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Document Creation Date: 
December 23, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 12, 2011
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Publication Date: 
November 11, 1981
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Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/12 :CIA-RDP90-005528000707310014-0 A~'iIC`i~L .~'i~rrd.?.~D - 01'I PxGE_~ On September 23 the House of Itepre-: _?entatives voted 354 to ~6 to enact a piece of legislation thatperilousiy abridges free-. dom of speech and of;the press. On Octo- La=?-6 the Senate Judiciary Committee votes 17-0 in favor of a similar bill making final pazsage a certainty. What follows is -che history of Lhis extraordinary piece of legislation, purportedly designed to pro-. h:ct the identities of ~intelligence_.agents but perhaps marking a? fatal turning point in the history of liberty in America. The .story be;ins with former Central Intelligence .agency officer Philip Agee. But although Agee's.personal odyssey is by now aII too familiar, the complex series of actions he initiated had repercussions far dif,`'erent from anything he intended-and zeperrussions that even today are little-~ known. -:: ? ? ~ , In London, on October 3, 1974, Agee, y tiotre Dame'S6, made a public announce- ~ are, for, as one ex-CIA officer put it, "a went more quixotic than most. He in- ~ I favorite pastime of Foreign Service Of- fended, he-_said, to :wage unremitting i ficers and their wives was to point them private war against the Agency which had j out whenever the opportunity arose " . employed-him for I1-1/Z years. According_ ~ Even stay-at-homes can identify the to Agee, who entered the'CiA a rabid anti- I CIA lads working under embassy cover Communist and?who left it in 1968 a rabid .:with the help of various unclassified gov- pro-Communist, the CIA's unforgivable. ernment publications. If you want to know sin . was ~ its- success in. forestalling the ~hrnv it's done, read "Hosv to Spot a Spook" tcorldwide triumph of revolutionaryMara- to the November 1974 issue of the ism. Since thatisjustwhattheCIAciaims, eminently respectable Washington Agee's opinions disturbed nobody at. ? 161n;tthly. One "indicator," as the CIA calls the Langley, ViroPinia, headquarters of the it, is the' fact that no CIA official at ap largest,.. busiest, and most- inept "intelli- embassy is allowed to be listed as-a foreign gence'service" in the world. What did in- service office. This is because foreign serv- furiate-the CIA was the strictly practical ice people, who have to take a stiff test to aspect of Agee's little war. In order to win that coveted title, refuse fo let it be cripple the Agency;'arnounced Agee, he ? worn, unearned, by some ill-educated CIA - y re a outs-the 30-}?ear-long pre- tence that the Central Intelligence Agency ? is in fact an "intelligence-gathering" serv- ice. Blaring headlines about a CI.4-hacked . coup in Chile and shocking stories about ~ CIA attempts to assassinate foreign rulers gave the American people a tantalizing I glimpse of the long-hidden truth. The chief activity of the CIA is to intervene poIiticalIy in the internal affairs of half the countries iri the world. The CIA is little more, in fact, than an enormous bureau of incessant meddling, tvorl:ing constanEly to prop up pro-American governments, hocv- I ever inept or vile, acid to subvert independ- ent-minded rulers, however popular or ~ worthy. It is chiefly because the CIA's I embassy operatives are political manipu- lators, not spies, that their "cover" is of so by doing so 'to "drive. them out of the-. This-great CIA trade secret would ?be All such "covert action," as it is called countries where they are operating." something of a joke if the American people at Langley, ~is no secret to the ICremlin, Aself-important sort. of person (re- ;hared it. ZVlost Americans do not, and which, interestingly enough, makes no ef- sembling in t~tis respect the' Agency he Because they do not, Congress; at this very fort to impede it. Indeed, it is no secret to abhors), Agee did not di~vlge the CIA moment, is exploiting that ignorance to an}?one in the word except the American ~ .cads secret on which his prospective cvar carry out one of the decdliest assaults on people, whose knoi+iedge of what heir depended-the almost comical truth that First Amendment liberties ever attempted government does overseas constitutes the the identities of undercover CIA officers on Capitol Hill. The assault has been more :only danger to "national security" Ameri- are not a secret, have never been a secret, than a year and a half in the making and ca's?rulers really fear. and arc not even meant to be a secret. the slow. pace is readily understandable. The real CIA is a secret of state, and ?by' These officers work at U.S. embassies un- Given n Constitution which states catego- mid-1979 the time was ripe for shoving der the thin guise of State Department rically that 'congress shall make no la~v this secret back in the bps. The political _empioyees and their_"cover"? is_as_.trans- . ,., abridging freedom of speech or of the .,.,,,.,,._,.___ _____ Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved_ for Release 2011/12/12: IA-RDP90-005528000707310014-0 ~n mteaded to tdenttfy, ana to tram disciples .clodhopper. So much for America's famnrl VILLAGE VOICE 11-17 NOVr ~E'R 1981 parent as a plastic raincoat, beneath whi they wear; metaphorically speaking, C T-shirts in order to make it easier for t natives to find them. . In a foreign capital you can identify t CIA crew at the embassy by asking-anyo _ at the bar favored by newsmen and politic- embassies around the world Con- i os. The habitues can always give you the ssi i l ? t gre or a lethargy stemmed from many name of the CIA chief of station because he 1 sources; but chiefly from the fact that we probably gives con,erences-or even were still in the era of detente; that popu- cocktail parties for that matter. Or you can (]ar support for the Cold Vl'er had broken I ask an embassy janitor to point out the I down, and that the CIA itself was in ill- ~ Americans ~vho all work in the same room repute. Thanks to Watergate's endlessly and only talk to each other.lf you travel in di lomatic circles rami[ied revelations, the Agency, by I975, { p ,you don't even have to h d l a a most lost the only "cover" it has ever a ask who the CIA people at the embass rPall ca d b