Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview

Conservative

From: Summary of: report to the president by the (Rockefeller) commission on C.I.A. activities within the United States.


D. Significant areas of investigation

Introduction. Domestic activities of the CIA raising substantial questions of compliance with the law have been closely examined by the Commission to determine the context in which they were performed, the pressures of the times, the relationship of the activity to the Agency's foreign intelligence assignment and to other CIA activities, the procedures used to authorize and conduct the activity, and the extent and effect of the activity.

In describing and assessing each such activity, it has been necessary to consider both that activity's relationship to the legitimate national security needs of the nation and the threat such activities might pose to individual rights of Americans and to a society founded on the need for government, as well as private citizens, to obey the law.


1. The CIA's mail intercepts (Chapter 9)

Findings . At the time the CIA came into being, one of the highest national intelligence priorities was to gain an understanding of the Soviet Union and its worldwide activities affecting our national security.

In this context, the CIA began in 1952 a program of surveying mail between the United States and the Soviet Union as it passed through a New York postal facility. In 1953 it began opening some of this mail. The program was expanded over the following two decades and ultimately involved the opening of many letters and the analysis of envelopes, or "covers," of a great many more letters.

The New York mail intercept was designed to attempt to identify persons within the United States who were cooperating with the Soviet Union and its intelligence forces to harm the United States. It was also intended to determine technical communications procedures and mail censorship techniques used by the Soviets.

The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency approved commencement of the New York mail intercept in 1952. During the ensuing years, so far as the record shows, Postmasters General Summerfield, Day, and Blount were informed of the program in varying degrees, as was Attorney General Mitchell. Since 1958, the FBI was aware of this program and received 57,000 items from it.

A 1962 CIA memorandum indicates the Agency was aware that the mail openings would be viewed as violating federal criminal laws prohibiting obstruction or delay of the mails.

In the last year before the termination of this program, out of 4,350,000 items of mail sent to and from the Soviet Union, the New York intercept examined the outside of 2,300,000 of these items, photographed 33,000 envelopes, and opened 8,700.

The mail intercept was terminated in 1973 when the Chief Postal Inspector refused to allow its continuation without an up-to-date high-level approval.

The CIA also ran much smaller mail intercepts for brief periods in San Francisco between 1969 and 1971 and in the territory of Hawaii during 1954 and 1955. For a short period in 1957, mail in transit between foreign countries was intercepted in New Orleans.

Conclusions. While in operation, the CIA's domestic mail opening programs were unlawful. United States statutes specifically forbid opening the mail.

The mail openings also raise Constitutional questions under the Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search, and the scope of the New York project poses possible difficulties with the First Amendment rights of speech and press.

Mail cover operations (examining and copying of envelopes only) are legal when

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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