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Wick's last tapes.

Aside from Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan, the Administration official who has caused President Reagan the greatest embarrassment is Charles Z. Wick, director of the United States Information Agency. In Reagan's first term, the press reported that Wick had given jobs to the children of Cabinet members, had secretly tape-recorded his telephone conversations and had oredered the U.S.I.A. to maintain a blacklist of liberals who would not be sent aborad under the agency's auspices (among those banned, Senator Gary Hart and Wlater Cronkite).

Wick most likely will remain director during Reagan's second term, even though the agency is "a shambles," as one official there told "Dispatches." Wick's attitude is one of the major problems, as revealed in the transcripts of his dictaphone notes recently obtained by Scott Armstrong of The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act. The trasncripts cover most of Wick's tenure in office, and though heavily sanitized, they amount to daily diary of his misadventures. Here are some highlights:

[sec.] In April 1981 Wick noted that he had had a long talk with Attorney General William French Smith about the "internal threat to our security" posed by "liberalism."

[sec.] months later, in all seriousness, Wick reminded himself to contact "Arnaud de Borchgrave pursunat to Al Bloomingdale's [the late crony of the President] suggestion that we should have a reporting system from the various college campuses, who are at the scene [sic] now of revolutionary cells being established."

[sec.] After Amnesty International issued a report critical of human rights in El Salvador, Wick asked, "how can we get some investigations of Amnesty International to see whether they can or should be discredited?"

Wick is convinced that criticism of U.S. foreign policy stems from clever Soviet propaganda and disinformation campaigns. "My own view is that as one Southeast Asian leader remarked 'the Communists know how to use our media better than we do,'" he told his dictaphone. It is easy to understand why he thinks that way. As the transcripts make clear, Wick's world is largely inhabited by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, William Casey, Axel Springer, Roy Cohn, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Heritage and Olin Foundations, the Hoover Institution--a veritable Who's Who of the moneyed right.

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Title Annotation:Dispatches - Charles Z. Wick
Author:Bird, Kai; Holland, Max
Publication:The Nation
Date:Dec 29, 1984
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