Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press?

Fifty years ago yesterday, Dec. 22, former President Harry Truman warned the public against the Central Intelligence Agency's excessive powers.

Harry TrumanTruman, who led the way for the agency's founding, wrote a Washington Post column entitled, "Limit CIA Role To Intelligence."

Truman, right, timed his column to be exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy, whose death has long been suspected in private by top-level Washington insiders as being linked  to the agency and the foreign policy goals of the agency's private sector patrons.

Truman's arguments failed to generate much government or media attention upon the powerful spy agency. Neither did the public focus on the CIA's far more secret sister, the National Security Agency (NSA), which was also founded in the 1940s by Truman and Congress as part of their Cold War effort against Communists.

The Post, whose owners worked closely behind the scenes with CIA executives during that period, deleted Truman's words from the newspaper's final editions, according to Ray McGovern, shown below left. He served during a 27-year as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and CIA analyst under nine directors in all four of the agency's main directorates, including operations. He helped prepare the daily intelligence briefings of two presidents.

Ray McGovernIn retrospect, Truman's fruitless efforts to reform spy agencies after Kennedy's then-mysterious murder helped enable a long string of abuses. These include the assassination, torture, Iran-contra, Benghazi, drone, and surveillance scandals of recent years.

It was on Dec. 22, 1974, for example, that investigative reporter Seymour Hersh revealed in the New York Times that the CIA had undertaken a long list of global assassinations in violation of Truman's intentions that its primary purpose be intelligence advice to the president, not secret operations.

Disclosures since then have shown that the agency and such sister spy agencies as the NSA have engaged in vast domestic propaganda and surveillance operations -- including manipulation of JFK assassination news coverage and surveillance of members of Congress such as then-Sen. Barack Obama. These are exactly the kinds of unsupervised adventures that Truman had tried to protest in the Washington Post.

This history extends to ongoing revelations of recent days. Presidents, Congress, courts and the press have proven highly ineffective for the most part in their watchdog roles -- doubtless because the same dynastic elites who staff and guide the top levels of the spy agencies also control all branches of the federal government and the elite media. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his younger brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles, juggled government posts during their careers with interludes as Wall Street lawyers working with the nation's greatest dynasties.

In that vacuum, the public must protect itself by the guidance of our first three Cold War presidents -- Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy -- and not that of their craven, fearful or complicit successors.

That is the theme of this column, as well as my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters, a true-life mystery book about the nation’s leading recent political families.

Presidential Puppety: Obama, Romney and Their MastesThe book's central figures are the Obama, Romney, Bush, Clinton families, along with the Washington Post's Graham-Meyer dynasty.

During recent weeks, I have been working via the Justice Integrity Project on a 10-part "Readers Guide" to the JFK murder on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary.

The series, of which this column is a part, will continue for two reasons.

First, the mainstream media demonstrated yet-again that it is wedded to the same simplistic JFK assassination theory as in 1963-64: that Lee Harvey Oswald was a sole killer motivated by Communist sympathies. Government officials foisted that theory upon the public and a compliant media immediately after the shooting, as indicated by such headlines as "Pro-Communist Charged With Act" (in the Dallas Morning News) in the same edition as that announcing the killing.

Second, evidence abounds that the nation's economy and democratic institutions have seriously eroded because the nation's elites have been abusing their control over public dialog -- including the real story of the JFK assassination.

Bill Moyers, the eloquent television commentator and former press secretary to President Johnson, last week described the crisis facing the nation in a video entitled, "The End Game for Democracy."

In a brief, hard-hitting commentary, Moyers said the satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pay Washington the disrespect it deserves, but the city’s predatory mercenaries have the last laugh.


Moyers had been a Baptist minister before he joined the Johnson administration and proceeded to a high-level career as a newspaper executive and broadcaster. In a previous segment of this series, we saw how the Kennedy-Johnson Justice Department promptly urged Moyers at the Johnson White House three days after the murder that the investigation must focus on reassuring the public that Oswald was guilty and acted alone. That mantra has continued at the highest levels of government and the news industry despite abundant contrary evidence that we have examined here during recent weeks.

Jerry Policoff, executive director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), is among those experts who argue that the evidence suggests "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Oswald never fired a shot at either Kennedy or the policeman J.D. Tippitt, whose seemingly senseless murder was used to foment public and law-enforcement hatred of Oswald.

Robert Tanenbaum, former top criminal prosecutor in New York City and former deputy counsel of a congressional investigation into the JFK murder, stated this fall that not a single jury in America would have convicted Oswald on the basis of evidence before the Warren Commission as long as Oswald had a competent counsel, which authorities denied Oswald before he was murdered in the Dallas police station two days after Kennedy's killing. Note: For those already getting lost because of all the names involved in the case I recommend the Spartacus Educational site for summaries of key individuals and theories of the case.

Our Readers Guide previously covered Tanenbaum's views. We plan to publish Policoff's guest column soon summarizing evidence that Oswald was framed.

Today, therefore, we amplify Truman's warning and the path leading to today's economic and constitutional crises.

This best done by drawing upon the research of the former CIA officer Ray McGovern, which he summarized in his column Truman's True Warning on the CIA this weekend at OpEd News. The analysis is updated from his 2009 column, Are Presidents Afraid of the CIA?  

McGovern noted that Truman expressed dismay at the CIA's role as of late 1963. The former CIA analyst reports that the Post "immediately excised" Truman's column from its later editions and other media ignored the ex-president's warning. "The long hand of the CIA?" McGovern asked.

Frank G. WisnerIn Presidential Puppetry, I cited biographical reports that Post Publisher Philip Graham and his wife Katharine enjoyed weekly dinners with Frank Wisner, right, a one-time Wall Street lawyer and founder of the CIA's secret Operation Mockingbird program to control the major media.

Philip Graham and Frank Wisner killed themselves in 1964 and 1965, respectively. Further limiting the ability to obtain context on those kinds of interactions is that their wives, Katharine Graham and Polly Wisner, typically joined them at dinner, and have also passed away. So has Stephen Rosenfeld, a then-young editorial board member at the Post identified to me by a mutual friend there as the person with late-night composing room oversight over the editorial pages in 1963. So we must rely primarily on written records, including memoirs.

Truman wrote in his oped that he was “disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment” to keep the President promptly and fully informed and had become “an operational and at times policy-making arm of the government.”

Here is McGovern's account:

Documents in the Truman Library show that nine days after Kennedy was assassinated, Truman sketched out in handwritten notes what he wanted to say in the op-ed. He noted, among other things, that the CIA had worked as he intended only “when I had control.”

In Truman’s view, misuse of the CIA began in February 1953, when his successor, Dwight Eisenhower, named Allen Dulles CIA Director. Dulles’s forte was overthrowing governments (in current parlance, “regime change”), and he was quite good at it. With coups in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) under his belt, Dulles was riding high in the late Fifties and moved Cuba to the top of his to-do list.

Accustomed to the carte blanche given him by Eisenhower, Dulles was offended when young President Kennedy came on the scene and had the temerity to ask questions about the Bay of Pigs adventure, which had been set in motion under Eisenhower. When Kennedy made it clear he would NOT approve the use of U.S. combat forces, Dulles reacted with disdain and set out to mousetrap the new President.

Kennedy stuck to his guns, so to speak; fired Dulles and his co-conspirators a few months after the abortive invasion in April 1961; and told a friend that he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”

The outrage was mutual, and when Kennedy himself was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, it must have occurred to Truman that the disgraced Dulles and his outraged associates might not be above conspiring to get rid of a President they felt was soft on Communism — and, incidentally, get even.

CIA LogoThe more than two thousand books on the JFK assassination and related matters argue many potential scenarios for a JFK murder and cover-up that I won't attempt to recap here except to say that the ongoing declassification of documents and willingness of key figures to talk points farther away from the Warren Commission's findings every passing year even though many loyal defenders.

Seymour Hersh's 1974 revelations of a CIA global assassination program prompted Congressional oversight hearings through the Senate Church Committee and elsewhere during the post-Watergate era.

Many other revelations occurred. One was the 1977 Rolling Stone article, “The CIA and the Media: How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up.” This breakthrough article by former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein ultimately led to my recent book, Presidential Puppetry. That is because Bernstein's research helped suggest the possibility of many other CIA relationships, including with would-be government officials, not simply news organizations and their owners.

The career of William Casey, President Reagan's 1980 campaign manager and first CIA director, illustrates a very typical but seldom-noticed pattern. Casey had been with the Office of Special Services, forerunner to the CIA, during World War II. He later became a well-connected Wall Street lawyer and media tycoon before chairing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under president Nixon.

