Skip to comments.Walter Cronkite and the CIA
Posted on 02/26/2008 1:15:37 PM PST by Richard Poe
|by Richard Lawrence Poe
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
FORMER CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite is 91 years old and ailing. Poor health prevented him from accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award in person on January 19. At such a moment, I would prefer to speak charitably of Cronkite. But the times call for candor. Cronkite's intrigues have cost the lives of countless American soldiers. Even worse, it appears that our Central Intelligence Agency assisted Cronkite in his betrayals. Americans need to know why.
Born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, Cronkite grew up in Kansas City and Houston, Texas. He dropped out of the University of Texas in 1935 to become a journalist.
Cronkite covered World War II for the United Press. He reported from North Africa; landed at Normandy in 1944; flew B-17 bombing raids over Germany and landed in a glider behind German lines in Holland. After the war, Cronkite covered the Nuremberg Trials, and served as Moscow bureau chief from 1946-48.
Then he got into television. In her 1979 book Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and Her Washington Post Empire, investigative journalist Deborah Davis reports that CIA co-founder Allen Dulles brokered a deal between the Washington Post and CBS News in 1948. Through this arrangement, the Washington Post became sole owner of all CBS radio and TV outlets in our nation's capital. The Post's CBS affiliate WTOP-TV hired Cronkite in 1950, giving him his first job in television.
Allen Dulles -- who served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1953-61 -- carefully nurtured his ties with the two media companies he had brought together. Davis writes:
"The Post men continued to see Paley and Cronkite every Christmas at a dinner given by Allen Dulles at a private club called the Alibi. ... in the middle of downtown Washington..."
Investigative reporter Carl Bernstein wrote in 1977:
"CBS was unquestionably the CIA's most valuable broadcasting asset. CBS President William Paley and Allen Dulles enjoyed an easy working and social relationship. Over the years, the network provided cover for CIA employees... Paleys designated contact for the Agency was Sig Mickelson, president of CBS News between 1954 and 1961. ... [CBS News president Richard] Salant... continued many of his predecessor's practices..."
Sig Mickelson was Cronkite's first mentor at CBS. Richard Salant appointed Cronkite anchorman for CBS evening news in 1962.
In my last column, "How the CIA Lost Vietnam", I recounted Cronkite's infamous conduct following the communist Tet Offensive of 1968. American and South Vietnamese forces had routed the enemy. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin later wrote in his memoirs:
"Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise. ... Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence..."
Cronkite reported the opposite. "We are mired in stalemate," he told Americans on February 27, 1968. America's only hope, said Cronkite, was to "negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who... did the best they could".
Cronkite's message reached Hanoi loud and clear. The communists understood that Cronkite spoke for official Washington. In their darkest hour, he gave them hope. They resolved to fight on.
Nearly 30,000 American soldiers would die in Vietnam over the next five years. Then Nixon ended the war with the Paris Peace Accords of January 17, 1973. South Vietnam was safe. As long as Nixon remained in office, the communists did not dare break the treaty.
But the press had another trick up its sleeve; Watergate. Early Watergate reports in the Washington Post aroused little interest. Then Cronkite stepped in. The story was fading from the papers and we thought we needed to revive it", Cronkite told PBSs Frontline in 1996.
Under Cronkites direction, CBS News aired a twenty-two-minute, two-part summary of the Watergate scandal in October 1972. It rekindled the scandal, forcing President Nixon's resignation on August 8, 1974.
Predictably, North Vietnam invaded the South in December 1974. Saigon fell on April 30, 1975.
Cronkite's CIA connection surfaced briefly during the Congressional Pike Committee hearings of 1975-76. CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, who covered the hearings, later wrote:
"A former CBS correspondent, Sam Jaffe, said that the CIA had gotten him a job at CBS and that the list of current and former journalist-spies included Walter Cronkite. Cronkite heatedly denied that..."
In theory, I see no reason why journalists should avoid helping the CIA in matters of national interest. But who defines the national interest? The tragic story of Walter Cronkite teaches us that CIA spymasters may be poor judges at best.
|Richard Lawrence Poe is a contributing editor to Newsmax, an award-winning journalist and a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Siezed Control of the Democratic Party, co-written with David Horowitz.|
What’s left unsaid is why the CIA would want to bring about a US defeat in Vietnam. ???
Conkrite is one of those I will not shed a tear for when he dies. There will be a special place in hell for him and his ilk.
While I loathe the antics of Cronkite, who is to blame for losing Vietnam? If Cronkite was the mouthpiece for the Johnson Administration and CIA Cronkite was merely the tool who relayed the message they wanted the North Vietnamese to hear.
