Privacy

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

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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.

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  1. Just don’t say that the CIA had any connection to 9/11…that would be crazy!

  2. Britt Hume has had an interesting life journey.

  3. Yes, it’s history and we all know history NEVER repeats itself.

  4. Also, isn’t this just the stuff they “deemed fit” to declassify? Which would make it the little tip of the iceberg they dare show so as not to look like a total white-wash.

  5. Ah, everything old is new again; communists, muslim fanatics, central air repairmen, whatever.

  6. I think Hayden is all right, for a CIA Director.

  7. The wiretapping revealed calls from 12 senators and six congressmen but did not indicate the source of the leak.

    …did not indicate the source of the leak that the CIA dared reveal. Fixed that.

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

    I.e. It’s a dirty job, but Somebody Has To Do It.

    Business as usual.

  8. Just don’t say that the CIA had any connection to 9/11…that would be crazy!

    An understanding of the history of the CIA, with its inability to keep secret many of the actions described in these secret documents, among many others, and in light of the lack of a single shred of evidence suggesting any CIA involvement in the 9/11 attacks…yes, it would be crazy. Or just silly.

    That doesn’t mean the CIA hasn’t been involved in a variety of atrocities and injustices (equal to or surpassing the human cost of 9/11) throughout its history, just that there’s no evidence of it in this case.

  9. I’ve always had a difficulty with the reluctance of the executive branch to hand over information on national security to Congress. Now I know that they get secret briefings and the like, but if Congress can’t simply pry the door open to EVERYTHING, then what we have here is an area of totally unchecked power.

    Oh, right, that is what we have. Hmmm. Don’t see a national security exception in the Constitution. Protecting our agents is one thing, but oversight is necessary if we don’t want bad things happening in our name. Or, for that matter, to us.

  10. Obviously, they were suspicious of Hume’s massive fungoid head, and were keeping it under surveillance lest it extrude fruiting bodies which could have spread the condition across the country.

  11. I wonder if this is part of an effort to make the current abuses look okay by comparison.

    Sure, they’re tapping our phones, but at least Britt Hume is safe!

  12. Abolish the CIA.

    – Josh

  13. I read the synopsis… None of this was really anything that had never been heard of, I don’t think. At least, none of it seemed very surprising to me, but then I grew up watching movies like “Scanners” (“Dr. Ruth works for ConSec, a powerful corporation that specializesin military and defense projects (what a surprise!).”)) and “Firestarter” (“A secret government agency called “The Shop” have been after Andy and Charlie…They plan to use Charlie for warfare, and plan to kill Andy altogether…”The Shop” even went so far as to leave a message to Andy that they were serious through torturing the beautiful blonde Vicki.”)

    What IS amazing is how far this document goes toward proving commonly known past CIA activities – which again shows how hard it is to maintain the secrecy required for any conspiracy.

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