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December 19, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 14, 2006
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September 6, 1975
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CPYRGHT Approved For Release 2006/12/14: CIA-RDP91-0090 T. Grr:e:t,iL VrzN 0N Walters, Deputy Director of the CIA, says that the United States may be able to succeed in carrying out intelligence operations in a goldfish bowl. But he adds that if we rio, it will be like going to the moon. We will he the only ones ever to have done it. General Walters made this remark at the American Security Council luncheon in Washington on July 23, 1975. News media treatment of his candidl remarks on the CIA and' the dangers fac- ing' America today is symbolic of what is wrong with the approach of important clements of the news media's coverage of the CIA investigation. The Washington Star on the clay following General Walters' talk carried three stories on the CIA, occupying 70 column inches of the paper (over half a page). The stories were leaded: (1) ''Did CIA Cause Colonel's Death?" (2) "CIA Panel Will Call Kissinger" (3) -Nixon Tied to CIA Effort in Chile." Not one word was said about General Walters' talk, even though the Starr had a reporter present. The New York Times also ig- nored the story. The Washington Post devoted six inches to General Walters, burying the report in a story headed: "Clifford 13rres Limit to CIA Activities." We were informed that both the AP and (1PI carried stories on the Walters' talk on their wires. but no paper we examined used their stories. "I'I:e 0":'V resnectahlc report we found was in the conservative weekly, Ilimi,nt Ti t'nts, which led its August 2 "Inside Wash- in,eton" report with it 375-word story on the Walters talk. The reporter who covered the talk for the Washington Star, .Norman Kempster, told AIM that be did not do a story on it because Walters. had not said anything new. It would app::-ac that in the minds of semi' journalists the. only thin? Char is newsworthy is material that is critical of the CIA. Statements that put our intelligence activities in proper to'rspe'ctiva, defending what hcos :peen done, are simply nor IIUMAN EVF TS 6 September 1975 At that time, Reed J. Irvine, Chairman of the Board of AIM, made this rejoinder to Mr. Arni:tt. "I am afraid that the bit story is one that the press is missing entirely. It rnas' hc: that tills is the year when we are going to destroy our internal security establish ntent, v. hen we are gong to destroy or greatly weaken our defense establishment, and when, in- deed, v. e are laying the groundwork for the demise of democracy, or the citadel of democracy, the United States, because of the intent of the press to bring about an im- mccliatc end without thinking of the ultimate consequen- ces." s, e Z1 ~.a 3 ~ ~ ;~ In his American Security Conceit talk, General Walters voiced r a similar warning. SUl ZheP,ltS';n has, of i course, advised !1S ti)dt we are faced with a very dangerous situation in the world, but this is not the message that usually comes from high government officials in these days of detente. Despite what Norman Kempster of the.Washington Star says, it should he news when the No. 2 man at the CIA gives a Solzhcnitsyn-like warning. General Walters told his audience that the country was in "a tong?fr power situation than it has been since Valley force." the reason for this, he said, was that for the first time a foreign, country has the "power to destroy or seriously cripple the United States." General Walters pointed out that despite detente, the Soviets were depioyin,,, four new, different types o! intercontinental ;nis- tiles, s>ith woos of a Pith on t r r.ur!. They are huii iin larger and Inure powerful subrn ar:nes and increasing the number and intprovin?t' the reality of their tanks. He said: "e see iii ah .bias Lee seti d!0' _ !lt E'ffort hei:.1` and improve the Soviet farces hem and svhiat seems to nie to be necessary for either deterrence or de:fense." On February 3, 1975, a top reporter for Associated Press, Peter Arnett, stated in a talk at the Air War College, "It seems to me that this is going to he the year that the 'spooks' (CIA) get theirs, or they have to start answering cltles- tions ... Many reporters that I know are starting to go to Washington and are trying to find all the security people, all the discontented CIA officers and others who could feed the grist for the mill to find the story of what went on. I think there are going to he some embarrassing stories about this in the next few months aad the next year." The Genera! noted that the Doolittle Report on the CIA twenty years ago had concluded that thz U._ S. was faced with a ruthless and implacable enemy who was determined to destroy us by one means in their power. Asked whether we faced that kind of enemy tod.ty, General Walters said: "I think we are facing it eery tat:i,h situ.uion. I think the timetiCs tnay have changed, but I don't think the long-term gu:ti has clt.tng d very touch.." Approved For Release 2006/12/14: CIA-RDP91-00901 R000700080020-4 continued Approved For Release 2006/12/14: CIA-RDP91-00901 R000700080020-4 General Walters said that our position was especially dangerous because the. , eople of the