II /// FINAL
OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS WITH RESPECT TO
INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES UNITED STATES SENATE TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL,
SUPPLEMENTAL, AND SEPARATE VIEWS
APRIL 26 (legislative day, April 14), 1976
I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
The resolution creating this
Committee placed greatest emphasis on whether intelligence activities threaten
the “rights of American citizens.” 1
The critical question before
the Committee was to determine how the fundamental liberties of the people can
be maintained in the course of the Government’s effort to protect their
security. The delicate balance between these basic goals of our system of
government is often difficult to strike, but it can, and must, be achieved. We
reject the view that the traditional American principles of justice and fair
play have no place in our struggle against the enemies of freedom. Moreover,
our investigation has established that the targets of intelligence activity
have ranged far beyond persons who could properly be characterized as enemies
of freedom and have extended to a wide array of citizens engaging in lawful
Americans have rightfully been
concerned since before World War II about the dangers of hostile foreign agents
likely to commit acts of espionage. Similarly, the violent acts of political
terrorists can seriously endanger the rights of Americans. Carefully focused
intelligence investigations can help prevent such acts. But too often
intelligence has lost this focus and domestic intelligence activities have
invaded individual privacy and violated the rights of lawful assembly and
political expression. Unless new and tighter controls are established by
legislation, domestic intelligence activities threaten to undermine our
democratic society and fundamentally alter its nature.
We have examined three types
of “intelligence” activities affecting the rights of American
citizens. The first is intelligence collection — such as infiltrating groups
with informants, wiretapping, or opening letters. The second is dissemination
of material which has been collected. The third is covert action designed to
disrupt and discredit the activities of groups and individuals deemed a threat
to the social order. These three types of “intelligence” activity are
closely related in the practical world. Information which is disseminated by
the intelligence community 2 or used in disruptive programs has usually been
obtained through surveillance. Nevertheless, a division between collection,
dissemination and covert action is analytically useful both in understanding
why excesses have occurred in the past and in devising remedies to prevent
those excesses from recurring.
A. Intelligence Activity: A
New Form of Governmental Power to Impair Citizens’ Rights
A tension between order and
liberty is inevitable in any society. A Government must protect its citizens
from those bent on engaging in violence and criminal behavior, or in espionage
and other hostile foreign intelligence activity. Many of the intelligence
programs reviewed in this report were established for those purposes.
Intelligence work has, at times, successfully prevented dangerous and abhorrent
acts, such as bombings and foreign spying, and aided in the prosecution of
those responsible for such acts.
But, intelligence activity in
the past decades has, all too often, exceeded the restraints on the exercise of
governmental power which are imposed by our country’s Constitution, laws, and
Excesses in the name of
protecting security are not a recent development in our nation’s history. In
1798, for example, shortly after the Bill of Rights was added to the
Constitution, the Allen and Sedition Acts were passed. These Acts, passed in
response to fear of proFrench “subversion”, made it a crime to
criticize the Government. 3 During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln
suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Hundreds of American citizens were
prosecuted for anti-war statements during World War I, and thousands of
“radical” aliens were seized for deportation during the 1920 Palmer
Raids. During the Second World War, over the opposition of J. Edgar Hoover and
military intelligence, 4 120,000 Japanese-Americans were apprehended and
incarcerated in detention camps.
Those actions, however, were
fundamentally different from the intelligence activities examined by this
Committee. They were generally executed overtly under the authority of a
statute or a public executive order. The victims knew what was being done to
them and could challenge the Government in the courts and other forums.
Intelligence activity, on the other hand, is generally covert. It is concealed
from its victims 5 and is seldom described in statutes or explicit executive
orders. The victim may never suspect that his misfortunes are the intended
result of activities undertaken by his government, and accordingly may have no
opportunity to challenge the actions taken against him.
It is, of course, proper in
many circumstances — such as developing a criminal prosecution — for the
Government to gather information about a citizen and use it to achieve
legitimate ends, some of which might be detrimental to the citizen. But in
criminal prosecutions, the courts have struck a balance between protecting the
rights of the accused citizen and protecting the society which suffers the
consequences of crime. Essential to the balancing process are the rules of
criminal law which circumscribe the techniques for gathering evidence 6 the
kinds of evidence that may be collected, and the uses to which that evidence
may be put. In addition, the criminal defendant is given an opportunity to
discover and then challenge the legality of how the Government collected
information about him and the use which the Government intends to make of that
This Committee has examined a
realm of governmental information collection which has not been governed by
restraints comparable to those in criminal proceedings. We have examined the
collection of intelligence about the political advocacy and actions and the
private lives of American citizens. That information has been used covertly to
discredit the ideas advocated and to “neutralize” the actions of
their proponents. As Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone warned in 1924, when
he sought to keep federal agencies from investigating “political or other
opinions” as opposed to “conduct . . . forbidden by the laws”:
When a police system passes
beyond these limits, it is dangerous to the proper administration of justice
and to human liberty, which it should be our first concern to cherish.
. . . There is always a
possibility that a secret police may become a menace to free government and
free institutions because it carries with it the possibility of abuses of power
which are not always quickly apprehended or understood. 7
Our investigation has confirmed
that warning. We have seen segments of our Government, in their attitudes and
action, adopt tactics unworthy of a democracy, and occasionally reminiscent of
the tactics of totalitarian regimes. We have seen a consistent pattern in which
programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal violence or
identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what witnesses characterized as
“vacuum cleaners”,” sweeping in information about lawful
activities of American citizens.
The tendency of intelligence
activities to expand beyond their initial scope is a theme which runs through
every aspect of our investigative findings. Intelligence collection programs
naturally generate ever-increasing demands for new data. And once intelligence
has been collected, there are strong pressures to use it against the target.
The pattern of intelligence
agencies expanding the scope of their activities was well described by one
witness, who in 1970 had coordinated an effort by most of the intelligence
community to obtain authority to undertake more illegal domestic activity:
The risk was that you would
get people who would be susceptible to political considerations as opposed to
national security considerations, or would construe political considerations to
be national security considerations, to move from the, kid with a bomb to the
kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with
the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the
In 1940, Attorney General
Robert Jackson saw the same risk. He recognized that using broad labels like
“national security” or “subversion” to invoke the vast
power of the government is dangerous because there are “no definite
standards to determine what constitutes a ‘subversive activity, such as we have
for murder or larceny.” Jackson added:
Activities which seem
benevolent or helpful to wage earners, persons on relief, or those who are
disadvantaged in the struggle for existence may be regarded as ‘subversive’ by
those whose property interests might be burdened thereby. Those who are in
office are apt to regard as ‘subversive’ the activities of any of those who
would bring about a change of administration. Some of our soundest
constitutional doctrines were once punished as subversive. We must not forget
that it was not so long ago that both the term ‘Republican’ and the term
‘Democrat’ were epithets with sinister meaning to denote persons of radical
tendencies that were ‘subversive’ of the order of things then dominant. 10
This wise warning was not
heeded in the conduct of intelligence activity, where the “eternal
vigilance” which is the “price of liberty” has been forgotten.