Later, Casey held, among other things, an influential part-time editorship at the book publisher Prentice-Hall, which published a 1973 expose of the CIA, The Secret Team, by retired Air Force Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, a former Eisenhower and Kennedy administration Pentagon liaison to the CIA. More formally, he was from 1955 to 1964 Chief of Special Operations in the Pentagon working at three levels: Air Force, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Prouty was an inspiration behind the “Man X” character in the Oliver Stone movie, JFK.

Curiously, Prouty would complain that The Secret Team -- arguably the first important insider description of the CIA's dangers -- failed to achieve distribution needed for commercial success.

Fletcher ProutyIn JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy published by a smaller publisher in 1992, Prouty would later blame the JFK murder on sinister forces in government that included the CIA. But even Prouty had trouble avoiding the consequences of the widespread implications of agency penetration of Wall Street and such-capital hungry entities as the communications industries.   

Back at the CIA, Casey and Vice President George H.W. Bush (whom I describe as a CIA asset beginning soon after his graduation from Yale) laid the groundwork for the CIA-orchestrated Iran-contra arms smuggling operation. Congress and the media had little appetite for follow-up, and Bush was able to keep a lid on the scandal as president by pardoning key figures. 

A close look at subsequent presidents indicates their significant and still-hidden ties to the CIA before they entered politics, thereby helping explain the enormous growth of the national security and intelligence apparatus. To recap, President Obama failed to prosecute claims of torture by the CIA and with his predecessors has allowed surveillance and potential retrieval of virtually all electronic communications of all Americans. Furthermore, CIA assassination, arms smuggling and drone programs are proceeding virtually without any effective oversight. The CIA currently operates, in effect, its own air force -- a reality far removed from that which Truman tried to prevent in 1963.

Ray McGovern now works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).  I would like to give him the last word in this historical survey, drawing again from his Consortium News column in 2009 when hopes were high for reform during the Obama first term:

JFK and the Unspeakable by James Douglass cover"On Dec. 27, 1963, retired Admiral Sidney Souers, whom Truman had appointed to lead his first central intelligence group, sent a 'Dear Boss' letter applauding Truman’s outspokenness and blaming Dulles for making the CIA “a different animal than I tried to set up for you,” McGovern wrote.


The well-connected Dulles got himself appointed to the Warren Commission and took the lead in shaping the investigation of JFK’s assassination. Documents in the Truman Library show that he then mounted a small domestic covert action of his own to neutralize any future airing of Truman’s and Souers’s warnings about covert action. So important was this to Dulles that he invented a pretext to get himself invited to visit Truman in Independence, Missouri.
On the afternoon of April 17, 1964, Dulles spent a half-hour trying to get the former President to retract what he had said in his op-ed. No dice, said Truman. No problem, thought Dulles. Four days later, in a formal memo for his old buddy Lawrence Houston, CIA General Counsel from 1947 to 1973, Dulles fabricated a private retraction, claiming that Truman told him the Washington Post article was “all wrong,” and that Truman “seemed quite astounded at it.”
No doubt Dulles thought it might be handy to have such a memo in CIA files, just in case. As the de facto head of the Warren Commission, Dulles was perfectly positioned to exculpate himself and any of his associates, were any commissioners or investigators — or journalists — tempted to question whether the killing in Dallas might have been a CIA covert action.

What is McGovern's ultimate conclusion on whether Allen Dulles and other “cloak-and-dagger" CIA operatives might have had a hand in killing President Kennedy and then covering it up?

 The most up-to-date — and, in my view, the best — dissection of the assassination appeared last year in James Douglass’s book, JFK and the Unspeakable. After updating and arraying the abundant evidence, and conducting still more interviews, Douglass concludes the answer is: Yes. 
Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination

By Andrew Kreig, JIP Editor, CAPA Board member and Associate Editor and Board member of The Indicter

What follows are excerpts from our Project's so-far 38-previous segments of a "Readers Guide" to the assassination begun in 2013 to underscore both the 50th anniversary of the death and its continuing relevance, particularly slanted media, government, and academic treatment of the death that serves as a Rosetta Stone to similar slanted coverage sensitive matters extending through the decades to today's news.

John F. Kennedy side profile

The Justice Integrity Project cooperates with Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) and The Indicter, each of which investigates suspected political assassinations around the world. The Project's most recent previous column on these topics for the Readers Guide was JFK Birthday Prompts Inspiration, Art, Advocacy, Snark on June 2, 2017, with this beginning. "The 100th birthday anniversary of President John F. Kennedy on May 29 prompted many memorials about the late president's enduring popularity, the continuing controversies over his murder, and at least one prominent display of mockery of the late president by a big newspaper."

