of the united states. on c-span radio a couple of weeks ago we played the audio of senator church from idaho. and if you listen to what you said back then about listening
on phone conversations and trying to tap into your information, we could play that convey and it is the same argument. that day and it is the same argument. a lot of the questions about intelligence really start going through these investigations and it is interesting with the national security agency today and those questions. the church and pike committees are looking at the cia and the nsaand to some extent the and the recognize that the biggest threat in terms of potential violations of privacy and listening in on americans to come from increasing electronic communication. they are all sharing idea that surveillance does change things. that knowing you were under surveillance for have an impact -- will have an impact and that by having a surveillance initiated cia was
specifically looking at anti-vietnam war protesters under the belief that they might be influenced by some foreign power in order to work against american interests, that cia surveillance could be damaging to the free expression of ideas. the cia were not helped by the fact that the name of the program was called chaos. during negative connotations even though -- very negative connotations even though the cia insists it was randomly chosen. steven scully: how significant are the? -- they? david hadley: very significant for the cia and the fbi. the fbi have been conducting its own very questionable activities under jr over and those get curtailed. agencytral intelligence
has permanent oversight established by the senate and the congress. that is not just the kind of blip on the radar, it is permanently under surveillance which is why we get for example dianne feinstein, who has an investigation into the cia's enhanced interrogation tactics. that is kind of coming from the foundations of oversight that get laid down by the church and ke committees.pi they are important in ushering in a new era for the cia in the sense that a lot of the more active, or the more, you might say, reckless things sure you did in the cold war for some time -- the cia did in the cold war for some time to get curtailed. i think the church and pike
committees change the environment in which the cia was working. it knows that there are some people looking at it now. is a minorly: this point but it has only been relatively recently that if you call in northern virginia at you virginiaent northern you can identify where the cia is. they were developed after world war ii. what did we do? david hadley: you have military intelligence agencies. the office of naval intelligence or the bureau of medical intelligence -- army intelligence. they are focused on the tasks that are deemed important for their specific services. they did not talk to one another very well. the state department had something called the black chamber that was actually pretty effective in reading diplomatic mail and intercepting cables. but it gets closed by the secretary of state henry
stimson, who says, at least according to the story, the gentlemen do not read each other's mail. during into world war ii there is not a real central organizer of the american intelligence effort. and that is really where the cia gets painted after the war because a lot of people look back at world war ii, especially on pearl harbor, and the lesson is not that we did not have reason to suspect that the japanese were going to attack at pearl harbor but that all of the different elements of the early american intelligence community when talking to each other. that is the cia's initial role. it is less about operations and more about coordination of effort. but you can actually see that this happens again and again. the 9/11 commission report has very similar conclusions, but the problem was not a failure of collection but a failure to put
the pieces together in time to prevent such a major attack. steven scully: i was just do as do about 9/11. just going to ask you about 9/11. researching this topic, does that surprise you? david hadley: it does not, really. cia,he reason is that the although was originally conceived as something that is going to be working with all of these different agencies and a central hub for intelligence to work through, it pretty quickly gets directed more towards covert action, towards aggressive activity against communist nations or potential communist nations in the third world or the eastern block during the cold war. and i actually argue that a part of the reason for that change is the nature of the press coverage. reporters who support
the mission of the cia, or who cannot talk about its activities, they kind of give a certain amount of cover to people who want the cia to be a more active and aggressive agency. time there is an event that happens that is somehow against u.s. interests, the cia in its early years is getting blamed. why did you protect us? and so there are riots in bogota in 1948 and those disrupt a conference that george marshall is at. the cia gets blamed for not projecting violence in bogota. and so you have this kind of dynamic going where covert supported or at least not talked about, whereas the more analytic, the more productive side is attacked from predictive side
is attacked from very early on. david hadley: who -- steven scully: who are among the cia directors who has made a difference and played a significant role? david hadley: really significant early on is allen dulles. allen dulles is the brother of the secretary of state during the eisenhower administration. so, 1950 three, the eisenhower administration comes in. is in chargeulles of the united states' interaction with the world and allen dulles was put in charge of the not so public interaction with the world. it is under him that the cia first successfully under throat -- overthrows a foreign government in iran in 1953. he is very much an advocate of this more advocate covert action oriented agency. aggressive, covert action oriented agency.
there are others that left their mark and i do not want to suggest there was nobody else. you get a guy like john mccone in the 60's. of centralirector intelligence during the cuban missile crisis. he really buckles down and focuses especially on providing good intelligence and keeping a lower profile. so i would say those are two of the most important early directors of the cia. steven scully: why did you get interested in this topic? david hadley: i got interested in this topic based on a conversation i was having with one of my professors. we were reading about the overthrow of the government in guatemala in 1954. and my advisor just wondered, what did the american people think about this? did the american people know that we had anything to do with this? and that really led me to start investigating how the cia and
the press interacted with one another. the press is really how we as a people know what our country is actually doing. and so what i found is that there are some stories about what is happening in guatemala, a reasonable, analytical person looking at press coverage in 1954 can tell that we are doing something in guatemala, but that nearly as merely -- investigative as it would be later. steven scully: it is ironic because reporters want to know everything and this is an agency that prides itself in secrecy. interaction between the agency and agents and press. while the press wants to go things and they look to the cia for information, they do not necessarily want to write about the cia. the most basic kind of relationship you have between the press and the agency is that
a reporter will go and have lunch with an agent of the cia and he will get some background information that he can use. the cia is often a valuable source of intelligence for reporters. at a certain point, intelligence work and the press are doing the same kind of thing for very different reasons in terms of getting information. so if you're getting a lot of good stuff from the cia, you do not necessarily want to do anything that is going to aggravate them or to close down the source of information. the press wants to keep access. had anw york times" arrangement with the cia in the 60's were every once in a while they would put reporters in the cia and would get briefed 40 background. deepas in -- for background.
it was a mutually beneficial relationship. there were reporters that wanted to cooperate. there was joseph alsop, a famous columnist went beyond trading went beyond-- who trading information to actively working with the cia out of a sense of patriotism and venture. joseph alsop took a trip to visit george orwell's widow to arrangel had died the purchase of "animal farm." ofgets created with support the cia in support of the anti-soviet message. joseph alsop managed, through working with "the saturday evening post," to get a reporter briefed by the cia. the information the cia wants that it cannot send out. reporters to europe and
report things that the cia is giving them and reported as information that has come about through just basic reporting practice. david hadley: if had unfettered access to go to cia headquarters in langley, virginia, what would you look for? david hadley: i would look for any file on arthur harris over therthur hays sulzberger, publisher of the "new york times" during the early period of my project, and whether the cia paid him to cooperate. that is a question that has been debated quite a bit and i would like to find out about that. steven scully: hopi people about researching this dissertation? -- how did you go about researching this dissertation? david hadley: various things are available through the freedom of information act.
the freedom of information act reveals a lot about some communications between members of the cia and the press. times" is a great archive in new york that i went to. if you want to look at records of how reporting was done in the 1940's and 1950's, that is a great place to go. honestly i just read a lot of newspapers. i read about 26 years worth of newspaper stories. anything related to intelligence in the "times close quote -- times" and "chicago tribune" to see what impact the cia had. even if you cannot see the precise impact you can see the wake that it leaves behind. it is like a whale in the ocean. you might not see it but you will definitely see the waves after it. steven scully: this is one aspect of the cia story.
as you move ahead and look at other areas of this topic, what would be next? david hadley: i especially want to perform a more in-depth investigation of the church and ike committees- p because they show up at the end of my work now. there are important in understanding the country we live in now and the way in which the suit of our government, the national security apparatus, daily functions. -- it is this huge part of our government, the national security apparatus, really functions. terms of your in research, you provided a couple of examples but is there anything else that surprises you? a wow moment for you? david hadley: one thing that is really surprising to me is that in 1967, the cia was discovered to have been involved in the national student association and
has a much bigger role in affairs than i necessarily thought, that most people would have necessarily suspected. end of "the new york times" was so disturbed that they had an in-depth investigation as to whether there has been inappropriate contact between reporters and the cia and i find really interesting stories, that -- they find really interesting a reportert there is in hong kong accusing everybody of being a communist who was almost certainly working for the cia according to a secondhand reporter, that they approached a reporter to spy for them and he had a secret rank according to the reporter to conduct operations. that was really surprising, how often the open it was. out in the open it was. steven scully: why is it relevant today?
david hadley: i think it is relevant today because the cia will continue to be a part of our government and our nation and performs an important task. in order to keep price of what it is doing, -- track of what it is doing, the most reliable oversight is by the press and the congress. we really need to understand how the press interacts with the cia, how the press performs the watchdog function in democracy to make sure that these necessary parts of the u.s. national security state do not go to the kinds of abuses that have happened in the past. steven scully: will this be a likely course offering for professor david hadley? david hadley: i very much hope so, i very much hope so. steven scully: good luck for you -- with your project. thank you for your time. steven scully: