Claire Sterling

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Claire Sterling was an American author and journalist who was affiliated to the CIA and produced a number of articles and books which were influential on the American right.


Under her real name Claire Neikind she wrote a book published by Victor Gollancz in 1946 titled Our Goal was Palestine, described as 'an American journalist writes of her experiences in a refugee ship.' She was at this time reportedly 'the Rome correspondent of the Overseas News Agency'[1], which was a covert British propaganda operation run by British Security Co-ordination.[2]


Sterling's first book (as 'Claire Sterling') revisited the 1948 death of Jan Masaryk, the Czechoslovakian foreign minister who died under suspicious circumstances. More controversial were her books The Terror Network (1981) and The Time of the Assassins (1984). In the former book, which was translated into 22 languages, she claimed that Soviet Union was a major source of backing behind terrorist groupings around the world. The latter book dealt with the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John II, in which she blamed the Bulgarian secret service for ordering the attack; the discredited "Bulgarian Connection."[3]

CSIS Conference on Italy

In early 1976, three months before the Italian election, Sterling attended a conference on the 'Communist threat' to Italy hosted by the CIA affiliated think-tank CSIS. Sterling was a panellists at the conference along with William E. Colby, Ray Cline, John Connally and Clare Booth Luce. A day after the conference the New Republic published an article by Sterling and Michael Ledeen claiming that the Italian Communist Party had recieved secret funding from the Soviets. The New Republic was at that time published by Robert J. Myers, a friend of CSIS man Ray Cline. Myers appeared with Cline a January 1978 congressional hearing on the CIA and the media where he stated: "The reciprocal relationship between the CIA and the American press has been of value to both parties and often to the individuals themselves whose careers may have mutually benefited by such connections." Sterling and Ledeen's article was also republished just before the elections by the Rome Daily American (which was funded by the CIA). Sterling and Ledeen even appeared on Italian television on the night of the election. They featured as commentators from 4pm to 2am on Channel 1 which was controlled by the Christian Democrat Party - the main recipient of CIA funds in Italy. [4]

The CSIS conference on Italy also led to activism back in the U.S. As a result of the conference a political action committee was set up called Citizens' Alliance for Mediterranean Freedom. The group took out adverts in major U.S. papers urging Americans to write to any relatives in Italy and urge them to vote against the Communists. The group's executive director Bill Gill warned American journalists against talking to the Italian media, which he claimed was "Infiltrated by the Communists". Instead he suggested they consult Sterling or Ray Cline if they needed information on Italian politics. [5]


  • Neikind, C. (1946). Our goal was Palestine. London, Gollancz.
  • The Masaryk Case (1969)
  • The Terror Network (1981)
  • The Time of the Assassins (1984)
  • Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia (1990)
  • Crime Without Frontiers (1994)
  • Thieves' World: The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime (1994)




  1. Jonathan Fishburn Catalogue Five: ZIONISM 1000 Items of History, Politics, Literature, Art and Ephemera from Pre-Mandate Palestine to the Founding of the State of Israel. Fishburn Books
  2. The Secret Persuaders, by William Boyd, The Guardian, 19 August 2006.
  3. Herman, Edward S and Brodhead, Frank The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection New York: Sheridan Square Publications, 1986.
  4. Fred Landis, 'Georgetown's Ivory Tower for Old Spooks', Inquiry, 30 September 1979
  5. Fred Landis, 'Georgetown's Ivory Tower for Old Spooks', Inquiry, 30 September 1979