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December 16, 2016
Document Release Date: 
June 28, 2005
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October 7, 1974
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PDF icon CIA-RDP79-00957A000100030004-3.pdf115.75 KB
vrx.M.tYGTON P033' 7 OCT 1974 Approved For Release 2005/07/13 : CIA-RDP79-00957A000100030004-3 The ,Senate and the CIA THE HOT AND. HEAVY protests whichfollowed disclosure of the CIA's subversion in-C. have produced an official affirmation of "dirty tricks" of unprecedented scope and explicitness. Mr.- Ford .reacted two weeks ago op& by acknowledging an American role in the overthrow of the Allende governmentt by declaring -his readiness to take. future. "actions In the j ote genre feId"-'No--American -'Pr.esidennt 1 lad previously either defended a particular operation or justified such operations as a whole. To be sure, it was not the substance of what Mr.-Ford said bait his: public statement of it that was new. It is not surprising that a President. would support established presidential pol- icy. But .thal..response of Congress is something else again. We print on this page today excerpts from a histori- cal Senate debate of last Wednesday, "historical" because it marks..the first time that either house of Congress has conducted an open debate and openly voted on whether the United States should engage in secret foreign operations in peacetime, intelligence gathering aside. A leading student of the CIA,. Harry Howe .Ransom, wrote recently that "one searches in vain In the public records.... for any evidence of congressional Intent er acquiescence to assign the functions of foreign. political action or subversion to the CIA." The "search" . can now end. Last Wednesday the Senate considered an amendment by Sen. James Abourezk (D-S.D.) to end dirt;; tricks completely. The amendment was swamped, 68 to 17. The CIA-and its suppottprs can now claim-fairly, n e believe-that for the first time ' e agency has , a congressional mandate, if only from one house, for to?,et rations. No Longer can IA operations be regarded as an unauthorized presidential habit or cold- uie uu~ is not-immune .jour. politicaal -,usage the fading of the cangression"aI ra~% tionalist9?'w oT live -protected the CIA from critical congressioJac y--all these factors have opened up the issimin-a major way. Sen. John Stennis (B-Miss.), - one. of the leading, traditionalists, remarked on . the change last Wednesday,, "It is not an easy job that I have .had on. tliis~matteir," be said. "I will not relate the incidents that have come up. It was my duty, and that was it,. After all, we are working for the same. country." Just-what the new attitude personified by Sen.Abour- ezk,--viii finally lead to is, of course, uncertain. It is noteworthy, however, that since the Chile affair became. known, the administration _ .has bin coad~:a kind of preempttva rretreat by oiferin; eertuin- coilcESS oz s to Congress on "oversight." Its latest :agog in to promise timely briefings on operations to. the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as to t;ie .o-ers';ht committee of the At -ined Services Committee-'Tis broadens the circle of those who can offer the -CLA their advice on operation's, though the . ency s!.i11 does not ask for legislators consent. It. als?r broadens the circle of those whom the CIA can sweazr to secrecy. A legislator so sworn, who finds himself opposed to a proposed opera- tion, will still face the intolerable choice of breaking his oath or swallowing his best judgment. We do not think there is a good way to square the circle: to hav effective public oversight of secret operations. It is a humbling, contradiction for a demc+- cratic society. Sen. Abourezk's answer-to abolish secret operations and to meet all foreign threats openly and publicly or not'at all-has the virtue of consistency but, in our view, falls short in terms of policy. The portions of the debate published here today indicate, if nothing else, just how difficult the issue is. Approved For Release 2005/07/13 : CIA-RDP79-00957A000100030004-3