Alex Gibney’s CIA Father
A Final Look at Documents from the FBI File
According to documents released by the FBI, Frank Gibney’s deceptions weren’t limited to writing fraudulent government propaganda. He also deceived his bosses. On July 22, 1965, Huntington Hartford, then one of the world’s richest men, wrote to the FBI about a magazine where he had installed Frank Gibney as publisher:
“During the first two years of publication Gibney sent him various glowing reports concerning advertising contracts which had been secured with large companies and speculation concerning increased circulation projected for the following year or two. He said he found these reports to be false … and added that he, Hartford, was losing several million dollars a year publishing the magazine.
“Hartford advised that Gibney took several trips around the world supposedly in the interest of the magazine and yet he knew that such expenses were hurting the already failing magazine. … [H]e felt that Gibney had been dishonest and unloyal to him because he hid the true status of the magazine in glowing reports and he also felt that Gibney was furthering his own interest rather than those of the magazine…. Hartford concluded that based on the above he could not recommend the appointee for a position with the United States Government because he felt that the appointee might be unloyal to the government by furthering his own interests rather than those of the United States Government.”
Two Gibney associates from another magazine echoed Hartford’s sentiments in a July 27, 1965, FBI report. According to one, “Gibney left this organization with the impression that he was ‘all for Gibney’ and had no loyalty to his employer,” noting also that Gibney had failed to repay a $7,700 loan from the company.
According to the same report, the editor “stated that as far as he is personally concerned he would not ask the appointee to do anything for him or this company.”
In all, government documents on Frank Gibney paint a much different portrait than the rebellious myth his son perpetuates. In fact, they show Frank had no problem shredding the truth, be it in publishing a book based on a phony Soviet “diary” or making up sales figures for his employer. A lie is a lie. It’s no wonder Alex shows no qualms about making entire propaganda films using documented falsehoods. It’s clear he learned his craft well, from the master.