The Press: Show and Tell?

For months, right up to last week, William E. Colby, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, spent a good deal of his time on an unusual undercover task. By phone calls, visits and through his emissaries, Colby made contact with a number of news organizations. His purpose: to persuade them, on national security grounds, not to print a story that they all knew about—the attempt by the CIA to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the ocean bottom.

Colby's request immediately created a dilemma for the newsmen. Each organization had to decide whether to...

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