David Wise (May 10, 1930 – October 8, 2018) was an American journalist and author who worked for the New York Herald-Tribune in the 1950s and 1960s, and published a series of non-fiction books on espionage and US politics as well as several spy novels.[1] His book The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (1973) won the George Polk Award (Book category, 1973), and the George Orwell Award (1975).

Early life

Wise was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York.


In 1951, Wise graduated from Columbia University.


In 1951, Wise joined the New York Herald-Tribune and became the paper's White House correspondent in 1960. He was chief of the paper's Washington, D.C. bureau from 1963 to 1966.[2] In 1970–71 he was a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and in 1977–79, he lectured in political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.[2] He was later a commentator on intelligence issues for CNN for six years.[2]

Beginning in 1962 with an examination of the Lockheed U-2, Wise published a series of non-fiction books, the first three with Thomas B. Ross. Their book Invisible Government (1964), exposed the role of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in foreign policy. This included CIA coups in Guatemala (Operation PBSuccess) and Iran (Operation Ajax) and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It also revealed the CIA's attempts to overthrow President Sukarno in Indonesia and the covert operations taking place in Laos and Vietnam. Wise and Ross claimed that the CIA considered buying up the entire printing of Invisible Government, but this idea was rejected when Random House pointed out that if this happened they would have to print a second edition.[3] A confidential CIA review of Invisible Government, declassified in 1995, declared that "In Great Britain, which is second to none in its devotion to liberty, there exists an Official Secrets Act under which the authors would have been tried and sentenced to prison. … That much of this material has been printed before does not reduce the value to the Soviets of having it gathered in one volume under such genuine American auspices."[4] Invisible Government also revealed the name and existence of the National Security Council covert operations sub-committee known as the 303 Group, prompting its renaming to the 40 Committee.

Wise's book The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (1973) won the George Polk Award (Book category, 1973), and the George Orwell Award (1975). Later works include Cassidy's Run: The Secret Spy War Over Nerve Gas (2000) on Operation Shocker, and Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI's Robert Hanssen Betrayed America, (2002), on Robert Hanssen.

Wise also published several novels, including Spectrum (1981), based on the 1965 The Apollo Affair.

Personal life

On October 8, 2018, Wise died from pancreatic cancer in Washington, D.C.. He was 88 years old.[5] [6]




  1. ^ Random House, David Wise Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c SoHo Journal, Author David Wise To Discusses New Book At AFIO Luncheon Archived 2018-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ David Wise and Thomas Ross (1964). Invisible Government.
  4. ^ Charles E. Valpey, Central Intelligence Agency, The Invisible Government by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross. Book review by Charles E. Valpey, Studies in Intelligence, vol. 8 no. 4, Fall 1964, released 18 September 1995
  5. ^ Giglio, David (December 2, 2018). "David Wise: Bestseller journalist and Historian - Author of "The Invisible Government - dead at 88". covertactionmagazine.com. Retrieved August 4, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "David Wise, Journalist Who Exposed C.I.A. Activity, Dies at 88". The New York Times. October 9, 2018.
  7. ^ John Pomfret, The Washington Post, 24 June 2011, David Wise’s ‘Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War With China’
  8. ^ "George Polk Awards". Long Island University. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19.