This sure gets my antennae up and vibrating.
On 'Take Out The Trash'-Friday, CIA director General Michael V. Hayden (former head of the NSA who carried out Bush's warrantless wiretapping and who knows how many other secret surveillance programs against Americans and democracy) announced that, not today, but next week, the most secretive administration in our nation's history is directing the CIA to hold a document dump from the agency's deepest, darkest archive vaults.
What is Bush-Cheney up to?
Is it something that they've already done, or is this something they hope will distract our attention next week when the documents hit the fan? Or in their ongoing war with the CIA, is the CIA about to clue us in on more Bush-Cheney 'misdeeds,' about which Bush-Cheney hopes to defend as "nothing much compared to the Kennedy administration"?
The NYTimes reports:
The Central Intelligence Agency will make public next week a collection of long-secret documents compiled in 1974 that detail domestic spying, assassination plots and other C.I.A. misdeeds in the 1960s and early 1970s, the agency’s director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, said yesterday.
In an address to a group of historians who have long pressed for greater disclosure of C.I.A. archives, General Hayden described the documents, known as the “family jewels,” as “a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency.” He also directed the release of 11,000 pages of cold-war documents on the Soviet Union and China, which were handed out on compact discs at the meeting, in Chantilly, Va.
In a defense of openness unusual in an administration that has vigorously defended government secrecy, General Hayden said that when government withholds information, myth and misinformation often “fill the vacuum like a gas.” He noted a European Parliament report of 1,245 secret C.I.A. flights over Europe, a number interpreted in some news articles as the number of cases of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects were flown to prison in other countries.
In fact, General Hayden said, the agency has detained fewer than 100 people in its secret overseas detention program since the 2001 terrorist attacks. He said the questioning of those detainees, which in some cases has involved harsh physical treatment, had produced valuable information, contributing to more than 8,000 intelligence reports.
“C.I.A. recognizes the very real benefits that flow from greater public understanding of our work,” General Hayden said at yesterday’s meeting, a gathering of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. But he also complained about “an instinct 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.”
Though the 1974 documents will not be released until Monday at the earliest, a research group in Washington posted related documents on the Web yesterday, including a 1975 Justice Department summary of domestic break-ins and wiretaps by the C.I.A. that may have violated American law. Also included were transcripts of three conversations in which President Gerald R. Ford was informed by aides of those activities by the agency.
In one of the conversations, Henry A. Kissinger, then serving as both secretary of state and national security adviser, denounced the efforts of William E. Colby, director of central intelligence, to push an aggressive investigation of the agency’s past transgressions.
Mr. Kissinger said the accusations then appearing daily about agency misconduct were “worse than in the days of McCarthy,” and expressed concern that they would intimidate C.I.A. officers, so that “you’ll end up with an agency that does only reporting and not operations.”
“What Colby has done is a disgrace,” Mr. Kissinger said, according to the transcript, posted along with the others by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (nsarchive.org).
“Should we suspend him?” Mr. Ford asked.
“No,” Mr. Kissinger replied, “but after the investigation is over you could move him and put in someone of towering integrity.”
A year later, Mr. Ford replaced Mr. Colby as director with George Bush.
In the 33 years since the nearly 700 pages of “family jewel” documents were compiled at the orders of Mr. Colby’s predecessor, James R. Schlesinger, much of their content has become known through leaks, testimony or partial disclosure. Most notably, the documents were described by government officials to Seymour M. Hersh, who reported on them in articles in The New York Times beginning on Dec. 22, 1974. The first article described “a massive, illegal domestic intelligence operation” that had produced C.I.A. files on some 10,000 Americans.
But the documents’ release next week may offer new details of a period of aggressive, and sometimes illegal, C.I.A. activities, directed particularly at American journalists who published leaked government secrets and activists who opposed the Vietnam War. The release also appears to signify a shift in attitude at the agency in the year that it has been led by General Hayden, a history buff who holds two degrees in the field from Duquesne University, where he wrote a thesis on the Marshall Plan.
Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, which obtains and publishes collections of once-secret government records, said the step announced yesterday might be the most important since at least 1998, when George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, reversed a decision to release information on cold-war covert actions. “Applause is due,” Mr. Blanton said.
But Mr. Blanton took issue with General Hayden’s assurance that the current C.I.A. was utterly different from the pre-1975 institution. “There are uncanny parallels,” he said, “between events today and the stories in the family jewels about warrantless wiretapping and concern about violation of the kidnapping laws.”
The six-page 1975 Justice Department summary, of C.I.A. actions that some officers of the agency had reported as possible illegalities, included the 1963 wiretapping of two newspaper columnists, Robert Allen and Paul Scott, who had written a column including “certain national security information.”
The document said those wiretaps had been approved after “discussions” with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara. A C.I.A. report described them as “very productive,” picking up calls of 12 senators and 6 members of the House, among others.
On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Matthews talks about the upcoming CIA document dump with former CIA operative Bob Baer, former chief of CIA operations in Europe Tyler Drumheller, and National Security Archive director Thomas Blanton:
Later in the program, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., joined Chris Matthews and had this to say about reports that the CIA secrets' dump will include documentation of his father's involvement in a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro: