by Wallace Garneau, America Outloud:
Did you know that cleverly hidden in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 was an update to the Smith-Mundt Act, removing a ban on the CIA propagandizing the American people?
I did not know that myself until a few minutes before writing this, but I have suggested on a number of occasions that the CIA must have a fair amount of ownership over most American media houses. I based that on the fact that the CIA was smuggling heroin into the United States during the Vietnam War (in the pallets under the coffins of dead US soldiers – the CIA even had special pallets made specifically for this purpose) and was then selling that heroin to fund off-books’ black ops’ in such places as Laos and Cambodia.
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My assertion was that the CIA was also buying and/or creating businesses, the profits of which could continue to fund off-book ‘black ops’ after the war in Vietnam ended. The CIA even went so far as to create ‘Operation Mockingbird,’ in 1963 to recruit leading American journalists into spreading propaganda for the CIA, including later in the 60s and 70s, calling stories of the heroin smuggling operation’ conspiracy theories’ that could then be dismissed out-of-hand in spite of the fact that the CIA really was doing that.
Operation Mockingbird was illegal – it was a direct violation of the Smith-Mundt Act. The CIA did it anyway, and it only made sense that the easiest way to get CIA operatives into the media and to control the content of the media was to own the companies that collectively make up ‘the media.’ That was particularly true after William Colby, at the time the HEAD of the CIA, came right out and testified to Congress that “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
Supposedly the CIA changed policies after William Colby left and began following the Smith-Mundt Act, but since we know that the NSA, under powers given to it by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2002 to monitor foreign nationals, began to also illegally monitor everything any American did that was in any way electronic (such as phone calls, e-mails, social media posts, etc.), and continued to do so even after it was caught and told that what it was doing was illegal (we found out last year that the FBI illegally uses this illegally gained information millions of times every year), I never believed the notion that the CIA ever stopped controlling the media.
And now I know that Barack Obama made it legal for the CIA to propagandize the American people through the media.
Understand that though Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, the law first had to pass both houses of Congress, including the Republican-controlled House of Representatives chaired by John Boehner.
Frankly, I’m a little surprised the Federal Government bothered to make what the CIA was doing legal. The law never constrained the CIA before, and by 2013, the law did not constrain the NSA or FBI either. These organizations do whatever they want to do, Bill of Rights be damned, so what’s the big deal if the CIA was violating the Smith-Mundt Act?
We all saw the role the media took in the 2016 and 2020 elections, as well as the role the media is taking in 2024. We see the weaponization of the entire Department of Justice (as well as of state prosecutors) as a political weapon aligned against Donald Trump.
If the CIA has controlled the media since at least 1963, I wonder how many other elections the CIA has influenced.
Allow me to speculate just a little bit by suggesting that the CIA has picked the winners of every Presidential Primary, for both the Democrats and the Republicans, to ensure that only people the CIA knows it can control ever become President and that the CIA has been doing this since at least 1963. We all saw what happened in 2016 – Trump came through like a wrecking ball and won despite the CIA, only to then see an unprecedented level of hate from the CIA-owned media, the entire intelligence apparatus (including the CIA), and an open revolt up and down the very Executive Branch Trump was supposed to be in charge of.
Donald Trump is the only President we have had since at least 1963 that the CIA did not own, and the CIA has done everything in its vast power since to ensure that we never get a President they do not own again. Another interesting event from 1963 is the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Perhaps there is a reason Donald Trump maintains a private security force alongside his Secret Service detail. He did that as President, and he still does it today.
Harry Truman created the CIA in 1947; Dwight Eisenhower (the most popular General in US history not named ‘Washington’) was President from 1953-1961 and warned us of the potential for the ‘Industrial/Military Complex’ to take over the country on his way out the door, to be followed by a President who did not listen to the CIA on the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, nor a host of other things, and who was then assassinated by the CIA only to be followed by people controlled or at least vetted by the CIA. Even Ronald Reagan, who many of us think was the best President of the modern age, picked George H. W. Bush as his running mate. George H. W. Bush had been the head of the CIA just four years earlier.