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Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, "CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry"

CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry:

Assassination Attempts Among Abuses Detailed

Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus
Washington Post

The CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing
of the intelligence agency's worst illegal abuses — the so-called "family
jewels" documenting a quarter-century of overseas assassination attempts,
domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the
1950s to
the 1970s, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

The documents, to be publicly released next week, also include accounts of
break-ins and theft, the agency's opening of private mail to and from
China and
the Soviet Union, wiretaps and surveillance of journalists, and a series
"unwitting" tests on U.S. civilians, including the use of drugs.

"Most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA's history," Hayden said in a
to a conference of foreign policy historians. The documents have been
sought for
decades by historians, journalists and conspiracy theorists and have been
subject of many fruitless Freedom of Information Act requests.
In anticipation of the CIA's release, the National Security Archive at
Washington University yesterday published a separate set of documents from
January 1975 detailing internal government deliberations of the abuses.
documents portray a rising sense of panic within the administration of
Gerald R. Ford that what then-CIA Director William E. Colby called
in the CIA's closet had begun to be revealed in news accounts.

An article about the CIA's infiltration of antiwar groups, published by
New York
reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974, was "just the tip of the
iceberg," then-Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger warned Ford,
according to a
Jan. 3 memorandum of their conversation.

Kissinger warned that if other operations were divulged, "blood will flow.
example, Robert Kennedy personally managed the operation on the
assassination of
[Cuban President Fidel] Castro." Kennedy was the attorney general from
1961 to

Worried that the disclosures could lead to criminal prosecutions,
added that "when the FBI has a hunting license into the CIA, this could
end up
worse for the country than Watergate," the scandal that led to the fall of
Nixon administration the previous year.

In a meeting at which Colby detailed the worst abuses -- after telling the
president "we have a 25-year old institution which has done some things it
shouldn't have" -- Ford said he would appoint a presidential commission to
into the matter. "We don't want to destroy but to preserve the CIA. But we
to make sure that illegal operations and those outside the [CIA] charter
happen," Ford said.

Most of the major incidents and operations in the reports to be released
week were revealed in varying detail during congressional investigations
led to widespread intelligence reforms and increased oversight. But the
treasure-trove of CIA documents, generated as the Vietnam War wound down
agency involvement in Nixon's "dirty tricks" political campaign began to
revealed, is expected to provide far more comprehensive accounts, written
by the
agency itself.

The reports, known collectively by historians and CIA officials as the
jewels," were initially produced in response to a 1973 request by then-CIA
Director James R. Schlesinger. Alarmed by press accounts of CIA
involvement in
Watergate under his predecessor, Schlesinger asked the agency's employees
inform him of all operations that were "outside" the agency's legal

This process was unprecedented at the agency, where only a few officials
previously been privy to the scope of its illegal activities. Schlesinger
collected the reports, some of which dated to the 1950s, in a folder that
inherited by his successor, Colby, in September of that year.

But it was not until Hersh's article that Colby took the file to the White
House. The National Security Archive release included a six-page summary
of a
conversation on Jan. 3, 1975, in which Colby briefed the Justice
Department for
the first time on the extent of the "skeletons."

Operations listed in the report began in 1953, when the CIA's
counterintelligence staff started a 20-year program to screen and in some
open mail between the United States and the Soviet Union passing through a
York airport. A similar program in San Francisco intercepted mail to and
China from 1969 to 1972. Under its charter, the CIA is prohibited from

Colby told Ford that the program had collected four letters to actress and
antiwar activist Jane Fonda and said the entire effort was "illegal, and
stopped it in 1973."

Among several new details, the summary document reveals a 1969 program
about CIA
efforts against "the international activities of radicals and black
Undercover CIA agents were placed inside U.S. peace groups and sent abroad
credentialed members to identify any foreign contacts. This came at a time
the Soviet Union was suspected of financing and influencing U.S. domestic

The program included "information on the domestic activities" of the
organizations and led to the accumulation of 10,000 American names, which
told Silberman were retained "as a result of the tendency of bureaucrats
retain paper whether they needed it or acted on it or not," according to
summary memo.

CIA surveillance of Michael Getler, then The Washington Post's national
reporter, was conducted between October 1971 and April 1972 under direct
authorization by then-Director Richard Helms, the memo said. Getler had
a story published on Oct. 18, 1971, sparked by what Colby called "an
intelligence leak," headlined "Soviet Subs Are Reported Cuba-Bound."

Getler, who is now the ombudsman for the Public Broadcasting Service, said
yesterday that he learned of the surveillance in 1975, when The Post
an article based on a secret report by congressional investigators. The
said that the CIA used physical surveillance against "five Americans" and
Getler, the late columnist Jack Anderson and Victor Marchetti, then a
former CIA
employee who had just written a book critical of the agency.

"I never knew about it at the time, although it was a full 24 hours a day
teams of people following me, looking for my sources," Getler said. He
said he
went to see Colby afterward, with Washington lawyer Joseph Califano.
recalled, "Colby said it happened under Helms and apologized and said it
wouldn't happen again."

Personal surveillance was conducted on Anderson and three of his staff
including Britt Hume, now with Fox News, for two months in 1972 after
wrote of the administration's "tilt toward Pakistan." The 1972
surveillance of
Marchetti was carried out "to determine contacts with CIA employees," the
summary said.

CIA monitoring and infiltration of antiwar dissident groups took place
1967 and 1971 at a time when the public was turning against the Vietnam
Agency officials "covertly monitored" groups in the Washington area "who
considered to pose a threat to CIA installations." Some of the information
"might have been distributed to the FBI," the summary said. Other
listed in the summary included:

— The confinement by the CIA of a Russian defector, suspected by the CIA
as a
possible "fake," in Maryland and Virginia safe houses for two years,
in 1964. Colby speculated that this might be "a violation of the

— The "very productive" 1963 wiretapping of two columnists -- Robert Allen
Paul Scott -- whose conversations included talks with 12 senators and six

— Break-ins by the CIA's office of security at the homes of one current
and one
former CIA official suspected of retaining classified documents.

— CIA-funded testing of American citizens, "including reactions to certain

The CIA documents scheduled for release next week, Hayden said yesterday,
"provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency."

Barred by secrecy restrictions from correcting "misinformation," he said,
CIA is at the mercy of the press. "Unfortunately, there seems to be an
among some in the media today to take a few pieces of information, which
may or
may not be accurate, and run with them to the darkest corner of the room,"
Hayden said.

Hayden's speech and some questions that followed evoked more recent
criticism of
the intelligence community, which has been accused illegal wiretapping,
infiltration of antiwar groups, and kidnapping and torturing terrorism

"It's surely part of [Hayden's] program now to draw a bright line with the
past," said National Security Archive Director Thomas S. Blanton. "But
uncanny how the government keeps dipping into the black bag." Newly
details of ancient CIA operations, Blanton said, "are pretty resonant