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Document Creation Date: 
December 20, 2016
Document Release Date: 
June 15, 2007
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Publication Date: 
April 17, 1980
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PDF icon CIA-RDP99-00498R000100200090-3.pdf79.06 KB
Approved For Release 2007/06/15: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100200090-3 BALTIMORE NEWS-AMERICAN 17 APRIL 1980 The. director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Admiral Stansfield Turner, sees noth- ingwrong withusing journalists as undercover agents. He reserves the right, he told an audi- ence of newspaper,-editors last week, to enlist reporters for secret missions abroad: And he was rather surprised when-the editors reacted with shock and dismayA ;> . He should, know.. better:; Newspaper and television reportersrat home. as well as over- seas, must be perceived as. operating. com- pletely _independently of.,their.government__ How, for example, would Americans be get any news of what's happening in Iran if the reporters working there were suspected of be- ing CIA.: agents? 'Admiral Turner's remarks could give the Iranians justification for arrest- ing orevicting every American correspondent .working in the country,and.the same would be no less true in other. parts of the world. We are mindful that the American press, in recent years especially;: may have worn out the public's patience in asserting its special privileges - the rather extraordinary protec- tions which the First Amendment and a demo- cratic society affords the working journalist. The vehement professional objection to the use of journalists as spies may strike some people as yet another example of the same tendency But what's at stake here is more than pro-Ttection for the reporter. Anyone who relies on newspapers or television for a reasonably ac- curate picture of the world ought to feel he has some guarantee that the go-betweens aren't paid operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency any more than they're shills of Gener- al Motors. Reporters can't be anything less than the seekers of facts that they present themselves to be, or their credibility vanishes. If a foreign nation comes to look upon ev- ery reporter as a spook, which thanks to Admi- ral very well might, what happens to a journalist's ability to inquire? Does the ad- miral think `a news source, say an official of the French government, would give frank an- swers? How can a reporter find out what's go- ing on so he or she can accurately interpret and present the facts? And what happens to a reporter's very safety in a foreign country? Admiral Turner evidently hasn't asked himself such questions. He doesn't seem to un- derstand and maybe doesn't see the value to the American people (and for that matter to their government) of unfettered inquiry. He doesn't appreciate that credibility is one of the most important tools a journalist has. That's bad enough. What makes it worse is that the CIA, in trouble in recent years because of its disregard for American values and frequently.. its laws, doesn't seem to have learned very ; much. And what makes it even worse than that is Jimmy Carter's answer to a question about his Naval Academy classmate's position. Does he agree with it? Yes, he said, I do. J Approved For Release 2007/06/15: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100200090-3