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John Simkin

Daniel Schorr

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Has anyone read Daniel Schorr's books, Clearing the Air and Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism? I have just ordered copies as I think he might have something to tell us about the assassination of JFK and Watergate.

It seems that Schorr remained one of the few journalists who constantly tried to overcome the pressures of Operation Mockingbird.

In 1953, Schorr was recruited by Ed Murrow to work for CBS News as its diplomatic correspondent in Washington. He was one of the few journalists to stand up to Joseph McCarthy. As a result he was sent to head the CBS bureau in Moscow. Two years later Schorr carried out the first ever television interview with Nikita Khrushchev. Later that year Schorr was arrested by the police and deported from the Soviet Union.

In 1960, Schorr was assigned to Bonn as CBS bureau chief for Germany and Eastern Europe. He covered the Berlin crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall and reported events from all the Warsaw Pact countries. In 1964 Schorr was nearly sacked by Bill Paley after reporting that Barry Goldwater was linked with a group of German right-wing military men.

Schorr returned to the United States in 1966 and reported on domestic issues. This included the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and the civil rights movement.

In 1972 Schorr began working full-time on the Watergate Scandal. Schorr's reports on the Senate Watergate hearings earned him three Emmys. In June 1973, Bill Paley made attempts to censor Schorr's criticism of Richard Nixon. It was later discovered that Schorr had been added to Nixon's "enemies list" and as a result was investigated by the FBI.

In February of 1976, the House of Representatives, voted to suppress the final report of its intelligence investigating committee. Schorr, who had been given an advance copy, leaked the information to Village Voice. This led to his suspension by CBS and an investigation by the House Ethics Committee in which Schorr was threatened with jail for contempt of Congress if he did not disclose his source. Schorr refused and eventually the committee decided 6 to 5 against a contempt citation.

Schorr left CBS and wrote an account of this Watergate story called Clearing the Air. Apparently, in the book he wrote about the links between the JFK assassination and Watergate.

In 1979, Schorr was asked by Ted Turner to help create the Cable News Network. He serving in Washington as its senior correspondent until 1985, when he left in a dispute over an effort to limit his editorial independence. Since then, Schorr has worked primarily for NPR.

Schorr published his autobiography, Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism, in 2001. He also writes a regular column for the Christian Science Monitor. He is still on the ball, for example, here is an article he wrote about our friend Karl Rove on 15th July, 2005.

Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.

In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail."

Prodded by Vice President Dick Cheney and in the hope of getting more conclusive information, the CIA sent Joseph Wilson, an old Africa hand, to Niger to investigate. Mr. Wilson spent eight days talking to everyone in Niger possibly involved and came back to report no sign of an Iraqi bid for uranium and, anyway, Niger's uranium was committed to other countries for many years to come.

No news is bad news for an administration gearing up for war. Ignoring Wilson's report, Cheney talked on TV about Iraq's nuclear potential. And the president himself, in his 2003 State of the Union address no less, pronounced: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Wilson declined to maintain a discreet silence. He told various people that the president was at least mistaken, at most telling an untruth. Finally Wilson directly challenged the administration with a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed headlined, "What I didn't find in Africa," and making clear his belief that the president deliberately manipulated intelligence in order to justify an invasion.

One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a super secret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.

The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.

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Namebase entry for Daniel Schorr:

http://www.namebase.org/main1/Daniel-L-Schorr.html

Ashman,C. The CIA-Mafia Link. 1975 (112-3)

Bradlee,B. A Good Life. 1995 (160)

Council on Foreign Relations. Annual Report. 1988 (91)

Council on Foreign Relations. Membership Roster. 2004

Covert Action Information Bulletin 1981-#12 (36, 39-40)

Covert Action Information Bulletin 1991-#37 (65)

Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (346)

Jeffreys-Jones,R. The CIA and American Democracy. 1989 (81, 201-2, 212)

Kurtz,H. Media Circus. 1994 (197)

Lasky,V. It Didn't Start With Watergate. 1978 (189-90, 445)

Lies Of Our Times 1990-08 (3)

Mintz,M. Cohen,J. Power, Inc. 1977 (494)

NameBase NewsLine 1993-04 (3)

NameBase NewsLine 1997-04 (8-10, 28)

Nation 1998-08-31 (24)

Olmsted,K. Challenging the Secret Government. 1996 (2-3, 26-7, 35, 59-67, 76-9, 82, 150, 158, 161-7, 171-2, 192)

Parenti,M. Dirty Truths. 1996 (157)

Parenti,M. Inventing Reality. 1993 (47, 66, 195)