Why would the CIA want to lose in Vietnam and to oust Nixon?
Uncle Walter is a liberal Democrat who wore his political affilation on his sleeve. Along with NBC’s Huntley and Brinkley he helped perfect the image of young John Kennedy and foisted that phoney on the public.
Turning on the Vietnam War in the late sixties, Cronkite was later part of the media clique who refused to report the slaughter of America’s allies in the mid seventies.
Two million, maybe more dead as a result of the US pullout. Not news though. If the MSM doesn’t cover it, it must not be happening.
And his young protege's spew out the same traitorous lies today regarding Iraq.
To answer your question there is a great book now out of print called THE YANKEE AND COWBOY WAR. Written just after Watergate it goes into the issues dividing the nation and how intermural war broke out after the Kennedy assassination when it became clear to some that there had been a coup.
Wish I could think of the author’s name.
That bastard caused more damage to the US than LBJ. I hate few people, but uncle walter is one that has earned my enmity.
I touched upon that topic in some previous columns:
My Father did 2 tours in Vietnam and tried to inform me of Cronkite’s disdain for America. I was 12, 13 at the time and thought my Dad was full of it. I know better now. Cronkite already has his 1st class, one way to hell. Enjoy you SOB!
I wonder if they were infiltrated. The Soviets had people everywhere else in our govt it seems.
Maybe they didn’t want a defeat, per se, but to keep it dragging on and on and on, until the cash cow had no more to give. I remember things I saw and was involved in that leads me to this supposition.
Could it be that the CIA has alway been loaded down with a bunch of liberals who actually do not have our best interests at heart? Probably the same reason the CIA tried to buck Bush every step of the way during his presidency.
Nixon had them beat, the communists and the American left, and then there was the collapse of Watergate. But certainly Nixon showed how the left could be beaten through direct confrontation and condemnation.
And mine as well!
CIA has been a preserve of the idiot elites from Yale for decades. I believe every CIA operative in the Soviet Union was executed while the CIA ignored the obvious presence of a mole at Langley. Faceless elitist beauracrats don’t do a good job running anything.
Watergate was an orchestrated collapse. It was a nothing event that the press wasn’t interested in until after McGovern’s defeat. The WaPo and NYTimes saw it as an opportunity to overturn an election. CBS agreed. I remember the tremendous media campaign of ‘73 and ‘74. A liberal full court press forcing Nixon to resign.
Nixon could never quite understand how he allowed them to trap him; after all FDR used the FBI time and again for “black bag jobs”. Read Conrad Black’s FDR.
Nixon could never quite get the fact that there were two sets of rules, one for the Kennedys and their like, another for him.
Just want to mention that the Johnson administration and its eggheads were a pathetic bunch as well. Think of all the “brilliant” minds who left that supposedly war-minded administration and emerged as total leftists and defeatists. They screwed everything up.
It is, thank you. I read it about 1982 and let someone borrow it...never got it back. I certainly recommend it.
And mine as well!
Well, that's three of us!!
Everything you say is correct, except Nixon was guilty. The republicans in Congress abandoned him and I agreed with them at the time. Then we had the spectacle of what democrats do when their president commits criminal acts in plain view - they rally around him and turn the rule of law on its head. Also all rules of morality.
Nixon WAS guilty. He was trapped by the media and Dems through his own foolishness. Had he stepped up in early ‘74 and fired some people he would have had a terrible six weeks and then finished out his second term.
My point is...Nixon thought the old dodge of “national security” that FDR used with J Edgar Hoover to find out dirt on his enemies was still good...it wasn’t.
The rules changed without anybody telling Dick.
To the far left in this country (that would include CBS, the Washington Post, the NY Times, large elements of the US Department of State, and elements within the CIA) Nixon was guilty of deeds far worse than covering up a break in of DNC headquarters at the Watergate hotel. He was guilty of helping that bastard Joe McCarthy. They never forgave him for that and Watergate was the pay back.
We have a DIA. The CIA has been proven useless and disloyal.
Time to disband it.
That, and redo the State Department.
Thanks for the insight. ...very revealing.
You are EXACTLY right.
The rules haven't changed, they just don't apply to Democrats and haven't at least since that Commie Roosevelt.
all agreed and don’t forget they hated Nixon for prosecuting Soviet spy Alger Hiss.
I believe that would come under the broad heading of "helping McCarthy".
I think the climactic battles of the Cold War were fought within the CIA.
It was the CIA of the Washington Post vs. the CIA of Howard Hunt and the plumbers...left vs. right.
Nixon was the scapegoat.