B. The Questions
We have directed our
investigation toward answering the, following questions:
Which governmental agencies
have engaged in domestic spying?
How many citizens have been
targets of Governmental intelligence activity?
What standards have governed
the opening of intelligence investigations and when have intelligence
investigations been terminated?
Where have the targets fit on
the spectrum between those who commit violent criminal acts and those who seek
only to dissent peacefully from Government policy?
To what extent has the
information collected included intimate details of the targets’ personal lives
or their political views, and has such information been disseminated and used
to injure individuals?
What actions beyond
surveillance have intelligence agencies taken, such as attempting to disrupt,
discredit, or destroy persons or groups who have been the targets of
Have intelligence agencies
been used to serve the political aims of Presidents, other high officials, or
the agencies themselves?
How have the agencies
responded either to proper orders or to excessive pressures from their
superiors? To what extent have intelligence agencies disclosed, or concealed
them from, outside bodies charged with overseeing them?
Have intelligence agencies acted
outside the law? What has been the attitude of the intelligence community
toward the rule of law?
To what extent has the
Executive branch and the Congress controlled intelligence agencies and held
Generally, how well has the
Federal system of checks and balances between the branches worked to control
C. Summary of the Main
The answer to each of these
questions is disturbing. Too many people have been spied upon by too many
Government agencies and to much information has been collected. The Government
has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their
political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or
illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating
primarily through secret informants, but also using other intrusive techniques
such as wiretaps, microphone “bugs” surreptitious mail opening, and
break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives,
views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed
potentially dangerous — and even of groups suspected of associating with
potentially dangerous organizations — have continued for decades, despite the
fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity. Groups and
individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views
and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose
breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory and vicious tactics have
been employed — including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, disrupt
meetings, ostracize persons from their professions, and provoke target groups
into rivalries that might result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the
political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While
the agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high
officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occasionally
initiated improper activities and then concealed them from officials whom they
had a duty to inform.
Governmental officials –
including those whose principal duty is to enforce the law –have violated or
ignored the law over long periods of time and have advocated and defended their
right to break the law.
The Constitutional system of
checks and balances has not adequately controlled intelligence activities.
Until recently the Executive branch has neither delineated the scope of
permissible activities nor established procedures for supervising intelligence
agencies. Congress has failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom
questioning the use to which its apropriations were being put. Most domestic
intelligence issues have not reached the courts, and in those cases when they
have reached the courts, the judiciary has been reluctant to grapple with them.
Each of these points is
briefly illustrated below, and covered in substantially greater detail in the
following sections of the report.
1. The Number of People
Affected by Domestic Intelligence Activity
United States intelligence
agencies have investigated a vast number of American citizens and domestic
organizations. FBI headquarters alone has developed over 500,000 domestic
intelligence files, 11 and these have been augmented by additional files at FBI
Field Offices. The FBI opened 65,000 of these domestic intelligence files in
1972 alone. 12 In fact, substantially more individuals and groups are subject
to intelligence scrutiny than the number of files would appear to indicate, since
typically, each domestic intelligence file contains information on more than
one individual or group, and this information is readily retrievable through
the FBI General Name Index.
The number of Americans and
domestic groups caught in the domestic intelligence net is further illustrated
by the following statistics:
— Nearly a
quarter of a million first class letters were opened and photographed in the
United States by the CIA between 1953-1973, producing a CIA computerized index
of nearly one and one-half million names. 13
— At least
130,000 first class letters were opened and photographed by the FBI between
1940-1966 in eight U.S. cities. 14
— Some 300,000
individuals were indexed in a CIA computer system and separate files were
created on approximately 7,200 Americans and over 100 domestic groups during
the course of CIA’s Operation CHAOS (1967-1973). 15
— Millions of
private telegrams sent from, to, or through the United States were obtained by
the National Security Agency from 1947 to 1975 under a secret arrangement with
three United States telegraph companies. 16
— An estimated
100,000 Americans were the subjects of United States Army intelligence files
created between the mid 1960’s and 1971. 17
files on more than 11,000 individuals and groups were created by the Internal
Revenue Service between 1969 and 1973 and tax investigations were started on
the basis of political rather than tax criteria. 18
— At least
26,000 individuals were at one point catalogued on an FBI list of persons to be
rounded up in the event of a “national emergency”. 19
2. Too Much Information Is
Collected For Too Long
Intelligence agencies have
collected vast amounts of information about the intimate details of citizens’
lives and about their participation in legal and peaceful political activities.
The targets of intelligence activity have included political adherents of the
right and the left, ranging from activitist to casual supporters.
Investigations have been directed against proponents of racial causes and
women’s rights, outspoken apostles of nonviolence and racial harmony;
establishment politicians; religious groups; and advocates of new life styles.