Petrusenko,V. A Dangerous Game: CIA and the Mass Media. 1977 (121-2)

Powell,S. Covert Cadre. 1987 (61-2)

Prados,J. Presidents' Secret Wars. 1988 (335)

Schorr,D. Clearing the Air. 1978

Shoup,L. Minter,W. Imperial Brain Trust. 1977 (68)

Tackwood,L. The Glass House Tapes. 1973 (232)

Tarpley,W.G. Chaitkin,A. George Bush. 1992 (302, 310-1)

Tyson,J. Target America. 1981 (186-7, 196-7)

Washington Post 1983-11-25 (A23)

Washington Post 1992-05-10 (C1, 4)

Webb,G. Dark Alliance. 1998 (442)

Wise,D. Molehunt. 1992 (246-7)

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Mr. Schorr, now in his late 80s, I believe, continues on as the voice of American independent journalism. I've read Clearing The Air, and looked through his most recent, which is more an over-view of his career. Clearing The Air is the real deal however and one of the best books written about the political climate of the seventies. Schorr stepped over the lines of journalism when he leaked the report of the Pike Committee to the Village Voice, the House of Representatives investigation into intelligence activites which in many ways went even further than the Church Committee. He lost his job at CBS as a result, as William Paley couldn't stand the heat from his Washington cronies. As I remember, CBS' supposed reason for dumping Schorr was that by not immediately coming forward he allowed people to suspect other CBS employees, and that was unfair. Weak. The highlights of the book include his encounters with Richard Helms, who nearly attacked him in front of a large crowd, calling him a killer, and his bizarre encounters with the seriously disturbed James Jesus Angleton. A great read.

While it was Schorr who put the idea into Haldeman's head that the assassination and Watergate were related, in his most recent book he seems to have retreated somewhat from this position, and seems even to be leaning towards a lone-nut position. One of the best things he's written was an article for Oliver Stone's published screenplay to Nixon, which also included fresh articles by John Dean and Howard Hunt. Those who subscribe to the wacky "Dean did it because his wife was a whore" theory of Watergate should read these articles before ever spouting such nonsense.

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Daniel Schorr, Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism (2001)

The disclosure that the CIA, in its domestic surveillance program code-named Operation Chaos, tapped wires and conducted break-ins caused a public stir that intervention in far-off Chile had not. Over the Christmas holiday in Vail, Colorado, President Ford, it would later emerge, had finally gotten to read the CIA inspector general's report, informally dubbed the Family Jewels.

It detailed a stunning list of 693 items of CIA malfeasance ranging from behavior-altering drug experiments on unsuspecting subjects, one of whom plunged to his death from a hotel window; to assassination plots against leftist third world leaders.

Anxious to keep congressional committees, already gearing up for investigations, from laying bare the worst of these, President Ford, on January 5, 1975, announced the appointment of a "blue-ribbon" commission to inquire into improper domestic operations. The panel was headed by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and included such stalwarts as Gov. Ronald Reagan of California, retired general Lyman Lemnitzer, and former treasury secretary Douglas Dillon.

A few days later President Ford held a long-scheduled luncheon for New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger and several of his editors. Toward the end the subject of the newly named Rockefeller commission came up. Executive Editor A. M. Rosenthal observed that, dominated by establishment figures, the panel might not have much credibility with critics of the CIA. Ford nodded and explained that he had to he cautious in his choices because, with complete access to files, the commission might learn of matters, under presidents dating back to Truman, far more serious than the domestic surveillance they had been instructed to look into.

The ensuing hush was broken by Rosenthal. "Like what?"

"Like assassinations," the president shot back.

Prompted by an alarmed news secretary Ron Nessen, the president asked that his remark about assassinations be kept off the record.

The Times group returned to their bureau for a spirited argument about whether they could pass up a story potentially so explosive. Managing Editor E. C. Daniel called the White House in the hope of getting Nessen to ease the restriction from "off-the-record" to "deep background." Nessen was more adamant than ever that the national interest dictated that the president's unfortunate slip be forgotten. Finally, Sulzberger cut short the debate, saying that, as the publisher, he would decide, and he had decided against the use of the incendiary information.

This left several of the editors feeling quite frustrated, with the inevitable result that word of the episode began to get around, eventually reaching me. Under no off-the-record restriction myself, I enlisted CBS colleagues in figuring out how to pursue the story. Since Ford had used the word assassinations, we assumed we were looking for persons who had been murdered - possibly persons who had died under suspicious circumstances. We developed a hypothesis, but no facts.

