Friday, May 12, 2006

Big Brother Has Been Here Since the 1950s

From Another Day in the Empire, via

It [gov't domestic spying] doesn’t stop, Mr. Leahy. In fact, it has gone on for more than fifty years, unopposed and unchecked. As Christopher Pyle revealed in January 1970, the U.S. Army has long spied on the American public. Pyle’s revelations resulted in the empanelling of the Church Committee (the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church) in 1975. Church summarized that government snooping and subversion, most notoriously COINTELPRO, “exceeded the restraints on the exercise of governmental power which are imposed by our country’s Constitution, laws, and traditions…. 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 appropriations 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” (see the Church Committee’s Final Report, Book II).

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