The Washington D.C. bureau of the San Diego Union-Tribune will close in late November with plenty to be proud of, including a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the shenanigans of U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.
But the office — known until recently as the Copley News Service — has a dark past.
According to investigative reports, Copley News Service reporters around the world served as handmaidens to the CIA during the Cold War. The story was revealed in 1977 when journalists Joe Trento and Dave Roman wrote a expose — “The Spies Who Came In From the Newsroom” — in Penthouse magazine.
“They certainly did their duty for the government,” said Trento in a phone interview today from his office in Washington D.C. While hundreds of journalists covertly worked with the CIA, no news agency was as intertwined with the spies as Copley News Service, Trento said.
“Copley literally had everybody in the office sending information to the CIA,” said Trento, a book author and president of the Public Education Center, which operates online news services.
Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein described the journalists’ findings in a 1977 Rolling Stone article: