The L.A. times reporter, Ken Dilanian, was working with the CIA to bend public opinion over their drone assassination program. Prior to publication, Dilanian would share stories with the CIA press office to seek approval, according to The Intercept.
The emails show journalist Ken Dilanian was working with the CIA during his time as a national security reporter with the Los Angeles Times, before going on to the Associated Press and now working at NBC.
He was a reporter at the Washington, D.C. bureau for the LA Times from 2010 until 2014. Before that, he was at USA Today, covering foreign policy. He also worked as a Rome-based foreign correspondent making frequent trips to Iraq.
Emails indicate Dilanian was talking to the CIA about how he could bend public opinion over the US drone assassination program to a more positive light. On at least one occasion, he re-wrote the opening of a news story based on how the CIA wanted the story spun.
He repeated the CIA claim that there was no collateral murder in a drone strike on a member of Al Qaeda. An Amnesty International report disputes that claim, citing eyewitnesses who say people unaffiliated with Al Qaeda were killed in the strike.
There’s no telling how much of Dilanian’s reporting has been compromised due to his relationship with the CIA. The emails cover only a few months in 2012 and were released as per a FOIA request by The Intercept.
Ken Dilanian acknowledges sending stories to the CIA prior to publication. The CIA turned over hundreds of documents in response to two FOIA requests over records on the CIA’s interactions with reporters. They included email exchanges with reporters from the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times and others.