Reed Irvine - Editor
  October A, 1980  

F.B.I. FILES EXPOSE LETELIER

 THIS ISSUE:
  • F.B.I. FILES EXPOSE LETELIER
  • FBI Files Released
  • Where the Money Came From
  • Who Letelier Worked With
  • Letelier's American Friends
  • An FBI Coverup?
  • Most media slow to correct smear of FBI
  •  What You Can Do
  • Notes
  • Just four years ago, in September 1976, Orlando Letelier was assassinated in Washington, D.C. Letelier had been the Chilean ambassador to the United States and later a cabinet officer in the Marxist Allende government of Chile. He had been imprisoned by the military government that overthrew Allende in 1973, but he was later released and allowed to go into exile. Coming to Washington, he had gone to work for the Institute for Policy Studies, a radical think tank. One of his main activities was to work for the overthrow of the military government in Chile. He said that he was working for the restoration of human rights in his native land.

    The Letelier assassination shocked the nation, and it brought forth numerous articles in the press and stories on television, first at the time of the murder, and later when four men were arrested and convicted for the crime. It continued to attract widespread attention when the U.S. government sought the extradition of the Chilean intelligence chief, charging that he had ordered the murder of Letelier. The affair has come in for additional publicity this year with the publication of a new book about the case, and most recently when a federal court ordered new trials for three anti-Castro Cubans who had been convicted of participation in Letelier's assassination.

    Despite all the thousands of words that have been written and spoken about the Letelier case, almost nothing has been said about the papers found in Letelier's briefcase at the time of his death. These documents showed that Letelier was regularly receiving $1,000 a month from Cuba and that he hoped to eventually do for Chile what Castro had done for Cuba. The real Letelier was hardly the fighter for human rights and democracy that the public Letelier pretended to be.

    Many of these revealing documents were leaked to some members of the press late in 1976. They were discussed by some syndicated columnists, but they were virtually ignored by news reporters, with a few exceptions. There seemed to be a feeling by many in the media that it was inappropriate to expose to public view the evidence that Orlando Letelier was a Cuban agent. It was even suggested that those who sought to reveal this information were trying to condone his assassination.

    Let it be noted that nearly one-third of the New York Times editorial on the assassination of Anastasio Somoza, the former president of Nicaragua, was devoted to derogatory statements about the victim. The Times condemned this terrorist deed, but that did not stop them from telling the facts about Somoza as they saw them. It is even more important that the Times and other American media tell the truth about Orlando Letelier, since unlike Somoza, he was working for the enemies of this country. It is important that the public understand how he and the apparatus he directed operated.

    FBI Files Released

    Accuracy in Media has had copies of many of the documents found in Letelier's briefcase since early 1977, and we discussed them in several issues of the AIM Report at that time. We pointed out the reluctance of the major media to probe and expose the secrets those papers revealed. In a discussion of this at the annual shareholders' meeting of the Washington Post in May 1977, Philip Geyelin, then editorial page editor of the Post, said that AIM should not have access to the Letelier documents, that their leaking had been improper. Mr. Geyelin did not accept our offer to give him copies of the leaked documents.

    Taking Mr. Geyelin's remarks as an indication that the Washington Post had grown more fastidious about publishing leaked information, AIM sought to have the Letelier briefcase papers released by the FBI, hoping that this would overcome the objections of Mr. Geyelin and others in the media to seeing them discussed in public. The FBI rejected our requests under the Freedom of Information Act on the grounds that these papers were part of an ongoing investigation. With the persons accused of assassination Letelier convicted and in jail we tried again, and a few weeks ago we were successful in obtaining the file containing most of the briefcase papers.

    The newly released file verifies the authenticity of the documents that we already had. It also includes several documents that were not previously available to us, including some that enlarge the picture of Letelier's close ties with Cuba and his activities as an agent of influence. The file also provides some disturbing evidence that the FBI, perhaps in response to instructions from the Justice Department, tried to obscure the evidence that Letelier was a Cuban agent. This may explain why some of the media ignored the briefcase papers. Sydney Gruson, vice chairman of the New York Times, recently told us that the FBI had said that Letelier was not a Cuban agent. We checked that out with L. Carter Cornick, Jr., the FBI special agent in charge of the Letelier investigation. Mr. Cornick told us that the evidence did not prove that Letelier was a Cuban agent. We were therefore especially interested in examining the translations and summaries that Mr. Cornick worked with. They proved to be quite revealing, as we shall show.

    Where the Money Came From

    "Did Letelier have money problems? How did he live? You know his salary didn't amount to much." Those were questions FBI agent Larry Wack put to one of Letelier's associates during the investigation of his assassination, according to the book, Assassination on Embassy Row by Dinges and Landau. Certainly Orlando Letelier lived high. He had a wife and four children in Washington and a mistress in Venezuela. His diary shows that in the year ending January 1976, he took five trips to Mexico. three to Venezuela, and three to Europe. He had on his schedule for late 1976 trips to Algeria, Iraq, Netherlands, India, Cuba and Mexico. He rented an office, hired a secretary, and ran up phone bills that averaged over $300 a month in 1975. His office expenses and domestic travel alone were costing him about $1,000 a month in 1975, according to expense statements found in his briefcase.

    The explanation of the source of the funds that paid for all this is found in a letter to Letelier found in his briefcase. Dated May 8, 1975 from Havana, it reads:

    Dear Orlando: I am very sorry that you couldn't come to the meeting of the Socialist Party. I showed your letter to Carlos and to Jorge Arrate, who promised to take care of the Harrington matter.

    I know that Altamirano wants to communicate with you to offer a solution to the problems that have arisen there, and he has asked me to inform you that, from here, we will send you, in the name of the party, a thousand dollars (1,000) a month to support your work. I am sending you five thousand now in order not to have to send it monthly.

    A big hug for you and Isabel Margarita from (signed) TATI

    "Tati" was Beatriz Allende, the daughter of the late Chilean Marxist president, Salvador Allende, and the wife of Luis Fernandez Ona, a high ranking Cuban intelligence official. Beatriz Allende was an official of the Chilean Socialist Party. and Letelier's friends have argued that the payments made "in the name of the party" actually came from funds collected for the party in Europe. The leaders of the party, Carlos Altamirano and Clodomiro Almeyda, were living in East Berlin, enjoying the hospitality of the East German government. The Chilean Socialist Party had a reputation of being to the left of the communists, and in exile it found its main support in the communist countries of East Germany and Cuba, countries which found the aims of the Chilean Socialists compatible with their own.

    Cuba has very strict exchange controls that make it extremely difficult for private individuals and organizations to make payments abroad. It would have been incredibly foolish for the Chilean Socialists to have collected funds from supporters in Western Europe and sent the money to Havana, for disbursement to other countries. If the party really had an independent treasury supported by contributions from friends in the West, it surely would have been banked in a financial center such as London or Paris, from which payments could be made easily by check or telegraphic transfer to any part of the world. It takes great naivete to believe that Letelier's monthly income came from any source other than the Cuban DGI. Even Dinges and Landau in their book don't try to explain the source of these funds. although Landau, a close friend of Letelier's, had previously claimed that they were party funds collected in Western Europe. They apparently recognized that this wouldn't wash.

    Why, then, did FBI Special Agent Carter Cornick say there was no evidence in the file that Letelier was a Cuban agent? Incredibly, the English translation of Tati Allende's simple letter in the FBI file is so distorted that it conceals its meaning. In the FBI translation, the key paragraph reads: "I know that Altamirano wishes to talk to you concerning the problems we have here and has told me that we will send you $1,000 from the Party to support your work. Right now I am sending you $5,000 so I will not have to send you monthly payments The key phrases "from here" and "in the name of the party" are simply omitted, making it easier for those in the bureau who did not themselves read Spanish to believe that the payments were indeed Socialist Party funds that may have been sent from somewhere other than Cuba. The Spanish is so simple and clear that it is difficult to see how this could be anything other than a deliberate mistranslation. Was Mr. Cornick the victim of some nameless translator? Not likely, since Mr. Cornick himself understands Spanish very well.

    Who Letelier Worked With

    The FBI file is very revealing concerning both the people that LetelJer was working for and the people he was working on. We have obtained an FBI translation of his appointments diary for 1975, but not the Spanish original. We had previously obtained his personal ad- dress book. This was omitted from the file released by the bureau, but a partial list of names and phone numbers taken from it was included.

    If Orlando Letelier was a Cuban intelligence agent in this country, he would have had a Cuban DGI control officer to whom he reported and from whom he received funds and instructions. One of Letelier's frequent contacts, according to the FBI file, was Julian Rizo, who in 1975 was the first secretary of the Cuban Mission to the United Nations. Rizo is now ambassador to the Marxist mini-state, Grenada. He is a top Cuban intelligence officer, and during his tour at the UN he was kept under surveillance by the FBI.