United States and most of the Western 'World failed to perceive the great threat posed by the growing military strength of the Soviet Union, giving it the superiority that might enable it to force its will on the rest of the world. Asked if the CIA had failed to convey its perception of the danger to higher ot,-, s on the a National Se(:uri;y Cr,tutcil, General \Valters said: ' \ 7e have simply conveyed the informa- tion. They must draw their conclusions from it. While welcoming a responsible, constructive investigation, General Walters suggested that the current assault on the CIA is, in part. unfair and is also being promoted, in part, by people with ulterior motives, He ernphasiaecl the point that activities, that were accepted twenty years ago are being, condemned today. Standards would continue to change and he feared that 15 to 20 years from now the CIA might be, condemned for having failed to do things that it could not do given current attitudes. General Walters noted that many people now expect the intel- ligence services to operate with a degree of purity that will not be reciprocated by our enemies. He said you were going to have a rough time if you fought by the Marquis of Qucensbury rules when your opponent was using brass knuckles. The Doolittle Report had said that we would have to mater the dedication and ruthlessness of our implacable foe. That is not a popular idea today, but General Walters pointed out that even our revered Founding Fathers recognized the need for covert operations. He said George Washington mounted three kidnap attempts on Benedict Arnold, and from 1772 to 1775, Benjamin Franklin used his position as assistant postmaster to run a. mail intercept on the British. Personally he did not think it was a "dirty. trick" to help democratic forces survive in a hostile environment. Walters stressed that there was a need for secrecy. Harry Truman had said that he did not believe the best interests of the country were served by going on the principle that everyone had a right to know everything. Truman had also said that it did not rnatr'er to the Untied States whether its secrets became known through publication in the media or through t< e.Grctivitity of spies. The resralts the same. General Walters Said the CIA had been hurt and its ability to carry out its mission had been impaired by the .u:ncr:ks ripen it. He said: "People who used to give it, whop' reports are giving us summaries, and people who used to give its summaries are shak- ing hands with us. People who used to help its voluntarily are saying don't come near me. This must be a delight to the Arnerica-is-wrongers. For the people Who believe that the re:presents Inc best hope of mankind for freedom in the world, it is not an encouraging factor." What is the big story today' is it that a dozen years ago high officials, perhaps the President, plotted unsuccessfully to as- sassinate a foreign dictator' Is it that a decade ago the CIA accumulated information about Americans who were leaders in the effort to frustrate our very costly efforts to keep Southeast Asia from falling into the control of the Communists, Is it that the CIA conducted 32 wiretaps in 27 years' General Walters said: "We have"spent an enormousanrount of time rummaging' through the p;arbage pails of history, looking at the '50s and '60s, but the question of whether ;v if are going to continue as a free and democratic nation is go- ing to be decided in the late '70s and 'SOs, and I hope we will spend an appropriate amount of time on glace period, which is going to determine how we and our chi.idren live in the future." The news media are so absorbed in reporting the tirilla`ing gossip. the tales of those disaffected etni loyees that Peter Arnett said his friends were hunting down, that they have no time or space to consider what they are doing to institutions that are vital to our survival. The \Vashingion Post, which buried General Walters' talk, devoted 24 column inches of text and 17 column inches of photos on July 12 to an unsufutantiated charge that Alexander Butterfield was a CIA "contact" in the White House. This was part of the lead front page story of the day. Three days I?.ater the Yost published Butterfiel d's categorical denial of the allegation in a 12 coluntrr-inch story on page A-3. It reminds one of a sheep dog chasing after hares while the coyotes devour the lambs. The above is from the July AIM Report_ Other stories in the Report include: "The Media Coverup of the Year" (How the media have used, uncritically, the propaganda of the Peoples Bicentennial Cornrnission); "The Strange Silence Is Brokers" (A report on the belated editorial stand taken by the New York Times on the crimes in Cambodia by the Communists); "Apolo- gists for Genocide" (flow the Christian Science Monitor sugar- coated Communist crimes in Cambodia); and."ABC Contrasted with C1iy.. (A conrptariso,t of ABC's w(tLn eta to tidinit errors and Cdii's refusal to do so). The A! Si I-?efport brings you the latest nervy in the effort to stimulate accuracy and airnes in the n ationt;l inforrna- tion media. Subscriptions to the AIM K abort (published monthly) are available for just S 1) per year. Contributions to Accuracy in Media, Inc. are tax- deductible. 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