Print Friendly and PDF


Propaganda Revisited 《Part 1》:"The Cult Intelligence"


An Excerpt
"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence"
Victor Marchetti
John D. Marks

1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10017


6. Propaganda and Disinformation

   In psychological warfare . . . the intelligence agencies of the democratic countries suffer from the grave disadvantage that in attempting to damage the adversary they must also deceive their own public.

Washington Post
  November 15, 1965


   By the mid 1960s most of the professionals in the CIA Clandestine Services thought that the day of the balloon as an effective delivery vehicle in propaganda operations had long since passed.  Years before, in the early rough-and-tumble era of the Cold War, agency operators in West Germany had often used balloons to carry anti-communist literature into the denied areas behind the Iron Curtain.  These operations, although lacking in plausible deniability, normally a prerequisite in the covert propaganda efforts, had scored high - judging from the numerous angry protests issued by the Soviet Union had its East European satellites.

[pp. 169-173]

3rd para.

“  To be sure, propaganda and disinformation are not new phenomena.  Nations and factions within nations have long employed such techniques to enhance their own images while at the same time attempting to discredit their enemies and rivals.  Yet the great advances in communications during the twentieth century have vastly changed the potential of propagandistic effort, making possible rapid, widespread distribution of propaganda material.  Nazi Germany refined and made enormous use of the "big lie."  The Soviet Union and other communist countries have used many added new twists of their own.  Although the United States did not actively enter the field until World War II, when the OSS and the Office of War Information (OWI) started their psychological-warfare programs, its propaganda effort has grown - under the eyes of the Covert Action Staff of the CIA's Clandestine Services - to be thoroughly expert.

   Working on the CA Staff are sociologists, psychologists, historians, and media specialists - all skilled at selecting "reachable" targets, such as the youth or intellectuals of a particular country, and at getting a message through to them.  In planning and carrying out its activities, the branch often works closely with other agency officers in the area divisions.  The idea for an operation may be initiated by a field component - say, a station in Africa or Latin America - that sees a special need or target of opportunity within its area of responsibility; it may originate at headquarters in Langley, either in the propaganda branch or in one of the area divisions; or it may come from the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon, or any member of the U.S. intelligence community in the form of a requirement for the CIA tot take action.   .....

21 lines OMITTED


   The CIA also makes considerable us of forged documents.  During the mid-1960s, for instance, the agency learned that a certain West African country was about to recognize the People's Republic of China and that the local government intended to force