Monday, November 18, 2002

offerings from the cia

Whatever your paranoia quotient, there's always some interesting reading over on the pages of the magazine Studies in Intelligence. Some snippets from a couple of the articles to be found there this month. From a review of a book that looks at censorship during wartime, specifically World War Two:
On 17 August 1942, a nationally syndicated columnist wrote that she had received “a very stern letter” about her remarks on the weather, “… and so from now on I shall not tell you whether it rains or whether the sun shines where I happen to be.” The columnist was Eleanor Roosevelt and she was referring to an article in which she had described weather conditions during one of her official visits around the country with her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during World War II. That the First Lady would receive such a reprimand reveals much about the nature, scope, and effectiveness of censorship in wartime America. How and why such information restrictions succeeded are the subjects of Michael Sweeney’s history of the Office of Censorship, Secrets of Victory.
The author of the review writes of the relevance of the book's material today with it's attempt to "give the reader a taste of the problem of finding a proper balance between wartime secrecy and the public’s right to know."

I also found an article on gender discrimination and glass ceilings within the CIA to be compelling reading when framed within the struggle of One Woman's Contribution to Social Change at CIA:
When I returned from an overseas assignment in 1981, I found the Directorate much changed from two years earlier. As chief of a DO budget and finance branch, I noted that we had a stream of new officers in training or headed overseas. That in itself was not new. What was different was that the trainees were no longer all white males. Sizeable numbers of female officers were coming through, although it was not until the 1990s that we began to see more minorities. I wondered what had prompted the change in the DO. A chance hall conversation with Harritte Thompson led me, years later, to pursue her story and look into the legislation that enabled her success.
I'm not quite sure what to make of an online magazine in which the first word to appear over the table of contents is "Unclassified," but many of the other articles are worth looking over. Filter them as you will.

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