Q&A with SPOOKED Editor David Talbot

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“Without free press, you can’t have a free country… We are in deep trouble.”

This book is embargoed so no one has access to it before June 28th. Why all the secrecy?

This is a very hot subject, and the media has avoided it… the media has revealed through things like the Watergate scandal that hundreds of journalists are on the CIA payroll. This is unethical and a serious breach of confidential information… Our book is the first major expose since the Carl Bernstein expose [about the Watergate scandal.] The [journalism] field is so competitive that if tidbits of information are leaked, that would ruin careers, and so the CIA has huge leverage on reporters to give them access to jobs. Because of this, journalists report on stories that the CIA wants them to report on. This kind of manipulation extends to Hollywood… Hollywood productions are CIA PR exercises. Spooked is the first major expose since Watergate, and the author Nicholas Schou has talked to dozens of journalists and reporters for the making of this book.

What kind of reaction can we expect to see in the media when the book is released?

Unfortunately, the media will want this to go away. They hope it will blow over. But if they get stung by this, then they might fire back against Nicholas Schou. And if that happens, it’s for the better. We want discussion. We need some kind of healthy discussion. Our civil liberties have been seriously undermined. These are issues American people should be hearing about and discussing… Hopefully this book will break through to that.

What’s the most shocking thing you learned in the book that you are able to share with us now?

One shocking thing is that Kathryn Bigelow, the director of Zero Dark Thirty, worked with the CIA. The movie about al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden was a lie—a distortion from the truth. People say what they have to say to make pain go away during torture. But the film presented an argument for torture. The CIA was writing the script. It was an ego exercise for the CIA.

The other thing was just the extent that reporters are dependent on the CIA.

What kind of readers will this book appeal to the most?

Anyone who is increasingly concerned with civil liberties as the War on Terror keeps going on… If you don’t have a free press, you lose a key balance. People are afraid to tell the truth. Without free press, you can’t have a free country… We are in deep trouble.

What was your favorite thing about being the editor for this book?

Nicholas Schou is a terrific reporter. I like working with investigative reporters because investigative reporters are bulldogs—they’re fearless. Working with Nicholas Schou was really inspiring… We got a number of journalists to talk willingly. It made me remember that there are still some very honorable people left in media, and that was encouraging.

SPOOKED: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood
By Nicholas Schou
Foreward by David Talbot
ISBN: 978-1-5107-0336-0

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