Chapter 25: The Firestorm

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Firestorm Participants

John W. Gardner, In Common Cause: Citizen Action and How it Works (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1973); IN 1967, John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. He had been a former OSS official and served on the LBJ-appointaed commission to examine CIA involvement in private organizations. Gardner was featured in a PBS Documentary, Uncommon American, and more about his life may be found at

Nicholas Katzenbach, Some Of It Was Fun: Working with RFK and LBJ, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008) Katzenbach was Acting Secretary of State when Dean Rusk was out of the country, handled much of the fallout, and participated on the LBJ-appointed commission.

Richard Helms, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Random House, 2003) CIA Director who also participated on the LBJ-appointed three person commission.

Cord Meyer, Facing Reality: From the World Federalism to the CIA (New York: Harper & Row, 1980) Meyers’ uses NSA as his principal example in this memoir.

See also:

Scott D. Breckinridge, The CIA and the Cold War: A Memoir (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993) A former CIA career official, later Deputy Inspector General, Breckinridge wrote about being assigned to the Ramparts damage control effort.

Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA (New York: Washington Square Press, 1981); See also General Bibliographies



ALL notes correspond to the endnotes in Patriotic Betrayal, supply additional information or evidence, and should be read together.

Note 12: CIA Damage Control: The figure of 200 agents, the number summoned from around the world to handle the NSA crisis, is cited in Warner (Sophisticated Spies, see General Bibliographies), and appears to be based in turn on a CIA Inspector General in-house history, “The 1967 Crises in Covert Action Operations: The Ramparts Exposure (CIA),” cited in Evan Thomas (The Very Best Men).

Note 16: The Reporter magazine and the CIA. Elke Van Cassel, who made an exhaustive study of The Reporter magazine, which ceased publication after the Ramparts’ disclosures, concluded there is strong circumstantial evidence to believe that the magazine was supported by the CIA, despite the destruction of all financial documents. Elke van Cassel, “In Search of a Clear and Overarching American Policy: The Reporter Magazine (1949-68) and the Cold War,” in Helen Laville and Hugh Wilford (Eds.), The US Government, Citizen groups, and the Cold War (See General Bibliography)

Surviving documentation credits Marion and Max Ascoli’s personal fortune with launching and sustaining the magazine. (Marion Ascoli was the daughter of Julius Rosenwald, Chair of Sears of Roebuck.) Max Ascoli and Allen Dulles were close friends, worked together during WWII, and continued their relationship after the launch of The Reporter. According to Van Cassel, Ascoli requested and Dulles complied with a request to publicly promote the magazine in the early 1950s. Dulles’ wartime secretary became Ascoli’s secretary. Ascoli also served on the CIA-funded American Committee on United Europe (ACUE).

I discovered copies of the original proposal for The Reporter magazine in the William Lindsay White papers at the University of Kansas Journalism School. Two aspects of the prospectus are striking: First, the original proposal language parallels the language used in a psychological warfare campaign (Campaign of Truth) under Truman, sometimes referred to as the Marshall Plan of Ideas. Second, the original proposal stated that the magazine would not accept advertising for at least six months. (Van Cassel makes the same point in more detail. (p. 131) A 1949 advertisement for The Reporter announced that it was “well-financed and here to stay.”

Perhaps, more importantly, if circumstantially, The Reporter’s Masthead in 1949 upon its launch included the following men with WW II intelligence and psychological warfare experience:

  • Executive Editor, Philip Horton, a WWII OSS agent became the first CIA Station Chief in Paris; Horton also served on the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group 5152 that coordinated covert actions with the private sector. He was The Reporter’s Executive Editor from 1949 until its demise in 1968.
  • Wallace Carroll, a former UPI correspondent, went to work for the Office of War Information during World War II; Carroll’s papers at the Library of Congress describe him as a psychological warfare specialist. Between 1947-1952, he was employed as a consultant to the Department of State and the U.S. Army. His position in 1951-52 was with the Psychological Strategy Board. His biographical sketch does not mention The Reporter magazine but Carroll was managing editor during the start-up period (1947-1948), according to an oral history interview with E. W. Kenworthy, who worked briefly at the Reporter during the same period.
  • Leland Stowe, a foreign editor in 1949-1950, left to join the CIA-funded Radio Free Europe News Service.
  • Douglass Cater, WWII OSS officer, Russian Section, worked with the planning committee for what became the Reporter, and was a staff writer from its inception until he joined the LBJ administration. In his oral history, he noted that he was involved in the planning phase, 1948-1949. “[I], joined in the fall of 1948, the staff that was planning a new magazine which subsequently in ’49 was The Reporter magazine. Sent in 1950 to Washington as the Washington editor of The Reporter, and served in that capacity with some leaves of absence for brief service periods in government up until 1962.”   It is not clear whether he was compensated during this period. He received his M.A. from Harvard University in 1948.

According to Van Cassel, in 1958, when Irving Kristol was hired as Executive Editor, “he came straight from Encounter, the most famous of the CIA-sponsored magazines.”

After the Ramparts disclosures in 1967, The Reporter, actively defended the intelligence agency activities, and suggested that what was needed was legislation to render impossible “the flood of intelligence gossip to which we have all been treated in recent days.”   Van Cassel (p. 134)

Note 17: Douglass Cater Secret Report on Psychological and Political Warfare, 1961: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 511.00 contains considerable detailed on the circumstances of Cater’s selection, his mandate, “to examine the effectiveness in the field of propaganda-political warfare, and his subsequent report. The report is reasonable hard-hitting for the liberal Cater; i.e., he argued that, while the “U.S. can no longer indulge in reckless talk of ‘rolling back’ the iron curtain,…this does not mean that we should spare our efforts to prod Soviet vulnerabilities, foment political unrest, and even stimulate acts of sabotage and terrorism within the Soviet sphere.” The report was commissioned by a special committee that included Robert F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles, among others, and was sent to Lucius D. Battle, Office of the Secretariat, Department of State. NARA, November 9, 1961 RG 511.0011-961. At that point, Cater had taken a year’s leave of absence from The Reporter to spent a year at Wesleyan University, the Center for Advanced Studies.

Note 27: John W. Gardner:   The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, John Gardner, was a Republican, who went on to found Common Cause, explaining, “Everybody’s organized but the people. Now it’s the citizens turn.” See his obituary in the New York Times, February 18, 2002, which confirms his OSS experience during World II.

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