(First In A Series On Freedom of Information At Hilary Clinton's State Department)


J. Michael Springmann

The U.S. Department of State evidently believes that it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act (PA), laws passed in the aftermath of Richard Nixon's Watergate. It fiercely fights the public's attempts to learn about waste, fraud, corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of authority amongst America's diplomats. This is particularly bad for a U.S. government agency, but worse for State since the Director of its FOIA office is Margaret Grafeld, who works for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That's the organization which, until comparatively recently, didn't have a sign outside its Langley, Va. headquarters and still does not provide anything more than a zip code for a mailing address.

The State Department inadvertently confirmed Margaret Grafeld to be a spook, adroitly placed to control embarrassing documents, when it refused to provide any information at all on her background, and, when asked directly, refused to confirm or deny her real employer. Grafeld and her masters at Langley (who really administer U.S. foreign policy) have managed to greatly redact her official biography, blanking out many of her past activities. For example, despite her occupying a prominent public role as a spokesman during George H. W. Bush's First Gulf War, her then-function and title are nowhere to be found--not in what the State Department makes available, not in "The Washington Post" archives, not on the Internet, not at the Library of Congress. According to the latter, Margaret Grafeld first appears in the Federal Yellow Book in the Fall of 1994 in her current position as head of the Freedom of Information office at State. Attempts at State to clarify her murky background meet first with demands for "who's asking, and why are you asking?" and then with the statement "we can't give that information out". This is followed with silence, refusals to answer questions, and transfers to the Freedom of Information hotline--which plays a recording for 10 minutes.

Why is this news? And why should anyone care? How about hiding the names of known terrorists issued visas by both the Department of State and the Overlords of Langley?

Back in 1992, the State Department got my first request for information about the cancellation of my appointment as a diplomat sealed as a "threat to National Security". (I had objected to issuing visas to unqualified applicants, later revealed to be terrorists.) Now, it is again blocking my efforts to locate the visa documents the terrorists had submitted to me following the CIA's urging. These were the people sent on to Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s to fight the Soviets and who are now likely operating in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. (See my account of battling the CIA and State about this in OpEdNews, The Mistake Department, July 26, 2008).

On July 8, 2010, I filed my second FOIA/PA request, with Margaret Grafeld's Office of Information Programs and Services, asking for details about visa applications approved for these characters, over my objections, by CIA officials in Saudi Arabia. After three months, Grafeld's organization, required by law to acknowledge receipt of and take action on my faxed letter, has done nothing except assert that people who contribute to publications like Counterpunch, OpEdNews, The Public Record, Global Outlook, and Global Research (as I have) are not real journalists and, unlike "genuine ones" should pay all FOIA search costs. Additionally, Grafeld's section said, there would be no expedited processing of my particular request because I had demonstrated no need for it (even though preventing loss of information about terrorism would seem to be in the public interest). Of course, I am free to initiate a costly FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. government, whose attitude is "we have more money, time, and lawyers than you." Yet, when Cinderella's slipper is on the other foot, the U.S. government has an entirely different approach: cf. The Washington Post of September 3, 2010, "The Justice Department sued Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, on Thursday, saying his office has repeatedly declined to hand over documents to federal investigators..."

Contrast Margaret Grafeld and the State Department's dealings with me and the basics of Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General's March 9, 2009 memo on the FOIA, directing all Executive Branch departments and agencies to apply a presumption of openness in dealing with the public's information requests.

The big question, of course is: "What have they got to hide?"


"...people who contribute to publications like Counterpunch, OpEdNews, The Public Record, Global Outlook, and Global Research (as I have) are not real journalists.."

How would they come to this conclusion? the answer:
"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - William Colby, Former CIA Director.

Well, I certainly cannot speak for the editors here Mr. Springman, but I am certainly glad to see you contributing here at 911blogger. I see this is your first post and I am quite eager to read your future contributions. Welcome!!!!!!!!!!!

dtg (dan)


First, Mr. Springmann indicated he has written for the publications you are implying as CIA controlled.

Second, does this mean that according to your quotation of Colby, Mr. Springmann works for the CIA?

Third, note the proper emphasis in the quote: "The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media."

Fourth, if my memory serves me well, this is a dubious quote from an apocryphal source (Dave McGowan, "Derailing Democracy"). It appears Mr. McGowan simply listed this quote without comment, as if it was culled from another source. This means there is no actual source. Can anybody prove me wrong?

Fifth, rather than quoting from Derailing Democracy, it would be more apt to quote Carl Bernstein's 25,000-word Rolling Stone cover story entitled "The CIA and the Media", as it is both more credible and more comprehensive.

Sixth, there is no evidence whatsoever, not in the slightest, of the CIA directly controlling alternative media such as Alternet, Global Research, Democracy Now, etc., with the exception of The Daily Kos, whose owner is connected to the CIA.

Did I misunderstand your comment?

First I want to thank

Mr. Springman for his courage to speak out and dismantle these FOIA-laws as pure charade.

Regarding CIA and the media:
I don't know if that particular quote is correct or not, but the Church Committee as well had similar results:

According to the Congress report published in 1976: "The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets." Church argued that the cost of misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.

Church showed that it was CIA policy to use clandestine handling of journalists and authors to get information published initially in the foreign media in order to get it disseminated in the United States. Church quotes from one document written by the Chief of the Covert Action Staff on how this process worked (page 193). For example, he writes: “Get books published or distributed abroad without revealing any U.S. influence, by covertly subsidizing foreign publicans or booksellers.” Later in the document he writes: “Get books published for operational reasons, regardless of commercial viability”. Church goes onto report that “over a thousand books were produced, subsidized or sponsored by the CIA before the end of 1967”. All these books eventually found their way into the American market-place. Either in their original form (Church gives the example of the Penkovskiy Papers) or repackaged as articles for American newspapers and magazines.

We should check this source as well. But hints are there.

And that's not all

a german-french production on arte showed CIA links in europe all over media and writers.

"Used and controlled: Artist in the network of the CIA"

So this info is probably true.


Knew about the Church Committee and their findings, but my comment wasn't meant to debunk the CIA infiltration of the media in any way. It addressed specific points, allegations and the origins of a quote. I won't reiterate all that here. I do expect some substantiation when specific allegations are made against alternative media without direct evidence. Otherwise, everybody and his pet canary sings for the CIA, and that kind of hasty generalization is counterproductive.

That German link is great.. good thing I also know German. I wish I had the documentary.

I have a tip for you too: Tatort Linnaeusstraat: Der Tag als Theo van Gogh ermordet wurde, ("Crime Scene Linnaeus Street: The day Theo van Gogh was murdered") which suggests a LIHOP scenario of some sort.

In fact, I think the CIA was radicalizing Muslims, such as Mohammed Bouyeri deliberately, and there was some cover up about that at some point.

I do have that documentary: perhaps I should put it online at some point. With English subtitles.

As a sidenote: Van Gogh's last work was a film about the Fortuyn Assassination, about which I have a personal story to share, since I lived next to where it happened.


thanks for that tip. I search the arte docu for you, it should be in our german archives somewhere.

CIA radicalizing muslims: Did you see the latest work by Sebastian Range

What can we do to increase our german language / english translation networking?

Found it

Thank you Mr. Springmann

For reference to others: Springmann speaking at the Treason In America Conference: