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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: CIA 1035-960 - "Countering Criticism of the Warren Report", NARA Record Number: 104-10404-10376


Although the use of the term "conspiracy theory" (in the pejorative sense) may be traced back to the US historian Richard Hofstadter (so suggests James F. Tracy*), its ubiquitous presence in the media and upon the lips of those who uncritically internalise its propaganda, may be credited to the CIA of the late 1960s. Concerned to quell the growing public (and international) scepticism towards the Warren Commission's findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA issued a directive to its assets in the media entitled "Countering Criticism of the Warren Report", in which guidance was given on how best to discredit and undermine the arguments of "conspiracy theorists"  who presumed to question the findings. Ever since, the term has served as a psychological weapon to be wielded against anyone who suspects government of secret wrongdoing, and continues to function as a powerful thought-stopper in the collective consciousness - an instance of Orwellian "crimestop".


Excerpt from interview with Barrie Zwicker

Released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times, CIA Document 1035-960 offers advice to its assets in the media on “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists", and suggests that they " employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics [through b]ook reviews and feature articles...” The list of techniques suggested in the memorandum, which together provide a catalogue of fallacies for convenient use, includes:

a) To "point out, as applicable, that the critics are":

b) To argue that...

c) And advised...


info32Page 2 bears the famous number 1035-960.

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These digital images were made available by the Mary Ferrell Foundation (http://maryferrell.org) and are used here with kind permission.

* James F. Tracy, "CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term", Memory Hole Blog (20 January 2013)



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