Are You Aware of the CIA's Family Jewels Controversy?

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In summary, the CIA has released heavily censored documents detailing their past misdeeds, including assassination plots against foreign leaders, testing of behavior-altering drugs on citizens, wiretapping of journalists, and spying on civil rights and anti-war protesters. These documents have been known for over 30 years, and prominent writers such as Bill Blum have already written about them. The recent release of documents does not reveal anything new, and it raises questions about the agency's claims of being a "very different agency" now.
  • #1
fourier jr
765
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Has anyone heard about this yet?
The CIA released hundreds of heavily censored documents Tuesday about its spying on Americans, assassination plots and other misdeeds that triggered a scandal in the mid-1970s...

In early 1975, then CIA director William Colby told the U.S. Justice Department the documents detailed assassination plots against foreign leaders such as Cuban President Fidel Castro, the testing of behaviour-altering drugs on unwitting citizens, wiretapping of U.S. journalists, spying on civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protesters, opening of mail between the United States and the Soviet Union and China and break-ins at the homes of former CIA employees and others...

In a message to CIA employees Tuesday, Director Michael Hayden said: "It's important to remember that the CIA itself launched this process of recollection and self-examination. And it was the Agency itself that shared the resulting documents in full with Congress..." The documents provide "reminders of some things the CIA should not have done" and "a glimpse of a very different era and a very different agency," he said.
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2007/06/26/4292093-ap.html

I emailed Bill Blum about this because it sounded a lot like what he'd already written in his book Rogue State (which OBL recommends btw). He said he'd only read the first ~100 pages & says there isn't really anything new or interesting in there. Pretty much all of it has been known for 30yrs or more. What does that say about people like Bill Blum or Noam Chomsky now? I think they can give all Americans a big "told you so". Blum wrote a couple years ago a bit on the CIA's "family jewels" but it wasn't anything that's in the recent 700-page thing. It was about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio" , which was a network of right-wing terrorist cells created after WWII to create problems for the USSR if they ever decided to take over Western Europe. So the CIA isn't "a very different agency" as the current director tried to claim. Blum also wrote a bit about this:
Does anything done by the Bush administration compare to Operation Gladio? From 1947 until 1990, when it was publicly exposed, Gladio was essentially a CIA/NATO/M16 operation in conjunction with other intelligence agencies and an assortment of the vilest of right-wing thugs and terrorists. It ran wild in virtually every country of Western Europe, kidnapping and/or assassinating political leaders, exploding bombs in trains and public squares with many hundreds of dead and wounded, shooting up supermarkets with many casualties, trying to overthrow governments... all with impunity, protected by the most powerful military and political forces in the world. Even today, the beast may still be breathing. Since the inception of the Freedom of Information Act in the 1970s, the CIA has regularly refused requests concerning the US/NATO role in Gladio, refusing not only individual researchers and the National Security Archive-the private research organization in Washington with a remarkable record of obtaining US government documents-but some of the governments involved, including Italy and Austria. Gladio is one of the CIA's family jewels, to be guarded as such.
The rationale behind it was your standard cold-war paranoia/propaganda: There's a good chance the Russians will launch an unprovoked invasion of Western Europe. And if they defeated the Western armies and forced them to flee, certain people had to remain behind to harass the Russians with guerrilla warfare and sabotage, and act as liaisons with those abroad. The "stay-behinds" would be provided with funds, weapons, communication equipment and training exercises.
As matters turned out, in the complete absence of any Russian invasion, the operation was used almost exclusively to inflict political and lethal damage upon the European Left, be it individuals, movements or governments, and heighten the public's fear of "communism". To that end, violent actions like those referred to above were made to appear to be the work of the Left.
http://members.aol.com/essays6/intro.htm

here's the "family jewels" @ the national security archive:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB222/index.htm
& the cia's site:
http://www.foia.cia.gov/
 
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  • #2
The documents provide "reminders of some things the CIA should not have done" and "a glimpse of a very different era and a very different agency," he said.

:smile: Yeah, a very different agency. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-huhhhhhhhhh, and I was born yesterday.
 