The widespread targeting of citizens and domestic groups, and the excessive
scope of the collection of information, is illustrated by the following
(a) The “Women’s
Liberation Movement” was infiltrated by informants who collected material
about the movement’s policies, leaders, and individual members. One report
included the name of every woman who attended meetings, 20 and another stated
that each woman at a meeting bad described “how she felt oppressed,
sexually or otherwise”. 21 Another report concluded that the movement’s
purpose was to “free women from the humdrum existence of being only a wife
and mother”, but still recommended that the intelligence investigation
should be continued. 22
(b) A prominent civil rights
leader and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther ing, Jr., was investigated on the
suspicion that he might be a Communist ” sympathizer”. The FBI field
office concluded he was not. 23 Bureau headquarters directed that the
investigation continue using a theory of “guilty until proven
The Bureau does not agree with
the expressed belief of the field office that – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
– 24 is not sympathetic to the Party cause. While there may not be any evidence
that – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – is a Communist neither is there any
substantial evidence that he is anti-Communist. 25
(c) FBI sources reported on
the formation of the Conservative American Christian Action Council in 1971. 26
In the 1950’s, the Bureau collected information about the John Birch Society
and passed it to the White House because of the Society’s “scurillous
attack” on President Eisenhower and other high Government officials. 27
(d) Some investigations of the
lawful activities of peaceful groups have continued for decades. For example,
the NAACP was investigated to determine whether it “had connections
with” the Communist Party. The investigation lasted for over twenty-five
years, although nothing was found to rebut a report during the first year of
the investigation that the NAACP had a “strong tendency” to
“steer clear of Communist activities.” 211 Similarly, the FBI has
admitted that the Socialist Workers Party has committed no criminal acts. Yet
the Bureau has investigated the Socialist Workers Party for more than three
decades on the basis of its revolutionary rhetoric-which the FBI concedes falls
short of incitement to violence-and its claimed international links. The Bureau
is currently using its informants to collect information about SWP members’
political views, including those on “U.S. involvement in Angola,”
“food prices,” “racial matters,” the “Vietnam
War,” and about any of their efforts to support non-SWP candidates for
political office. 29
(e) National political leaders
fell within the broad reach of intelligence investigations. For example, Army
Intelligrnce nee maintained files on Senator Adlai Stevenson and Congressman
Abner Mikva because of their participation in peaceful political meetings under
surveillance by Army agents. 30 A letter to Richard Nixon, while he was a
candidate for President in 1968, was intercepted under CIA’s mail opening
program. In the 1960’s President Johnson asked the FBI to compare various
Senators’ statements on Vietnam with the Communist Party line 32 and to conduct
name checks on leading antiwar Senators. 33
(f) As part of their effort to
collect information which “related even remotely” to people or groups
“active” in communities which had “the potential” for civil
disorder, Army intelligence agencies took such steps as: sending agents to a
Halloween party for elementary school children in Washington, D.C., because
they suspected a local “dissident” might be present; monitoring
protests of welfare mothers’ organizations in Milwaukee; infiltrating a
coalition of church youth groups in Colorado; and sending agents to a priests’
conference in Washington, D.C., held to discuss birth control measures. 34
(g) In the, late 1960’s and
early 1970s, student groups were subjected to intense scrutiny. In 1970 the FBI
ordered investigations of every member of the Students for a Democratic Society
and of “every Black Student Union and similar group regardless of their
past or present involvement in disorders.” 35 Files were opened on
thousands of young men and women so that, as the former head of FBI
intelligence explained , the information could be used if they ever applied for
a government job. 36
In the 1960’s Bureau agents
were instructed to increase their efforts to discredit “New Left”
student demonstrators by tactics including publishing photographs
(“naturally the most obnoxious picture should be used”), 37 using
“misinformation” to falsely notify members events had been cancelled
’18 and writing “tell-tale” letters to students’ parents. 39
(h) The FBI Intelligence
Division commonly investigated any indication that “subversive”
groups already under investigation were seeking to influence or control other
groups. 40 One example of the extreme breadth of this “infiltration”
theory was an FBI instruction in the mid-1960’s to all Field Offices to
investigate every “free university” because some of them had come
under “subversive influence. ” 41
(i) Each administration from
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s to Richard Nixon’s permitted, and sometimes encouraged,
government agencies to handle essentially political intelligence. For example:
— President Roosevelt asked
the FBI to put in its files the names of citizens sending telegrams to the
White House opposing his “national defense” policy and supporting
Col. Charles Lindbergh. 42
— President Truman received
inside information on a former Roosevelt aide’s efforts to influence his
appointments, 43 labor union negotiating plans, 44 and the publishing plans of
— President Eisenhower
received reports on purely political and social contacts with foreign officials
by Bernard Baruch, 46 Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, 47 and Supreme Court Justice
William 0. Douglas. 47a
— The Kennedy Administration
had the FBI wiretap a Congressional staff member , 48 three executive
officials, 49 a lobbyist, 50 and a, Washington law firm. 51 Attorney General
Robert F. Kennedy received the fruits of a FBI “tap” on Martin Luther
King, Jr. 52 and a “bug” on a Congressman both of which yielded
information of a political nature. 53
— President Johnson asked the
FBI to conduct “name checks” of his critics and of members of the
staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. 54 He also requested
purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received
extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic
Convention from FBI electronic surveillance. 55
— President Nixon authorized
a program of wiretaps which produced for the White House purely political or
personal information unrelated to national security, including information
about a Supreme Court justice. 56
3. Covert Action and the Use
of Illegal or Improper Means
(a) Covert Action. — Apart
from uncovering excesses in the collection of intelligence, our investigation
has disclosed covert actions directed against Americans, and the use of illegal
and improper surveillance techniques to gather information. For example:
(i) The FBI’s COINTELPRO –
counterintelligence program — was designed to “disrupt” groups and
“neutralize” individuals deemed to be threats to domestic security.
The FBI resorted to counterintelligence tactics in part because its chief officials
believed that the existing law could not control the activities of certain
dissident groups, and that court decisions had tied the hands of the
intelligence community. Whatever opinion one holds about the policies of the
targeted groups, many of the tactics employed by the FBI were indisputably
degrading to a free society. COINTELPRO tactics included:
— Anonymously attacking the
political beliefs of targets in order to induce their employers to fire them;
— Anonymously mailing letters
to the spouses of intelligence targets for the purpose of destroying their
— Obtaining from IRS the tax
returns of a target and then attempting to provoke an IRS investigation for the
express purpose of deterring a protest leader from attending the Democratic
National Convention; 58
— Falsely and anonymously
labeling as Government informants members of groups known to be violent,
thereby exposing the falsely labelled member to expulsion or physical attack;
— Pursuant to instructions to
use “misinformation” to disrupt demonstrations, employing such means
as broadcasting fake orders on the same citizens band radio frequency used by
demonstration marshalls to attempt to control demonstrations, 60 and
duplicating and falsely filling out forms soliciting housing for persons coming
to a demonstration, thereby causing “long and useless journeys to locate
these addresses”; 61
— Sending an anonymous letter
to the leader of a Chicago street gang (described as
“violence-prone”) stating that the Black Panthers were supposed to have
“a hit out for you”. The letter was suggested because it “may
intensify . . . animosity” and cause the street gang leader to “take
retaliatory action”. 62
(ii) From “late
1963” until his death in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the target of
an intensive campaign by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to
“neutralize” him as an effective civil rights leader. In the words of
the man in charge of the FBI’s “war” against Dr. King, “No holds
were barred.” 63
The FBI gathered information
about Dr. King’s plans and activities through an extensive surveillance
program, employing nearly every intelligence-gathering technique at the
Bureau’s disposal in order to obtain information about the “private
activities of Dr. King and his advisors” to use to “completely
discredit” them. 64
The program to destroy Dr.
