tv CIA and the Press CSPAN August 22, 2015 1:35pm-1:56pm EDT
we spoke with professors, authors, and graduate to the about their research. this interview is about 20 minutes. mr. scully: stephen hadley, a graduate of -- and a doctoral candidate. let's talk about times like these good the press and the cia abroad. in researching this, what did you learn? mr. hadley: well, what i really learned is that the cia and the press had a pretty at times contentious and very, very multi-varied relationship between the two of them and it was really founded early on in the common understanding of the cold war struggle that the united states is facing this new threat after world war ii and the soviet union. and in the early days, there was a really strong sense that they had to work together to advance
american interests. but over time, that really declined. starts, as iness institution, pushing back against the cia more, that is when the agency really got into trouble in a big way. mr. scully: how so? mr. hadley: well, by 1975, the cia, which has for most of its existence been trying really hard to avoid permanent congressional investigation of its activities finds itself under investigation by two different committees and the two houses of congress, the church committee and the senate and the house of representatives, that really turn out a lot of the cia's, what we might call, dirty laundry. there is a cia report that was called the family jewels that basically was a collection of
illegal or at least questionable cia activities that had gone 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 seymour hersh in december 1974 publishes a story that the cia has a massive domestic surveillance campaign going on in the united states, which is in direct contravention of the agency's charter. fromthey are prohibited operating within the confines of the united states. mr. scully: a couple weeks ago, we played the audio of senator frank church. if you listen to what he said about back then about listening in on phone devastations and trying to tap -- conversations
and trying to tap into personal conversations, we could play that today and it is the same argument. mr. hadley: yes. a lot of arguments about intelligence -- a lot of the questions, i should say, we first really start -- really start going during these investigations. the questions today, the church and pike committees are looking at the cia, the fbi, and the nsa. and they really recognized that the biggest threat in terms of, you know, potential violations , youivacy do come from know, increasing electronic committee case and. but they are all sharing this idea that surveillance does change things. that's knowing you are under surveillance will have an impact. and that by having a surveillance program against the looking at an type of
vietnam war protesters under the belief that they might be influenced by some foreign power in order to, you know, to work against american interests -- that cia surveillance could be damaging to the free expression of ideas. the cia also was helped -- was not helped by the fact that the name of the program was called chaos. a very negative connotation, even though the cia said it was just a randomly chosen codename. mr. scully: 40 years later, we are still talking about these two committees. just how significant were they? mr. hadley: there are very significant for the cia and the fbi. the fbi had been conducting its own very questionable activities under j edgar hoover. and those get very curtailed. the central intelligence agency has permanent oversight thatlished by the congress is not just a kind of blip on
the radar, it is permanently under supervision, which is why we get now, for example, dianne feinstein, who has an investigation into the cia's enhanced interrogation tactics. that kind of coming from the foundations of oversight that get laid down by the church and pike committees. and they are also very important for ushering in a new era in the cia, in the sense that a lot of the more active, or more, you might say, reckless things the cia had done in the cold war -- for some time, at least -- get curtailed. how long or if they are just changing to different places rather than what they had been doing, that is a question for debate. pike think the church and committees really changed the environment in which the cia is working and.
it knows that there is some people looking at it now when it had it known that before. mr. scully: this is a minor point, but it is only been relatively recently that if you couple in northern virginia, you can identify the -- where the cia is. but on the larger issue of before the cia was developed after world war ii, what did we do? mr. hadley: well, you have military intelligence agencies that are, you know, the office of naval intelligence or the bureau of military intelligence for the army. and they essentially were focused on the tasks that were deemed important for their specific services. they also didn't talk to one another very well. the state department had something called the black chamber that was actually pretty effective in reading diplomatic mail at intercepting cables, but it gets closed by the secretary of state, henry stenson, who says, at least according to the story, that gentleman don't read
each other's mail. so going after world war ii, there is not a real central organizer of the american intelligence effort and that is really where the cia gets created after the war because a lot of people looked back at world war ii, and especially on pearl harbor, and the lesson is, you know, not that we didn't 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 weren't talking to each other. and so that is kind of the cia's initial role. less about operation and more about coronation of efforts. thatou can actually see this happens again and again. the 9/11 commission report has a very similar conclusions. that the problem wasn't a failure of collection, but a failure to put all the pieces together in time to prevent such
a major attack. mr. scully: i was just going to ask you about 9/11. researching this topic, does it surprise you that that breakdown occurred leading up to 9/11? mr. hadley: it doesn't really. and part of the reason for that is that the cia, even though it was originally conceived as something that is going to be, you know, working with all these different agencies and kind of a central help for intelligence to work through -- 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 eastern block during the cold war. and i actually argue that part of the reason for that change is the nature of the press coverage. reporters who support the mission of the cia, or who don't talk about its activities,
you know, the kind of give it a certain amount of cover to people who want the cia to be a more active and aggressive agency. whereas every time there is an event that happens that is somehow against u.s. interests, the cia and its early years was getting blamed. why didn't you predicted this? and so there is writes in bogota in 1948 -- riots in bogota in 1948. and so the cia gets blamed for not protecting violence rising in bogota. so you get this kind of dynamic going where covert actions are either supported or at least not talked about, whereas the more analytic, the more predictive side, the attacks are on and i don't think he gets the chance to develop. mr. scully: in its nearly 70 years, who are among the cia
directors who have made a difference, who have played a significant role -- in shaping the agency? mr. hadley: early as alan douglas conant -- allen dulles. he is the brother of the secretary of state during the eisenhower administration. 1953, the eisenhower administration comes in. john foster dulles is kind of in charge of the united states' public interaction and he gets put in charge of the nets of public interaction of the world. it is under him that the cia first successfully overthrows foreign governments in iran in 1953. and he is very much an advocate of this more aggressive, covert action oriented agency. who with is others their own distinct mark and change the agency and shifted. i don't want to suggest, for example, that there is no one