    An FBI intercept on December 4, 1975, revealed that "Orlando" had contacted Rizo to report that the conference in Mexico had gone well and that the Cuban representativ0es had made excellent contributions. Rizo informed "Orlando" that he would be going to Washington in mid-December and would like to meet with him and others from the "institute."

    On December 17, 1975, Letelier made arrangements to meet Rizo in New York on December 19 to pick up some packages. In the month of December 1975, the Letelier diary and the FBI intercepts show five contacts between Rizo, the top Cuban intelligence officer, and Orlando Letelier. Letelier had contact with another top Cuban intelligence agent, Teofilo Acosta, who was also stationed at the UN. Acosta's name is listed in his address book, but the diary showed only one contact with him during 1975. It seems safe to assume that Julian Rizo was Orlando Letelier's DGI control.

    Letelier was also in close contact with Juan Gabriel Valdes, who appears to have had a relationship with Rizo similar to that of Letelier's. One of the documents in Letelier's briefcase was a letter from Valdes to "Comrade Emilio Brito" of the American Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Havana. According to Robert Moss, co-author of The Spike, this department is headed by the former chief of the Directorate General of Intelligence, Manual Pineiro Losads. Moss says it specializes in covert action and in the recruitment of agents of influence in the Western Hemisphere. Valdes's letter, which Lateliar was evidently delivering for him, thanked Brito for the documents he had received via Julian Rizo and which had been of "great use" to him in his work. He was transmitting to Brito some research work that he had been asked to do, and he expressed the hope that he would be able to visit with him in Cuba during the early months of the next year.

    Apart from his colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies, names that crop up in the briefcase papers in a context that suggests a working relationship include: Mark Schneider, then an aide to Senator Edward Kennedy who now works in the Human Rights office at the State Department; Richard Feinberg, then an employee of the Treasury Department and now on the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department; former Congressman Michael Harrington, who took a trip to Mexico paid for by Letelier and the World Peace Council, a Kremlin front; Peter and Cora Weiss, wealthy backers of IPS and famous friends of Hanoi.

    Letelier's Contacts There are two sources of information about Letelier's contacts--his appointment diary and his address book. Together they provide an intriguing glimpse of the scope of his contacts and operations. The address book, a copy of which we have long had, lists 22 identifiable journalists, including seven from the Washington Post alone. It lists eight congressman or aides to congressmen, and four staff members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. It lists two multi-millionaire backers of leftwing causes, Cyrus Eaton and Samuel Rubin, both now deceased. It lists both Jane Fonda and Joan Baez, the Agha Khan, Sol Linowitz, and Eugene McCarthy.

    But what is most interesting about the address book are the listings of foreigners. Among the Cubans, we find not only the two DGI agents at the UN, Rizo and Acosta, but also Raul Roa, then the Cuban foreign Minister, and Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, the head of the Cuban Communist Party. Letelier was clearly on very good terms with Raul Roa. He had both his home and office phone number, and he had also sent him a "Dear Raul" letter, seeking a favor for a Dutch journalist.

    It appears that Letelier also had excellent contacts among the East Germans. His address book included the phone numbers of a vice minister, a member of the Politburo, a member of the Central Committee of the party, and an official of the Department of International Relations of the Central Committee, as well. Also listed were the East German ambassador to the U.S. and a second secretary in the embassy.

    The Soviets are represented with four listings, two in Moscow and two in Washington. We have been in- formed that one of the Washington listings, Valery Nikolayenko of the Soviet Embassy, is KGB. The other, a third secretary in the embassy is probably KGB also.

    It is astonishing that the FBI file omitted every single one of these foreign contacts of Letelier. It did not include the complete address book, but rather only those names with foreign addresses. That left out such important contacts as Julian Rizo at the UN in New York and Nikolayenko at the Soviet Embassy in Washington. But the FBI file's summary of the foreign residents listed in the address book also omitted all but one resident of Cuba, including Roa and Rodriguez. It omitted every East German official, and the two residents of the USSR.

    We also discovered that the file had omitted Letelier's appointment diary for 1976, which was found in the briefcase and which includes mention of an appointment for Latelier with Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski, an appointment which we understand was cancelled. Regardless of whether the 1976 appointment diary was included in the FBI file, it should have been provided to Accuracy in Media in response to our request for all the briefcase papers. It was not.

