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Spy v. Spy: Bob Novak, the CIA's MOCKINGBIRD program & the Plame/Wilson Scandal

Is Robert Novak a CIA/Operation MOCKINGBIRD agent?
Spy v. Spy: Bob Novak, the CIA's MOCKINGBIRD program & the Plame/Wilson Scandal

by Todd Brendan Fahey
July 17, 2005

Either Karl Rove or Robert Novak is lying. Both could be, of course; but if the scandal that is the unveiling of a CIA no-official-cover operative has turned into political blood-sport, the fallout will transcend anything that happened during Watergate. Spooks war against each other regularly. Usually, it doesn't hit the front pages of the major-metro dailies. And such is how we know that something has gone terribly awry in Washington and at Langley.

During the mid-to-late-1940s, with WWII now over and with the United States government seeking to control communications and to shape public thought in its aftermath, the Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency cooperated--as they often do--in the creation of a program to enlist aggressively U.S. Intelligence operatives (be they State Dept. or CIA, was of little importance) within U.S. media. Frank Wisner, an undercover State Department foreign service officer, was to head the new project, known as Operation MOCKINGBIRD.

Using a combination of flattery, the promise of comfortable and/or exciting positions, and with dollars to burn, the State Department and CIA recruited promising students with talents in both journalism and the gregariousness necessary for any good human Intelligence (HUMINT) agent to infiltrate under Government protection and supervision the various media apparatus that keeps the collective eyes of We The People glued to whatever our controllers want us to look at, at any given moment. Such was the province of the Office of Policy Coordination, MOCKINGBIRD's oversight office within the CIA.

Philip Graham, longtime publisher of the Washington Post and graduate of the Army Intelligence School, Harrisburg, PA, was tapped by State Dept. officer/CIA-functionary Frank Wisner to direct the program therefter-dubbed Operation MOCKINGBIRD.

We have been living in this world of Government covert oversight of Our Media for nearly 60 years.

A former Village Voice reporter Deborah Davis wrote, "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a former CIA analyst." CIA-founder Allen Dulles oversaw the entire operation, with Wisner as his disciple. And political points of view were evidently not a prime concern: C.D. Jackson (Fortune) and Henry Luce (Time) were known to hold conservative political opinions, as was one up-and-coming MOCKINGBIRD agent: William F. Buckley.

The editor-emeritus of National Review and longtime television fixture of The Firing Line, and just generally "Mr. Conservative" had been stationed in Japan for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1951-1954, and, following his return Stateside, was congratulated for his work with an unprecedented rise through the MOCKINGBIRD maze.

How do I know this (you ask)? In 1986, and with hard-Right Republican candidate Evan Mecham bucking for the Governorship of Arizona, I had been working for a former Congressman (John B. Conlan), who was defeated in a return-to-office bid by Jon Kyl. Mr. Conlan might have lost the race, but his chief strategist Edith Richardson was tapped by Evan Mecham, who had just won an unlikely 3-way upset over then-Arizona Education Secretary Carolyn Warner.

I had performed some black tricks for Conlan which backfired at quarter-to-midnight. Mrs. Richardson knew that I'd bled for the man, and basically opened up the "List of Vacancies" and told me to pick my next post. It wasn't much of a question: Newly tapped to the Mecham administration was one Theodore L. "Ted" Humes, to some meaningless state office that was quickly transformed into the nerve-center of HUMINT for Evan Mecham, in his battle to rid the Arizona state government as quickly as was possible of the holdovers from eight years of Bruce Babbitt's governorship.

Having already worked with Lt. General Daniel O. Graham--Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency--for his "Committee for Peace Through Strength," on a supposed "semester-abroad" program at University of London-Union College, back in Arizona I came to know that "Ted" Humes was born "Theodore L. Huminski," the son of Polish Catholic immigrants, and spoke and wrote both Polish and Russian (Cyrrilic) and, to a lesser extent, other Slavic languages. Following graduation from university, he was quickly picked up by CIA, Division of Slavic Languages, and sent to Japan from 1951-54.

Humes's CIA partner: William F. Buckley...

Ted Humes passed away several years ago, and, as Voltaire said (paraphrasing...too lazy to track down the exact quote): "To the living, one owes respect; to the dead, one only owes the truth." And having just turned 70, and with a love for lunch-hour gin and tonics, to which he would treat me every day at the Eagle's Nest restaurant, atop a high-rise adjacent to the building in which he and I worked, ostensibly for the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO), Ted's tongue would become well-oiled, and I learned more from that man than from anyone else to-date.

It is the opinion of this writer, that Robert Novak has been part of Operation MOCKINGBIRD for a very long time. (As has the Post's Bob Woodward, and through which he gained the acumen for to reach and sustain a relationship with "Deepthroat"--now known to be the FBI's then-second-in-command, Mark Felt.) Someone (and it appears certain now, that it is either Novak or Rove) knew definitively of Valerie Plame's employment history. If the source was Novak, that he is also a CIA agent, working within a long-standing media-infiltration project, would be a winning bet.

If Robert Novak is employed by the Central Intelligence Agency via Operation MOCKINGBIRD, and if for whatever reason he confirmed Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity to Karl Rove, it appears now that Mr. Rove is turning on his ultimate Source: a man who is very likely to be CIA himself. Spooks will be spooks, and spooks--as with any two humans--often don't like each other. But Federal statutes are also Federal statutes, and the citizenry can't be expected to abide by that which our Masters do not. What's good for the goose, etc.

How this will end is anyone's guess. But the more information put "out there," the better. The first amendment is not meant to be tampered with by the State Department or CIA. The damage having been done, let it bleed.


Todd Brendan Fahey has served as aide to former Congressman John B. Conlan (R-AZ), Governor Evan Mecham (R-AZ); to CIA officer Theodore L. "Ted" Humes (Division of Slavic Languages) and to the late Lt. General Daniel O. Graham, among others.

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