The right-wing Citizen’s Intelligence Digest trumpets “The War Against America”

E. Grigsby, Editor, CITIZEN’S INTELLIGENCE DIGEST. Vol. I No. I…. Second Printing. Bakersfield, California: R. E. Grigsby, October 15, 1962.
Tabloid newspaper, 12pp, photos and illustrations, many of the latter printed in color. Slight toning and a bit of wear to edges of outer sheet, but about excellent.

Issue No. 1 of the Citizen’s Intelligence Digest, a surpassingly rare, rabidly right-wing tabloid newspaper issued in Bakersfield, California in 1962 in the hope of influencing that year’s congressional elections.

The Digest features among other things articles attacking Communist psychological warfare, the United Nations, and appeasers of Communism in the U.S. government. Another advocates for the Liberty Amendment, which among other things would have repealed the Federal income and estate taxes. Most pages are well illustrated with photos, diagrams, cartoons and the like, many in color.

I may be biased, but to my mind the real highlight is the front-page persuasive map titled “The War Against America… we are losing!” The map, 6 ¾”h x 9 ¾”w, depicts the continental United States under assault from without by “nuclear blackmail”, “psychological warfare”, “international socialism, and from within by its own (subverted) government, the news media, “spies” and “agitators”. While “the apathetic American citizen” watches propaganda on television, a sole “dedicated American patriot” is tried to quench the fire ignited by “Supreme Court Decisions”, but his water supply has been cut by an axe wielded by unnamed “Leftist Organiations”.

The Citizen’s Intelligence Digest was published by Robert E. Grigsby, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel resident in Bakersfield, California. A 1966 congressional document describes him as a member of the Liberty Lobby’s Board of Policy in 1965 and “A man of ideas and action. Put out 500,000 copies of Citizens’ Intelligence Digest before 1962 election and recently organized Operation Patriot.” The paper seems to have been distributed free of charge around the country. The masthead describes it as “a non-profit, non-membership, non-partisan, non-sectarian publication with no affiliation directly or indirectly with any other organization or group.” Whatever.

For all its purported wide distribution, the paper only had one or at most two issues (The University of Iowa refers to an August 1963 “Special Edition”, thought this may be a reprint.) It seems not to have left much mark, and a search of turns up fewer than a handful of references. It is quoted approvingly on page 9 of the Eureka (California) Humboldt Standard, and the Harlingen, Texas Valley Morning Star for Jan. 24, 1963 has the following announcement:

“Harlingen members of the Young Texans for Freedom will distribute copies of the Citizens Intelligence Digest, a pro-American report, to all homes in the city Saturday afternoon.


“No charge will be made for the pamphlets, but donations will be accepted to pay for anti-Communist literature to be sent to students in Texas colleges and universities.” (p. 9)

At the other end of the spectrum, the Yuma (Arizona) Daily Sun for Nov. 18, 1962 describes it as a “somewhat wild-eyed propaganda sheet…. well out on the right fringe.”

The Citizen’s Intelligence Digest is today superlatively rare. Rare Book Hub makes no mention of it, and I have located just six institutional holdings of Vol. I No. 1 and a possibly unique example of the August 1963 “Special Edition” at the University of Iowa.

OCLC 15190892, giving holdings at California State-Fullerton, Univ. of California-Davis and the Univ. of Kansas. I find others at the Library of Congress, Hoover Institution, and the University of Iowa. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection, #2465.