else. you get a guy like john combe in the 1960's, who -- he is the director of the central intelligence during the cuban this a crisis. he really buckles down and focuses on especially providing good intelligence and keeping a lower profile. so i would say those are two of the most important early directors of the cia. mr. scully: why did you get interested in this topic? mr. hadley: i got interested in this topic based on a conversation i was having in front of my professors. we were reading about the overthrow of the government in guatemala in 1954. and my advisor just wanted 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. as aress is really how we,
people, know what our country is doing. and so what i found is there is some stories about what is happening with guatemala. a reasonable, analytical person looking at press coverage in 1954 can tell that we are doing something in guatemala. but that it is not nearly as, you know, investigative or sustained in its investigation as it would be later. mr. scully: and it is ironic because reporters want to know everything and this is an agency that prides itself in secrecy, so explained that interaction between this agency, these agents, and the press. mr. hadley: so, when you get this interaction is that while the press wants to know things and they look to the cia for information, they don't necessarily want to write about the cia. the most basic kind of relationship you had between the press and the agency is a reporter will go and we'll have lunch with an agent at the cia
and he will get some background information that he can use. and the cia is often a valuable source of intelligence for reporters. at a certain point, intelligence work and the press, they are doing the same kind of thing for very different reasons, in terms of getting information. so if you are getting a lot of good stuff from the cia, you don't necessarily want to do anything that is going to aggravate them or to close down that source of information. a, you york times had know, in arrangement with the cia during the 1960's that every once in a while, they would send reporters from the washington bureau to the cia headquarters and get briefed on world events. and so it was a mutually beneficial relationship between the two of them. and then there were some reporters were just really wanted to cooperate with u.s. intelligence. there is joseph, a famous
american commentator, columnist, who went beyond just trading information to actively working with the in -- cia and some of the projects out of a sense of patriotism and adventure. joseph took a trip to visit george orwell's widow after orwell had died to arrange the purchase of the rights to the book "animal farm." produced with a lot of support from the cia because of his anti-soviet message. , through working with the saturday evening post, byget a reporter, brief him the cia, so all this information that the cia wants out that it can't necessarily come out and tell people about, and then sent to those reporters to europe and have them report things the cia is giving them and presenting it as information that has come
about through just basic reporting practice. mr. scully: if david hadley had unfettered access to go to the cia headquarters, see everything, talk to anyone, what would you look for? mr. hadley: i would look for any who is thethor -- publisher of the "new york times" for the early period of my project. he is there until the 1960's. and whether or not the cia paid him to cooperate with them. because that is a question that has been debated quite a bit and i would really like to find out about that. mr. scully: how did you go about researching this dissertation? who did you talk to and what was available to you? mr. hadley: well, a lot of things are available in terms of government files from the freedom of information act. the freedom of information act reveals a lot about some communications between members of the cia and the press.
the "new york times" has a really great archive in new york that i went to that 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 with of newspaper stories, anything related to intelligence at the times. the washington post," "chicago tribune," to see what impact the cia had so that even if you cannot see the precise impact, you can only see the wake it leaves behind. like a whale in the ocean. you might not necessarily see it, but you will definitely see the waves coming after it. mr. scully: this is, of course, one aspect of the cia story. as you move ahead, what -- what would be next to go mr. hadley: -- next?
mr. hadley: i, especially, wonderful -- want to perform a more in-depth investigation of the pike and church committees. they are very important in understanding the country we live in today and the way that this huge part of our government , the national security apparatus, really functions. i think it is important to try and better understand what they might havewhat they got wrong, and how it happened the way it did. of yourly: in terms research, you provided a couple of examples, but anything else that really surprised you? that wasy: one thing really surprising to me is that is said to have been involved in the national student organization and has a much bigger role in private affairs than i necessarily --
and most people necessarily -- would have expected. and the "new york times" is so disturbed by it that they have an in-depth investigation to see if there had been any inappropriate contact between their reporters and the cia. and they find some really interesting stories that there is a member of the associated press in hong kong where is accusing everybody of being a communist and who is almost certainly working for the cia, at least according to those one secondhand reporter. but the cia approached a times reporter in berlin in 1948 to spy for them. that he would have a secret rank within the government, at least according to this reporter, to conduct operations for them. it was really surprising how often the open that was. how much of an open secret that was among members of the press. mr. scully: and why is this relevant today? mr. hadley: i think it is relevant today because the cia is going to continue to be a
part of our government and our nation, and performs an important task. but in order to keep track of what it is doing, the most reliable oversight has been done by the press, and not by congress. and so we really need to understand how the press interacts with the cia, how the press performs its watchdog function in a democracy to make partthat these necessary -- parts don't go to the kinds of abuses that has happened in the past. mr. scully: will this be a likely court -- course offering for professor david hadley? mr. hadley: i very much hope so. mr. scully: good luck with your progress. david hadley, thank you for your time. mr. hadley: thank you very much. >> you are watching "american history tv," all weekend, every weekend on c-span3.
to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span/history. >> -- people be hitting people in the head. >> i don't think any other people in america could take this kind of stuff. drive anybody into being a revolutionary. what do think about the police? >> -- [indiscernible] like, pick me up because i wasn't in school. man, what are you are going to do to me? -- [indiscernible] i said -- [indiscernible] >> the question always comes when you live in a community that is suppressed and people are living like we have to live in the black community, you know, how are you going to handle all these problems? an awareness and a need for change in this community.