The Central Intelligence Agency yesterday announced a new set of regulations to govern its dealing with American journalists and with U.S. media organizations.
CIA Director Stanfield Turner said the new rules recognize that "the special status afforded the press under the Constitution necessitiates a policy of self-restraint on the part of the agency in regard to its relations with U.S. news media organizations and personnel."
Although Turner, as CIA director, could apparently authorize exceptions, the agency said the new regulations would.
Prohibit "any relationships with full-time of part-time journalists (including so-called 'stringers') accredited by a U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station, for the purpose of conducting any intelligence activities."
The CIA said this would cover all these, including foreign nationals, who are formally authorized by contract or by the issuance of press credentials to represent themselves as correspondents for a U.S. news organization or who are officially recognized in that capacity by a foreign government.
Require the specific express approval of senior management of the organization concerned" for any CIA relationships with non-journalist staff employees of any U.S. media organization for the purpose of conducting any intelligence activities.
Bar CIA use of "the name or facilities of any U.S. news media organization to provide cover for any agency employees or activities."
The new rules are more inclusive and precise than the CIA's initial policy statement on the issue, issued in February, 1976, but they appear to fall short of the proposed ban drafted by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In a report released Thursday evening, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) endorsed legislation that would prohibit employment of journalists for intelligence purposes, apparently even those who work for foreign publications.
Inouye said he had come to the conclusion "that no intelligence agency should be involved with working journalists." He said "the problem of the Howback of propaganda to the United States is a far greater danger than any benefits which might accrue from the services that a journalist working for an intelligence agency might be able to perform."
In issuing, its new ruling, the CIA said it intended to continue "open relationship with journalists (as, for example, contracts to perform translating services or to lecture at agency training courses) which are entered into for reasons unrelated to such persons' affiliation with a particular news organization.