[sixties-l] CIA expands its watchful eye to the US (fwd)

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Date: Wed Dec 19 2001 - 01:24:44 EST

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    Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 13:09:37 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: CIA expands its watchful eye to the US

    CIA expands its watchful eye to the US


    December 17, 2001 edition

    It will gather intelligence at home to curb terrorism. Critics see era of
    Big Trenchcoat.

    By Abraham McLaughlin | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

    WASHINGTON - The Central Intelligence Agency is poised to get involved in
    domestic surveillance and investigations in ways that are unprecedented in
    its history.

    The CIA's intelligence gathering has long been kept as separate as possible
    from domestic law enforcement, which is bound by strict evidence-gathering
    rules and legal safeguards protecting the rights of those investigated.

    But as the nation girds itself against global terrorism carried out on
    American soil, the barriers between covert, stealthy intelligence and
    by-the-book domestic law enforcement investigations are beginning to melt.

    Suddenly, for instance, the CIA will now have access to testimony collected
    by federal grand juries.

    And the CIA, FBI, and other federal agencies are, for the first time, being
    allowed to share vast amounts of information ranging from phone records and
    credit cards statements to profiles of suspected terrorists.

    These shrinking restraints come as new antiterrorism legislation adopted
    this fall grants the FBI far broader wiretapping and other investigative

    And while many see the new cooperation as essential in combating the
    enormous threat, for others it raises civil-liberties concerns - and
    resurrects dark memories of CIA monitoring of domestic groups, including
    1970s antiwar protesters.

    Those domestic intrusions drove Congress and the president to tighten
    restrictions dating back to the 1947 creation of the CIA that bar the agency
    from any "domestic police function."

    "Traditionally, there's been a sharp demarcation between FBI and CIA turf
    ... but now there's more ambiguity," says Loch Johnson, author of "America's
    Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society."

    One of the most-significant changes is the CIA and other government
    agencies' new access to one of the most powerful domestic investigative
    tools - federal grand-jury proceedings - under the USA Patriot Act, which
    passed in the wake of Sept. 11. Now, if any grand-jury investigation
    involves matters of "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" its fruits
    may be shared with relevant federal agencies, the statute reads.

    "That's a big change in criminal law," notes Robert Davis, founder of the
    University of Mississippi's Journal of National Security Law.

    Critics worry that "foreign intelligence" information is a very broad
    category that extends far beyond just fighting terrorism. They also worry
    the information flow won't just be one way. Instead, the CIA may eventually
    suggest certain avenues for investigation.

    Defenders of the change argue prosecutors will be zealous about defending
    their grand-jury proceedings from outside interference.

    What really worries critics is the CIA's past history of domestic
    operations. In the 1960s and '70s, for instance, Operation CHAOS included
    CIA involvement in spying on US citizens including antiwar protesters, black
    militant groups and even congressmen.

    President Nixon's White House encouraged these activities, convinced that
    foreign powers stood behind anti-war radicals.

    Yet advocates of the changes say the present threats on American soil differ
    significantly from the domestic snooping conducted by the Nixon

    In fact, supporters point out that drastic government measures - such as
    Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War - have
    typically been temporary. Indeed, the most-controversial elements of the USA
    Patriot Act do eventually expire.

    In the meantime, the stepped-up cooperation is crucial, says ex-Director
    Gates, who argues the relevant historical parallel is not Operation CHAOS
    but Pearl Harbor.

    In 1941 - as in 2001 - "disparate government agencies had bits of
    information" that pointed to an attack.

    "But there was no single agency to pull everything together in a coherent
    analysis of the threat," Gates says.

    The new information sharing is the only way to prepare against new attacks.
    The USA Patriot act allows the CIA, FBI, the Border Patrol, and the
    Immigration and Naturalization Service to share information broadly. And
    it's likely to lead to FBI and CIA agents working closely together here in
    the US.

    This greater cooperation comes at a time of significantly increased federal
    investigation powers. For instance, under the PATRIOT act, law enforcement
    can now more easily conduct secret searches of homes and businesses, while a
    change to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act makes it easier for law
    enforcement to obtain wiretaps.

    Such activity may help prevent future terrorist acts. But there is also
    concern that it will lead to a blending of the intelligence and
    law-enforcement cultures.

    Yet there are hints it won't be so easy for the two agencies to work
    together, given the history of antagonism between the two and the CIA's
    reluctance to repeat its past mistakes.

    Somehow, experts say, the agencies must strike a tricky balance. "The
    concept of keeping them separate makes good sense in general," says
    University of Virginia law professor John Norton Moore. But after Sept. 11,
    "it's inconceivable not to have the two talking to each other."

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