In the Readers Guide below, a red asterisk (*) denotes major articles in the series. Other articles may be regarded as more routine or duplicative treatments sometimes covering specific events.

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting. The "X" mark is repeatedly painted on the street by author and photographic expert Robert Groden as reminder of the horrific crime that Dallas authorities seek to expunge by removing the X.

  1. Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
  2. Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
  3. Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
  4. Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
  5. 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,'  Nov. 19, 2013.
  6. Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
  7. JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
  8. Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. *
  9. JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. *
  10. JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column. 
  11. Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
  12. Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
  13. Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014. 
  14. Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
  15. JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
  16. Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
  17. JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
  18. Dealey Plaza Picket Fence (Andrew Kreig Photo)Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
  19. The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
  20. JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
  21. JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
  22. CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
  23. Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
  24. Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
  25. Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
  26. Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
  27. Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
  28. Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
  29. The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
  30. Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015.
  31. Trump Alleges Rafael Cruz Tie To JFK Murder Suspect Oswald, May 3, 2016.
  32. Revelations Confirm Proof Of JFK, RFK Murder Cover-ups, Nov. 25, 2016.
  33. Top Experts To Assess JFK Murder Records, Revelations March 16, March 8, 2017.
  34. Speaker Program For March 16 Forum On Secret JFK Records, March 8, 2017.
  35. JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Deadline, March 8, 2017.
  36. At CAPA Forum, JFK Experts See Need, Momentum For Assassination Records Release, March 23, 2017.
  37. Time Magazine, History Channel Ramp Up Oswald-JFK Fake News, April 26, 2017.
  38. JFK Birthday Prompts Inspiration, Art, Advocacy, Snark, June 2, 2017.
  39. Deep State Killed JFK For His Cuba Policy, Peace Advocacy, Experts Say, June 13, 2017.
  40. Newly Released JFK Murder Files Prompt Disputes, 'Jigsaw' Solutions, Aug. 4, 2017.
  41. CAPA Challenges Warren Report Defenders Sabato, Shenon, Sept. 22, 2017.
  42. Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Oct. 21, 2017.
  43. Trump Backs Off Promise To Release All Suppressed JFK Documents Today; Permits Partial Release, Oct. 26, 2017.
  44. More JFK Murder Records Released On Nov. 9, Nov. 10, 2017. 
  45. TV Star John Barbour Premieres New JFK Documentary In DC With Free Screenings, Lectures, Nov. 13, 2017.
  46. Two Major Annual JFK Research Conferences Launch Friday In Dallas, Nov. 15, 2017.
  47. DC, Dallas Nov. 22 Events Mark JFK Murder, Official Cover-up, Nov. 22, 2017.
  48. Assessing Newly Released JFK Records, Dec. 19, 2017.



Edward SnowdenOpEd News, Truman's True Warning on the CIA, Ray McGovern, Dec. 22, 2013. The mainstream media had an allergic reaction to James Douglass's book and gave it almost no reviews. It is, nevertheless, still selling well. And, more important, it seems a safe bet that President Barack Obama knows what it says and maybe has even read it. This may go some way toward explaining why Obama has been so deferential to the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Pentagon. Could this be at least part of the reason he felt he had to leave the Cheney/Bush-anointed torturers, kidnappers and black-prison wardens in place, instructing his first CIA chief Leon Panetta to become, in effect, the agency's lawyer rather than leader.

Washington Post, Snowden says his ‘mission’s already accomplished,’ Barton Gellman, Dec. 23, 2013. The former NSA contractor’s leaks have altered the U.S. government’s relationship with its citizens and the rest of the world. Six months later, he reflects.

New York Times, Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower, Editorial Board, Jan. 1, 2014. Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.

Related News Coverage

Leon Panetta

Consortium News, Are Presidents Afraid of the CIA?  Ray McGovern, December 29, 2009. In the past, I have alluded to Panetta and the Seven Dwarfs. The reference is to CIA Director Leon Panetta, right, and seven of his moral-dwarf predecessors — the ones who sent President Barack Obama a letter on Sept. 18 asking him to “reverse Attorney General Holder’s Aug. 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations.” Panetta reportedly was also dead set against reopening the investigation — as he was against release of the Justice Department’s “torture memoranda” of 2002, as he has been against releasing pretty much anything at all — the President’s pledges of a new era of openness, notwithstanding.

