Does the New York Times correct errors in its stories that falsify history?


Not necessarily. Consider the following: On January 2, 2002, The New York Times began the New Year with an article on its Op Ed page byTom Mangold asserting that in 1964, James Jesus Angleton, then chief of the counter- intelligence staff at the CIA had violated the constitutional rights of Yuri Nosenko, a Soviet defector from the KGB, by having him "arrested and thrown into solitary confinement." The statement is demonstrably untrue.

Nosenko had come to the United States in the custody of the CIA's Soviet Russia Division, then headed by David Murphy. The CIA did not have the power to arrest anyone in the U.S., so Murphy, together with two other CIA officials, Richard Helms and Lawrence Huston went to the Justice Department and asked Deputy Attorney-General Nicholas Katzenbach for legal approval from Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy to imprison Nosenko. Kennedy then authorized the detention of Nosenko. All this is a matter of public record, and can be found in the testimony of Helms, Murphy and Katzenbach before Congressional committees.

Angleton was in the hospital at the time of Nosenko's arrest and did not participate in the Soviet Russia Division's action. (Even if the record of participants were not already clear, Angleton would have had no authority over the case, which was in the hands of the Soviet Russia Division not his Counter-intelligence staff.)

Mangold knew that the claim in the NewYork Times that Angleton had Nosenko arrested was,even by Mangold's own prior account, untrue. In his book "Cold Warrior," he writes (page 189) that after Nosenko arrived in the US, "Richard Helms and David Murphy began preparations to imprison the Soviet defector and start hostile interrogations." What he did in the New York Times was change "Richard Helms and David Murphy" to "Angleton." By switching identities— whether to make or dramatize some point, or for any other reason— he falsified the historic event itself.

Even though the New York Times was informed of this fictoid planted in its pages, it elected to publish no correction ( that same week it corrected a half-dozen mis-spellings of names). For more about the New York Times correction policy, I recommend Renata Adler's introduction to her new book Canaries in the Mineshaft (St. Martin's Press, 2001).