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Crime of the Century

How the elite media and the CIA failed to Investigate the 1981 papal assassination attempt.

12:00 AM, Apr 7, 2005 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The CIA man's reaction: "You have no proof," he said to the bewilderment of the committee staffer. Rognoni fired back, "What proof do you want?" This evidence, plus numerous pieces of additional evidence, had led many in Western Europe to the proper conclusion. But the CIA had raised the standard of proof to unachievable levels. Levels that, as Safire noted, the "Soviet bloc will make impossible to meet."

The CIA's skepticism was not limited to close door meetings with Italian officials, however. Safire explained,

Meanwhile, in other capitals--and in Washington--middle-level CIA men with journalistic contacts have been pooh-poohing the story. In Rome, U.S. foreign service officers have been telling Italian diplomats that the investigation is an international embarrassment.

And there it was. Relying on CIA and State Department sources that had no interest in investigating Bulgarian-Soviet involvement in the assassination attempt, the elite media first refused to investigate the numerous threads of evidence and then downplayed evidence turned up by investigators outside of their clique.

The lessons to be drawn from this affair are numerous. Mistakes in the intelligence game are very easy to make. But, at the very least, every thread of evidence should be pulled and the evidence weighed.

Unfortunately, once again the elite media ignores a fantastic story.

Thomas Joscelyn is an economist who works on antitrust and security issues.