    Letelier's American Friends

    Latelier's American friends and supporters are no less interesting than his foreign contacts. On September 10, 1976, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Letelier were featured at a benefit at Madison Square Garden to raise funds for three Chilean "human rights" organizations. Those who bought ads in the program included the Communist Party, USA, the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the Communist Party, the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, the Committee for Friendship with the German Democratic Republic, the National Committee Venceremos Brigade, Actor Friends of Paul Robeson, Prompt Press (the Communist Party printers), International Publishers, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Latelier's acceptance of the support of the Communists and their fronts for his human rights campaign exposed his hypocrisy, as did his acceptance of Cuban money.

    Another organization that Letelier considered friendly was the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). This group describes its objective as to "expose and analyze the forces which shape and profit from existing policies" of the U.S. toward Latin America. It boasts that it maintains an "extensive data base on the U.S. imperial apparatus." On August 26, 1976, Elizabeth Farnsworth of NACLA wrote to Letelier to ask for his help on a research project designed to help undermine U.S. support for Chile. Farnsworth wrote: "In about 3 weeks. Richard Feinberg (who is co-authoring our report with me) will contact you basically for an interview. Do not tell anyone else that he is working on the project, please. It wouldn't help his work at Treasury (obviously)."

    Feinberg was an economist at the Treasury Department. The FBI failed to notify Treasury of Feinberg's work with NACLA after Farnsworth's letter fell into their hands. Weeks later, Treasury made inquiries at the FBI, after having been informed by an outsider that one of its employees had been mentioned in a suspicious context in a document in the Letelier briefcase. At first the FBI denied that any Treasury employee had been mentioned in these papers. Only after the Secretary of the Treasury himself pressed the matter, did the FBI produce the Farnsworth letter. Shortly after that Feinberg resigned from Treasury and transferred to the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department.

    Another document in the briefcase was a letter from Letelier's good friend and IPS associate. Saul Landau, to Pablo Armando Fernandez in Havana, Cuba. Landau told Fernandez that his son was seriously thinking about going to Cuba to attend college. He asked whether that was feasible. He said of himself, "I plan to phase myself out of the Jamaica work and get back to the U.S. I think that at age forty the time has come to dedicate myself to narrower pursuits, namely, making propaganda for American socialism." Landau had made films extolling the virtues of Castro and of Michael Manley in Jamaica. He boasted that Manley was using his film in his campaign for re-election as prime minister.

    Landau has now co-authored a book about the Letelier case, Assassination on Embassy Row. He reveals nothing about Letelier's work as a Cuban agent. He states that one of his first acts upon hearing of Letelier's death was to go to Letelier's office, together with two friends, and go through his files "to ensure that materials that could compromise the Chilean resistance inside Chile or in exile would not fall into the hands of the FBI." This helps explain why the material that the FBI subsequently obtained from Letelier's files was junk such as student term papers that added nothing to the revelations in the briefcase papers about his illegal activities.

    An FBI Coverup?

    The FBI did a good job of tracking down Letelier's killers, and the special agent in charge, L. Carter Cornick. Jr., is to be commended for that. But a careful check of Mr. Cornick's compilation of the briefcase papers leaves the impression that someone was trying to conceal or divert attention from Letelier's connections with Cuba, East Germany and the USSR.

    Mr. Cornick told AIM that he does not believe that Orlando Letelier was a Cuban or communist agent. Asked for an innocent explanation of Letelier's frequent contacts with the Cuban intelligence officer. Julian Rizo, Cornick would give no answer. Cornick denied that he had been under any pressure whatever to divert attention from the Cuban, East Germany and Soviet connections, but he could not explain why the file he compiled omitted the names in Letelier's address book that made those connections obvious. Cornick admitted that the translation of the letter from Beatriz Allende notifying Letelier about the payments from Cuba was misleading. He said he could not explain it.

    We didn't bother to ask about a summary translation of a key letter from Orlando Letelier to Beatriz Allende in which he explains his cynical manipulation of "liberals" in the United States who did not share his ideological point of view. Letelier warned of the need to keep the Cuban connection secret because "you know how these 'liberals' are." Afraid of being linked with Cuba, they might withdraw their support, he said. The FBI summarized this as follows: "Regarding Human Rights, writer states that "Liberals" and other persons should be mobilized. These persons should be in tune with ideology of their organization." Surprisingly the FBI included a nearly correct translation of Letelier's statement in this letter expressing the hope that "in the not too distant future we can also do what has been done in Cuba."

