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national dance
594 BRoADWAY, RooM 8os
NEw YoRK, NY 10012
Ks. Gloria Steineft
118 East 73rd Street
HeM York HY 10021-4238
1 ••• 1111 ••• u ..... 1.1.,, 11.1., 1. ,1.1,, 11.1,, I, 1.1 .. 1.1 .... , Ill
Jacques d' Amboise
Ellen Weinstein
Lesli Kapell
Lori Klinger
-------------------- ---- -
June 6--13, 1975, ICONOCLAST·, Dallas, Texas Pqe S
Gloria Steinem,
C.I.A. Informer?
Did Gloria Steinem front for the
As strange as this might sound,
a New York radical women's
group is claiming that Steinem-
the editor of Ms. magazine and a
leader of the women's move-
ment-has extensive connec-
tions to the C.I.A. which date
back more than a decade.
The women's group making the
charges is called Redstockings.
Most of its allegations concern
Steinem's role in the 1960's as
co-founder and board member of
an organization called the
Independent Research Service.
The Independent Research Ser-
vice, according to both the New
York Times and Rampoarts maga-
zine, was a C.I.A. front group
which was used to sponsor
delegates to communist youth
festivals, who would then gather
intelligence on the participants
at the festivals.
Steinem admits to her role on
the board of Independent
Research Service-but denies
she knew of the agency
connections, or that she ever
gathered intelligence on foreign
students. Redstockings insists,
however, that reports carrying
Steinem's name contained bio-
graphical and political informa-
tion on participants at various
foreign youth conferences. (ZNS)
.-..iltlllt Or
. ?
Gloria Steinem and several
of the staff of MS. ma- ·
razane bave issued a formal re-
ply to. charau that Steinem was
an a.chve member .of the board
of d1 rectors of the Independent
Research S e r v i c e, a reported
CIA fr:ont group which sent young
Amertcans to infiltrate and re-
about international commu-
nast YOUth festivals.
The reply from Steinem and
refers to the controversy as
• 'negatJ ve en e r g Y." It states:
'the only accurate information is
that Gloria Steinem worked for
the Independent Research Service
14 and 16 ago and that the
group some funds that
came directl y through foundations
--. so!'le from the CIA __ and that
thJs mformation Gloria herself
made public in 1967."
!Jie statement adds: " It is con-
SCIOUsness raising to consider
  parallel to this kindof
JOUrnalism, when people were
of be i n 8 communists
Simply because they had attend-
communi st supported events
the past. The parallel seems
exact: popular. paranoia thatset-
tled on in the fift ies
may now m the seventies settle
on the CIA. " .:(ZNS)
! i"'"N(rjfNS i-'(
The ne,. m . ......._ __
of The ViU editor
Mariahne PartJj Vo1ce is
Coast edito ge, an East
for the I r of RoiiJng Stone
TbOibas Mast three Years
organ, ed. •
the Voice an 1tor of
day. Miss' p Yester.
of Queens aartndge, a nat1ve
Bard Col/egend a of
as a rei>Orter earlier
Coast and wa n e West
member of th sw a founding
provisational Im-
Judithater m .Los
Vo1ce mana . . Dameis,
1974 is in editor since
porary mana 1. Ornia tern-
New West editor of
return Will
ture of her

,?rt a
t to a Voice sp k • accordtng
o esman.
Gloria Steinem: can
Who really owns Ms. magazine
Though Redstocklngs does not
explicitly accuse Ms. magazine
of being a CIA front, they charge
it has "substituted Itself for the
(women's) movement, blocking
knowledge of authentic activists
and Ideas."
Alleging that the editorial
pages of Ms . show the
magazine "owes Its existence to
the highest ranks of corporate
America, " Redstocklngs
believes Ms. has distorted and
covered up "the historic con-
nection between feminism and
Repeating the complaints of
many feminists, Redstocklngs
wants to know:
Why Is more space devoted
to "Etiquette for Humans" and
"Populist Mechanics" than to
root-analysis of women's un-
paid and/ or exploited labor . . .
what is the political function of
Ms. 's popular Image as the
magazine of the "liberated"
woman. . . (when the very
reason for the resurgence of the
modern women 's liberation
movement . . . . was the realiza-
tion that emancipation was a
myth, that women are not
Rosenberg Article
A recent case In point Is Ms.'s
decision not to print Elll
Meeropol's article about her
mother-In-law, Ethel
sonal as opposed to political? politically to "Wonder Woman"
The creative aspects of Ms. who was an army Intelligence
editorial policy seems to be the officer working "for America,
pursuit of questions such as: the last citadel of democracy,
Does Flo Kennedy swear In and for equal rights for women.''
French or Italian? How often did In her revised, 1973 form, the
Susan B. Anthony's chains get legendary figure Is still a
caught In her nylons? patrIotIc pacIfIst who ,
Corroborating the Redstocklngs alleges, still
·Redstocklngs charge that Ms. Is "reflects the anti people attitude
working against the develop- of the 'liberal feminists who look
ment of a mass women's move- to. . . supernatural. .. " models
ment, another Inside Ms. source while Ignoring the real struggles
admits: "Serious political sub- of down-to-earth women.
jects are either dealt with In a Graham, publisher-owner of
melodramatic way that under- ' Newsweek and the Washington
cuts theIr p o II tIc a I Post, who Initially bought $20,-
,slgniflcance. . . or by having 000 In Ms. stock, represents the
someone famous, like Angela same "Individualist line," says
Davis, write lt." Redstocklngs.
