Feeds

Hippie-era CIA skulduggery report unveiled

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
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.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.