In an April 2021 article, “The CIA Used to Infiltrate the Media. Now the CIA Is the Media,” Caitlin Johnstone writes:

“So the mass media aggressively promoted a CIA narrative that none of them ever saw proof of, because there was no proof, because it was an entirely unfounded claim from the very beginning. They quite literally ran a CIA press release and disguised it as a news story.”

Johnstone says that the CIA’s Bountygate story was part of a larger propaganda effort to arouse Americans against Trump’s proposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Germany, and to incite anti-Russia propaganda. The agency’s disinformation campaign, according to Johnstone, succeeded in winning the CIA an exemption from Biden’s Afghanistan “withdrawal.”

The New York Times’ role as a promoter of CIA propaganda is an old story: Following the 2001 Operation Iraqi Freedom, both the New York Times and Washington Post were forced to apologize for their fabricated weapons of mass destruction stories that drove the U.S. invasion.

As it turns out, the much-respected journalists who penned these articles were acting as glorified stenographers for the CIA.

Johnstone said:

“Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like the New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo, which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The sole owner of the Washington Post [Jeff Bezos] is a CIA contractor [Amazon Web Services signed a $600 million cloud computing agreement with the CIA in 2013] and WaPo has never once disclosed this conflict of interest when reporting on U.S. intelligence agencies per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price and Rick Francona, as are known CIA assets like NBC’s Ken Dilanian, as are CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.”

Johnstone continued:

“This isn’t Operation Mockingbird. It’s so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretense of separation, has been dropped.”