King as the leader of the civil rights movement included efforts to discredit
him with Executive branch officials, Congressional leaders, foreign heads of
state, American ambassadors, churches. universities, and the press. 65
The FBI mailed Dr. King a tape
recording made from microphones hidden in his hotel rooms which one agent
testified was an attempt to destroy Dr. King’s marriage.66 The tape recording
was accompanied by a note which Dr. King and his advisors interpreted as
threatening to release the tape recording unless Dr. King committed suicide. 67
The extraordinary nature of
the campaign to discredit Dr. King is evident from two documents:
— At the August 1963 March on
Washington, Dr. King told the country of his “dream” that:
all of God’s children, black
men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able
to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at
last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”
The Bureau’s Domestic
Intelligence Division concluded that this “demagogic speech”
established Dr. King as the “most dangerous and effective Negro leader in
the country.” 68 Shortly afterwards, and within days after Dr. King was
named “Man of the Year” by Time magazine, the FBI decided to
“take him off his pedestal,” reduce him completely in
influence,” and select and promote its own candidate to “assume the
role of the leadership of the Negro people.” 69
— In early 1968, Bureau
headquarters explained to the field that Dr. King must be destroyed because he
was seen as a potential “messiah” who could “unify and
electrify” the “black nationalist movement”. Indeed, to the FBI
he was a potential threat because he might “abandon his supposed
‘obedience’ to white liberal doctrines (non-violence) .” 70 In short, a
non-violent man was to be secretly attacked and destroyed as insurance against
his abandoning non-violence.
(b) Illegal or Improper Means.
— The surveillance which we investigated was not only vastly excessive in
breadth and a basis for degrading counterintelligence actions, but was also
often conducted by illegal or improper means. For example:
(1) For approximately 20 years
the CIA carried out a program of indiscriminately opening citizens’ first class
mail. The Bureau also had a mail opening program, but cancelled it in 1966. The
Bureau continued, however, to receive the illegal fruits of CIA’s program. In
1970, the heads of both agencies signed a document for President Nixon, which
correctly stated that mail opening was illegal, falsely stated that it had been
discontinued, and proposed that the illegal opening of mail should be resumed
because it would provide useful results. The President approved the program,
but withdrew his approval five days later. The illegal opening continned
nonetheless. Throughout this period CIA officials knew that mail opening was
illegal, but expressed concern about the “flap potential” of
exposure, not about the illegality of their activity. 71
(2) From 1947 until May 1975,
NSA received from international cable companies millions of cables which had
been sent by American citizens in the reasonable expectation that they would be
kept private. 72
(3) Since the early 1930’s,
intelligence agencies have frequently wiretapped and bugged American citizens
without the benefit of judicial warrant. Recent court decisions have curtailed
the use of these techniques against domestic targets. But past subjects of
these surveillances have included a United States Congressman, a Congressional
staff member, journalists and newsmen, and numerous individuals and groups who
engaged in no criminal activity and who posed no genuine threat to the national
security, such as two White House domestic affairs advisers and an anti Vietnam
War protest group. While the prior written approval of the Attorney General has
been required for all warrantless wiretaps since 1940, the record is replete
with instances where this requirement was ignored and the Attorney General gave
only after-the-fact authorization.
Until 1965, microphone
surveillance by intelligence agencies was wholly unregulated in certain classes
of cases. Within weeks after a 1954 Supreme Court decision denouncing the FBI’s
installation of a microphone in a defendant’s bedroom, the Attorney General
informed the Bureau that he did not believe the decision applied to national
security cases and permitted the FBI to continue to install microphones subject
only to its own “intelligent restraint”. 73
(4) In several cases, purely
political information (such as the reaction of Congress to an Administration’s
legislative proposal) and purely personal information (such as coverage of the
extra-marital social activities of a high-level Executive official under
surveillance) was obtained from electronic surveillance and disseminated to the
highest levels of the federal government. 74
(5) Warrantless break-ins have
been conducted by intelligence agencies since World War II. During the 1960’s
alone, the FBI and CIA conducted hundreds of break-ins, many against American
citizens and domestic organizations. In some cases, these break-ins were to
install microphones; in other cases, they were to steal such items as
membership lists from organizations considered “subversive” by the
(6) The most pervasive
surveillance technique has been the informant. In a random sample of domestic
intelligence cases, 83% involved informants and 5% involved electronic
surveillance. 76 Informants have been used against peaceful, law-abiding
groups; they have collected information about personal and political views and
activities. 77 To maintain their credentials in violence-prone groups,
informants have involved themselves in violent activity. This phenomenon is well
illustrated by an informant in the Klan. He was present at the murder of a
civil rights worker in Mississippi and subsequently helped to solve the crime
and convict the perpetrators. Earlier, however, while performing duties paid
for by the Government, he had previously “beaten people severely, had
boarded buses and kicked people, had [gone] into restaurants and beaten them
[blacks] with blackjacks, chains, pistols.” 78 Although the FBI requires
agents to instruct informants that they cannot be involved in violence, it was
understood that in the Klan, “he couldn’t be an angel and be a good
4. Ignoring the Law
Officials of the intelligence
agencies occasionally recognized that certain activities were illegal, but
expressed concern only for “flap Potential.” Even more disturbing was
the frequent testimony that the law, and the Constitution were simply ignored.
For example, the author of the so-called Huston plan testified:
Question. Was there any person
who stated that the activity recommended, which you have previously identified
as being illegal opening of the mail and breaking and entry or burglary — was
there any single person who stated that such activity should not be done
because it was unconstitutional?
Question. Was there any single
person who said such activity should not be done because it was illegal?
Answer. No. 80
Similarly, the man who for ten
years headed FBI’s Intelligence Division testifed that:
… never once did I hear
anybody, including myself, raise the question: “Is this course of action
which we have agreed upon lawful, is it legal, is it ethical or moral.” We
never gave any thought to this line of reasoning, because we were just
naturally pragmatic. 81
Although the statutory law and
the Constitution were often not “[given] a thought”, 82 there was a
general attitude that intelligence needs were responsive to a higher law. Thus,
as one witness testified in justifying the FBI’s mail opening program:
was my assumption that what we were doing was justified by what we had to do .
. . the greater good, the national security. 83
5. Deficiencies in
Accountability and Control
The overwhelming number of
excesses continuing over a prolonged period of time were due in large measure
to the fact that the system of checks and balances — created in our
Constitution to limit abuse of Governmental power — was seldom applied to the
intelligence community. Guidance and regulation from outside the intelligence
agencies — where it has been imposed at all — has been vague. Presidents and
other senior Executive officials, particularly the Attorneys General, have
virtually abdicated their Constitutional responsibility to oversee and set
standards for intelligence activity. Senior government officials generally gave
the agencies broad, general mandates or pressed for immediate results on
pressing problems. In neither case did they provide guidance to prevent
excesses and their broad mandates and pressures themselves often resulted in
excessive or improper intelligence activity.
