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Invisible Government

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While researching Operation Mockingbird I came across the story of the book Invisible Government.

David Wise (New York Herald Tribune) and Thomas Ross (Chicago Sun-Times) were two young journalists working in Washington. They began to research the events surrounding the shooting down of the Lockheed U-2 spy plane on 1st May, 1960. Their book, The U-2 Affair was published in 1962.

Wise and Ross now began work on a new book called Invisible Government. John McCone, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, discovered that the book intended to look at his links with the Military Industrial Congress Complex. The authors also claimed that the CIA was having a major influence on American foreign policy. This included the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran (1953) and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1954). The book also covered the role that the CIA played in the Bay of Pigs operation, the attempts to remove President Sukarno in Indonesia and the covert operations taking place in Laos and Vietnam.

John McCone called in Wise and Ross to demand deletions on the basis of galleys the CIA had secretly obtained from Random House. The authors refused to made these changes and Random House decided to go ahead and publish the book. The CIA considered buying up the entire printing of Invisible Government but this idea was rejected when Random House pointed out that if this happened they would have to print a second edition. McCone now formed a special group to deal with the book and tried to arrange for it to get bad reviews.

Invisible Government was published in 1964. It was the first full account of America's intelligence and espionage apparatus. In the book Wise and Ross argued that the "Invisible Government is made up of many agencies and people, including the intelligence branches of the State and Defense Departments, of the Army, Navy and Air Force". However, they claimed that the most important organization involved in this process was the CIA.

Invisible Government is a very good book. Has anyone read David Wise's other books: The Espionage Establishment (1967), The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (1975), The American Police State: The Government Against the People (1978), Nightmover (1995), Cassidy's Run (2000) and Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America (2002)?

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The careers of Wise and Ross were very different after the publication of Invisible Government (it was a major bestseller being in the top two for 26 weeks). Wise went on to write a series of books about the covert activities of the CIA. Ross on the other hand did not publish another book. Instead he held a series of important jobs: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Senior Vice President of NBC News, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs of RCA, Senior Vice President and Worldwide Media Director for Hill and Knowlton and Senior Director for Public Affairs at the National Security Council.

You can find brief biographies at:



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