[sixties-l] Secret FBI files reveal covert activities at UC (fwd)

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Date: Mon Jun 17 2002 - 18:59:28 EDT

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    Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 10:34:08 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Secret FBI files reveal covert activities at UC

    Secret FBI files reveal covert activities at UC


    Bureau's campus operations involved Reagan, CIA

    by Seth Rosenfeld, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Sunday, June 9, 2002

    Under the guise of protecting national security, the FBI conducted
    wide-ranging and unlawful intelligence operations concerning the University
    of California that at different points involved the head of the CIA and
    then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, The Chronicle has learned.
    According to thousands of pages of FBI records obtained by The Chronicle
    after a 17-year legal fight, the FBI unlawfully schemed with the head of
    the CIA to harass students, faculty and members of the Board of Regents,
    and mounted a concerted campaign to destroy the career of UC President
    Clark Kerr, which included sending the White House derogatory allegations
    about him that the bureau knew were false.
    The FBI, in contrast, developed a "close and cordial" relationship with
    Reagan, who made campus unrest a major issue and vowed to fire Kerr during
    his 1966 gubernatorial campaign.
    And after he was elected, the FBI failed to report that Reagan falsely
    stated on a federal security clearance form that he never had been a member
    of any group officially deemed subversive, an omission that could have been
    prosecuted as a felony.
    The FBI later secretly gave Gov. Reagan's administration information it
    could use "against" protesters.
    The disclosure of the FBI activities concerning the University of
    California during the 1950s and 1960s comes as the bureau has been granted
    wider authority and more resources to conduct domestic intelligence
    activities, and as President Bush seeks to create a new Department of
    Homeland Security.
    Experts said the FBI and CIA's past activities involving the University of
    California provide a cautionary tale about potential dangers to academic
    freedom and civil liberties.
    "This . . . raises a topic that we should be concerned about today: the
    balance between security and liberty," said Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, who
    was general counsel to the CIA from 1990 to 1995 and now is dean of the
    University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.
    "We learned some painful lessons," said Rindskopf Parker. "We certainly
    don't want to see ourselves rolling back to this time."
    Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman in Washington, D.C., declined to comment on
    the FBI files obtained by The Chronicle.
    The Office of Ronald Reagan referred questions to Edwin Meese III, who was
    Gov. Reagan's chief of staff. Meese acknowledged that Reagan had had a
    long-standing relationship with the FBI, but said that as far as he knew,
    the bureau gave Reagan no special political help.
    In the mid-1970s, Congress held hearings that revealed widespread FBI and
    CIA surveillance of law-abiding citizens, as well as FBI "Cointelpro"
    (counterintelligence operation) programs to "disrupt and neutralize"
    organizations and citizens who engaged in legitimate dissent, such as civil
    rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
    The Chronicle obtained thousands of pages of previously undisclosed FBI
    records concerning the University of California as a result of three
    lawsuits brought under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents
    provide the most detailed account to date of the FBI's activities at any
    American university during a turbulent, historic period and show that those
    covert operations spilled off campus and into state politics.
    The FBI maintained in court that its activities regarding UC were proper
    and intended to protect civil order and national security. But a series of
    federal judges concluded that the FBI engaged in a range of unlawful
    activities that included investigating student protesters, interfering with
    academic freedom
    and intruding into internal university affairs.
    The FBI's campus files show that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover took a
    special interest in UC, which was the nation's largest university, operator
    of federal nuclear weapons labs and the scene of some of the nation's first
    and largest campus protests over constitutional rights and academic freedom.
                       Looking for dirt on UC
    According to the documents, Hoover became outraged over an essay question
    on UC's 1959 English aptitude test for high school applicants that asked:
    "What are the dangers to a democracy of a national police organization,
    like the FBI, which operates secretly and is unresponsive to public
    In response, Hoover ordered his aides to launch a covert public relations
    campaign to embarrass the university and pressure it to retract what he
    called a "viciously misleading" question.
    The director also ordered his agents to search bureau files for derogatory
    information on UC's 6,000 faculty members and top administrators.
    The resulting 60-page report said 72 faculty members, students and
