Nothing Surprising Here

Try to at least pretend to be shocked by this evidence that demonstrates collusion between the New York Times and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):

But what is news in this disclosure are the newly released emails between Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times’s national security and intelligence reporter, and CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf. The CIA had evidently heard that Maureen Dowd was planning to write a column on the CIA’s role in pumping the film-makers with information about the Bin Laden raid in order to boost Obama’s re-election chances, and was apparently worried about how Dowd’s column would reflect on them. On 5 August 2011 (a Friday night), Harf wrote an email to Mazzetti with the subject line: “Any word??”, suggesting, obviously, that she and Mazzetti had already discussed Dowd’s impending column and she was expecting an update from the NYT reporter.


Here we have a New York Times reporter who covers the CIA colluding with its spokesperson to plan for the fallout from the reporting by his own newspaper (“nothing to worry about”). Beyond this, that a New York Times journalist – ostensibly devoted to bringing transparency to government institutions – is pleading with the CIA spokesperson, of all people, to conceal his actions and to delete the evidence of collusion is so richly symbolic.

The relationship between the New York Times and the US government is, as usual, anything but adversarial. Indeed, these emails read like the interactions between a PR representative and his client as they plan in anticipation of a possible crisis.

None of this surprises me as I’ve read Legacy of Ashes and therefore am well aware of the marriage between the CIA and popular news sources. It’s not unusual for the CIA to recruit individuals working at news organizations. Once recruited the CIA will sometimes feed these employees false stories, controlled stories, or other information they want made public (usually as a means of supplying other countries with false information). To find evidence of a New York Times employee collaborating with the CIA is entirely unsurprising.

One thought on “Nothing Surprising Here”

  1. Thanks to Weird Al, now every reference to the CIA gets that “Party in the CIA” parody stuck in my head…

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