    However, the strange tendency to cover up incriminating ties appears in the translation of another letter from Beatriz Allende, in which she mentions that an effort is being made to get several thousand pamphlets to Letelier via the "comrades of the USSR or East Germany." The reference to the comrades in East Germany and the USSR was left out of the FBI translation.

    This is, to say the least, a mystery: the misleading translations that were supposed to have been thoroughly checked for accuracy, the omission from the file of the complete appointment calendar and the complete address book, the unexplained omission of some of the most significant names from the portion of the address list that was included, and the adamant but unexplained insistence that Letelier was not a Cuban agent even though he was taking their money and meeting with Cuba's head spy in this country.

    Landau and Dinges say in their book that Attorney General Edward Levi felt that an all-out effort to solve the Letelier assassination would become an important first step in healing the wounds left by Watergate and Vietnam. That suggests that it was regarded by the Justice Department as a gesture to the left. To have exposed Letelier as a paid Cuban agent would have certainly spoiled the intended effect.

    Special Agent Cornick insists that he was not subject to any pressure to cover up the Cuban connection. His protestations would be more convincing if he had any good explanations for those mysterious errors and omissions. Now the question is, will the media tell the truth about Letelier even if the FBI won't?

    What You Can Do

    Watch for references to the Letelier case and write letters to the editor to tell the truth about Letelier.

    NOTES FROM THE EDITOR'S CUFF By Reed Irvine

    THOSE WHO WERE READING THE AIM REPORT BACK IN 1977, WILL RECALL THAT WE EXPOSED the secrets of Orlando Letelier's briefcase in several articles and scored the media for ignoring that important story. Our readership has quadrupled since then, and we could not assume that most of our present readers would know anything about that much neglected story.

    THE LETELIER STORY IS STILL VERY RELEVANT. THE WASHINGTON POST FOR SEPTEMBER 23rd reveals that the Institute for Policy Studies has received permission to put a plaque honoring Letelier in Sheridan Circle, the place where he was assassinated. Mayor Marion Barry was reported to have helped get this approved. This will be a unique plaque--no doubt the only one in the country honoring a paid agent of Communist Cuba. The Washington Post did not, of course, mention that. It has from the beginning tried to whitewash Letelier and cover up his Cuban ties.

    THE WASHINGTON POST IS ALSO ONE OF THOSE PAPERS THAT REFERS TO THE INSTITUTE FOR Policy Studies as "liberal." It is little wonder that the word has come to be in bad odor, when it can be applied to individuals and organizations that give aid and comfort to the greatest enemies of freedom in the world. Letelier was typical of that kind of "liberal." He accepted communist money and communist support. In his private correspondence he scorned those "liberals" (the quotation marks were his), whose help he needed but whose fear of being linked with communist Cuba he sneered at. It is understandable that the Post should try to make the IPS appear respectable. Sally Quinn, the wife of the Post's executive editor, Benjamin Bradlee, worked there before she was hired by the Post (and before she became Mrs. Bradlee). Karen DeYoung, the deputy foreign editor of the Post lectures at the IPS.

    THE TRUE NATURE OF THE INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES HAS BEEN EXPOSED IN AN EXCEL- lent paper by Mrs. Rael Jean Isaac. It was originally published in Midstream and then major excerpts from it were reprinted in Barron's. It has now been reprinted in booklet form by the Ethics and Public Policy Center headed by my good friend, Dr. Ernest Lefever. Dr. Lefever has agreed to send copies of this excellent article to AIM members for only $1.00, postpaid. The title is "America the Enemy: Profile of a Revolutionary Think Tank." Request it from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave., Washington, D.C. 20036. The price will be discounted for larger quantities.

    WE HAD SOME SUCCESS WITH ABC'S "20/20" ON SEPTEMBER 18, WHEN THEY RAN A CORRECTION on the FBI-Jean Seberg story and also cancelled the use of some film footage on animal trapping that they had planned to use that night. The credit for getting the trapping film pulled belongs to Don Hoyt of the trappers association. He succeeded in convincing people at ABC News that the footage they planned to use had been staged and greatly exaggerated the suffering of trapped animals. However, he felt that some information that AIM had given him had contributed to his success. The Seberg correction left a lot to be desired. It resulted from a brief conversation that I had had with Roone Arledge, the president of ABC News, the previous day. Arledge agreed that a correction was in order, and he got prompt action. Regrettably, correspondent Sylvia Chase did not do it justice. But they are still better than CBS, which has refused to do anything.

