23 issues of 1960s magazine “counterspy” which outed CIA agents now online

23 Issues of the CIA’s Most-Hated Magazine Are Now Online
Rhett James, Gizmodo, Mar 12 2018

Obit Philip AgeePhoto: Philip Agee (AP)

Long before Wikileaks was promoting “radical transparency” in the digital age, CounterSpy was publishing a magazine that named CIA station chiefs and exposed covert operations. Now, 23 issues from its 32-issue run have been pulled from the CIA’s own archives and digitized for your perusal. We can neither confirm nor deny that the agency is happy about this. CounterSpy started publishing from its headquarters in Faschingstein in 1973. Its staff and contributors were made up of journalists and former intelligence agents who wanted to expose the CIA and other intelligence apparatuses as corrupt organizations. It ran stories about subjects like the CIA’s efforts to undermine labor movements around the world and psychological warfare conducted under COINTELPRO. The spooks at Langley weren’t fans, but were certainly readers.

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The article that made CounterSpy infamous ran in the Winter 1975 issue. “Chiefs of Station: Who They Are & What They Do” advocated for revealing the names and assignments of CIA station chiefs. It also named about 100 chiefs in the process, including Richard Welch, who was later murdered by Marxist terrorists in Athens in Dec 1975. The article became a touch-point for CIA boxtops to criticize Philip Agee, who wrote another piece in that same issue. Agee and Counterspy were blamed for Welch’s death, despite the fact that Agee didn’t write the article and Welch was already exposed as an agent in 1968. Long after he stepped down as DCI, Bush 41 continued to hold Agee responsible for Welch’s murder. Barbara Bush did the same in her 1994 memoir, until Agee sued her for libel. The claim was removed from later printings of the book. More recently, current DCI Pompeo repeated this account while denouncing WikiLeaks and comparing their practices to Agee’s. In the process, Pompeo incorrectly claimed that Welch was named by CounterSpy as the CIA’s Athens station chief. In fact the magazine listed him as Lima station chief. CounterSpy shut down in 1984 following infighting and a staff exodus. Before it collapsed, Agee took some of the CounterSpy team and started Covert Action Information Bulletin, which published in one form or another until 1985. In the first issue, Agee attributed the split, in part, to pressures brought on by CIA harassment of CounterSpy staff. It’s almost impossible to find old issues of CounterSpy, but the CIA likes to collect publications that are critical of its activities. And thanks to a series of executive orders modifying how classified information is handled, the agency is also required to release non-exempt historically valuable records after 25 years. Try searching the CIA’s CREST archive for CounterSpy and you’ll find about 20,000 items. Dr Susan Maret, an academic and intelligence researcher, combed through that mess for everyone and found 23 issues which she provided to AltGov2. They’ve all been digitized for searchability and are almost entirely intact, although that most infamous issue from 1975 has been heavily redacted. Check them out here.

CounterSpy: 27 Issues of the Infamous Magazine That Exposed the CIA
Russ Kick, AltGov2, Mar 9 2018

Volume 1:
issues 4&5
Volume 2:
issue 1
issue 2 (partial)
issue 2 (full)
issue 3
issue 4
Volume 3:
issue 1
issue 2
Volume 4:
issue 1
issue 2
issue 3
issue 4
Volume 5:
issue 1
issue 2
issue 3
issue 4
Volume 6:
issue 1
issue 2
issue 3
issue 4
Volume 7:
issue 1
issue 2
issue 3
issue 4
Volume 8:
issue 1
issue 2
issue 3
issue 4

From 1973 to 1984, CounterSpy published detailed, damning information about Pindo covert activities and, to a lesser extent, those of other countries, including Israel, Australia, and South Africa. It was most infamous for naming CIA station chiefs. The CIA loathed it and it is said that they succeeded in undermining it. In 1978 some of the people involved with CounterSpy created a similar magazine, Covert Action Information Bulletin, which then became Covert Action Quarterly and was published until 2005. It’s about to make a comeback; Covert Action Magazine launches this year. CIA has long collected copies of publications exposing its operations, and the CREST archive contains scanned photocopies of most issues of CounterSpy. Printed copies are essentially impossible to find, even on the collectors’ market for rare books and magazines. Very few libraries have any copies. Susan Maret dug through CREST and gathered every issue in there, cp,prising in total 21 out of the 32 that were published, then sent them along to AltGov2. I ran text recognition on them, so they’re now searchable. An additional six issues are from the Weisberg Collection at Hood College, Frederick, Maryland.

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