Stockholders The New York radical group
Charging complicity , wonders about the "coln-
Redstockings also questions cldence" of Newsweek
the appearance of stockholders promoting the IRS (1959-1962)
(I.e., Wonder Woman, July and Gloria Stelnem (1965, 1971
1972, Ms.'s first regular Issue; cover stories).
Katherine Graham, October Since Its Inception In 1972,
1974) on the cover of Ms. Ms. magazine has broken clr-
magazlne. cuI at Ion and fIn an cIa I
The radical feminists object publishing records by becom-
A reply from Ms.
The Redstocklngs press release
(see above) makes .us sad.
But we must not forget that
the real culprits are the people
In power who create such cr.
this kind of journalism, when
people were accused of being
Communists simply because
they had attended Communist-
• 'l
survt .. ve.
lng one of the largest and most
solvent publications of Its kind.
Solvency, however doesn't
mean profit-making, points out
Ms. editor Joanne Edgar.
Questioned as to their
average monthly advertising In-
come, Edgar reported Ms.
magazine had taken In $418,-
426.63 during the first four
months of 1975.
Free Labor For The CIA?
Redstocklngs seems to
suggest that If Ms. magazine Is
not a CIA front, they may well be
the spy agency' s hardest-
working nonsalaried
Redstocklngs notes, "It has
been widely recognized that one
major CIA strategy Is to create
or support parallel
organizations which provide
alternatives to radicalism and
yet 'appear progressive enough
to appease d lssatlsfled
elements of society."
Despite disclaimers by Edgar
that her magazine Is not
featurlzlng the Women's Move-
ment, many radical feminists
maintain Ms. Is "a house organ
of liberalism," a false shadow of
Additionally, the New York
radical feminists distrust the
mass Information-gathering
role that Ms. as a national
publication p l ays In the
Women's Movement.
Noting that S1elnem
"probably has access" to the
flies of the N
Feminist Organization and the 5.
Women' s Action Alliance - <
organizations which share office f'
space and members In the  
same building as Ms. , 0
Redstockings warns: "It Is "
necessary that people with
access to this much Information
Cl be trustworthy and that they ac-
tually be using the Information
to further the Interests of the
Who Owns Ma.?

The detailed press release )
also questions why Ms. l
stockholder Warner Com- 1J
munlcatlons (Warner Brothers,  
Wonder Woman Comic Books,
etc.) Invested $1 million In the
magazine and took only 25 per :?
cent cont'rol. 11
Redstocklngs terms this ma-
jorlty Investment for minority In- 'U
terest "unbuslness-llke" and  
wants to know If there's more to
the story. •
Answering, Joanne Edgar ex-
plained: "We told Warner It was
unacceptable for them to take
majorl»' Interests since It was
our purpose to own It
Although Edgar was unable
to cite the exact Interests held
by Publisher Patricia Carbine
and President Gloria Stelnem,
the editor maintained the two
women owned "well over 50 per
cent" of Ms.Magazlne Corpora-
tion stock.

.,. ......... cl
heroine and highlights the accurate- tnrormatio:i till tho\
political Issues and times, In Gloria Stelnem worked for the
question. Independent Research Service
Recent Ms. editorial decision, 14 and 16 years ago and that
however, has rejected the artl- group received some funds that
cle because " it Is not up to par came directly through foun-
journalistlcally." datlons- some from the CIA-
The magazine has since and that this information Gloria
reassigned the subject matter to herself made public In 1967.
another woman who was pre- We feel that the Red stockings
sent In Times Square the day conclusions and Implications
Ethel Rosenberg was gassed. drawn from these dated facts
According to inside sources, the are absurd.
second article will be a more It Is consciousness raising to
"personalized" account. Per- consider the 1950s parallel to

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Fighting wlthltt the women·s
movement over such un-
founded assertions as the
Redstocklngs charges can only
prevent all of us from spending
time on the Important ouslde
struggles that are really
We welcome constructive
editorial criticism of Ms.
magazine and recognize
anyone's right to extend it. We
only wish the Redstocklngs'
editorial comment could have
been presented In a more valid
[Ed. note: This statement
comes from "some of the
editorial staff" of Ms. magazine,
an "ad hoc" group which
ed Gloria Stelnem, says
spokesperson Joanne Edgar,
editor of Ms. According to
Edgar, Stelnem worked for the
Independent Research ·service
"from late In 1958 to 1960 and
then again In 1962 at the
Helsinki Festival." Edgar Inter-
preted "valid context" to mean
"a straight editorial discussion
or criticism of the magazine ...
not tacked on to this absolutely
crazy CIA junk.) D
(ZNS) - Feminist leader Betty
Frledan has challenged Gloria
Stelnem to respond to
allegations that Steinem may
have worked for the Central
Intelligence Agency.
Frledan, who Is In Mexico City
attending an Alternative
Women's Year Conference,
charged that the CIA has In-
filtrated the U.S. women's
movement. She stated this CIA
activity has successfully caused
feminist leaders to turn against
one another.
She then called on Gloria
Stelnem, the editor of Ms.
magazine, to respond to recent
charges made by a New York
women's group called
Redstocklngs. Redstocklngs
claims that Steinem had been
active In the 1960s In organizing
and running the "Independent
Research Service," a group
which has since been Identified
as a CIA front.
