Yes, the CIA had a classified Valentine's Day poem

Yes, the CIA had a classified Valentine’s Day poem

A 1976 humor column serves as yet another reminder of the Agency’s close scrutiny of criticism

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

On Valentine’s Day eve 1976, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a column by Bob Lancaster, in which the veteran humorist bemoans having the flu. In a self-described malaise, Lancaster ponders what a Valentine’s Day card would look like written in a such a sour state, and then - capturing the post-Church Committee zeitgeist - pens one for our “secret admirers” at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lancaster would no doubt be delighted to know that his sweethearts at the CIA were so smitten by his sentiment that they kept a copy, and it remained classified for just shy of 30 years.

While cute, the column’s inclusion in the Agency archives is a reminder of the close watch the CIA kept on any coverage deemed remotely critical - even something as harmless as an under-the-weather columnist just trying to make deadline.

The full column is embedded below.

Image via Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station