Congress has often declined to
exercise meaningful oversight, and on occasion has passed laws or made
statements which were taken by intelligence agencies as supporting overly-broad
On the other hand, the record
reveals instances when intelligence agencies have concealed improper activities
from their superiors in the Executive branch and from the Congress, or have
elected to disclose only the less questionable aspects of their activities.
There has been, in short, a,
clear and sustained failure by those responsible to control the intelligence
community and to ensure its accountability. There has been an equally clear and
sustained failure by intelligence agencies to fully inform the proper
authorities of their activities and to comply with directives from those
6. The Adverse Impact of
Improper Intelligence Activity
Many of the illegal or
improper disruptive efforts directed against American citizens and domestic
organizations succeeded in injuring their targets. Although it is sometimes
difficult to prove that a target’s misfortunes were caused by a
counter-intelligence program directed against him, the possibility that an arm
of the Untied States Government intended to cause the harm and might have been
responsible is itself abhorrant.
The Committee has observed
numerous examples of the impact of intelligence operations. Sometimes the harm
was readily apparent — destruction of marriages, loss of friends or jobs.
Sometimes the attitudes of the public and of Government officials responsible
for formulating policy and resolving vital issues were influenced by distorted
intelligence. But the most basic harm was to the values of privacy and freedom
which our Constitution seeks to protect and which intelligence activity infringed
on a broad scale.
(a) General Efforts to
Discredit. — Several efforts against individuals and groups appear to have
achieved their stated aims. For example:
— A Bureau Field Office
reported that the anonymous letter it had sent to an activist’s husband
accusing his wife of infidelity “contributed very strongly” to the
subsequent breakup of the marriage. 84
— Another Field Office
reported that a draft counsellor deliberately, and falsely, accused of being an
FBI informant was “ostracized” by his friends and associates. 85
— Two instructors were
reportedly put on probation after the Bureau sent an anonymous letter to a
university administrator about their funding of an anti-administration student
— The Bureau evaluated its
attempts to “put a stop” to a contribution to the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference as “quite successful.” 87
— An FBI document boasted
that a “pretext” phone call to Stokeley Carmichael’s mother telling
her that members of the Black Panther Party intended to kill her son left her
“shocked”. The memorandum intimated that the Bureau believed it had
been responsible for Carmichael’s flight to Africa the following day. 88
(b) Media Manipulation. — The
FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and
organizations by dissemminating derogatory information to the press, either
anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts. The impact of those
articles is generally difficult to measure, although in some cases there are
fairly direct connections to injury to the target. The Bureau also attempted to
influence media reporting which would have any impact on the public image of
the FBI. Examples include:
— Planting a series of
derogatory articles about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Poor People’s
For example, in anticipation
of the 1968 “poor people’s march on Washington, D.C.,” Bureau
Headquarters granted authority to furnish “cooperative news media
sources” an article “designed to curtail success of Martin Luther King’s
fund raising.” 90 Another memorandum illustrated how “photographs of
demonstrators” could be used in discrediting the civil rights movement.
Six photographs of participants in the poor people’s campaign in Cleveland
accompanied the memorandum with the following note attached: “These
[photographs] show the militant aggressive appearance of the participants and
might be of interest to a cooperative news source.” 91 Information on the
Poor People’s Campaign was provided by the FBI to friendly reporters on the
condition that “the Bureau must not be revealed as the source.” 92
— Soliciting information from
Field Offices “on a continuing basis” for “prompt . . . dissemination
to the news media . . . to discredit the New Left movement and its
adherents.” The Headquarters directive requested, among other things,
data should be furnished depicting the scurrilous and depraved nature, of many
of the characters, activities, habits, and living conditions representative of
New Left adherents.
Field Offices were to be
exhorted that: “Every avenue of possible embarrassment must be vigorously
and enthusiastically explored.” 93
— Ordering Field Offices to
gather information which would disprove allegations by the “liberal press,
the bleeding hearts, and the forces on the left” that the Chicago police
used undue force in dealing with demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic
— Taking advantage of a close
relationship with the Chairman of the Board — described in an FBI memorandum
as “our good friend”– of a magazine with national circulation to
influence articles which related to the FBI. For example, through this
relationship the Bureau: “squelched” an “unfavorable article
against the Bureau” written by a free-lance writer about an FBI
investigation; “postponed publication” of an article on another FBI
case; “forestalled publication” of an article by Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr.; and received information about proposed editing of King’s articles.
(c) Distorting Data to
Influence Government Policy and Public Perceptions
Accurate intelligence is a
prerequisite to sound government policy. However, as the past head of the FBI’s
Domestic Intelligence Division reminded the Committee:
The facts by themselves are
not too meaningful. They are something like stones cast into a heap. 97
On certain crucial subjects
the domestic intelligence agencies reported the “facts” in ways that
gave rise to misleading impressions.
For example, the FBI’s
Domestic Intelligence Division initially discounted as an “obvious
failure” the alleged attempt’s of Communists to influence the civil rights
movement. 98 Without any significant change in the factual situation, the Bureau
moved from the Division’s conclusion to Director Hoover’s public congressional
testimony characterizing Communist influence on the civil rights movement as
“vitally important.” 98a
FBI reporting on protests
against the Vietnam War provides another example, of the manner in which the
information provided to decision-makers can be skewed. In acquiescence with a
judgment already expressed by President Johnson, the Bureau’s reports on
demonstrations against the War in Vietnam emphasized Communist efforts to influence
the anti-war movement and underplayed the fact that the vast majority of
demonstrators were not Communist controlled. 99
(d) “Chilling” First
Amendment Rights. — The First Amendment protects the Rights of American
citizens to engage in free and open discussions, and to associate with persons
of their choosing. Intelligence agencies have, on occasion, expressly attempted
to interfere with those rights. For example, one internal FBI memorandum called
for “more interviews” with New Left subjects “to enhance the
paranoia endemic in these circles” and “get the point across there is
an FBI agent behind every mailbox.” 100
More importantly, the
government’s surveillance activities in the aggregate — whether or not
expressly intended to do so — tends, as the Committee concludes at p. 290 to
deter the exercise of First Amended Rights by American citizens who become
aware of the government’s domestic intelligence program.
(e) Preventing the Free
Exchange of Ideas. — Speakers, teachers, writers, and publications themselves
were targets of the FBI’s counterintelligence program. The FBI’s efforts to
interfere with the free exchange of ideas included:
— Anonymously attempting to
prevent an alleged “Communist-front” group from holding a forum on a
midwest campus, and then investigating the judge who ordered that the meeting
be allowed to proceed. 101
— Using another
“confidential source” in a foundation which contributed to a local
college to apply pressure on the school to fire an activist professor.