Frledan stated that Stelnem
has refused to respond to the
charges. D
' p..GO • "'" .- N .._. .
)I·IIC e.oo'< • JO\-\
1-\E.LE.N p.

l,E.OO'< tW,. .. .c ...,.,..
, .....
;N1Ef'S "'<"IE woNDER • .,cl<l o1RINI LOPEZ •
.-c'" I ENNON • JIM cf'OCE •
- __ .,.. • I INOP.. p.QNSi p..O
- ·. "'"'t
were no stockholders other than
the above six, yet when
questioned she latt.:r admitted
Clay Felkner did own "less than
1 per cent."
Assuming "well over 50 per
cent" means at least 51 per cent
(official majority Interest), sim-
ple subtraction suggests Harris,
Graham and PST could own as
much as 23 per cent.
Whatever Harris' "minor"
share, It Is apparently large
enough to warrant her sending
letters about editorial policy to
publisher Patricia Carbine.
One New York feminist
reports seeing an early 1974
request from Harris to Carbine
In which the stockholder calls
for a closer watch over the
editorial content and, In
general, a more conservative
editorial direction.
Reall .. uet
Edgar and other Ms.
employees appear hazy when
questioned as to who owns the
publication they work for.
Beyond the unanswered
questions here, the real Issues
are: Who sits on the Board of
Directors of Warner Com-
munications? Who sits In back
of or on top of those directors?
Who Is the PST Group? Exactly
how much does Clay Felkner
own? Etc., etc.
Edgar, however, was
generous In researching and
reporting that the Ms. Cor-
poration's present Board of
Directors are Gloria Stelnem,
Patricia Carbine and William
Sarnoff (Warner Com-
The editor also hinted that the
(please turn to page 19)
New York femiitist circles have
been rocked with rumors ever since
a !'mall radical liberation group, Red-
st ockings, blasted Gloria Steinem for
"misrepresenting" her association with
a CIA front.
So far, Stei nem has refused direct comment
to the charges which Redstockings made dur-
ing a journalism convention in Manhattan on
May 9.
Rl'dstockings grew out of New York Radi-
cal Women, which coined such feminist
phrases as "sisterhood is powerful" and origi-
nated feminist consciousness-raising. The
newly re-organized group admits that its at-
tack on Steinem might "draw lines" in the
women's movement. The attack has already
provoked questions and speculation about Stei-
nem's political past.
Meanwhile, a congresswoman and two
prominent femif\ists declared this week that
Steinem should respond to the Redstockings'
Made commendable contribution
"Gloria Steinem has made a commendable
contribution to the women's movement, and be-
cause of the importance of her position-and
the people who hold her in regard-I would
hope she would respond to these allegations,"
said Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.).
Added Rep. Holtzman: "And if it is true
that she (Steinem) was working for a CIA
front that provided people funds without their
knowing the source, then it would be helpful if
she said that this was a mistake, and made
some value judgement."
In 1967, without apology Gloria Steinem
acknowledged to the New York Times that the
Independent Research Service, which she co-
founded and directed fr om ·1959 to 1962, receiv-
ed funds from the CIA to finance Americans
attending world youth festivals largely do-
uated by the Soviet Union. She also acknowl-
eJged that most of the people aided by the
Service did not know about its relationship
with the CIA. ·
Paul Sigmund, a political_ science professor
at Princeton University who co-founded the
Independent Research Service with Steinem in
Hl59, said he now regreb1 having not told peo-
._ __ _.=l!J_.e about.:_!_he .• funding, He now doubts

News pltoto bY Frank Rus.o
Feminists are urging that Gloria Steinem
(above) darify some charges made by
movement. Otherwise, she said. Steint:m would
be committing political "suicide."
There was dissent even at :'.Is. against the
magazine's official reply to the Restockings'
charges. Said Ellen Willis, a contributing edi-
tor. "It's not a serious response to a serious
political statement. It infuriated me." Willis,
a former Redstoo!kings member, said she was
not consulted when heiJ a meeting to
draft the
:1taffers "disagree .wit.hJ ..  
... cel 'ln.<; l.JJ\ u who has been \\1tli Ms. smee
But tbe ClA was "regarJe < 1 erenUy December of 1972, will leave the magazine at
during the Cold War period," Sigmund added. the end of June because of "political and
"It was considered patriotic to work for the journalistic differences." She said the Red-
CIA because this was during a period of stockings' charges, and l\fs.' handling of them,
Conrmunist aggression." The CIA's fiasco at "effected the timing" of her resignation. She
the Bay of Pigs in 1961 changed his mind also said that Steinem should reply to the
about the intelligence agency, according to Redstockings' allegations.
''I felt uncomfortl.ble about not telling peo- Ended her association
ple about the funding in 1962" be said. Why Steinem, according to Ms. Editor Joanne
didn't he tell them? "Because," Sigmund said, Edgar, says she ended her associat_ion with
"our delegation would have been regarded as the CIA front in 1962 and has no 1dea bow
controlled." He claimed the CIA did not con- Who's Who listed her on its board of direc-
the policies for the Independent Research tors. As for the pamphlet cited by Redstock-
Service. ings, Ms. Edgar said it contained information
Charge 'c:over•up' "available to anyone at the festival." She also
pointed out that other "liberals" were involv-
The Redstockings' allegations, which ap- ,
with a CIA during the late '50s and early
pear in a 16-page press release, include the '60s. She characterized the Redstockings'
charge that Steinem "covered up" a 10-year charges as "McCarthyite."
association with the Service. As evidence, they
cite a 1968-69 entry in Who's Who which lists So did publisher Clay Felker. Felker, as
Steinem as a member of the Service's Board Redstockings point out, financed the first
. · f Wh • issue of Ms. magazine and was with Steinem
of Directors. Subsequent e JttOns o o s at the 1962 Helsinki Youth Festival where he
Wbo, Redstockings note, make no reference to lA
Steinem's directorship and "reduce" her peri- worked on a newspaper published by the C
od of employment with the Service from three front.
years to one. Felker said he didn't know about the CIA
Redstockings also allege that Steinem lied funding at the time and still knows  
to the Times when she said the CIA never about Gloria's CIA background," He satd he
asked her "to report on other Americans or worked on the newspaper at the Festival be-
assess foreign nationals." As proof, they have cause "it was my understanding that this was
printed part of a pamphlet published by the an anti-communist effort. I was an anti-
Service which contains names and political communist then and I remain an anti-commu-
profiles cri people attending the 1959 Vienna nist today.''
Youth Festival. Felker termed "ridiculous" charges that he
"I was very troubled by the Redstockings' made Steinem's career. "Some women can't
statements, and so were a lot of other people take Gloria because she's effective and beau-
1 know," said Betty Friedan, a founder of tiful," Felker said, "They're jealous." Felker
NOW, "particularly in view of what we now quoted a female editor at the Village Voice,
know about CIA domestic surveillance, and which he owns, as telling him that women are
CIA infiltration of movements for social "catty." Women, Felker continued, "won't
change. I don't see how she (Steinem) can take out their frustrations by assault so they
ignore these charges. She can't ignore them." resort to bitchiness and innuendo."
She hasn't ignored the charges entirely. Among its other charges,
Efforts to reach her at Ms. Magazine, which bluntly states that Steinem was "installed" as
she co-founded, failed, but editor Joanne a women's liberation leader by the media and
Edgar said Steinem had approved a magazine by Felker. The group also accuses Ms. maga-
statement in response to Redstockings' allega- zine of "hurting the women's movement" in a
tions. It reads: "The whole thing makes us manner similar to CIA strategy.
very sad. But let us not forget that the real "The implication that Ms. magazine is a
culprits are the people in power who create CIA front is absurd," Ms. Edgar said. Asked
such crazy suspicions, and who profit by why Steinem wasn't talking about her CIA
them." past, sh£ replied, "She isn't ashamed of what
Ti-Grace Atkinson, a founder of The Femin- she did. She stands by her 1967 statement to
fsts, denounced the Ms. statement as "spitting the New York Times. Any other statement
in the face of the women's movement" and would be a waste of her time."
said she was urging women not to write for Would Gloria Steinem work now for the
the magazine until Steinem answered the CIA 7 ''1 don't think so," Ms. Edgar said, "be-
Redstocl..-ings' charges out of "respect" for the cause of the connotation.'•
·Ms. SteinemJ
are you now, or
have you ever. .. ?
An Investigation Into The Connection
Between Gloria Steinem and the CIA
by Mary Perot Nichols
On the morning of May 11 , last
year, a tense young woman took the
microphone at a convention of jour-
nalists sponsored by the journalism
review MORE, and announced a
press conference. Gloria Steinem,
she said, had a ten-year association
with the CIA stretching from 1959 to
1969 which she has misrepresented
and covered u·p, and that " Ms .
magazine, founded and edited by
her, is hurting the woman's liberation
movement. " The woman went on to
imply that Steiriem could still be con-
nected with the CIA and involved in
" CIA strategy . .. to create or support
'parallel' organizations which provide
an alternative to radicalism. "
Wild charges or the basis for a
serious investigation? Didn't Gloria
Steinem herself talk to the press on
several occasions, as far back as
1967, about her connection with a
CIA-financed organization in the
early sixties? This has been a hard
story to work on. It is a story involving
accusations against someone both
famous and well-liked, and no one
wants to be connected with yell ow
journalism. Yet these seemed to be
serious charges made in ·a serious
The woman making the charges at
the MORE convention, and distribut-
ing a press release carrying the head-
line "Redstrockings Discloses Gloria
Steinem's CIA Cover-up," was
Kathie Sarachild,c=l adcliffe graduate,
one of the first women to work on the
Harvard Crimson, and the woman
whom feminist Alix Kates Schulman
calls " the authentic genius of the
women's movement. " (She i s also
known as Kathie Amatniek: Sarachild
means daughter of Sara, her moth-
er.) Redstocking, of which she is a
member, is an early radical feminist
group which has recently reap-
peared. They were, according to their
press release, " the originators of
consciousness raising and the Miss
America Protest .. . the women who
were the first to talk in public about
their abortions and the need for
women to control their own bodies,
who coined such slogans as sister-
hood Is powerful and the personal is
political . .. " The group derives its
riame from earli er feminists who
were insultingly called "Bluestock-
ings," and from the red of revolution.
The reaction to the Redstockings
release was immediate: alarmed
feminists began calling Steinem at
Ms. magazine to get an answer to the
charge. But the only satisfaction they
got was a statement put together by
several members of the magazine-
including Gloria-who happened to
be in the Ms. office when they heard
about the Redstockings rel.ease.
" The whole thing makes us very
sad, " the statement went, "but let us
not forget that the real culprits are the
people in power who create such
crazy suspicions, and who profit by
them." But which people in power?
The statement hardly silenced those
who wanted to know the truth. In fact
it accelerated the resignation of one
Ms. editor, Ellen Willis, who said, " It
is not a serious response to a seri-
ous political statement. It infuriated
me." The radical feminist Ti-Grace
Atkinson called the Ms. statement
"spitting in the face of the women' s
But others immediately rallied to
Gloria's side. I was eating in a West
Village restaurant in New York with a
prominent feminist when I first saw
the release, and we were both aghast
as we read it and wondered how
Steinem would answer it. Suddenly
the feminist said, " If Gloria needs me,
I'll back her up." Regardless of the
facts? " Yes. " (I 'm not using her name
as it was a private conversation.) Thi s
was a reaction I was to find among
many women in the movement who
Ameri cans to the Soviet-sponsored
- .. .. •Youth Festivals in Vienna and Hel-
Then came her years as a jour-
nalist in New York and the intimate
relationships with the famous and the
powerful : men like Camelot groupie
Ted Sorenson. di rector Mike Nich-
ols, Viking Press president Tom
Guinzberg. Rater Johnson ; her
friendship with John Kenneth Gal-
braith. The story which really began
her journalisti c career was "A Bun-
ny's Tale, " which appeared in a 1963
issue of Show magazine. the result of
her infi ltrati on of the New York
Playboy Club to work as a Bunny.
Newsweek call ed il " a plonkishly
hilarious diary of padded bustlines,
borri sh c ustomers and the carny
chintziness of the Playboy Club op-
erati on."
She emerged from the j et -set
chrysalis of her early adult life, danc-
ing the night away with famous men,
to a period of radical chic involvment
with The Black Panthers, Young
Lords and La Causa and, in 1968 got
a chance to write seri ously about poli -
tics when Clay Felker, editor of New
York Magazine," gave her a weekly
column called ' ' The City Polit ic."
(Redstockings suspiciously points
out that this is the same Clay Felker
who was an editor at Esquire when
she wrote forth at magazine, and who
was also with Steinem in Helsinki. )
It was also in this year that Steinem
discovered her femini st conscious-
ness. Quite ironically, it happened at a
meeting about abortion called by a
new radical feminist group called the
Redstocki ngs. " Before that Red-
stockings meeting, " Steinem told
Newsweek in 1971, "I had thought
that my personal problems and ex-
periences were my own and not part
of a larger political experience."
What has made the Redstockings,
si nce then, turn against her? (It
should be pointed out that only a few
of those original Redstockings are
now with the group.) The revel ation
that she once worked for a CIA-
funded group is not a new one; she
has talked about it to the press on
several occasions in the past. Yet the
Redstockings believe that they have
come up with new evidence, and
found di scr epancies in her past
statements and attempts to cover-up
those discrepancies.
There is no doubt that Steinem
once worked as an offi cer of a CIA-
financed organization and knew she
was working for it. This was the Inde-
pendent Research Service. whose
indirect financi ng by the CIA was first
revealed by the new-left magazine
Ramparts in 1967. In that same year
Steinem told The New York Times,
" Far from being shocked by thi s in-
volvement I was happy to find some
liberals in government in those days
who were far-sighted enough to get
Ameri cans of all political views to the
festival. " She insisted, according to
the arti cle, that the CIA had never
tri ed to alter the policy of the Service.
Leonard Levi tt. in his Esquire article,
quoted Steinem as calling it " the
CIA' s finest hour." According to
Levitt, at Helsinki she " directed three
foreign-language newspapers, or-
ganized a press service for foreign
journalists, and combated the Soviet
influence." (It was widely known then
that the Soviets were supporting the
festival s, to the extent that the U.S.
St ate Department di scouraged
Ameri can attendance.)
But last year when conservative
columnist John W. Lofton Jr. was
going to call her a "CIA collaborator"
in one of his columns- an attack on
the ERA-Steinem threatened to
sue. Lofton took the reference out
because, he said, she had caught
him without his research material, but
warned he would be back if he dis-
covered he was right.
And indeed he did come back: with
a whole column published April 4,
l975, titled " Gloria Steinem and the
CIA." In it he quotes a 1967
Washington Post story by Robert
Kai ser in which Steinem said of the
CIA agents " 'with whom she collabo-
rated,' as Kaiser put it: ' I found them
liberal and farsighted and open to an
exchange of ideas.· " Lofton con-
tinues with the Post quote: " ' The
CIA,' she declared, 'was the only one
with enough guts and foresight to see
that youth and student affairs were
important.· " But later she told Lofton
that her statements in the Post story
praising the CIA may have been said
"·as a joke,' an ' ironic comment,' you
know what I mean ... " So Lofton
called Robert Kaiser, who told him he
was baffled by Steinem's denials of
having collaborated with the CIA. " He
stands by his story," Lofton writes.
The way Steinem tried to handle
Loft on is reminiscent of the way she
did handle the issue of CIA funding
when accosted with it at the Helsinki
Youth Festival , as reported by the
famous graphic designer Sam An-
tupit in Levitt's Esquire article. " ' She
asked me to design newspapers for
her,' recall s Sam Ant upit. 'She
explained the papers had been sub-
sidized by foreign businessmen who
didn't want to see Finland go under.
I never thought to ask her about
the details. And you know, Gloria
asks so nicely. Of course no one ever
dreamed there was any hanky-
panky. In fact I can remember one
Harvard kid there running up to us
at lunch and screaming, " There's
government money behind this!"
" Ridiculous," I said and talked the kid
out of it while Gloria sat there and
never said a word. Afterward she said
to me, "Sam, you were just beautiful."
I always wondered what she meant
by that' ."
In her latest statement- the one
issued to the feminist press-Stein-
em now says, " It's painfully clear with
hindsight that even indirect, control-
free funding was a mistake if it
couldn't be publicized, but I didn't
realize that then."
Still Steinem might be better off try-
ing to explain the context of the times
to her constituency rather than ap-
peari ng to be slippery in print. In the
fifties and the early sixties the United
States Government was not re-
garded by many in the liberal or anti-
communist left as the menace it
came to be looked at by 1 966 or 1 967
because of the Vi etnam War. Indeed
many people l eft of center were,
liked Gloria and thought that this was
a political trashing serving no useful
purpose. " If Glori a Stei nem is a CIA
agent, " wrote black activist lawyer
Flo Kennedy, " I wish they would send
us a dozen more at once. ·•
At first the Redstockings release
was picked up only by feminist and
underground publi cations, but on
June 19th the New York Daily News
carri ed a story by Mary Reinholz who
quoted Congresswoman Elizabeth
Hol tzman (D. New York), urging
Steinem "because of the importance
of her position" to " respond to these
allegations. "
Three months later Steinem final ly
did answer, to the feminist press only.
She was probably spurred by the fact
that three prominent feminists, Ti-
Grace Atkinson, Susan Sherman,
,_,.lllii!iiiii;M;A::ll ix
Kates Schul man and others,
ked out of a Vermont feminist
workship called Sagaris partially be-
cause of the issue of Ms. Foundation
funding ther.e. " I am replying here,"
Gloria wrote, ': within the feminist
communi ty, purely out of respect for
"Gloria Steinem has been
through many changes,
transmutations. This
mild-mannered reporter has,
all her life, slipped into phone
booths and emerged a new
person with a new costume
and a new set of beliefs."
·the concern expressed by several of
you that the mud-slinging of these
accusations be washed away. " She
admitted-as she did to the New
York Times and Washington Post in
1967-to having attended two
"Communist-sponsored Youth Fes-
tivals," held in Vienna and Helsinki in
1959 and 1963, " at which some of the
American participation was partially
funded by foundati ons that were in
turn funded by the CIA . .. " Yet she
stated "I am not now nor ~   v e I ever
· been an employee of the Central In-
telligence Agency." She refuted the
other charges the Redstocki ngs had
made against her and Ms. magazine.
Unfortunately, however, her reply
has not full y convinced her critics of
her honesty i n dealing with all of the
charges; nor has she succeeded in
reconci ling different statements
made over the years about her CIA
involvement. Redstockings called
her reply totally unsatisfactory, but
Steinem has now gone back to her
initial tactic of maintaining silence on
the issue: in reful'jing to be inter- ,
viewed for this article, she said, ''It's
likely to turn out, no matter what you
write, as very cheap journalism. What
they (New Dawn) want to do is com-
bine two names-mine and the
CIA-on the cover."
But how can the story be ignored
until all the facts are known?
Criticism is not new to Gloria
Stei nem. In a long 1971 Esquire arti-
cle about ·her, Leonard Levitt wrote,
"Gloria Steinem has been through
many changes, transformations,
transmutations. This mild-mannered
reporter has, all her life, slipped into
phone booths and emerged a new
person with a new costume and a
new set of beliefs." She herself, in
one ,of her first journalistic efforts-
written with screenwriter Robert
Benton for the same magazine-
counseled male undergraduates to
"avoid the Salinger or cummings in-
fluence. Write like Jan Fl eming."
The question is: is Gloria Steinem
a character out of the pages of Jan
Fleming's James Bond novels? Or is
she the authentic, selfless, hardwork-
ing leader of the women's movement
that she appears to be today?
There is no doubt that she has had
several roles in her life. After a Jess
than well-to-do childhood-how
much less. even, is an issue in the
Redstockings allegations-she went
to Smith College and graduated Phi
Beta Kappa. After two years (1956-
58) in India studying on a fellowship,
she returned with a new political con-
sciousness: " I came home filled with
this crusading zeal to make this coun-
try aware of what was going on in
Asia," she has said. Yet it was also at
this time that her connection with th'e
CIA began: for back here she began
working with the Independent Re-
search Service in Cambridge, Mas-
sachusetts. Independent Research
Service was the CIA-funded group
which sent her and other young
  )11.. thpse days, yearning to get out
of the benign neglect of the placid
Eisenhower years and eager to in-
volve themselves with an activist
government. You might call it yearn-
ing toward Camelot. Steinem came
out of the old Adlai Stevenson
movement, as did I, and we thought
(mistakenly) that getting intellectuals
into government was going to make
everything all better. And " govern-
ment" definitely included the CIA.
·"At a cold-war time when all of
America was in the grip of rigid anti-
communism," wrote Garry Wills in the
New York Review of Books this year,
" the CIA had the reputation among
knowledgeable people of being a free
and enlightened refuge for the least
timorous. Those opposed, say, to the
House Committee on Un-American
Activities tended to be admirers of
the CIA."
In a 1972 article in the New York
Times Magazine, Merle Miller wrote
of the trips which Random House
Editor Jason Epstein took in the early
sixties at the expense of the Fairfield
Foundation, which was "really the
CIA," according to Miller. In Acapul-
co, Epstein and Commentary Editor
Norman Podhoretz and Podhoretz's
wife Midge Deeter indulged "in vari -
ous anti-communist cultural activities
on the beach. Jason went around in-
troducing himself to everyone as an
American spy." Epstein later wrote,
" The fault of the CIA was not that it
corrupted innocents but that it tried, in
collusion with a group of insiders, to ·
corner a free market. "
Past involvement of this sort is not
necessarily a stigma. As Flo Ken-
nedy said in a letter of support for
Steinem sent to the feminist press:
" We have taken to our breast many
people once with foreign or domestic
intell igence, people like William
Sloane Coffin, or Ramsey Clark, who,
as Attorney General of the United
States, was the head of the FBI and
other intelligence gathering commit-
tees, and whom we have not regret-
ted for one moment j oining our
ranks ...
Kathie Sarachild believes that the
reason Steinem does not really want
to repudiate her CIA past is that the
next step would be to have to tell us
all about it. It may indeed be that
Steinem sent to the feminist press,
friends and not dredge up the past
about them as is being done to her.
Redstockings also says, however,
that her alliance with the CIA-funded
group lasted for ten years and that
she has deliberately misled people
about it. They cite as evidence
Steinem's 1968-69 Who's Who entry:
" Dir. ednl. found. Ind. Research Ser-
vice, Cambridge, Mass., N.Y.C.,
1959-62, now mem. bd. dirs., Wash-
ington. " In all later editions of Who's
Who her period of employment
with the organization is reduced from
three years ( 1959-62) to one year
( 1959-60) and the later Board of Di-
rectorship in Washington is never
again mentioned," the press release
Steinem answered that Who's
Who was inaccurate, that she had
inquired of the Marquis Company in
Chicago, whi ch publishes Who's
Who, " to find out how these entries
are done. " She claims she discov-
ered that the information for the data
sheets may actually be furni shed " by
someone on behalf of the subject (re-
search assistant , literary agent, etc.)
or, if they are never returned (even
more likely in my case, since I fre:
quently can't answer all my mail),
they may be filled out by Marquis per-
sonnel on the basis of newspaper
clippings, magazine articles and the
like. As a result, neither Marquis nor I
knows which parts of what were filled
out by whom."
She also stated, " after completing
work on the 1962 Helsinki Festival,
my work for the Service was over. "
Ken Schrader. a Who 's Who
spokesman in Chicago, told me that
Who's Who uses many directories
and associations to check on an indi-
vidual beyond what that individual
gives them for his or her entry. But
when I pressed him he said that ''it 's
company policy to give out infor-
n on how we obtain information
on people ... He would have no further
Nor was I able to find an Indepen-
dent Research Service existi ng
eit her in Washington or in Cam-
bridge. So for me, the evidence is not
yet in as to whether Steinem had a
longer association with a CIA-
financed group than she admitted to
the New York Times in 1967, or ad-
mits now.
What else was new in the Red-
stockings charges? That Steinem
told "a serious lie" to the New York
Times when she said she "was never
asked to report on other Americans
or assess foreign national s" she had
met at the Vienna and Helsinki Youth
Festivals? Redstockings said, " The
Report on the Vienna Youth Festival,
published with her name on it as Di-
rector of the Independent Research
Service, contains thirteen pages de-
voted solely to biographies. political
affi liations, and even pseudo-politi-
cal analyses of individuals from all
the countries participating in the
festival. "
Perhaps a more serious charge
concerns Ms. magazine and the
Women's Action Alliance, a group
which Steinem helped form. Both col-
lect ··names and information about
the movement and individuals, " ac-
cording to Redstockings. They
charged, " In view of Steinem's secret
CIA work, her failure even to disavow
it, and her continuing cover-up, we
have to question how all thi s informa-
tion is being used." Thus, in their
view, does Steinem represent a
danger to the women's movement.
Regarding the Vienna pamphlet
Steinem replied. " No amount of
insinuation-or the reprinting of parts
of that appendix with names dramati-
cally and unnecessarily blacked
out- can transform the simple de-
scriptions of Festival organizers from
various countries into ·political dos-
si ers.· The bios are impersonal ,
Festival -related: information of the
sort publicly available from news-
paper clippings, Festival literature,
and the like.··
Unlike ihe Redstockings, was
continued on page 108
continued from page 39
able to discover someone who had
been at Vienna and Helsinki and who
backed up Glori a. His name is Her-
bert Romerstein and he was a high
school communist who later became
a conservati ve and a long-time st aff
investi gatorforthe House Committee
on Un-American Activities. Ramer-
stein was working with a different
group from Steinem's-a conserva-
tive one-whi ch, he told me, ironi-
cally, did not get CIA money because
the CIA was sponsoring only " ultra-
liberals" like Gloria.
" Independent Research didn't put
together the informati on in the ap-
pendix, " Romerst ein told me. " It
was put together by the Austrian
Socialist s, who were very anti-
communist, and was made available
to everyone at the Festival. "
So, while it is true that the informa-
tion did appear in a pamphlet beari ng
her name, there is no evidence that
she "spied. " Similarly there is no evi-
dence that the information received
by Women's Action Alliance is being
used for nefarious purposes. In her
reply to their press release, Steinem
says the writers of the Redstockings
statement themselves could make
use of the informati on the Alliance
has, if they so wished.
Whatever the meri ts of the charges
and the countercharges, they have
certainly helped contribute to the fear
and paranoia rampant in the wom-
en's movement since last spri ng. The
movement today is a bit like the Lon-
don of the 1890s, where, according to
Ford Madox Ford, every Russian rev-'
olutionary emigree had a Russian
secret agent assigned to him. In fact,
not too long ago Nelson Rockefeller,
a man who should know, completed a
study of the CIA's domesti c opera-
tions (Operation Chaos) which indi-
cated that the women's liberati on
movement was a target.
Women have told me they can'1
t alk on the phone because their
phones were tapped. Alix Kat es
Schulman said that women attending
Sagaris in Vermont last August were
convinced there were secret agents
at hand. Betty Friedan, a founder of
the National Organization of Women
and author of The Feminine Mys-
tique, told Mary Reinhofz of the Daily
News that "we have to assume there
are agents in the movement."
A series of frightening events hap-
pened to Friedan which, she said,
were like nothi ng that ever happened
to her before. First she began to get
pressure from her fri ends, whom
friends of Gloria had gotten to, "to
shut up and make everybody else
shut up." When she was staying in
remote Cuernavaca, in Mexico, last
June during the International Wom-
en' s Year Conference, " a woman
appeared out of a storm at midnight.
How did she know I was there? It
was like a James Bond movie." The
woman, whose name Friedan didn't
know, said she was a Ms. correspon-
dent and warned Friedan that she
"must stop thi s talk about Gloria."
" I got back from Mexico very un-
nerved," Friedan said, " and the pres-
sures got worse. Two fri ends in the
movement told me it was going to be
bad for me if I don't hush up about
Gloria and the CIA." Next came an
obscene phone call which hi nted
that she might be smeared, and a
false tip to the UPI that she had had
Her reply has not fully
convinced her critics of her
honesty in dealing with all of
the charges; nor has she
succeeded in reconciling
different statements made
over the years about her CIA
a massi ve coronary. " But I'm
damned if I'm going to suppress it. If
it's true, it must be cleansed!"
Friedan tried to persuade Con-
gresswoman Holtzman to get a for-
mal investigation by Congress of
women's movement infiltrati on, and
Holtzman did approach Representa-
tive Don Edwards of California, a
member of the House Subcommittee
on the Judiciary, about an investi ga-
ti on. Holtzman says he was gener-
ally sympathetic, but she then be-
came involved with the fi nanci al
crisis of New York City, and the
proposed investi gation "sort of fell
by the wayside." What concerned
Holtzman, however, was a series of
newspaper articles last spri ng indi-
cati ng that a woman had been
plant ed in radical lawyer Will iam
Kunstler's office by the F.B. I. during
his defense of Attica prison inmates,
a woman who was an infiltrator of the
women' s movement. " I may be
na'ive," Holtzman told me, "but the
CIA is not supposed to be involved in
domestic activity ... I am more con-
cerned with the FBI. "
Then Steinem has hinted to me
that her critics might well be con-
nected with the FBI 's COI NTELPRO,
a domestic spying agency. To add to
the general spookiness, recently
Steinem herself was branded as a
security risk after the FBI inv'l:lstt- • #
gated her at the request of the Justice
Department who were thinking of her
for a consulting position on its civil
rights department's program on
sex-discrimination legislation. The
FBI concluded it would be inadvisa-
ble to hire Steinem because of her
leftist associations.
Vivian Gornick, a veteran of the
left, has warned the feminist move-
ment against follo"wing the "fatal pat-
tern" of the Old Left. Last fall she
wrote in the Village Voice that she
was dismayed that Redstocki ngs
"should have re-emerged with its
great revolutionary energy focused
on denouncing Glori a Steinem and
Ms. Magazine as dangerous ene-
mies of the Women's Movement ...
I looked at t hose tabloid-sized
charges and I thought, "So young,
and already we have our first purge'."
"What we did," Sarachild told me,
"was demystify Steinem as a radi-
cal." Sarachild may think Redstock-
ings has demystified Gloria Steinem
as a radical but I'm not so sure. I'm
incl ined to agree with one of
Steinem's staunchest defenders,
poet and writer Robin Morgan (an
original member of New York Radical
Women, t he organi zat ion out of
which Redstocklngs came). Morgan
said she has had her differences with
Steinem and expects to still but add-
ed, " I feel ashamed morally that I was
so into rhetoric for a time that I didn't
see her growth." Steinem has gone
out on a limb for poor women and
black feminists. She has used what
power and what connections she had
creatively for people who didn't have
that power." Recently, Morgan
noted, there was a big benefit for
Joan Little in the Midwest and Gloria
"schlepped out there with a 1 02 de-
gree fever." Morgan says, " I am judg-
ing by what a person is doing now.
Not where they are coming from but
where they're going toward, by t he
kind of work they put in, by the kind of
commitment they put in, by the ki nd of
seriousness they have. "
What is unfortunate is that the
legitimate political questions Red-
stockings raised-about the place of
Ms. Magazine in the Women's Move-
ment- have been obscured by the
concentrated attack on one individu-
al , a very popular individual. And
equally unfortunate has been Gloria
Steinem's tactics in answering that
attack, and in her patronizing attitude
toward a group of feminists. Inst ead
of an intelligent debate that might
cl ear the atmosphere, we have
charges on both sides of McCarth-
yism. But perhaps the open forum is
still to come. " "