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Legislation To Reopen Hearings Into Cointelpro

Press Release
September 24, 2006


(Washington, DC) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA 4^th ) has introduced legislation calling for a re-opening of the investigations of the 1970's by the United States Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities chaired by Senator Frank Church which led to startling revelations concerning federal, state and local intelligence and law enforcement agency violations of Constitutional rights of privacy, limits on search and seizure, surveillance, wiretapping and disruption of dissent and protected activities, and massive collection of dossiers by FBI, CIA, NSA, Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agencies and other local agencies, targeting the civil rights, Native American and anti-war movements of the period and "neutralizing" their leadership and discrediting the efforts for social change over decades.

The most infamous of these abuses was the FBI's COINTELPRO operations, or counter intelligence program, and victims of those attacks remain wrongfully imprisoned to this day. CHAOS, GARDEN PLOT, CABLE SPLICER, LANTERN SPIKE, REX 84 and other programs were carried out by agencies ranging from the CIA to FEMA, including planning for massive arrests and martial law, suspending the Constitution. New laws countered many of these excesses and abuses following from the Church Committee revelations, but not all. Surveillance and disruption, as well as planning and exercises for detention and suspension of civil liberties continued through the 1980s and 1990s against legal domestic organizations supporting democratic movements abroad.

Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, there were immediate calls to renew COINTELPRO-style surveillance, go to Continuity of Government, release intelligence agencies from the restrictions of the Church Committee era laws (which included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to pre-approve Presidential surveillance programs), calls to end the principle of Posse Comitatus, which separates police and military functions, and renewed surveillance and disruption by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and by certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT and related.

House Resolution 1056, introduced on September 21, provides for release of all undisclosed government files on similar past and present abuses which do not compromise an existing intelligence, agent, source or method, for judicial relief for the past victims of COINTELPRO and other programs, and for the re-opening of Congressional hearings into the historical abuses as well as the current renewal and expansion of similar programs that violate human, civil and Constitutional rights. The bill has been referred to both House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

"We still to this day do not know the full scope of the abusive surveillance, targeting, discrediting and disruptive tactics and plans of the past," said Representative McKinney, "and a look back the Nixon era Tom Charles Houston plan, referred to as Œfascist' by Congressional investigators, shows us it is being implemented in full since 9/11. Congress has a responsibility to open oversight hearings into the new abuses as well as their historical context, and to acknowledge and give relief to its victims then and now."

Contact: John Judge 202-225-1955

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