I read this article and the last won you wrote. Where is the evidence that the CIA desired to lose the war in Vietnam? If there is any evidence to support this claim, please highlight it.
The only statement that is related to your claim in the most recent Vietnam article is this quote below.
“The CIA made a fateful choice. Rather than accept President Johnson’s decision, it resolved to stop him (regarding the Vietnam War).”
That appears to be your statement and assumption. Do you have any specific supporting evidence or rationale to make your claim. It’s a bold claim with no evidence in these two articles. If I’m mistaken I’ll be glad to read specific points.
“Another battle that lasted through and beyond Tet also deserves mention for what some perceived as a historical parallel. As James Griffiths, a veteran of the 11th Armored Cavalry, notes in his book “Vietnam Insights,” gloomy media depictions were not limited to the Saigon area but also occurred at the northern Marine base at Khe Sanh during Tet. Bob Young of ABC and Walter Cronkite of CBS linked the victorious general of Dien Bien Phu, Vo Nguyen Giap, to the siege at Khe Sanh, and Time put him on its cover. It was as if Giap’s presence would cause a Marine defeat at Khe Sanh to be a foregone conclusion. Newsweek jumped on the antiwar bandwagon with its March 18, 1968, issue. Using the Khe Sanh ammo dump explosion as its cover, it failed to let readers know that the incident had occurred two months earlier, concluding, “Though the U.S. dilemma at Khe Sanh is particularly acute, it is not unique. It simply reflects in microcosm the entire U.S. military position in Vietnam. U.S. strategy up to this point has been a failure.””
“Whats left unsaid is why the CIA would want to bring about a US defeat in Vietnam. ?”
It was and is still full of lefties - they took down Nixon and tried to get Bush, too.
Free Vulcan wrote:
Conkrite is one of those I will not shed a tear for when he dies. There will be a special place in hell for him and his ilk.”
Hell ain’t half full, jump in Walter, and hold Jimmy’s hand when you go.
Actually, you are asking the wrong question. You are asking for evidence of the CIA's motivation, which is to say, of the CIA's state of mind. I am far more interested in the CIA's actions than in its words or thoughts.
The pattern of CIA activity from roughly 1964 to 1974, described in my series of articles and further elucidated in the many links I provided, demands an explanation beyond that supplied by mainstream journalists and historians. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) Officially advising President Johnson in 1964 that the war was lost and that Vietnam should be abandoned to the communists;
2) Creating and funding anti-war front groups, beginning in 1965;
3) Praising and promoting said anti-war front groups via CIA propaganda networks operating through major newspapers and broadcast networks;
4) Ousting President Johnson through the so-called "Dump Johnson" campaign run by CIA contract consultant Allard Lowenstein, who recruited Eugene McCarthy to run against Johnson in the primaries;
5) Creating and leaking the so-called "Pentagon Papers";
6) Hampering Nixon's war efforts and negotiations with a never-ending stream of well-timed and extremely damaging leaks of classified information to the press;
7) Ousting Nixon through the so-called "Watergate" scandal;
All of the activities cited above demonstrate a consistent pattern on the part of our CIA to undermine and sabotage the war effort.
Rather than demanding from me proof of the CIA's motivation -- a topic on which I can only speculate or hypothesize -- I would urge you to pursue a more useful line of inquiry, which would be to consider the facts I have set before you, as well as the many links I provided which supplement those facts, and to ponder what these facts could possibly mean.
If you reject my explanation of these facts, please feel free to supply an alternative explanation of your own.
What'ya mean "they." They're still here!
If you ask me, that is pretty evidential stuff you’ve listed.
I doubt there is any other way to explain the so-called **quagmire** that these days is simply refered to as “vietnam.”
“All of the activities cited above demonstrate a consistent pattern on the part of our CIA to undermine and sabotage the war effort.”
I despise the leftists and Cronkite as much as you or any other good conservative. It is obvious that leftists in our media proactively sought American’s defeat in Vietnam. I would even go as far as to say that much of the Watergate story was concocted to gain attention.
But I don’t see the support for a claim that the CIA, in it’s entirety set out as a policy covert or otherwise to have the US lose or withdrawl in Vietnam. Now, were there leftists within the CIA who may have done things to hinder us? Certainly.
But, to say that the CIA is basically rogue and coopted as an intelligence agency put your line of reasoning in the “CIA killed Kennedy in a coup” type of conspiracy reasoning.
Take your #7) “Ousting Nixon through the so-called “Watergate” scandal”
What is your proof of this claim? To say leftists within the media ousted him could possibly be show to have played a huge part. But you are saying the CIA directly did this?
What part did James Angleton (DCI) play?
Cronkite. Never heard of him.
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