It Can't Happen Here, Again, or: You See, I Ain't Kidding


Not really new news to CIA watchers, but it's always good to have an excuse to be reminded. From USA Today:

Little-known documents made public Thursday detail illegal and scandalous activities by the CIA more than 30 years ago — wiretappings of journalists, kidnappings, warrantless searches and more.

The documents provide a glimpse of nearly 700 pages of materials that the agency has declassified and plans to release next week.

A six-page summary memo declassified in 2000 and released by The National Security Archive at George Washington University outlines 18 activities by the CIA that "presented legal questions" and were discussed with President Ford in 1975.

Among them:

•The "two-year physical confinement" in the mid-1960s of a Soviet defector.

•CIA wiretapping in 1963 of two columnists, Robert Allen and Paul Scott, following a newspaper column in which national security information was disclosed. The wiretapping revealed calls from 12 senators and six congressmen but did not indicate the source of the leak.

•The "personal surveillances" in 1972 of Pulitzer Prize-winning muckraking columnist Jack Anderson and staff members including Les Whitten and Britt Hume. The surveillance involved watching the targets but no wiretapping…..

•The personal surveillance of Washington Post reporter Mike Getler over three months beginning in late 1971. No specific stories are mentioned in the memo.

CIA Director Michael Hayden called the documents being released next week unflattering, but he added that "it is CIA's history."

Jesse Walker on why it shouldn't be against the law to reveal a CIA agent's identity.