Scali was an ABC News reporter who became an intermediary in the Cuban Missile Crisis and later a part of the Nixon Administration. Scali gained fame after it became known in 1964 that in October 1962, a year after he joined ABC News, he had carried a critical message from KGB Colonel Aleksandr Fomin to U.S. officials. He left ABC in 1971 to serve as a foreign affairs adviser to President Nixon, becoming U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1973. Scali re-joined ABC in 1975 where he worked until retiring in 1993.
Scali was contacted by Soviet embassy official (and KGB Station Chief) Fomin about a proposed settlement to the crisis, and subsequently he acted as a contact between Fomin and the Executive Committee. However, it was without government direction that Scali responded to new Soviet conditions with a warning that a U.S. invasion was only hours away, prompting the Soviets to settle the crisis quickly.