Mockingbird Collection

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Mockingbird Collection

In 1948 ​Frank Wisner​ was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects. Soon afterwards it was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter­intelligence branch of the ​Central Intelligence Agency​. Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti­sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti­Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world." 

Later that year Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence the domestic American media. Wisner recruited ​Philip Graham​(​Washington Post​)to run the project within the industry. Graham himself recruited others who had worked for military intelligence during the war. This included ​James Truitt​,Russell Wiggins, Phil Geyelin, John Hayes and Alan Barth. Others like ​Stewart Alsop​,​Joseph Alsop​​and​​James Reston​,​​were recruited from within the ​Georgetown Set​.According to ​Deborah Davis (​Katharine the Great​):"By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles."

In 1951 ​Allen W. Dulles​persuaded ​Cord Meyer​to join the CIA. However, there is evidence that he was recruited several years earlier and had been spying on the liberal 
organizations he had been a member of in the later 1940s. According to ​Deborah Davis​, Meyer became Mockingbird's "principal operative".  

One of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop​,whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA included ​

  • Stewart Alsop​(​New York Herald Tribune​),​
  • Ben Bradlee​​(​Newsweek​),
  • ​James Reston​(​New York Times​),​
  • C. D. Jackson​(​Time Magazine​),
  • Walter Pincus​​(​Washington Post​),
  • William C. Baggs (​Miami News​),
  • Herb Gold (​Miami News​) and 
  • Charles Bartlett (​Chattanooga Times​).

According to ​Nina Burleigh​ (​AVery Private Woman​) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by ​Frank Wisner​. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work.