The famous 1970s investigations of the CIA conducted by the Church Committee and others followed leaks of information from the intelligence agencies revealing activities that were illegal or abusive under the CIA’s charter. The CIA had secretly compiled a document detailing the abuses known as “The Family Jewels.” This season of inquiry resulted in the intelligence oversight system that exists today. Now a fresh set of leaks confronts Americans, revealing widespread NSA eavesdropping. This discussion with the Washington History Seminar considered what should be the proper response to the revelations.
John Prados is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive. He leads the Archive’s CIA project, which has recently released a collection of materials documenting agency covert operations. Prados holds a PhD in Political Science (International Relations) from Columbia University and is the author of more than twenty books. His current book is The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power (University of Texas Press).
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