    OUR PROGRAM TO RUN MY COLUMN IN EDITOR & PUBLISHER IS UNDERWAY, THANKS TO YOUR CONtributions. The column on the back ran on page 1 of E & P's September 20 issue.

    Most media slow to correct smear of FBI

    WASHINGTON--Just a year ago both the print and broadcast media were very quick to spread the charge that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had undertaken a "dirty tricks" operation against actress Jean Seberg that had allegedly upset her mental balance and contributed to her suicide in Paris last September. The stories that appeared in the press were very damaging to the FBI. particularly, because many of them reported that the FBI had admitted that it was guilty as charged. For example. Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News said that Seberg's ex-husband. Romain Gary had "charged after Miss Seberg's death that much of her pain was inflicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because of her support of the black nationalist cause. It was a charge borne out today in the release of FBI documents." CBS News returned to the subject the following night, with Bob Schieffer saying that the FBI had admitted planting a story in the press back in 1970: saying that Seberg was pregnant by a leader of the Black Panther Party. CBS then interviewed her ex-husband, saying that this, report had caused Seberg's "mental destruction." On August 22, 1980, Accuracy In Media held a press conference in Washington to release to the media FBI documents obtained under a freedom of information request which showed those CBS reports and others like them were false and misleading. We have discussed this evidence in earlier columns. Basically it showed that the FBI had learned about Seberg's baby from a wiretapped conversation between Sebert, and the Black Panther that she believed to be the father. All the FBI admitted was that there was had been a proposal that this story be leaked to the press. That proposal was never given the approval required. Other wiretap transcripts showed that Seberg was not visibly shocked when stories about her baby appeared in the press and that the stories did not cause the premature birth of her child or her subsequent emotional instability, in all probability. Those who got the story all wrong a year ago when Jean Seberg committed suicide. in Paris were slow to correct the record when AIM released the FBI file, with one exception. The NBC Nightly News aired a reasonably good story about the new in- formation on August 22. The New York Times picked up the story four days later, after Accuracy in Media succeeded in persuading a reporter in the Washington bureau that its previous coverage had been misleading. The Washington Post didn't touch the story for a whole week AIM placed calls to the reporter to whom the files were delivered, the national news editor, the publisher, and finally to Richard Harwood, the deputy managing editor and ex-ombudsman. Mr. Harwood admitted that the original AP story it had run had been in error, but he still thought the FBI deserved criticism for having even considered planting the story about Seberg's baby. AIM expressed the view that Mr. Harwood was entitled to his opinion, but the readers of the Post were entitled to know the facts so they could draw their own conclusions. Mr. Harwood bought that. A very inadequate story ran the next day, but it was followed on September 5 by an editorial which acknowledged that "the news media gave the FBI a black eye for the wrong reasons." The editorial summarized the new information, enabling readers to draw their own conclusions. At the same time it gave the Post's view that the FBI deserved a black eye for having merely contemplated revealing the truth about the baby. The performance of the wire services was disappointing. It took the UPI 12 days and the AP two weeks to provide their clients with the new information and correct their earlier errors. The AP particularly reluctant. At first they claimed to find nothing new in the FBI documents that AIM gave them. When a story was finally pried out of the Washington bureau there was no straightforward admission that the AP was wrong last year in saying the FBI had "admitted that in 1970 it spread gossip" about Jean Seberg and her baby. CBS News was even worse. They have a rule that requires prompt correction of errors. Sanford Socolow, executive producer of the CBS Evening news told AIM that CBS would correct the Seberg story if they had reported it wrong. When no correction was made, Socolow refused to ex- plain the apparent finding that CBS was right in spite of the FBI files.

    REED IRVINE IS CHAIRMAN OF ACCURACY IN MEDIA, THE MEDIA WATCHDOG, AND IS EDITOR OF THE AIM REPORT. THIS WEEKLY COLUMN IS AVAILABLE TO PAPERS FOR A MODERATE CHARGE. For information write AIM, 777 14th St., N. W., Washington, D.C. 20005 or call 202-783-4406. Reed Irvine can be reached at ri@aim.org


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