U.S. Information Agency

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Now integrated into the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) was the overt white propaganda or public diplomacy organization of the United States. It succeeded the WWII Office of War Information. For not entirely clear bureaucratic reasons, its foreign offices were designated as the U.S. Information Service (USIS); these often included public libraries.

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, currently Judith McHale, heads a broader scope of efforts, including education, cultural affairs and public affairs as well as direct statements.

Overt radio broadcasting of the Voice of America, originally part of USIA, is now under the quasi-public Broadcasting Board of Governors, which does receive State Department input.

In some cases, the USIA chief for a country could be quite influential within the overall U.S. mission there. Barry Zorthian, a USIA officer, headed the Joint United States Public Affairs Office during the Vietnam War, which handled both civilian and military relations with the press.

Gray propaganda and black propaganda were always separate, variously under Joint Chiefs of Staff or Central Intelligence Agency control. Senior USIA officers might be aware of these programs, if only not to have the overt message in conflict, or to inadvertenly uncover covert operations through Voice of America or other reporting.