— Anonymously contacting a
university official to urge him to “persuade” two professors to stop
funding a student newspaper, in order to “eliminate what voice the New
Left has” in the area.
— Targeting the New Mexico
Free University for teaching “confrontation politics” and “draft
counseling training”. 102
7. Cost and Value
Domestic intelligence is
expensive. We have already indicated the cost of illegal and improper
intelligence activities in terms of the harm to victims, the injury to
constitutional values, and the damage to the democratic process itself. The
cost in dollars is also significant. For example, the FBI has budgeted for
fiscal year 1976 over $7 million for its domestic security informant program,
more than twice the amount it spends on informants against organized crime. 103
The aggregate budget for FBI domestic security intelligence and foreign
counterintelligence is at least $80 million. 104 In the late 1960s and early
1970s, when the Bureau was joined by the CIA, the military, and NSA in collecting
information about the anti-war movement and black activists, the cost was
Apart from the excesses
described above, the usefulness of many domestic intelligence activities in
serving the legitimate goal of protecting society has been questionable.
Properly directed intelligence investigations concentrating upon hostile
foreign agents and violent terrorists can produce valuable results. The
Committee has examined cases where the FBI uncovered “illegal” agents
of a foreign power engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in violation
of federal law. Information leading to the prevention of serious violence has
been acquired by the FBI through its informant penetration of terrorist groups
and through the inclusion in Bureau files of the names of persons actively
involved with such groups. 105 Nevertheless, the most sweeping domestic
intelligence surveillance programs have produced surprisingly few useful
returns in view of their extent. For example:
— Between 1960 and 1974, the
FBI conducted over 500,000 separate investigations of persons and groups under
the “subversive” category, predicated on the possibility that they
might be likely to overthrow the government of the United States. 106 Yet not a
single individual or group has been prosecuted since 1957 under the laws which
prohibit planning or advocating action to overthrow the government and which
are the main alleged statutory basis for such FBI investigations. 107
— A recent study by the
General Accounting Office has estimated that of some 17,528 FBI domestic
intelligence investigations of individuals in 1974, only 1.3 percent resulted
in prosecution and conviction, and in only “about 2 percent” of the
cases was advance knowledge of any activity — legal or illegal — obtained.
— One of the main reasons
advanced for expanded collection of intelligence about urban unrest and
anti-war protest was to help responsible officials cope with possible violence.
However, a former White House official with major duties in this area under the
Johnson administration has concluded, in retrospect, that “in none of
these situations . . . would advance intelligence about dissident groups [have]
been of much help,” that what was needed was “physical
intelligence” about the geography of major cities, and that the attempt to
“predict violence” was not a “successful undertaking” 109
— Domestic intelligence
reports have sometimes even been counterproductive. A local police chief, for
example, described FBI reports which led to the positioning of federal troops
near his city as:
. . . almost completely
composed of unsorted and unevaluated stories, threats, and rumors that had
crossed my desk in New Haven. Many of these had long before been discounted by
our Intelligence Division. But they had made their way from New Haven to
Washington, had gained completely unwarranted credibility, and had been
submitted by the Director of the FBI to the President of the United States.
They seemed to present a convincing picture of impending holocaust. 110
In considering its
recommendations, the Committee undertook an evaluation of the FBI’s claims that
domestic intelligence was necessary to combat terrorism, civil disorders,
“subversion,” and hostile foreign intelligence activity. The
Committee reviewed voluminous materials bearing on this issue and questioned
Bureau officials, local police officials, and present and former federal
We have found that we are in
fundamental agreement with the wisdom of Attorney General Stone’s initial
warning that intelligence agencies must not be “concerned with political
or other opinions of individuals” and must be limited to investigating
essentially only “such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United
States.” The Committee’s record demonstrates that domestic intelligence
which departs from this standard raises grave risks of undermining the democratic
process and harming the interests of individual citizens. This danger weighs
heavily against the speculative or negligible benefits of the ill-defined and
overbroad investigations authorized in the past. Thus, the basic purpose of the
recommendations contained in Part IV of this report is to limit the FBI to
investigating conduct rather than ideas or associations.
The excesses of the past do
not, however, justify depriving the United States of a clearly defined and
effectively controlled domestic intelligence capability. The intelligence
services of this nation’s international adversaries continue to attempt to
conduct clandestine espionage operations within the United States. 111 Our
recommendations provide for intelligence investigations of hostile foreign
Moreover, terrorists have
engaged in serious acts of violence which have brought death and injury to
Americans and threaten further such acts. These acts, not the politics or
beliefs of those who would commit them, are the proper focus for investigations
to anticipate terrorist violence. Accordingly, the Committee would permit
properly controlled intelligence investigations in those narrow circumstances.
Concentration on imminent
violence can avoid the wasteful dispersion of resources which has characterized
the sweeping (and fruitless) domestic intelligence investigations of the past.
But the most important reason for the fundamental change in the domestic
intelligence operations which our Recommendations propose is the need to
protect the constitutional Rights of Americans.
In light of the record of
abuse revealed by our inquiry, the Committee is not satisfied with the position
that mere exposure of what has occurred in the past will prevent its
recurrence. Clear legal standards and effective oversight and controls are
necessary to ensure that domestic intelligence activity does not itself
undermine the democratic system it is intended to protect.
1 S. Res. 21, see. 2 (12). The
Senate specifically charged this Committee with investigating “the conduct
of domestic intelligence, or counterintelligence operations against United
States citizens.” (See. 2(2) ) The resolution added several examples of
specific charges of possible “illegal, improper or unethical”
governmental intelligence activities as matters to be fully investigated (See.
(2) (1)-CIA domestic activities; See. (2) (3)-Huston Plan: See. (2)
(10)-surreptitous entries, electronic surveillance, mail opening.)
2 Just as the term
“Intelligence activity” encompasses activities that go far beyond the
collection and analysis of information, the term “intelligence
community” includes persons ranging from the President to the lowest field
operatives of the intelligence agencies.
3 The Alien Act provided for
the deportation of all aliens judged “dangerous to the peace and
safety” of the nation. (1 Stat. 570, June 25, 1798) The Sedition Act made
it a federal crime to publish “false, scandalous and malicious
writing” against the United States government, the Congress, or the
President with the intent to “excite against them” the “hatred
of the good people of the United States” or to “encourage or abet any
hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States.” (1 Stat.
