Earlier versions of this story misspelled the name of journalist Brit Hume.
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CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry
Operations listed in the report began in 1953, when the CIA's counterintelligence staff started a 20-year program to screen and in some cases open mail between the United States and the Soviet Union passing through a New York airport. A similar program in San Francisco intercepted mail to and from China from 1969 to 1972. Under its charter, the CIA is prohibited from domestic operations.
Colby told Ford that the program had collected four letters to actress and antiwar activist Jane Fonda and said the entire effort was "illegal, and we stopped it in 1973."
Among several new details, the summary document reveals a 1969 program about CIA efforts against "the international activities of radicals and black militants." Undercover CIA agents were placed inside U.S. peace groups and sent abroad as credentialed members to identify any foreign contacts. This came at a time when the Soviet Union was suspected of financing and influencing U.S. domestic organizations.
The program included "information on the domestic activities" of the organizations and led to the accumulation of 10,000 American names, which Colby told Silberman were retained "as a result of the tendency of bureaucrats to retain paper whether they needed it or acted on it or not," according to the summary memo.
CIA surveillance of Michael Getler, then The Washington Post's national security reporter, was conducted between October 1971 and April 1972 under direct authorization by then-Director Richard Helms, the memo said. Getler had written a story published on Oct. 18, 1971, sparked by what Colby called "an obvious intelligence leak," headlined "Soviet Subs Are Reported Cuba-Bound."
Getler, who is now the ombudsman for the Public Broadcasting Service, said yesterday that he learned of the surveillance in 1975, when The Post published an article based on a secret report by congressional investigators. The story said that the CIA used physical surveillance against "five Americans" and listed Getler, the late columnist Jack Anderson and Victor Marchetti, a former CIA employee who had just written a book critical of the agency.
"I never knew about it at the time, although it was a full 24 hours a day with teams of people following me, looking for my sources," Getler said. He said he went to see Colby afterward, with Washington lawyer Joseph Califano. Getler recalled, "Colby said it happened under Helms and apologized and said it wouldn't happen again."
Personal surveillance was conducted on Anderson and three of his staff members, including Brit Hume, now with Fox News, for two months in 1972 after Anderson wrote of the administration's "tilt toward Pakistan." The 1972 surveillance of Marchetti was carried out "to determine contacts with CIA employees," the summary said.
CIA monitoring and infiltration of antiwar dissident groups took place between 1967 and 1971 at a time when the public was turning against the Vietnam War. Agency officials "covertly monitored" groups in the Washington area "who were considered to pose a threat to CIA installations." Some of the information "might have been distributed to the FBI," the summary said. Other "skeletons" listed in the summary included:
· The confinement by the CIA of a Russian defector, suspected by the CIA as a possible "fake," in Maryland and Virginia safe houses for two years, beginning in 1964. Colby speculated that this might be "a violation of the kidnapping laws."
· The "very productive" 1963 wiretapping of two columnists -- Robert Allen and Paul Scott -- whose conversations included talks with 12 senators and six congressmen.
· Break-ins by the CIA's office of security at the homes of one current and one former CIA official suspected of retaining classified documents.
· CIA-funded testing of American citizens, "including reactions to certain drugs."
The CIA documents scheduled for release next week, Hayden said yesterday, "provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency."
Barred by secrecy restrictions from correcting "misinformation," he said, the CIA is at the mercy of the press. "Unfortunately, there seems to be 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," Hayden said.
Hayden's speech and some questions that followed evoked more recent criticism of the intelligence community, which has been accused of illegal wiretapping, infiltration of antiwar groups, and kidnapping and torturing of terrorism suspects.
"It's surely part of [Hayden's] program now to draw a bright line with the past," said National Security Archive Director Thomas S. Blanton. "But it's uncanny how the government keeps dipping into the black bag." Newly revealed details of ancient CIA operations, Blanton said, "are pretty resonant today."