  • #3
fourier jr said:
I emailed Bill Blum about this because it sounded a lot like what he'd already written in his book Rogue State (which OBL recommends btw). He said he'd only read the first ~100 pages & says there isn't really anything new or interesting in there. Pretty much all of it has been known for 30yrs or more. What does that say about people like Bill Blum or Noam Chomsky now? I think they can give all Americans a big "told you so". Blum wrote a couple years ago a bit on the CIA's "family jewels" but it wasn't anything that's in the recent 700-page thing.
The fact that the CIA is a spy agency is not something they can claim an 'i told you so' for. I should hope that everyone already knows. :rolleyes:

Anyway, it sounds like most of this is still just sanitized versions of documents that have already leaked over the past few decades.
 
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  • #4
russ_watters said:
The fact that the CIA is a spy agency is not something they can claim an 'i told you so' for. I should hope that everyone already knows. :rolleyes:

Knows what? Knows that there's nothing wrong with the CIA testing drugs on unsuspecting people & hiring mobsters that are wanted by the FBI? (etc) I don't think I understand what you mean. Blum has been writing about this sort of stuff for years & people have been calling him crackpot & doing worse things like giving him death threats for writing about what the CIA just released. Why should he not claim an "I told you so"? It's not like you can deny it any of that anymore.
 
  • #5
fourier jr said:
Knows what? Knows that there's nothing wrong with the CIA testing drugs on unsuspecting people & hiring mobsters that are wanted by the FBI? (etc) I don't think I understand what you mean. Blum has been writing about this sort of stuff for years & people have been calling him crackpot & doing worse things like giving him death threats for writing about what the CIA just released. Why should he not claim an "I told you so"? It's not like you can deny it any of that anymore.

this is vary true. there is a huge difference between an organization that taps the offices of foreign generals and diplomats, pays spies for national secrets, and listens to foreign scientists brag about their top secret accomplishments vs an organization that supplies weapons to human rights violators, trains terrorist organizations and assassinates political leaders.

the CIA does a lot more then just gather information. it seems there are many things the CIA has done that have nothing to do with simply gathering information.
 
  • #6
devil-fire said:
the CIA does a lot more then just gather information. it seems there are many things the CIA has done that have nothing to do with simply gathering information.
Of course the CIA does more than simply gathering information. Heck, it's https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values/index.html.
 
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  • #7
fourier jr said:
Knows what? Knows that there's nothing wrong with the CIA testing drugs on unsuspecting people & hiring mobsters that are wanted by the FBI? (etc)
I said nothing about any value judgements. I only stated that only someone incredibly naive would not expect things like that are going on.
 
  • #8
Hurkyl said:
Of course the CIA does more than simply gathering information. Heck, it's https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values/index.html.
Their mission statement from your link
Mission - The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent US Government agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers.
Not there or anywhere else on the page does it mention assassinations or the like :rolleyes:
 
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  • #9
from the cia website link "mission: Conducting covert action at the direction of the President to preempt threats or achieve US policy objectives". this refers to anything that is covert. if the cia caused the Chernobyl disaster, i think people would like to know.

i don't think that because an organization is 'spy' related or because they elude to something publicly is a good reason to trivialize immoral actions.
 
  • #10
russ_watters said:
I said nothing about any value judgements. I only stated that only someone incredibly naive would not expect things like that are going on.
I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that a US Agency is NOT committing these acts against American citizens and undermining American Law, unless explicitly informed of such.
 
  • #11
Art said:
Their mission statement from your link
Not there or anywhere else on the page does it mention assassinations or the like :rolleyes:
You are being intentionally obtuse. It says it right there under the heading for "mission":
Conducting covert action at the direction of the President to preempt threats or achieve US policy objectives.
Assassinations most certainly fall under the category of "covert actions" and the ones described in the OP were for the two reasons stated at the end of the quote.

Again, unless people are spectacularly naive, they know what the CIA is. This is not news.
Smurf said:
I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that a US Agency is NOT committing these acts against American citizens and undermining American Law, unless explicitly informed of such.
What acts are you talking about? The acts in the OP were all on foreign soil.
 
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  • #12
the very first link, it's the only one I've read.
"spying on Americans"
"the testing of behaviour-altering drugs on unwitting citizens, wiretapping of U.S. journalists, spying on civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protesters, opening of mail between the United States and the Soviet Union and China and break-ins at the homes of former CIA employees and others."

some other things it mentions aren't made clear whether they're on American soil or abroad. But I think the same goes for most of the international things.
 
