“In March 1967, a disaffected NSA staffer revealed the truth: that ever since 1950, the NSA, along with a host of student and youth groups around the world, had been funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. A series of dummy foundations set up by the agency funneled money into existing foundations, which in turn dispatched funds to the NSA for travel grants, scholarships for foreign students, and monies for international student organizations that competed with Soviet-run groups for “the hearts and minds” of students who—it was assumed with good reason—would wind up leading their nations.
Each year, the newly elected president and international affairs vice present of the NSA would be invited to a meeting and asked to sign national security agreements—violating its terms could have subjected them to 20 years in prison. That’s when they were made “witty” or “witting”—that is, told of the source of much of the NSA’s funding. A cadre of ex-NSA leaders, some of them working for foundations, some working for students and youth groups, some working directly for the CIA, ensured that the broad parameters of American interests were not breached.
The CIA also provided funds for a group of young Americans to attend the Soviet-run World Youth Festivals, and provide a counterpoint to the relentless propaganda. One of the most effective participants was future feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who knew where the money was coming from and had no qualms (“I’d do it again,” she said later).Was I A CIA Spy? 50 Years On, I Still Don’t Know | PopularResistance.Org.