Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 19, 2016
Document Release Date: 
June 17, 2004
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Publication Date: 
July 8, 1975
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PDF icon CIA-RDP77M00144R000400020027-0.pdf1.32 MB
T;TRiC;, +ASS,A 11?Si=3. 7M001 44R000400020027-0 L:~4n Post i)!ficc VJnshington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225 8020 hULD FOR RELEASE 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, July 8, 1975 HARRINGTON TAKES STEPS TO CHALLENGE "CONGRESSIONAL COYER-UP" U.S. Representative Michael J. Harrington (D-Mass.) today launched a series of actions that challenge the motives, rules and assumptions behind the recent house Armed Services Committee move to deny him further access to its files. Calling the committee's unprecedented action "a case of astonishing hypocrisy," Harrington said he would not allow the controversy to center on the narrow question of parliamentary procedure, although he believes the committee vote violated the rules of the House. In a letter to House Speaker Carl Albert, Harrington said that Congress must face a broader issue: "What is the responsibility of a Member who discovers in classified records a clear indication that his govern- ment has broken the law?" arrington told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference that a congressman has a duty to disclose evidence of criminal activity to colleagues or other appropriate authorities, regardless of agreements to abide by secrecy rules. "Ordinarily those who sign such agreements expect to see references to secret but legal activities," Barrington said. "The enforcement of such an agreement to keep illegal activities secret is itself illegal." The controversy over harrington's handling of classified material a- rose last year when he told a number of his colleagues about the secret testimony of CIA director William Colby, which indicated that the United States had spent about $8 million to block the election of Salvador Allende Gossens as President of Chile and then to "destabilize' his government after he won. (Allende was overthrown and killed in September of 1973, and Chile became a military dictatorship.) The Armed Services Committee, which holds the Colby testimony in its files, resurrected the incident on June 10 and 16 (nine months after the story of the CIA in Chile appeared in the New York Times), at the height of the controversy over congressman Lucien Nedzi's continuation as chairman of the newly formed House Select Committee on Intelli- gence. As chairman of the standing Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Nedzi had failed to take action on the U.S. involvement in Chile and on secret word of CIA assassination schemes. harrington said he has asked the Speaker to call. a special session of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to discuss the secrecy issue, saying that all Members of Congress have become "accomplices," to some degree, in improper covert activities because of their pledges of silence. The only way out of the problem, Barrington said, is to "challenge the basic assumptions of a classification system gone While restating his belief that the United States needs a "first--rate' intelligence gathering system which does require some secrecy, harrington said the Top Secret stamp has been used to cover up improper interference in the affairs of other antions and violations of constitutional rights in the U.S. "The mindless rubber-stamping of every conceivable document as SECRET and the facile attachment of the 'national security' label to any official. action, no matter how illegal or anti-uemocratic, is the greatest threat to freedom we have yet encountered," Barrington said. Approved For Relyase;2OO5I1;1IZt E,GIArRQP77MOO1.44R000400020027-0 Approved For Release 2005/11/21 : CIA-RDP77M00144R000400020027-0 In addition to calling for the Steering and Policy Committee meeting, 1=~-xr,7i nq ton ::