Earlier this week, the ACLU released a report on documents it recently obtained via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that sheds some light on the issue of domestic CIA spying.
The documents were heavily redacted, but they nevertheless reveal that the CIA spies on Americans in America, even though its mandate generally prohibits it from operating within the United States.
This should come as zero shock. We’ve known this for a long time.
If fact, we’ve know this since the 1970s!
The ACLU notes in its report that Sen. Frank Church’s investigation into U.S. surveillance activities found that the CIA spied on Americans.
The national debate in the 1970s about the proper limits of U.S. government spying on its own citizens was, to a large extent, about the CIA. In the wake of the Watergate scandal and news stories about other illegal CIA activity, President Gerald Ford and Congress launched investigations into the full range of CIA misdeeds — from domestic spying programs and infiltration of leftist organizations to experimentation on non-consenting human subjects and attempts to assassinate foreign leaders.
Although the CIA’s legal authority to spy on Americans was very narrow, these investigative committees — chaired by Sen. Frank Church, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and Rep. Otis Pike — discovered that the CIA had engaged in a massive domestic spying project, “Operation CHAOS,” which targeted anti-war activists and political dissenters. The committee reports also revealed that, for more than 20 years, the CIA had indiscriminately intercepted and opened hundreds of thousands of Americans’ letters. In addition to documenting the intelligence agencies’ extensive violations of the law, the Church Committee concluded that the constitutional system of checks and balances “has not adequately controlled intelligence activities.“
So, 40 years later and we’re still investigating.
We know they spy on us. We know they won’t stop.
Congress hasn’t stopped it. The federal courts haven’t stopped it. The presidents sure haven’t stopped it.
When are we going to do something to stop it?
With all due respect and gratitude to the ACLU for its work to shine the light on these violations of our privacy, the time for investigating has long since passed. We’ve know this for 40 years.
We’ve watched Congress engage in political theater. We’ve sued in federal court. We’ve investigated until we’re blue in the face. The time has come to take concrete action to protect privacy.
The time is now for something different.
At OffNow, we have a plan. Click HERE to take action today!