On February 27, 1975, my long-standing request for another meeting with Director Colby came through. Over coffee we discussed Watergate and Operation Chaos, the domestic surveillance operation.

As casually as I could, I then asked, "Are you people involved in assassinations?"

"Not any more," Colby said. He explained that all planning for assassinations had been banned since the 1973 inspector general's report on the subject.

I asked, without expecting an answer, who had been the targets before 1973.

"I can't talk about it," Colby replied.

"Hammarskjold?" I ventured. (The UN. secretary-general killed in an airplane crash in Africa.)

"Of course not."

"Lumumba?" (The left-wing leader in the Belgian Congo who had been killed in 1961, supposedly by his Katanga rivals.)

"I can't go down a list with you. Sorry."

I returned to my office, my head swimming with names of dead foreign leaders who may have offended the American government. It was frustrating to be this close to one of the major stories of my career and not be able to get my hands on it. After a few days I decided I knew enough to go on the air even without the identity of corpses.

Because of President Ford's imprecision, I didn't realize that he was not referring to actual assassinations, but assassination conspiracies. All I knew was that assassination had been a weapon in the CIA arsenal until banned in a post-Watergate cleanup and that the president feared that investigation might expose the dark secret. l sat down at my typewriter and wrote, "President Ford has reportedly warned associates that if current investigations go too far they could uncover several assassinations of foreign officials involving the CIA..."

The two-minute "tell" story ran on the Evening News on February 28. While I had been mistaken in suggesting actual murders, my report opened up one of the darkest secrets in the CIA's history.

President Ford moved swiftly to head off a searching congressional investigation by extending the term of the Rockefeller commission and adding the assassination issue to its agenda. The commission hastily scheduled a new series of secret hearings in the vice president's suite in the White House annex. Richard Helms, who had already testified once, was called home again from his ambassador's post in Tehran for two days of questioning by the commission's staff and four hours before the commission on April 28.

I waited with colleagues and staked-out cameras outside the hearing room, the practice being to ask witnesses to make remarks on leaving. As Helms emerged, I extended my hand in greeting, with a jocular "Welcome back'." I was forgetting that I was the proximate reason for his being back.

His face ashen from fatigue and strain, he turned livid.

"You son of a bitch," he raged. "You killer, you cocksucker Killer Schorr - that's what they ought to call you!"

He then strode before the cameras and gave a toned-down version of his tirade. "I must say, Mr. Schorr, I didn't like what you had to say in some of your broadcasts on this subject. As far as I know, the CIA was never responsible for assassinating any foreign leader."

"Were there discussions of possible assassinations?" I asked.

Helms began losing his temper again. "I don't know when I stopped beating my wife, or you stopped beating your wife. Talk about discussions in government? There are always discussions about practically everything under the sun!"

I pursued Helms down the corridor and explained to him the presidential indiscretion that had led me to report "assassinations."

Calmer now, he apologized for his outburst and we shook hands. But because other reporters had been present, the story of his tirade was in the papers the next day.

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Has anyone read Daniel Schorr's books, Clearing the Air and Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism? I have just ordered copies as I think he might have something to tell us about the assassination of JFK and Watergate.

It seems that Schorr remained one of the few journalists who constantly tried to overcome the pressures of Operation Mockingbird.

In 1953, Schorr was recruited by Ed Murrow to work for CBS News as its diplomatic correspondent in Washington. He was one of the few journalists to stand up to Joseph McCarthy. As a result he was sent to head the CBS bureau in Moscow. Two years later Schorr carried out the first ever television interview with Nikita Khrushchev. Later that year Schorr was arrested by the police and deported from the Soviet Union.

In 1960, Schorr was assigned to Bonn as CBS bureau chief for Germany and Eastern Europe. He covered the Berlin crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall and reported events from all the Warsaw Pact countries. In 1964 Schorr was nearly sacked by Bill Paley after reporting that Barry Goldwater was linked with a group of German right-wing military men.

Schorr returned to the United States in 1966 and reported on domestic issues. This included the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and the civil rights movement.

In 1972 Schorr began working full-time on the Watergate Scandal. Schorr's reports on the Senate Watergate hearings earned him three Emmys. In June 1973, Bill Paley made attempts to censor Schorr's criticism of Richard Nixon. It was later discovered that Schorr had been added to Nixon's "enemies list" and as a result was investigated by the FBI.

In February of 1976, the House of Representatives, voted to suppress the final report of its intelligence investigating committee. Schorr, who had been given an advance copy, leaked the information to Village Voice. This led to his suspension by CBS and an investigation by the House Ethics Committee in which Schorr was threatened with jail for contempt of Congress if he did not disclose his source. Schorr refused and eventually the committee decided 6 to 5 against a contempt citation.

