Tag Archives: John Prados

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #85

The CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) oversaw the Agency’s various propaganda efforts and from its formation in 1947 recruited and trained US journalists as media assets while helping to establish and maintain friendly relations with news industry executives throughout the Cold War. Among OPC Director Frank Wisner’s most favored programs was covert propaganda. The former Wall Street attorney and OSS veteran famously referred to these activities as his “Wurlitzer,” after the popular organ and jukebox manufacturer.

In an effort to conceal such activities from public view certain front groups with virtuous-sounding titles were created by US diplomats Joseph C. Grew and Dewitt C. Poole, under advisement of George Kennan and then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson. In 1949 Grew and Poole established the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), with Allen Dulles elected as its first president.

In the following year the NCFE formed a subsidiary for broadcasting in Europe, Radio Free Europe (RFE), with headquarters in New York and production arm in Munich. With the assistance of Franklin A. Lindsey, a CIA representative and liaison to the British, another public face for transmitting propaganda directly into the Soviet Union was established in 1951, the American Committee for Freedom for the Peoples of the USSR; its broadcast outlet became known as Radio Liberty.

John Prados, Presidents’ Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations From World War II Through the Persian Gulf, Chicago: Elephant Paperbacks, 1996, 34-35.

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