To Kill a MOCKINGBIRD: Recently released records dispel old myths surrounding CIA program targeting journalists
A review of a file released to MuckRock on Project MOCKINGBIRD sheds new light on a Central Intelligence Agency program of domestic surveillance that targeted a pair of journalists. In the process, it dispels old myths, highlights and clarifies an error in CIA’s Family Jewels and an omission in the Rockefeller Commission’s Report. The file also reveals that the CIA’s surveillance of the journalists resulted in recording phone conversations with members of Congress - possibly including the Speaker of the House.
During its 70 year history, a number of coffee-related controversies have gripped the Central Intelligence Agency - but perhaps none of them had such long-lasting impact on the caffeination of our nation’s clandestine service as a year-long inquiry into the legality of using government funds to buy CIA employees their daily pick-me-up.
A formerly SECRET memo uncovered in the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives shows that a month after the New York Times began publishing what would become known as “The Pentagon Papers,” the Agency set about assessing the damages. Despite the Agency’s admission that much of the information in Daniel Ellsberg’s leaks was decades old, even in the early ’70s, the report remains almost entirely redacted.
Soon after legendary spymaster and CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton’s intelligence career supposedly ended with his forced retirement in December 1974 due to the exposure of CIA wrongdoing, he returned to the Agency, where counterintelligence operations reportedly remained under his purview until late 1975.
Playboy magazine was founded just a few years after Central Intelligence Agency, and together, those two institutions left their mark on the 20th century, for better and for much, much worse. To mark Hugh Hefner’s passing, we dug up those times those two overlapped in the Agency’s declassified archives.