Memory Hole, Courageous Journalism Prompts Establishment of Church Committee, James F. Tracy, Dec. 22, 2013. On December 22, 1974, the New York Times carried on its front page “Huge CIA Operation Reported in US Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years,” by Seymour Hersh, left. The piece chronicled the rampant abuses and crimes committed by the Central Intelligence Agency against the American citizenry. “An extensive investigation by the New York Times,” Hersh wrote, “has established that intelligence files on at least 10,000 American citizens were maintained by a special unit of the C.I.A. that was reporting directly to [then Director] Richard Helms.”  Later deemed “the son of Watergate,” by the Times, and at least as significant as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s Washington Post reportage that aided in bringing down the Nixon administration, Hersh pressed the issue of CIA overreach with several followup articles reporting on outrage and calls for explanation from Capitol Hill.

Washington Post, U.S. aid helps Colombia kill rebels, Secret CIA program has helped cripple FARC forces, Dana Priest, Dec. 21, 2013. The previously undisclosed CIA program, which includes substantial eavesdropping help from the NSA, has provided intelligence for airstrikes and GPS kits to guide smart bombs, officials say.

Salon, JFK assassination: CIA and New York Times are still lying to us, David Talbot, Nov. 6, 2013. Fifty years later, a complicit media still covers up for the security state. We need to reclaim our history.

Business Insider, Military & Defense More: Conspiracy Theorists Government CIA NSA, 9 Huge Government Conspiracies That Actually Happened, Christina Sterbenz, Dec. 23, 2013. We all know the conspiracy theories — the government's plan for 911, the second gunman who shot JFK, the evolution of the elite from a race of blood-drinking, shape-shifting lizards. But the people who spread these ideas usually can't prove them. As the years pass, however, secrets surface. Government documents become declassified. We now have evidence of certain elaborate government schemes right here in the U.S. of A. 1. The U.S. Department of the Treasury poisoned alcohol during Prohibition — and people died. 2. The U.S. Public Health Service lied about treating black men with syphilis for more than 40 years. 3. More than 100 million Americans received a polio vaccine contaminated with a potentially cancer-causing virus. From 1954 to 1961, simian virus 40 (SV40) somehow showed up  in polio vaccines, according to the American Journal of Cancer. Researchers estimate 98 million people in the U.S. and even more worldwide received contaminated inoculations. Jonas Salk, known creator of the inactivated polio vaccine, used cells from rhesus monkeys infected with SV40, according to president of the National Vaccine Information Center Barbara Fisher, who testified before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness in the U.S. House of Representatives on this matter in 2003, after researching the situation for 10 years. The federal government changed oral vaccine stipulations in 1961 — which didn't include Salk's inactivated polio vaccine — specifically citing SV40. But medical professionals continued to administer tainted vaccines until 1963, according to Michael E. Horwin writing for the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology in 2003. And even after 1961, the American Journal of Cancer found contaminated oral vaccines. Although researchers know SV40 causes cancer in animals, opinions vary on a direct link between the virus and cancer in humans. Independent studies, however, have identified SV40 in brain and lung tumors of children and adults. The Centers for Disease Control did post a fact sheet acknowledging the presence of SV40 in polio vaccines but has since removed it, according to Medical Daily.

Reuters, Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer, Joseph Menn, Dec. 20, 2013. As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned. Undisclosed until now was that RSA received $10 million in a deal that set the NSA formula as the preferred, or default, method for number generation in the BSafe software, according to two sources familiar with the contract.

Joe LauriaConsortium News, A History of False Fear, Joe Lauria, left, Dec. 23, 2013. It’s always hard to get someone to speak honestly when his or her livelihood depends on not telling the truth. With the military-industrial-surveillance complex, that reality is multiplied by the billions of dollars and the many careers at stake. Despite the deep embarrassment and outrage caused by continuing revelations of the National Security Agency’s abuse of power, meaningful reform is unlikely because at heart the Edward Snowden story is about money – and political power. And Snowden has threatened both. President Obama is considering adopting some NSA reforms recommended by a White House panel. But don’t bet on him going too far.

Huffington Post, Inside the President's Review Group: Protecting Security and Liberty, Geoffrey R. Stone, Dec. 21, 2013. Professor of law and former provost, University of Chicago. On August 27, President Obama met in the White House Situation Room with the five members of his newly appointed Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. The members were Richard Clarke, a former member of the National Security Council; Michael Morell, a former Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Cass Sunstein, a former Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; Peter Swire, a former Chief Counselor for Privacy in the Office of Management and Budget; and me. Our charge was to submit a formal report to the President by December 15, 2013, advising him on how the United States can better employ its foreign intelligence surveillance capabilities in a way that effectively protects our national security. The five members of the Review Group unanimously agreed on every one of our 46 recommendations.

