On Oct. 14, 2016, The Daily Beast published a surprisingly candid retrospective on the CIA’s historic recruitment of media assets.
“Other journalists were threatened and blackmailed into cooperating with Mockingbird,” the article noted, “and many were given falsified or fabricated information about their actions in order to engender their support for the CIA’s mission. The program has never been officially discontinued.”
At the time, the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast was John Phillips Avlon. Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown had launched the popular online news site in 2008. By the time she exited five years later, a soured merger with Newsweek had left The Daily Beast whimpering rather than roaring. Avlon’s arrival changed all that.
Avlon has all the credentials of the CIA’s iconic gentleman spy, including an old moneyed family with military pedigrees, a Yale education, and a missionary globalist zeal toward foreign policy and international affairs.
John Avlon, Sr. was chairman of a New York real estate company and a trustee of the George S. Patton Museum Foundation. Born in 1973, young John attended Milton Academy prep school in Massachusetts before earning his B.A. from Yale and an MBA from Columbia.
Curiously, both Avlon’s Wikipedia page and that of his best friend, the aristocratic spook Matthew Pottinger, note that the two are childhood best friends and Milton schoolmates, as if this lifelong partnership is an essential fact in evaluating both men’s lives.
Writing for the New York Sun in 2005, Avlon describes Pottinger — one of America’s top spies — as “like a brother to me.” Pottinger made his bones as a journalist — and, probably, as an espionage operative and propagandist — while working as a lead reporter for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal in China before serving as a U.S. Marines intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2010, Pottinger co-authored an intelligence analysis with Michael Flynn — “Fixing Intel: a Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan” — published through the Center for a New American Security, a front group for Pentagon and intelligence agencies and military contractors that critics have branded “the military-industrial think tank complex.”
Rising through the ranks, Pottinger by 2017 became a member of the National Security Council under Donald Trump. Flynn, by then Trump’s National Security Advisor, appointed Pottinger as NSC’s Asia director.
Advocating a tough stance on China, Pottinger became Deputy National Security Advisor under globalist John Bolton on Sept. 20, 2019 — eight days after, according to current National Security Agency estimates, the Wuhan virus began circulating in China.
Pottinger’s wife, Dr. Yen Pottinger, is a virologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was one of the first public advocates for social distancing.
After Trump left office, Pottinger joined yet another intelligence agency-linked think tank, the Hoover Institute, as a Distinguished Fellow. Coincidentally, Avlon is married to Margaret Hoover, who sits on the board of overseers of the Hoover Institute at Stanford. Margaret Hoover boasts a litany of foreign policy and intelligence agency credentials, including as former adviser to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Avlon began his own rise to prominence with hawkish foreign policy, security state sympathies, and some obscure counterterrorism credentials of mysterious pedigree. His claims as a security and intelligence expert won him a job as speechwriter for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.