    employees were listed in the bureau's "Security Index," a secret nationwide
    list of people whom the FBI considered potentially dangerous to national
    security who would be detained without warrant during a crisis.
    Congress was not told about the FBI detention plan, which failed to meet
    statutory requirements that there was "reasonable ground to believe"
    prospective detainees would engage in espionage or sabotage, said a 1976
    report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental
    Operations with Respect to Intelligence Operations.
    The FBI's 1960 report on UC also alleged that faculty members had engaged
    in misconduct such as "illicit love affairs, homosexuality, sexual
    perversion, excessive drinking or other instances of conduct reflecting
    mental instability."
    The FBI records show that after the Free Speech Movement staged the
    nation's first large campus sit-ins of the era, CIA Director John McCone
    met with Hoover at FBI headquarters in January 1965 and planned to leak FBI
    reports to conservative regent Edwin Pauley, who could then "use his
    influence to curtail, harass and at times eliminate" liberal faculty members.
                       Regents, Kerr also targets
    The FBI also gave Pauley reports on the backgrounds of three liberal
    regents from San Francisco: lawyer William Coblentz, businessman William M.
    Roth and former Democratic National Committee member Elinor Haas Heller.
    The FBI campaigned to get Kerr fired from the UC presidency, the bureau's
    records show, because it disagreed with his policies and handling of the
    Free Speech Movement protests.
    When President Lyndon Johnson was considering appointing Kerr to be his
    Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in December 1964, he asked the
    FBI to conduct a routine inquiry into Kerr's background. But the bureau
    sent the White House allegations that Kerr was "pro-communist" - even
    though the bureau knew the claims were false.
    Kerr said he was unaware of the FBI's actions against him until contacted
    by The Chronicle.
    "Maybe I was too naive, but I never assumed they (the FBI) were taking
    efforts to get rid of me," Kerr told The Chronicle. "I always looked upon
    myself as being 100 percent American."
                       Reagan's "subversive" ties
    The FBI's background report on Kerr contrasts with the bureau's background
    investigation of Reagan after he was elected governor in 1966 and became a
    regent ex officio, FBI records show.
    That process began when Reagan filled out a federal form required to get a
    security clearance, and stated that he never belonged to any group deemed
    officially subversive, a copy of the form shows.
    According to FBI records, the bureau knew Reagan had been in two such
    groups in the 1940s - the Committee for a Democratic Far East Policy and
    the American Veterans Committee - but the FBI background report failed to
    note that Reagan's denial was untrue. Hundreds of people in the 1940s and
    1950s had faced hearings and sometimes dismissals from federal employment
    for failing to disclose membership in groups deemed subversive.
    Cartha "Deke" DeLoach, Hoover's third-in-command, told The Chronicle that
    the FBI gave Reagan no special treatment. But two former FBI agents said it
    was routine procedure for the FBI to point out such discrepancies.
                       A "helpful" relationship
    Reagan was also a more active informer in Hollywood than has been
    previously reported. Meese told The Chronicle that Reagan felt his
    relationship with the FBI was "very helpful."
    Following the violent 1969 People's Park protests in Berkeley, Herbert
    Ellingwood, Reagan's legal affairs secretary, met with DeLoach to discuss
    campus unrest. "Governor Reagan is dedicated to the destruction of
    disruptive elements on California campuses," Ellingwood said, according to
    the records.
    The Reagan administration planned on "hounding" protest groups as much as
    possible by "bringing any form of violation available against them."
    Reagan officials might bring tax cases against them, Ellingwood added, and
    would also mount a "psychological warfare campaign" against protesters.
    Ellingwood asked if the FBI would give Reagan more intelligence reports,
    and Hoover agreed.
    "This has been done in the past," the director noted, "and has worked quite
    Meese told The Chronicle, "I have no recollection at all of us planning to
    do these things . . . There was never any concentrated strategy to do these
                       Pitfalls of domestic intelligence
    James X. Dempsey, deputy director of the Center for Democracy & Technology
    in Washington, D.C., and a former aide to the House Judiciary Subcommittee
    on Civil and Constitutional Rights, said The Chronicle's findings about FBI
    activities at UC show how the bureau's domestic
    intelligence operations can go awry - and that it can take years for the
    public to find out.
    While the FBI was charged with defending the United States against Soviet
    intelligence operations during the 1950s and 1960s, he said, the bureau
    improperly focused on citizens engaged in lawful dissent.
    "I'm afraid that 20 or 30 years from now, somebody will be writing a story
    about how the FBI got off track in 2002."
    Also see:
    Reagan, Hoover and the UC Red Scare

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