Yesterday fellow NewsBuster Matthew Balan and I wrote about media bias in Reuters and Associated Press reporting on the death of CIA turncoat Philip Agee. Today the Washington Post devoted a 23-paragraph obituary to Agee that was also somewhat lacking.
The Post's Joe Holley did relay to readers that former President George H.W. Bush believes Agee's role in divulging the names of covert operatives resulted in at least one death, that of CIA agent Richard Welch at the hands of Greek terrorists in Athens in December 1975.
Yet while Holley mentioned that in 1987 then-Secretary of State George Schultz denied Agee a passport due to "CIA reports that Mr. Agee was a paid adviser to Cuban intelligence, had trained Nicaraguan security officials and had tried to thwart the U.S. invasion of Grenada," Holley failed to follow the thread any further on Agee's sympathy with the Marxist regimes, particularly Fidel Castro's.
As a January 9 AP obit noted, Agee was a Castro apologist, writing as late as 2003 in the propaganda newspaper Granma defending Castro's crackdowns on pro-democracy activists:
Reuters, in its headline for a story reporting the death of Philip Agee, a former CIA agent turned traitor, labeled Agee a "CIA whistle-blower" ("CIA whistle-blower Philip Agee dies in Cuba"). As the blog Little Green Footballs put it, Agee was "the traitor who exposed fellow CIA agents to violence and murder by revealing their names" in his 1975 book "Inside the Company: A CIA Diary."
Agee, who had worked for the CIA for 12 years both in the United States and in Latin America, resigned from the Agency in 1968 after expressing "disagreement with U.S. support for military dictatorships in Latin America." Reuters then went on to say that Agee "became one of the first to blow the whistle on the CIA's activities around the world." He died on Monday in Havana, Cuba, where he had settled in the 1980s.
Update (17:35): Paul Colford with AP e-mailed me with an updated obit posted at 14:40 EST that had more information. See more at bottom of the post.
Philip Agee, a leftist who exposed fellow CIA operatives by name in a book he published in the 1970s has died in Cuba. Agee's perfidy was one reason Congress in 1982 passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. If that doesn't ring a bell, that's precisely the law that Bush administration critics charged Karl Rove and/or Scooter Libby violated in the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Yet while the Plame case was a media obsession for roughtly four years, the AP's Will Weissert buried that detail deep in its January 9 obituary. What's more, the wire service practically painted Agee's defection to Cuba as retirement from CIA work to the private sector: