“Joel Whitney opens his Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers with a telling anecdote. It’s 1966. A paranoid Harold Humes, co-founder of The Paris Review, is living alone in London. His wife has just left him, and he is convinced that the Queen is listening to his conversations through microphones in his bedposts. Peter Matthiessen, another co-founder, visits and tells Humes that he used the magazine as cover during his short stint at the CIA in the early 1950s. In response to this, Humes writes what Whitney calls a “clear and sensible” letter to George Plimpton, the magazine’s third co-founder and editor, asking him to make the magazine’s early ties to the CIA public or remove him from the masthead. The magazine’s reputation would be tarnished, he argues, when it became known that it was “created and used as an engine in the damned cold war …””

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