  • #13
russ_watters said:
You are being intentionally obtuse. It says it right there under the heading for "mission": Assassinations most certainly fall under the category of "covert actions" ...The acts in the OP were all on foreign soil.

what difference does it make if these acts were on foreign soil or not if they were still covert actions? it should come as no surprise to anyone that the CIA was used to rig the last presidential election in favor of bush... or wait... that would be vary surprising because it would be illegal and immoral, even if the president considered it a matter of national security that he get reelected.

again, just because it is stated on the cia website that they do "covert actions" does not mean people have to be naive to be surprised at some of the things the cia has allegedly done. "covert actions" encompass everything that is not overt.
 
  • #14
russ_watters said:
You are being intentionally obtuse. It says it right there under the heading for "mission": Assassinations most certainly fall under the category of "covert actions" and the ones described in the OP were for the two reasons stated at the end of the quote.
I suspect you are not being intentionally obtuse so I'll explain further. Given their mission statement and the context of the passage you quoted the inference is that 'covert actions' refers to secret information gathering so although you are correct in saying that everybody knows or at least has a fair suspicion of what the CIA get up to, unlike Hurkyl's contention, it does not spell it out on their website.
 
  • #15
Smurf said:
I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that a US Agency is NOT committing these acts against American citizens and undermining American Law, unless explicitly informed of such.
Also, for those not familiar with the agencies, the FBI is for domestic intelligence, the CIA is international.
 
  • #16
Russ_Watters said:
The fact that the CIA is a spy agency is not something they can claim an 'i told you so' for. I should hope that everyone already knows.

Anyway, it sounds like most of this is still just sanitized versions of documents that have already leaked over the past few decades.
We are not talking only about the ilegal spying activities, we are mainly talking about higly ilegal actions like assasinations, support of terrorist, and ilegal drug testing.
And the "everybody knew" tactic is just a usless attempt to shift away from the OP. And i really don't believe you that you "hope that everybode already knows"

Anyway "i told you so", and my thread got locked!

Is the CIA a Terrorist Organization?
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=115264

For the covert operations they have a group called: The CS (Clandestine Service)
"In 1996, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a congressional report estimating that the clandestine service part of the intelligence community "easily" breaks "extremely serious laws" in countries around the world, 100,000 times every year. [19]"
https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/docs/v44i5a07p.htm
Protecting CIA's Interests
Openness and the Future of the Clandestine Service
Strong Leadership Needed
To prevent immediate and long-term injurious impact on our clandestine capabilities, we should continue to deny in full documents which cannot otherwise be sanitized in such a manner as to protect our equities. In most cases, satisfactory sanitization will at a minimum, entail deletion of specific reference to CIA, as well as references and/or inferences which identify sources and methods, liaison relationships, and so forth.
 
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Related to Are You Aware of the CIA's Family Jewels Controversy?

1. What are "CIA's family jewels"?

"CIA's family jewels" refers to a collection of documents and reports that were compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1970s. These documents detailed various illegal and controversial activities that the CIA had engaged in, including assassination plots, surveillance of American citizens, and experiments with mind-control drugs.

2. Why are these documents significant?

These documents are significant because they reveal the extent of the CIA's involvement in illegal and unethical activities, which were previously unknown to the public. They also shed light on the inner workings of the CIA and raise questions about government accountability and transparency.

3. How did these documents become public?

In 1973, CIA Director James Schlesinger ordered a review of all CIA activities that could be considered illegal or improper. This review was prompted by the Watergate scandal and the subsequent investigation into government agencies. The documents were then declassified and released to the public in 2007 under the Freedom of Information Act.

4. What impact did the release of these documents have?

The release of these documents sparked a national debate about government surveillance and intervention. It also led to reforms within the CIA and other government agencies to ensure that similar illegal activities would not occur in the future.

5. Are there still "family jewels" that have not been released?

It is believed that there are still some documents that have not been released to the public, as some sections of the released documents were redacted. However, it is unclear how many more documents exist and when they will be released to the public.

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