This true story comes from the Annapolis (Md.) Gazette.
My father Paul Scott was a nationally syndicated reporter whose column appeared in 300 newspapers from the 1950s-1970s. He and his partner Robert Allen were illegally wiretapped by the CIA for three months in 1963.
The CIA acknowledged this activity in the publication of its Family Jewels which cataloged its worst illegal activities and abuses. The agency trumpeted the wiretap as a very successful undertaking that included conversations with members of Congress, White House staff, and senior government officials.
Over the years, Scott has tried and failed to get an answer to his entirely reasonable question. The CIA isn’t cooperating because Scott is asking about very matters. He explains.
Over the years, my frustration with this FOIA process has been the inability to converse with CIA staff intimately involved in the review process. I often wondered why the CIA’s knowledgeable historian staff has not played an integral role in searching for these documents that shed light on a CIA program known as Project Mockingbird. Staff historians know where the long-held secrets are buried and know how to navigate the archives.
From the 1950s to at least the 1970s, Mockingbird was the agency’s program for influencing the American media. Since the CIA is forbidden from mounting covert operations on U.S. soil, Mockingbird was illicit, it not actually illegal. It was an abuses of power, and the CIA doesn’t want to be held accountable, even 57 years later.