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Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. It presents an appalling picture of illegal and improper actions conducted against American citizens in a wide range of activities and over a lone period of time.
The National Security Act of establishing the C. It would be laughable if it were not sinister that the C. It is horrifying to learn that the C. It maintained files on nearly a thousand organizations. By August, , when C. Linked to this was a computer system containing an index of over , names and organizations, almost all of them of United States citizens and organizations unconnected with espionage.
Operation Chaos: An Interview with Matthew Sweet · SpyCast · Spy Museum
Helms and the high officials of the Johnson and Nixon Administrations with whom he dealt were well aware that they were breaking the law. For twenty years beginning in , the C. But he began to face pressure from two opposing factions within the CIA community. One wanted to expand domestic operations even more, while the other reminded him that Operation CHAOS and similar activities were well "over the line" of illegality and outside the CIA's charter.
‘Operation Chaos’. . .
To put a damper on this internal dissent, Helms ordered Ober to stop discussing these activities with his direct boss in counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton. The internal protests continued, however, as White House aide and staunch anti-Communist Tom Charles Huston, pressed for ever increasing domestic operations. There were more than 50 CHAOS agents now, many receiving several weeks of assignment and training positions to establish their covers as radicals.
Donald V. Bennett and told them he wanted a coordinated and concentrated effort against domestic dissenters. The first ICI report, in late June, recommended new efforts in "black bag operations," wiretapping, and a mail-opening program. At that time, Sullivan was the liaison officer between the FBI and the other intelligence agencies and he strongly favored the expansion of domestic operations.
Helms got the message, yet he also understood the growing uneasiness in other government circles. Stations were asked to report on the whereabouts and activities of prominent persons Helms found himself constantly shoring up one lie with another and then another.
He found himself deceiving Congress and lying to the public as well as CIA employees. Just a few years later, Oswald Johnston of the Washing ton Star reported that over 35 American journalists, some full-time, some free-lance, and some major media correspondents were on the CIA payroll. The house of cards was about to come crashing down and Helms now wanted to salvage what he could and distance himself from not only Watergate but also the domestic operations. He appointed CIA Executive Director William Colby to handle any investigations into the Agency's domestic operations and began to prepare for the inevitable.
Helms was called to Camp David by President Nixon and subsequently fired. His replacement was James Schlesinger who would last but a few months. Schlesinger would be replaced in July by Colby, and Helms would become U.
Ambassador to Iran to get him as far away as possible. In the CIA underwent public investigation and scrutiny by both the Church and Rockefeller committees.
These investigations revealed considerable evidence showing that the CIA had carried out its activities with a tremendous disregard for the law, both in the U. It had spied on, burglarized, intimidated, misinformed, lied to, deceived, and carried out criminal acts against thousands of citizens of the United States. It had placed itself above the law, above the Constitution, and in contempt of international diplomacy and the United States Congress. It had violated its charter and had contributed either directly or indirectly to the resignation of a President of the United States.
It had tainted itself beyond hope. Of all this, the CIA's blatant contempt for the rights of individuals was the worst.
This record of deceit and illegality, implored Congress as well as the President to take extreme measures to control the Agency's activities. However, except for a few cosmetic changes made for public consumption such as the Congressional intelligence oversight committee nothing has been done to control the CIA. In fact, subsequent administrations have chosen to use the CIA for domestic operations as well. These renewed domestic operations began with Gerald Ford, were briefly limited by Jimmy Carter, and then extended dramatically by Ronald Reagan.
Any hope of curbing these illegal activities is scant. It is ironic that Webster, a former Federal Judge, would chose to ignore the limits and constraints placed on the government by the Constitution. During his tenure as Director of the FBI, the bureau was once again involved in the infiltration of groups practicing their constitutional right to dissent against U. Once again, the FBI compiled thousands of files on individuals protesting Reagan's war against Nicaragua and support for the genocidal Salvadoran military. Now, Webster is in a position of perhaps even greater power and, without doubt, would have no qualms about abusing it.
Conclusion Given the power granted to the office of the presidency and the unaccountability of the intelligence agencies, widespread illegal domestic operations are certain. We as a people should remember history and not repeat it. It is therefore essential that the CIA be reorganized and stripped of its covert operations capability. Effective congressional oversight is also an important condition for ending the misuse of the intelligence apparatus that has plagued every U.
A great deal is at risk our personal freedoms as well as the viability of this society.