The 1970s

Congress Investigates U.S. Intelligence

M - T

Merom, Gil. "Virtue, Expediency and the CIA's Institutional Trap." Intelligence and National Security 7, no. 2 (Apr. 1992): 30-52.

The author rejects both an exceptional American virtue and an out-of-control CIA as explanations for the attacks on the CIA in the 1960s and 1970s. Instead, he argues that "institutional and individual interests" were the driving force behind the attacks.... The argument here is that the CIA was merely a political football rather than a target in and of itself. In essence, the attacks on the CIA, "which were to a large extent a Congressional phenomenon," took place "because it was the vulnerable link in the power structure of the Imperial Presidency."

Nolan, Cynthia M. "Seymour Hersh's Impact on the CIA." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12, no. 1 (Spring 1999): 18-34.

In assessing the impact of Hersh's series of articles in the New York Times, beginning on 22 December 1974, the author concludes that "[e]ven if Hersh had not published the story of domestic abuses by the CIA, it seems likely that congressional oversight may have occurred in some format..., but perhaps not as soon.... The information provided by Hersh may have pushed congressmen to move, but it did not move them or the public in a new direction." For the original story, see Seymour M. Hersh, "Huge C.I.A. Operation Reported in U.S. Against Anti-War Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years," New York Times, 22 Dec. 1974, 1.

Oakley, David. "Taming the Rogue Elephant?" American Intelligence Journal 26, no. 2 (Winter 2008-2009): 61-67.

Since 1975, the CIA has "reacted to the negative image" portrayed in the congressional hearings "by an increasing tendency toward risk aversion and through the self-imposition of overly restrictive regulations and policies." Thus, the Church and Pike committees' "psychological impact was far more lasting than most legislative actions have been. By showing that the CIA could be utilized as a scapegoat, Congress inadvertantly began the process of turning to the Agency as a whipping post for policy failures."

Olmstead, Katherine S.

1. Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigation of the CIA and FBI. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. JK468I6O45

According to Choice, May 1996, this book focuses on the Church and Pike "committee investigations of CIA abuses (less extensively those of the FBI) in the wake of Watergate.... [Olmstead] applauds Pike more than Church ... and laments that, in the final analysis, the revelations produced few meaningful reforms. Her judgments are controversial, and some will argue naive, but they warrant careful consideration."

Marshall, JAH 83.4, finds Olmstead's work "perceptive and gracefully written." Although it "suffers from a shortage of available archival sources" and "could have discussed more deeply the foreign policy context of the hearings' ultimate demise," this book "is the most comprehensive account" of the congressional investigations.

2. "Reclaiming Executive Power: The Ford Administration's Response to the Intelligence Investigations." Presidential Studies Quarterly 26, no. 3 (Summer 1996): 725-737.

The author's thesis is that "the Ford administration's skillful handling of the intelligence investigations demonstrates that it was neither inept nor weak. Largely because of the executive branch's sophisticated management of the crisis, little came of the calls for reform."

Prados, John. Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Click for reviews.

Rosenbaum, David. "House Prevents Releasing Report on Intelligence." New York Times, 30 Jan. 1976, 1.

The House voted not to release the Pike Committee Report. The vote was 246-124 against releasing the report, with 127 Democrats and 119 Republican voting against and 122 Democrats and 2 Republicans voting for publication.

Snider, L. Britt. "Unlucky SHAMROCK: Recollections from the Church Committee's Investigation of NSA." Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1999-2000): 43-51. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/winter99-00/art4.html]

The author, CIA's Inspector General, was staff counsel on the Church Committee. Here, he revisits some of the difficulties in beginning an investigation of an agency "that had never before had an oversight relationship with the Congress." The focus is the uncovering -- and the aftermath of that discovery -- of Operation Shamrock, through which NSA "had access for many years to most of the international telegrams leaving New York City for foreign destinations."

See James G. Hudec, "Commentary: Unlucky SHAMROCK -- The View from the Other Side," Studies in Intelligence 10 (Winter-Spring 2001): 85-94, which responds with a view from the Executive Branch side to Snider. Hudec was an attorney in NSA's Office of General Counsel during the 1974-1975 timeframe.

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