1964 September 3

Secret CIA Funding of Private Foundations Exposed; No Outrage


An investigation of private foundations, conducted by Rep. Wright Patman (D–Texas), revealed on this day that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had secretly funded private foundations. Although reported in The New York Times and the Washington Post, there was little public response and no outrage over this practice. Rep. Patman had dropped his inquiry into the CIA after meeting privately with CIA officials in August 1964.

Everything changed when the U.S. escalated the war in Vietnam in early 1967, however, and on February 15, 1967, an article in Ramparts magazine on secret CIA funding of the National Student Association provoked national outrage. In response, President Lyndon Johnson banned secret CIA funding of private groups, on March 29, 1967.

Learn more: Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2008)

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