Feeds

Hippie-era CIA skulduggery report unveiled

Warrantless spook wiretap shocker! Erm, hold on ...

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The so-called "family jewels" internal report into questionable doings by the CIA in the 1960s and early '70s is now available online - with only a moderate amount of blanking-out.

Having promised to do so last week, the CIA has now released the entire 700-page report dating from 1973. Parts of it were already known, but last night's release provides a wealth of detail and spook-history trivia. It can be downloaded here (pdf).

The report details a catalogue of swashbuckling intelligence operations which - as the covering note says - had significant "flap potential".

Examples include the recruitment of Vegas mobsters in an attempt to poison Fidel Castro, assistance to Watergate burglar Howard Hunt in hiring an ex-agency lockpicking expert, and the testing of "drugs rejected because of unfavourable side effects" on "volunteer members of the Armed Forces".

Agency men also imprisoned the defecting KGB officer Yuri Nosenko in a "specially constructed jail" in a remote forest for two years and subjected him to "hostile interrogation", convinced that he was a double agent. He was released after others at the CIA became concerned about the legality of what the agency was doing. Subsequently he was found to be "bona fide" and the "most valuable defector this agency has ever had", as of 1973.

Apparently Nosenko wasn't too upset by his lengthy and unpleasant illegal incarceration, saying he "understood how it could happen". But then he was a KGB man.

There is also evidence of the CIA wiretapping journalists in order to uncover their sources, and of the agency intercepting international phone calls between US citizens and people overseas - without any legal warrant to do so. Interestingly, even back in the bad old days, as soon as the CIA's in-house lawyers found out about it the operation was dropped.

According to the present CIA director, ex-airforce general Michael Hayden, the report is a "glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency".

Funnily enough, Hayden was head of the National Security Agency during the massive 2001-2007 secret, warrantless, phone-tapping campaign it conducted against American citizens talking to people overseas. President Bush still claims the power to order such measures without judicial approval at any point is appropriate, though that particular programme is now subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance star chamber secret spy court.

So Hayden is right; the 1970s were a different time indeed, in that the US intelligence community often accepted that there was more than one branch of government.

Slipping on one's tinfoil hat just for a moment, it's possible to wonder what the 16 known (and lord knows how many unknown) US intelligence agencies might be up to right now, no doubt with full executive approval, while we're all having fun poking through 30-year-old dirty laundry.®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.