596, July 14, 1798) There were at least 25 arrests, 15 indictments, and 10
convictions under the Sedition Act. (See James M. Smith, Freedom’s Fetters: The
Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties (Ithaca: Cornell U. Press,
4 Francis Biddle, In Brief
Authority (Garden City; Doubleday, 1962), p. 224; Roger Daniels, Concentration
Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World War II (New York: Holt, Rinehart. and
Winston, 1971), p. 66.
5 Many victims of intelligence
activities have claimed in the past that they were being subjected to hostile
action by their government. Prior to this investigation, most Americans would
have dismissed these allegations. Senator Philip Hart aptly described this
phenomenon in the course of the Committee’s public hearings on domestic
“As I’m sure others have,
I have been told for years by, among others, some of my own family, that this
is exactly what the Bureau was doing all of the time, and in my great wisdom
and high office, I assured them that they were [wrong]-it just wasn’t true. it
couldn’t happen. They wouldn’t do it. What you have described is a series of
illegal actions intended squarely to deny First Amendment rights to some
Americans. That is what my children have told me was going on. Now I did not
“The trick now, as I see
it, Mr. Chairman, is for this committee to be able to figure out how to
persuade the people of this country that indeed it did go on. And how shall we
insure that it will never happen again? But it will happen repeatedly unless we
can bring ourselves to understand and accept that it did go on.” Senator
Philip Hart, 11/18/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 41.
6 As the Supreme court noted
in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 483. 486 (1966), even before the Court
required law officers to advise criminal suspects of their constitutional
rights before custodial interrogation, the FBI had “an exemplary
record” in this area-a practice which the Court said should be emulated by
state and local law enforcement agencies.” This commendable FBI tradition
in the general field of law enforcement presents a sharp contrast to the
widespread disregard of individual rights in FBI domestic intelligence
operations examined in the balance of this Report.
7 New York Times, 5/13/24.
8 Mary Jo Cook testimony, 12/2/75),
Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 111; James B. Adams testimony, 12/2/75. Hearings, Vol. 6,
9 Tom Charles Huston
testimony, 9/23/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 45.
10 “The Federal
Prosecutor”, Journal of the American Judicature Society (June, 1940), p.
11 Memorandum from the FBI to
the Senate Select Committee, 10/6/75.
12 Memorandum from the FBI to
the Senate Select Committee, 10/6/75.
13 James Angleton testimony,
9/17/75, p. 28.
14 See Mail Opening Report:
Section IV, “FBI Mail Openings.”
15 Chief, International
Terrorist Group testimony, Commission on CIA Activities Within the United
States, 3/10/75, pp. 1485-1489.
16 Statement by the Chairman,
11/6/75; re: SHAMROCK, Hearings, Vol, 5, pp. 57-60.
17 See Military Surveillance
Report: Section 11, “The Collection of Information about the Political
Activities of Private Citizens and Private Organizations.”
18 See IRS Report: Section II,
“Selective Enforcement for Non-tax Purposes.”
19 Memorandum from A. H.
Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 12/8/54. Many of the memoranda cited in this report
were actually written by FBI personnel other than those whose names were
indicated at the foot of the document as the author. Citation in this report of
specific memoranda by using the names of FBI personnel which so appear is for
documentation purposes only and is not intended to presume authorship or even
knowledge in all cases.
20 Memorandum from Kansas City
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/20/70. (Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 54-3)
21 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/28/69, P. 2. (Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit
22 Memorandum from Baltimore
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/11/70, P. 2.
23 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/14/64.
24 Name deleted by Committee
to protect privacy.
25 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to New York Meld Office 4/24/64, re CPUSA, Negro question.
26 James Adams testimony,
12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 137.
27 Memorandum from F. T.
Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 5/29/6.3.
28 Memorandum from Oklahoma
City Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 9/19/41. See Development of FBI Domestic
Intelligence Investigations: Section IV, “FBI Target Lists.”
29 Chief Robert Shackleford
testimony, 2/6/76, p. 91.
30 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee
on Constitutional Rights. Report. 1973. p. 57.
31 Senate Select Committee
Staff summary of HTLINGUAL File Review, 9/5/75.
32 FBI Summary Memorandum,
1/31/75, re: Coverage of TX. Presentation.
33 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to Marvin Watson, 7/15/66.
34 See Military Report: See.
II, “The Collection of information About the Political Activities of
Private citizens and Private Organizations.”
35 Memorandum from FBI
headquarters to all SAC’s, 11/4/70.
36 Charles Brennan testimony,
9/25/75, Hearings, vol. 2 p. 117.
37 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 7/5/68.
38 Abstracts of New Left
Documents #161, 115, 43. Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI
39 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/29/68.
40 FBI manual of Instructions,
See. 87, B (2-f).
41 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 7/23/69.
42 Memorandum from Stephen
Early to J. Edgar Hoover, 5/21/40; 6/17/40.
43 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to George Allen, 12/3/46.
44 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to Maj. Gen. Harry Vaughn, 2/15/47.
45 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to M. T. Connelly, 1/27/50.
46 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to Dillon Anderson, 11/7/55.
47 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to Robert Cutler, 2/13/58.
47a Letters from T. Edgar
Hoover to Robert Cutler, 4/21/53-4/27/53.
48 Memorandum from J. Edgar
Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/16/61.
49 Memorandum from J. Edgar
Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/14/61.
50 Memorandum from J. Edgar
Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/16/61.
51 Memorandum from J. Edgar
Hoover to the Attorney General 6/26/62.
52 Memorandum from Charles
Brennan to William Sullivan, 12/19/66.
53 Memorandum from J. Edgar
Hoover to the Attorney General, 2/18/61.
54 Memorandum from T. Edgar
Hoover to Bill Moyers, 10/27/64.
55 Memorandum from C. D.
DeLoach to John Mohr, 8/29/64.
56 Letter from J. Edgar Hoover
to H.R. Haldeman, 6/25/70.
57 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters, to San Francisco Field Office, 11/26/68.
58 Memorandum from [Midwest
City] Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/l/68; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to [Midwest City] Field Office, 8/6/68.
59 Memorandum from Columbia
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/4/70, re: COINTELPRO-New Left.
60 Memorandum from Cbarles
Brennan to William Sullivan. 8/15/68.
61 Memorandum from Chicago
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68.
62 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69 re: COINTELPRO, Black
63 William C. Sullivan
testimony, 11/1/75, p. 49.
64 memorandum from Baumgardner
to Sullivan, 2/4/64.
65 Memorandum from Chicago
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/16/68; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69, re: COINTELPRO, Black Nationalist-Hate Groups.
66 William C. Sullivan,
11/1/75, pp. 104-105.
67 Andrew Young testimony,
2/19/76. p. 8.
68 Memorandum from Sullivan to
Belmont, 8/30/63. Memorandum from Sullivan to Belmont, 1/8/64.