Forbes, 4 Essential Books On JFK's Assassination, Cedric Muhammad, Nov. 21, 2013. For over 20 years I have studied the assassination and have come to believe that the American electorate’s persistent majority belief in more than one shooter and in a conspiracy is rooted as much in a gnawing sense that the President of the United States is not the supreme authority in the land (no matter how many insist on calling POTUS ‘the must powerful man in the world,’) as anything else. It is this sense that unseen persons and powers operate above and outside of elected authority which undergirds the passionate insistence that more than one shooter is responsible for what happened on November 22, 1963. That such ‘outlaw’ elite authorities are apolitical and never abusive of their unbridled power is nonsense, the electorate is sure. In that light there are 4 books that I have found to be essential in order to better understand this phenomenon:

No. 1: Understanding Special Operations And Their Impact On The Vietnam War Era. This book is an in-depth 1989 interview of L. Fletcher Prouty compiled by David T. Ratcliffe. It is extremely difficult to locate with rare versions costing in the hundreds of dollars so it is wonderful that an easy-to-read free online version is available. The book with painstaking detail documents the period between 1941 to 1963 – essential to understanding the relationship between the military and intelligence communities.

Washington Post, U.S. reasserts need to keep NSA details secret, Ellen Nakashima, Dec. 21, 2013. The U.S. government reaffirms its claim of state-secrets privilege to keep under wraps what it says are operational details in lawsuits alleging that NSA surveillance of e-mails and phone calls is unlawful. The government Friday reasserted its claim of state-secrets privilege to keep under wraps what it says are operational details in two long-running lawsuits alleging the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans’ e-mails and phone calls is unlawful. Federal officials also for the first time publicly acknowledged  that President George W. Bush in 2001 authorized sweeping collections of Americans’ phone and Internet data — programs that operated for years solely under executive power before being brought under court and congressional oversight. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, left, said in a court filing Friday that Bush authorized the collection efforts on Oct. 4, 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Washington Post, Americans uneasy about surveillance but often use snooping tools online, Marc Fisher and Craig Timberg, Dec. 21, 2013. A Post poll finds nearly seven in 10 Americans are concerned about how much information is collected.


Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

U.S. Rep. Walter JonesWho What Why, Saudi Sized Cracks in 9/11's Wall of Silence, Russ Baker, Dec. 22, 2013. Two Congressmen, a Democrat and a Republican, are asking Obama to declassify the congressional report on 9/11, which the Bush administration heavily redacted. The two members of the House of Representatives have read the blacked-out portions, including 28 totally blank pages that deal largely with Saudi government ties to the alleged 9/11 hijackers. This is apparently major connect-the-dots stuff—much more significant than what one may remember from Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 911, about Saudi royals and other Saudis studying and living in the US, who were allowed to go home without being interviewed in the aftermath of the attacks. This is about actual financial and logistical support of terrorism against the United States—by its ally, the Saudi government. As a Hoover Institution media scholar wrote in the New York Post (normally no bastion of deep investigative inquiry). The two outspoken Representatives, Walter Jones (R-NC), left, and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass), would be violating federal law if they offered any specifics about what they know, or even named any countries mentioned—but did say they were  “absolutely shocked” by revelations of foreign state involvement in the attacks. Now, they want a resolution requesting Obama declassify the entire document. If the media were to do its job Obama might feel he had to release the full 9/11 report. He’d have to concede there is a public right to know, or at least explain in detail why he doesn’t think so. Either way, there would be major fireworks. But we’re not betting on either the president or the media doing the right thing. How much publicity is this enormously significant story getting? Very, very little.

International Business Times, JFK Assassination: Jacqueline Kennedy, RFK Did Not Believe Only One Person Assassinated President John F. Kennedy, Joseph Lazzaro, Dec. 20 2013. One week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy privately communicated to the leadership of the Soviet Union that they did not believe accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK wanted the Soviet leadership to know that “despite Oswald’s connections to the communist world, the Kennedys believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.” Publicly, Jacqueline Kennedy endorsed the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone, and it was not until 1999 that her and RFK’s private views were made known, when they were revealed by historians Aleksandr Fusenko and Timothy Naftali in their book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964.”