Schorr left CBS and wrote an account of this Watergate story called Clearing the Air. Apparently, in the book he wrote about the links between the JFK assassination and Watergate.

In 1979, Schorr was asked by Ted Turner to help create the Cable News Network. He serving in Washington as its senior correspondent until 1985, when he left in a dispute over an effort to limit his editorial independence. Since then, Schorr has worked primarily for NPR.

Schorr published his autobiography, Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism, in 2001. He also writes a regular column for the Christian Science Monitor. He is still on the ball, for example, here is an article he wrote about our friend Karl Rove on 15th July, 2005.

<span style='color:blue'>Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.

In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail."

Prodded by Vice President Dick Cheney and in the hope of getting more conclusive information, the CIA sent Joseph Wilson, an old Africa hand, to Niger to investigate. Mr. Wilson spent eight days talking to everyone in Niger possibly involved and came back to report no sign of an Iraqi bid for uranium and, anyway, Niger's uranium was committed to other countries for many years to come.

No news is bad news for an administration gearing up for war. Ignoring Wilson's report, Cheney talked on TV about Iraq's nuclear potential. And the president himself, in his 2003 State of the Union address no less, pronounced: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Wilson declined to maintain a discreet silence. He told various people that the president was at least mistaken, at most telling an untruth. Finally Wilson directly challenged the administration with a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed headlined, "What I didn't find in Africa," and making clear his belief that the president deliberately manipulated intelligence in order to justify an invasion.

One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a super secret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.

The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.</span>

Yes! I mean yes great subject. Not yes I've read his book. But I will now. I've admired him for years. I'll never forget his radio essay (NPR?) after the 2000 coup. He was won of the few who called it what it was.

I assume his integrity hurt his career a lot.

Great thread. One of the good guys for once.

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In 1979, Daniel Schorr was asked by Ted Turner to help create the Cable News Network. Schorr wrote his own contract, which specified that he should not be asked to do anything that contradicted his sense of ethical journalism. He serving in Washington as its senior correspondent until 1985, when he left in a dispute over an effort to limit his editorial independence.

Schorr found work at National Public Radio, contributing regularly to All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday, and Weekend Edition Sunday. He told USA Today: "I have breathed the breath of freedom. Nobody ever told me here what not to do."

There was a man who suffered a lifetime at the hands of Operation Mockingbird.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKschorr.htm

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In 1979, Daniel Schorr was asked by Ted Turner to help create the Cable News Network. Schorr wrote his own contract, which specified that he should not be asked to do anything that contradicted his sense of ethical journalism. He serving in Washington as its senior correspondent until 1985, when he left in a dispute over an effort to limit his editorial independence.

Schorr found work at National Public Radio, contributing regularly to All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday, and Weekend Edition Sunday. He told USA Today: "I have breathed the breath of freedom. Nobody ever told me here what not to do."

There was a man who suffered a lifetime at the hands of Operation Mockingbird.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKschorr.htm

A brief but interesting Fletcher Prouty/Daniel Schorr anecdote that appeared in Time magazine in 1975.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,913342-1,00.html

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A brief but interesting Fletcher Prouty/Daniel Schorr anecdote that appeared in Time magazine in 1975.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,913342-1,00.html

Thank you for that. I was not aware of this story. Fletcher Prouty was not the only one who thought Butterfield was a CIA spy. H. R. Haldeman, who knew Butterfield from university, also thought he was a CIA plant.

It has to be remembered that it was Butterfield who brought Nixon down. This is highly significant if you believe that it was the CIA that ousted Nixon from power. Butterfield was drawn into the Watergate Scandal after Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had interviewed Hugh Sloan. During the interview Sloan admitted that Butterfield had been in charge of "internal security". Woodward passed this information to a member of the Senate Committee headed by Sam Ervin.

On 25th June, 1973, John Dean testified that at a meeting with Richard Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged.

After a phone-call from Deep Throat, Woodward suggested to his friend from the Senate Committee that they should interview Butterfield. On Friday, 13th July, Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations. Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed". This information did indeed interest Archibald Cox and Sam Ervin demand that Richard Nixon hand over the White House tapes. Nixon refused and so Cox appealed to the Supreme Court. From this point on, Nixon was fighting a losing battle.

Another interesting point about Butterfield was that while working for the Defense Department in the 1960s he was project officer for the General Dynamics F-111. This was the project that JFK was trying to clean-up at the time of his assassination.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbutterfield.htm

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