Friday, June 22, 2007


"It is [the] CIA’s history."
--Standing CIA Director, Michael Hayden

Langley, Virginia--Except that it's everyone's history too, it's not isolated to just the CIA when you affect the lives of millions. That's human history, and American history. This is pretty big news, but of course the release of this is pretty belated. The public learned about the existence of this dossier compiled by then CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973 (initiated by a May 9th memo), then suppressed by the late-William Colby and the Ford administration (you know, that "nice" old-guy who died last year--still dead, incidentally) in 1975, in-part for partisan reasons. The conventional wisdom is that Schlesinger's probe was in-response to Watergate, but one should remember there were many other revelations and outings that prompted such alarm with the bureaucracies of the intelligence community.

One of the most-significant is the 1971 break-in by unknown activists at Media, Pennsylvania of an FBI field office. For weeks, they leaked documents pertaining to the FBI's illegal domestic "counterintelligence programs" that spied on nearly every group in the country at that time (even Boy Scout dens and PTA boards). So,what's in these "Family Jewels"? We're getting some hints already, but most of them are already well-known.

Many appear to be operations that we've all read about (part of the popular culture), but now we'll have the confirmations on, like all the assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, the Bay of Pigs, spying on journalists like Jack Anderson (it didn't help them much, small wonder 9/11 happened), operations in Iran, Latin America, torture, murder, violent interrogations, illegal renditions, counterintelligence ops against the Soviets (and American citizens), spying on antiwar groups illegally during the Vietnam conflict, illegal domestic surveillance...wait, this has happened before? Aw, this is the nicer, cuddlier CIA, they've changed (not really)! They'll tell you so.

Much of the decades-old activities have been known for years. But Tom Blanton, head of the National Security Archive, said the 1975 summary memo prepared by Justice Department lawyers had never been publicly released. It sheds light on meetings in the top echelon of government that were little known by the public, he said. CIA Director Michael Hayden called the documents being released next week unflattering, but he added that "it is CIA's history." "The documents provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency," Hayden told a conference of historians. Blanton pointed to more recent concerns, such as post-September 11 programs that included government wiretapping without warrants. "The resonance with today's controversies is just uncanny," he said. (Sidney Morning Herald/AP, 06.22.2007)

Of course it has, and it's continued into today. It appears the trail ends in 1973, with no-additions, just the dossier. Schlesinger wanted it compiled--ostensibly--for a listing of all the illegal operations conducted by the CIA since the mid-1950s. Frankly, the release of these records couldn't be more timely. They underscore the continuity of illegal practices by American intelligence agencies at-the-behest of the Executive branch, and the dossier will likely end a number of political myths, if not causing serious harm to them.

Oh, and by-the-way, Dick Cheney served in the Ford administration as Deputy Assistant to President Ford. Where does he fit-in here? He surely bore witness to most of the conversations or the themes discussed in them in the Oval Office at that time. It should be noted that Donald Rumsfeld advised Cheney not to write-down any opinions given to the president, a practice he has certainly continued into the present.Then CIA Director William Colby gave this list of illegalities to President Ford, that really "nice" guy who saved us from "division" and strife in-the-aftermath of Watergate and sundry other scandals and criminality under Nixon. The next man to be CIA Director was George H.W. Bush. It was all to cover themselves and preserve the GOP and the Executive's abilities to continue said activities. The list:

1. Confinement of a Russian defector that "might be regarded as a violation of the kidnapping laws."

2. Wiretapping of two syndicated columnists, Robert Allen and Paul Scott.

3. Physical surveillance of muckraker Jack Anderson and his associates, including current Fox News anchor Brit Hume.

4. Physical surveillance of then Washington Post reporter Michael Getler.

5. Break-in at the home of a former CIA employee [Ed.-My money is on Philip Agee, so pay-up].

6. Break-in at the office of a former defector.

7. Warrantless entry into the apartment of a former CIA employee.

8. Mail opening from 1953 to 1973 of letters to and from the Soviet Union.

9. Mail opening from 1969 to 1972 of letters to and from China.

10. Behavior modification experiments on "unwitting" U.S. citizens.

11. Assassination plots against Castro, Lumumba, and Trujillo (on the latter, "no active part" but a "faint connection" to the killers).

12. Surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971.

13. Surveillance of a particular Latin American female and U.S. citizens in Detroit.

14. Surveillance of a CIA critic and former officer, Victor Marchetti.

15. Amassing of files on 9,900-plus Americans related to the antiwar movement.

16. Polygraph experiments with the San Mateo, California, sheriff.

17. Fake CIA identification documents that might violate state laws.

18. Testing of electronic equipment on US telephone circuits. (National Security Archive, 06.21.2007)

The fact is, all presidential administrations utilize these illegal activities for their peculiar ends, and the ends of the highest unaccountable powers in our society. These are just the expediters, the CIA, and all her sundry relations in our intelligence community. Expect Congress--both parties--to do very little in curbing these activities. The Church Committee proves this assertion, since it's obvious they didn't end or solve most of these excess, which is putting-it-mildly. It's time to reduce the CIA to what it originally began as: an agency that gathers information, and nothing more. "The Family Jewels" will only confirm what most have suspected in this country all along. Hey, at least most all of the guilty parties are safely dead--except Henry Kissinger, so how about arresting him? He must have powerful all kind of sounds like terrorism, doesn't it?

The Guardian today on "The Family Jewels":,,2109335,00.html

AP today:

The 1975 six-page summary of the CIA's illegal activities:

The "Family Jewels" homepage where the documents will be posted next week: