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Professor David McCarthy Unveils Book on the CIA

Richard Bland College of William & Mary assistant professor of history David McCarthy brings the spying conducted on American citizens by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Vietnam War to captivating heights in his newly published book, Selling the CIA: Public Relations and the Culture of Secrecy. Mired by national criticism, government investigation and damaging headlines, McCarthy describes how the CIA turned to a public relations campaign to rebuild its faltering reputation.

In Selling the CIA, McCarthy chronicles how the CIA developed a public relations strategy to fend off the agency’s critics. McCarthy deftly describes a PR campaign designed to project the CIA as an open and accountable agency while placing a positive spin on the secrecy taking place within the organization. Selling the CIA expertly spotlights how the agency’s succees in outmaneuvering Congress, while avoiding public scrutiny, became a direct threat to American democracy.

“My research for Selling the CIA began in 2003 and was adapted from my Ph.D dissertation in 2008,” McCarthy says. “I’ve always wanted to know more about the culture of secrecy and how the CIA has carefully guarded its image over the years.”

A native of Auburn, New York, McCarthy previously taught at Furman University, Stetson University, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before joining Richard Bland College of William & Mary.

McCarthy graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1999, and he received his M.A. (2003) and Ph.D. (2008) from the College of William and Mary. Under the direction of Professor Edward P. Crapol, he completed a master’s thesis entitled “The Making of a Tragedy: American Intervention In Lebanon, 1982-1984” and a dissertation entitled “The CIA and the Cult of Secrecy.” While the Lewis L. Glucksman Fellow at William and Mary in 2006-2007, McCarthy developed a class on the history of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His article on CIA surveillance during the Vietnam War, “‘The Sun Never Sets On The Activities of the CIA,’” was published in Intelligence and National Security (October 2013).

Selling the CIA is McCarthy’s first book and is published by University Press of Kansas.

*copy of book available by request tod RBC Communications
** For more information, please see Dr. McCarthy’s interview on WTVR: https://wtvr.com/2018/07/05/selling-the-cia/




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