4. PRO CONTRA MEDIA COVERAGE -- PAID FOR BY THE CIA
According to Edgar Chamorro, former head of the contra
communications office, "approximately 15 Honduran journalists and broadcasters
were on the CIA payroll and our influence was thereby extended to every major
Honduran newspaper and television station." In his affidavit submitted to
the World Court in September, 1985, Chamorro also said that the same tactic was
employed by the CIA in Costa Rica in an effort to turn the newspapers and television
stations of that country against the Nicaraguan government.
a Costa Rican professor of journalism and editor of the University of Costa Rica's
liberal weekly LA UNIVERSIDAD, said that at least eight Costa Rican journalists,
including three "top editors," receive monthly payments from the CIA,
either directly or through contra groups with offices in Costa Rica.
1977, after a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report disclosed that the
CIA had maintained working relationships with 50 American reporters over a period
of years, the agency announced new rules that barred it from entering into "any
paid or contractual relationship" with U.S. journalists, including free lancers
However, the regulations said nothing about entering into
such relationships with foreign journalists, or about allowing agency operatives
to pose as foreign journalists. It now appears that the agency is doing both,
thereby jeopardizing press credibility.
Morales said he began investigating
press payoffs after a former student confessed to him that he was taking money
from the CIA to supplement a meager salary. The eight journalists are each paid
30,000 colones (about $500) a month by the CIA, Morales said. The monthly salary
of most journalists in Costa Rica is about 20,000 colones.
A fund for bribing
journalists also was maintained by the largest contra group, the Nicaraguan Democratic
Force (FDN). In his affidavit, Chamorro said he had been paymaster and had received
money from the CIA to bribe Honduran journalists and broadcasters to write and
speak favorably about the FDN and to attack the government of Nicaragua and call
for its overthrow.
COVERT ACTION, Summer/86; COLUMBIA JOURNALISM
REVIEW, March/April 1987, "Contra coverage -- paid for by the CIA,"
by Martha Honey, pp 31-32.