On September 17th in 1965, an odd memo was sent within the CIA praising nearly a decade’s worth of unofficial briefings with the press. Seemingly out of the blue, numerous contacts between Ray Cline, CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence, and the press were suddenly admitted and enumerated. When the memo was first discovered, it was unclear what prompted it, however another, recently unearthed memo implies that it came about because of a threat from a member of the Agency’s private press pool.
As previously discussed, senior CIA analyst Ray Cline covertly accumulated a number of press contacts whom he provided information to in order to ‘improve rapport, understanding and the Agency’s public image.’ While some of the people on the list were well credentialed and had pasts or futures associated with the U.S. Intelligence Community, documents reveal that at least one of the press contacts briefed by Ray Cline was a suspected foreign agent.
From a reporter in West Virginia getting arrested for “aggressive questioning” to an independent journalist facing 70 years in prison for documenting the inauguration protests, members of the press are facing legal consequences for doing their jobs - and the police’s paper trail just doesn’t add up.
As the FBI file show, the PROMIS case was not only far reaching, with ties to corruption, murder, and Iran-Contra, but purposely obstructed. While at least some allegations were confirmed by sources and documentation, others were blocked in their entirety - with critical evidence being lost and destroyed by both Congress and the FBI.
The PROMIS affair, once labelled ‘the scandal that wouldn’t die,’ lives on according to a recent FBI FOIA response. The affair centered around the government’s theft of the PROMIS software, a forerunner to the infamous PRISM, and the far-reaching fallout which allegedly included everything from fraud, to covert operations and surveillance, to Danny Casolaro’s mysterious death, and remains the subject of an investigation decades after the Department of Justice declared the matter officially closed.