John Hollister Hedley – The CIA and the review of publications by CIA authors

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


John Hollister Hedley (former chairman of CIA Publications Review Board) – The CIA and the review of publications by CIA authors

Notwithstanding suspicion that CIA could use pre-publication review of writing by CIA authors to suppress criticism or to time approvals for political effect, this paper argues that the process is not capricious but systematic.  Although a prior restraint of free speech, CIA’s reviews rest solidly on statutory authority and judicial validation.  They are conducted because CIA employees’ expertise and opinions are formed and informed by secrets often acquired at great personal, financial, and diplomatic risk.  The paper further contends that CIA can—and does—have it both ways:  its reviews can effectively protect national security while allowing greater openness about intelligence activities.  The process works, and individual authors have made significant contributions to intelligence literature.

John Hollister Hedley retired as Chairman of CIA’s Publications Review Board.  During more than 30 years at CIA, he also edited the President’s Daily Brief and was Managing Editor of the National Intelligence Daily. He has been the CIA Officer in Residence and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. He now is an Intelligence Community Associate doing independent consulting with the National Intelligence Council.

Contact details: 108 Saint Andrews Drive NE, Vienna, VA 22180-3659, USA.

Email: hedleyjohn@aol.com.

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