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This article explores whether the contemporary press adequately holds political-intelligence elites accountable when facing Strategic Political Communication (SPC) during those long periods when whistle-blowers are absent (‘journalism-as-usual’). It develops an original benchmark of public accountability demands of political-intelligence elites that the press should be capable of making, thereby providing concrete discursive strategies to facilitate this difficult task. Demonstrating its utility, this benchmark is used to evaluate press oversight during journalism-as-usual and facing Obama administration political-intelligence elite SPC on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. This shows that manipulation of the contemporary press occurs through subtle, but effective, SPC techniques involving a certain style of information provision that influences national, international, mainstream and alternative press outlets’ accountability demands.


  • accountability, press, political-intelligence elite, strategic political communication, torture, detention and interrogation program
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2016

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