Putting lives in danger? Tinker, tailor, journalist, spy: the use of journalistic cover
First Published September 13, 2017
The Anglo-American intelligence agencies’ use of journalists as spies or propagandists and the practice of providing intelligence agents in the field with journalistic cover have been a source of controversy for many decades. This article examines the extent to which these covert practices have taken place and whether they have put journalists’ lives in danger. This article, drawing on various methodologies, examines a number of cases where the arrest, murder or kidnap of journalists was justified on the grounds that the journalist was a ‘spy’. This has been followed through with research, using a range of sources, that shows there have been many occasions when the distinction between spies and journalists has been opaque. The article concludes that widespread use of journalistic cover by spies has put lives in danger, but that the extent is unquantifiable.
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