70 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters
to all SACs, 3/4/68.
71 See Mail Opening Report:
Section II, “Legal Considerations and the ‘Flap’ Potential.”
72 See NSA Report: Section I.
“Introduction and Summary.”
73 Memorandum from Attorney
General Brownell to J. Edgar Hoover, 5/20/54.
74 See finding on Political
Abuse. To protect the privacy of the targeted individual, the Committee has
omitted the citation to the memorandum concerning the example of purely
75 Memorandum from W. C.
Sullivan to C. D. DeLoach 7/19/66, p. 2.
76 General Accounting Office
Report on Domestic intelligence Operations of the FBI. 9/75.
77 Mary Jo Cook testimony.
12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 111.
78 Gary Rowe deposition,
10/17/75, p. 9.
79 Special Agent No. 3
deposition, 11/21/75, p. 12.
80 Huston testimony 9/23/75,
Hearings, Vol. 2,1).
81 William Sullivan testimony,
11/1/75, pp. 92-93.
82 The quote is from a Bureau
official who had supervised for the “Black Nationalist Hate. Group”
“Question. Did anybody at
any time that you remember during the course of the program, discuss the
Constitutionality or the legal authority, or anything else like that?
“Answer. No, we never
gave it a thought. As far as I know, nobody engaged or ever had any idea that
they were doing anything other than what was the policy of the Bureau which had
been policy for a long time.” (George Moore deposition, 11/3/75, p. 83.)
83 Branagan, 10/9/75, p. 41.
84 Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/19/70.
85 Memorandum from ‘San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/30/69.
86 Memorandum from Mobile
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/9/70.
87 Memorandum from Wick to
88 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68.
89 See King Report: Sections V
90 Memorandum from G. C. Moore
to W. C. Sullivan, 10/26/68.
91 Memorandum from G. C. Moore
to W. C. Sullivan, 5/17/68.
92 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Miami Field Office, 7/9/68.
93 Memorandum from C. D.
Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 5/22/68.
94 omitted in original.
95 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 8/28/68.
96 Memorandum from W. H.
Stapleton to DeLoach, 11/3/64.
97 Sullivan. 11/1/75, p. 48.
98 Memorandum from Baumgardner
to Sullivan. 8/26/63 p. 1. Hoover himself construed the initial Division
estimate to mean that Communist influence was “infinitesimal.”
98a See Finding on Political
Abuse, p. 225.
99 See Finding on Political
Abuse. p. 225.
100 “New Left Notes –
Philadelphia.” 9/16/70, Edition #1.
101 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters 10/26/60; Memorandum from P13T Headquarters to
Detroit Field Office 10/27, 28, 31/60; Memorandum from Baumgardner to Belmont,
102 See COINTELPRO Report:
Section 111. “The Goals of COINTELPRO: Preventing or disrupting the
exercise of First Amendment Rights.”
103 The budget for FBI
informant programs includes not only the payments to informants for their
services and expenses, but also the expenses of FBI personnel who supervise
informants, their support costs, and administrative overhead. (Justice
Department letter to Senate Select Committee, 3/2/76).
104 The Committee is
withholding the portion of this figure spent on domestic security intelligence
(informants and other investigations combined) to prevent hostile foreign
intelligence services from deducing the amount spent on counterespionage. The
$80 million figure does not include all costs of separate FBI activities which
may be drawn upon for domestic security intelligence purposes. Among these are
the Identification Division (maintaining fingerprint records), the Files and
Communications Division (managing the storage and retrieval of investigative
and intelligence files), and the FBI Laboratory.
105 Examples of valuable
informant reports include the following: one informant reported a plan to
ambush police officers and the location of a cache of weapons and dynamite;
another informant reported plans to transport illegally obtained weapons to
Washington. D.C.: two informants at one meeting discovered plans to dynamite
two city blocks. All of these plans were frustrated by further investigation
and protective measures or arrest. (FBI memorandum to Select Committee, 12/10/75;
Senate Select Committee Staff memorandum: Intelligence Cases in Which the FBI
Prevented Violence, undated.)
One example of the use of
information in Bureau files involved a “name check” at Secret Service
request on certain persons applying for press credentials to cover the visit of
a foreign head of state. The discovery of data in FBI files indicating that one
such person bad been actively involved with violent groups led to further
investigation and ultimately the issuanoe of a search warrant. The search
produced evidence, including weapons, of a plot to assassinate the foreign head
of state. (FBI memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 2/23/76)
106 This figure is the number
of “investigative matters” handled by the FBI in this area, including
as separate items the investigative leads in particular cases which are
followed up by various field offices. (FBI memorandum to Select Committee,
107 Schackelford 2/13/76, p.
32. This official does not recall any targets of “subversive”
investigations having been even referred to a Grand Jury under these statutes
since the 1950s.
108 FBI Domestic Intelligence
Operations — Their Purpose and Scope: Issues That Need To Be Resolved,”
Report by the Comptroller General to the House Judiciary Committee, 2/24/76,
pp. 138-147. The FBI contends that these statistics may be unfair in that they
concentrate on investigations of individuals rather than groups. (Ibid.,
Appendix V) In response, GAO states that its “sample of organization and
control files was sufficient to determine that generally the FBI did not report
advance knowledge of planned violence.” In most of the fourteen instances
where such advance knowledge was obtained, it related to “such activities
as speeches, demonstrations or meetings-all essentially nonviolent.”
(Ibid.. p, 144)
109 Joseph Califano testimony.
1/27/76, pp. 7-8.
110 James Ahern testimony,
1/20/76, pp. 16, 17.
111 An indication of the scope
of the problem is the increasing number of official representatives of
communist governments in the United States. For example the number of Soviet
officials in this country has increased from 333 in 1961 to 1,079 by early
1975. There were 2,683 East-West exchange visitors and 1,500 commercial
visitors in 1974. (FBI Memorandum, “Intelligence Activities Within the
United States by Foreign Governments,” 3/20/75.)
112 According to the FBI,
there were 89 bombings attributable to terrorist activity in 1975, as compared
with 45 in 1974 and 24 in 1973. Six persons died in terrorist-claimed bombings
and 76 persons were injured in 1975. Five other deaths were reported in other
types of terrorist incidents. Monetary damage reported in terrorist bombings
exceeded 2.7 million dollars. It should be noted, however, that terrorist
bombings are only a fraction of the total number of bombings in this country.
Thus, the 89 terrorist bombings in 1975 were among a total of over 1,900
bombings, most of which were not, according to the FBI , attributable clearly
to terrorist activity. (FBI memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 2/23/76.)