CIA Releases "Family Jewels" Documents
Jun-26-07 07:10 pm
James Schlesinger, who as DCI ordered the creation
of the "Family Jewels" file
The CIA released today approximately 700 pages of documents known as the "Family Jewels." The documents can be found here in a 21 MB pdf file. As Phillip Tabuman of the New York Times explains, the documents
describe a series of intelligence operations, mostly involving domestic spying, that first came to light in the 1970s. They also include some discussion of assassination plots against foreign leaders. The C.I.A. account of these activities, running nearly 700 pages, is known as the “Family Jewels.” It consists of responses by C.I.A. officials to a 1973 directive from the Director of Central Intelligence, James Schlesinger, to inform him of any activities that might violate the agency’s charter. Many pages of the material made public today were excised by the agency. Many of the operations were disclosed in press reports in the mid-1970’s beginning with a Dec. 22, 1974 story in The New York Times by Seymour M. Hersh. A commission appointed by President Gerald R. Ford and headed by his Vice President, Nelson A. Rockefeller, investigated the C.I.A. activities, as did a Senate committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, and a House committee, chaired by Rep. Otis Pike, Democrat of New York.The Times has assembled of panel consisting of Taubman, Tim Weiner, James Bamford, Burton Hersh, David Robarge and Amy Zegart to comment on these papers through a series of posts.
I have just begun reading through the documents. They tell a tale of many activities that have been widely reported in the press over the years-- efforts to enlist American organized crime figures in plots against Castro, links between the CIA and domestic law enforcement and intelligence activities, etc.
A couple of preliminary comments.
First, as some of the commentators have noted, there is still so much whited-out material. While undoubtedly some of the redacted material would potentially compromise current activites, as one reads the documents some of the deletions seem curious. Amy Zegart discusses just one such redaction:
According to a May 15, 1973 memo, the C.I.A. tested some unspecified equipment in four Miami hotels just before the 1972 Republican national convention. The location, timing, and security assigned to the field test all got my attention. At least one of the hotels was a block from the convention hall. Security arrangements appear to have been tight; one of the people involved was reluctant to call another over an open telephone line. Arrangements were run by a security officer. And, according to the document, one person in the operation was in “daily contact” with the Miami police department as part of his “official liaison duties.” The memo contends that the activity was “completely innocent” but “subject to miscontrual.” But if this is true, why blacken out key details about the nature of the equipment, its purpose, and the peculiar timing and location of the field test?
Second, I wonder if these documents contain any explicit references to international law. The documents do not seem to be in an easily searchable form, so this may take a more careful read.
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