[News] CIA's Family Jewels

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 25 11:27:17 EDT 2007


The CIA's Family Jewels

Agency Violated Charter for 25 Years,
Wiretapped Journalists and Dissidents

CIA Announces Declassification of 1970s "Skeletons" File,
Archive Posts Justice Department Summary from 1975,
With White House Memcons on Damage Control

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 222
Edited by Thomas Blanton

Posted - June 21, 2007

For more information contact:
Thomas Blanton - 202/994-7000

Washington D.C., June 21, 2007 - The Central 
Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 
years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, 
domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and 
human experimentation led to official 
investigations and reforms in the 1970s, 
according to declassified documents posted today 
on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden announced today 
that the Agency is declassifying the full 
693-page file amassed on CIA's illegal activities 
by order of then-CIA director James Schlesinger 
in 1973--the so-called "family jewels." Only a 
few dozen heavily-censored pages of this file 
have previously been declassified, although 
multiple Freedom of Information Act requests have 
been filed over the years for the documents. Gen. 
Hayden called the file "a glimpse of a very 
different time and a very different Agency." The 
papers are scheduled for public release on Monday, June 25.

"This is the first voluntary CIA declassification 
of controversial material since 
Tenet in 1998 reneged on the 1990s promises of 
greater openness at the Agency," commented Thomas 
Blanton, the Archive's director.

Hayden also announced the declassification of 
some 11,000 pages of the so-called CAESAR, POLO 
and ESAU papers--hard-target analyses of Soviet 
and Chinese leadership internal politics and 
Sino-Soviet relations from 1953-1973, a 
collection of intelligence on Warsaw Pact 
military programs, and hundreds of pages on the A-12 spy plane.

The National Security Archive separately obtained 
(and posted today) a 
summary of the illegal CIA activities, prepared 
by Justice Department lawyers after a CIA 
briefing in December 1974, and the 
of conversation when the CIA first briefed 
President Gerald Ford on the scandal on January 3, 1975.

Then-CIA director Schlesinger commissioned the 
"family jewels" compilation with a May 9, 1973 
directive after finding out that Watergate 
burglars E. Howard Hunt and James McCord (both 
veteran CIA officers) had cooperation from the 
Agency as they carried out "dirty tricks" for 
President Nixon. The Schlesinger directive, 
drafted by deputy director for operations William 
Colby, commanded senior CIA officials to report 
immediately on any current or past Agency matters 
that might fall outside CIA authority. By the end 
of May, Colby had been named to succeed 
Schlesinger as DCI, and his loose-leaf notebook 
of memos totaled 693 pages [see 
Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William 
Colby (Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 259-260.]

Seymour Hersh broke the story of CIA's illegal 
domestic operations with a front page story in 
the New York Times on December 22, 1974 ("Huge 
C.I.A. Operation Reported in U.S. Against Antiwar 
Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years"), 
writing that "a check of the CIA's domestic files 
ordered last year
 produced evidence of dozens of 
other illegal activities
 beginning in the 
nineteen fifties, including break-ins, 
wiretapping, and the surreptitious inspection of mail."

On December 31, 1974, CIA director Colby and the 
CIA general counsel John Warner 
with the deputy attorney general, Laurence 
Silberman, and his associate, James Wilderotter, 
to brief Justice "in connection with the recent 
New York Times articles" on CIA matters that 
"presented legal questions." Colby's list included 18 specifics:

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.
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.

Read the Documents
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free 
Acrobat Reader to view.

1: Summary of the Family Jewels
Memorandum for the File, "CIA Matters," by James 
A. Wilderotter, Associate Deputy Attorney General, 3 January 1975
Source: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

On New Years' eve, 1974, DCI Colby met with 
Justice Department officials, including Deputy 
Attorney General Laurence H. Silberman, to give 
them a full briefing of the "skeletons."

2: Colby Briefs President Ford on the Family Jewels
Memorandum of Conversation, 3 January 1975
Source: Gerald R. Ford President Library

Ten days after the appearance of Hersh's New York 
Times story, DCI William Colby tells President 
Ford how his predecessor James Schlesinger (then 
serving as Secretary of Defense) ordered CIA 
staffers to compile the "skeletons" in the 
Agency's closet, such as surveillance of student 
radicals, illegal wiretaps, assassination plots, 
and the three year confinement of a Soviet defector, Yuri Nosenko.

3: Kissinger's Reaction
Memorandum of Conversation between President Ford 
and Secretary of State/National Security Adviser 
Henry Kissinger, 4 January 1975
Source: Gerald R. Ford President Library

An apoplectic Kissinger argues that the 
unspilling of CIA secrets is "worse than the days 
of McCarthyism" when the Wisconsin Senator went 
after the State Department. Kissinger had met 
with former DCI Richard Helms who told him that 
"these stories are just the tip of the iceberg," 
citing as one example Robert F. Kennedy's role in 
assassination planning. Ford wondered whether to 
fire Colby, but Kissinger advised him to wait 
until after the investigations were complete when 
he could "put in someone of towering integrity." 
The "Blue Ribbon" announcement refers to the 
creation of a commission chaired by then-vice president Nelson A. Rockefeller.

4: Investigations Continue
Memorandum of Conversation between Kissinger, 
Schlesinger, Colby et al., "Investigations of 
Allegations of CIA Domestic Activities," 20 February 1975
Source: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Cabinet and sub-cabinet level officials led by 
Kissinger discuss ways and means to protect 
information sought by ongoing Senate (Church 
Committee) and House (Pike Committee) 
investigations of intelligence community abuses 
during the first decades of the Cold War. Worried 
about the foreign governments that have 
cooperated with U.S. intelligence agencies, 
Kissinger wants to "demonstrate to foreign 
countries that we aren't too dangerous to cooperate with because of leaks."

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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