Senator Frank Church commented in the mid-1970s on the U.S. intelligence community=s almost unimaginable to eavesdrop and warned: “That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left... These comments were made at a time when Congress was probing the domestic spying under the Nixon and Ford administrations as well as looking into rogue conduct on the part of the CIA. The CIA was forbidden to operate in the United States, and the NSA, with enormous electronic capabilities, was expected to spy abroad. Yet, NSA professionals generally thought the executive branch had the power to spy on U.S. citizens if it wished to. President Richard Nixon demanded that the NSA, CIA, and FBI spy on domestic dissidents. In providing information on telephone calls, the NSA had a practice of not telling who received the call so that information on the surveillance would be unlikely to come out in court. An interagency task force produced the Houston Plan, which would have legalized what the agencies were doing and made room for even more spying. At length, the Nixon administration decided not to formally adopt the report out of fear that it would became public, and copies of the report were ordered destroyed. Fewer than 4,000 people were objects of special surveillance, and it is not known whether these agencies were used against the Democratic party. Through membership on an interagency committee, G. Gordon Liddy of the White House plumbers unit was given access to NSA's electronic spying apparatus, and one of his interactions with that agency has never been revealed or declassified. In view of what appears to be today=s emerging domestic surveillance net, it is important to remember that the Church committee produced 14 separate reports on the illegal practices of intelligence agencies. A committee headed by Representative Otis Pike unearthed the now notorious COINTELPRO, a broad operation used to spy on leftist critics ofd the government. Until the hearings that preceded this legislation, no one from the NSA had officially appeared before Congress; it was as though the super-secret agency did not exist. In 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act became law, prohibiting the NSA from domestic spying unless authorized by a special court.
- Three decades later, during George H.W. Bush=s second term, there are many indications that Senator Church's worst fears have come to pass. The claim that the constitution did not limit the president=s power to spy on citizens was resurrected and received widespread public support. This attitude that laws of Congress could not bind presidents in the exercise of their national security powers was common in the intelligence community in the 1980s, especially among those who answered to Oliver North, Donald Gregg, and ultimately to George H.W. Bush, an experienced spymaster. The powers that Church worried grew in the eighties and ballooned exponentially under George H.W. Bush.
"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
- Sherman De Brosse
- Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!