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The Otis Pike Report


John Simkin
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In February of 1976, the House of Representatives, voted to suppress the final report of its intelligence investigating committee. The chairman of the report, Otis Pike, was furious with this decision. Another member of the committee, Ronald Dellums, shared this view. Daniel Schorr, who had managed to get an advance copy, leaked the information to Village Voice. This led to his suspension by CBS and an investigation by the House Ethics Committee in which Schorr was threatened with jail for contempt of Congress if he did not disclose his source. Schorr refused and eventually the committee decided 6 to 5 against a contempt citation.

The report was published in the UK by a left-wing publisher called Spokesman in 1977. The book includes an introduction written by Philip Agee. I have managed to get hold of a copy of this book and will be posting passages on the Forum over the next few weeks.

One of the most interesting parts of the report concerns Operation Mockingbird. The report points out the battle they had with the CIA over this information. However, from the documents it was able to obtain, Pike's committee came to the conclusion that it was the "largest single category of covert action projects undertaken by the CIA".

I suspect that it was either Otis Pike or Ronald Dellums who leaked the report to Daniel Schorr. Both are still alive. I will try to get them to join the Forum. In 2000 Dellums publushed his autobiography, Lying Down with the Lions. I have ordered a copy. Has anyone else read it?

(1) Otis Pike (2) Ronald Dellums

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So John if Pike or Dellums indeed disclosed a report that was supposed to be classified I can only assume John that you believe they deserve the same scorn as Scooter Libby does (I assume the statute of limitations may have run on criminal prosecution).

Somehow I suspect that whether someone receives plaudits or opprobrium for "leaking" classified information depends on their political persuasion!

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So John if Pike or Dellums indeed disclosed a report that was supposed to be classified I can only assume John that you believe they deserve the same scorn as Scooter Libby does (I assume the statute of limitations may have run on criminal prosecution).

Somehow I suspect that whether someone receives plaudits or opprobrium for "leaking" classified information depends on their political persuasion!

Tim, the report was not supposed to be classified. It was disseminated and then recalled due to Bush's and Rumsfeld's PR campaign to blame Welch's murder on congress and the media. You should know this. The Pike Report was re-printed in a limited run by a University Press sometime in the last 15 years. This volume has sections not printed the first time. As I said in the other thread, if you're gonna defend the CIA, you should at least know its history!!!!

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Pat I was relying on John's statement that Congress had voted to suppress (read: classify) the report.

Presumably it is wrong to reveal classified information even if you disagree that it should be classified.

I do not recall, was Bush the CIA Director in 1976 when Congress voted to suppress the report? Do you agree with John's post that Congess voted to suppress it?

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Pat I was relying on John's statement that Congress had voted to suppress (read: classify) the report.

Presumably it is wrong to reveal classified information even if you disagree that it should be classified.

I do not recall, was Bush the CIA Director in 1976 when Congress voted to suppress the report? Do you agree with John's post that Congess voted to suppress it?

The report was not classified due to legitimate national security interests; it was classifed for political reasons, in part because of the Welch murder, in part because the report was highly embarrassing to Kissinger, a genuine threat to his reputation as a "good" guy.

While the report was supposedly withheld because it might damage our relationships overseas, the report was published overseas, and widely disseminated. The only people in the western world unaware of its contents were the American people. A fact that apparently continues today.

I read an interview once of William Colby by an Italian journalist, who wanted to know why it was ok for us to fund the right-wing in their country, but not ok for them to fund the left-wing in ours. His answer was that because the U.S. was the only country in the world who understood the evils of communism, it was ok for us to do anything necessary to prevent its spread. Our zeal to spread capitalism was and is the moral equivalent of Al-Qaeda's zeal to spread terrorism.

Bush was the CIA chief for just under a year from early 76 to early 77, the period we are discussing. Barbara Bush discusses this period in her memoirs and blames phillip Agee by name for Welch's death.

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Pat as I said the revelation of classified information is a serious offense even if you disagree with the reason why it was classified.

Or do you think that the revelation of Plame's CIA affiliation was permissible if whooever did it had a good reason for doing so?

You cannot have it, I suggest, both ways. Either the laws re classified information need to be observed and enforced or they do not. You cannot defend a disclosure of classified information because you believe the person did so for a good motive. Presumably those in the Bush Administration thought it important to demonstrate Plame's connection to Wilson. But even though they thought it important for the public to know this information, Plame's status should not have been revealed if indeed it was covert.

Good motives are not a defense to the revelation of classified information.

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So John if Pike or Dellums indeed disclosed a report that was supposed to be classified I can only assume John that you believe they deserve the same scorn as Scooter Libby does (I assume the statute of limitations may have run on criminal prosecution). Somehow I suspect that whether someone receives plaudits or opprobrium for "leaking" classified information depends on their political persuasion!

Tim Gratz's posting above is ahistorical and imbalanced, given the current circumstance. Outing an agent is not the same as outing a document, as reflected in the 1982 legislation so lauded by George H. W. Bush. This is true, regardless of political persuasion. Furthermore, since this is a JFK assassination site, let's not forget that Gerald Ford leaked classified Warren Commission information in his book. All such matters are not equal.

Tim

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Tim, did you see my post on the "New Watergate" thread that I heard a senior Newsweek editor claim on television that Wilson regularly introduced his wife as a CIA agent?

So who are you going to listen to, the spin mongers or Fitzgerald? Read the indictment: www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/index.html

Tim

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Oh, I'll take the spin-doctors any day of the week. Doctors are usually more credible than prosecutors.

I had not heard of Gasparino. I certainly do not think he is some GOP spin-doctor. (I could be wrong, of course.) I assume he knew what he was talking about.

But thanks for the link to the indictment. I shall read it.

(I assume there is no relationship between Patrick and Desmond.)

Edited by Tim Gratz
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[quote name='Tim Carroll' date='Nov 4 2005, 11:58 AM' post='44099']

Tim, did you see my post on the "New Watergate" thread that I heard a senior Newsweek editor claim on television that Wilson regularly introduced his wife as a CIA agent?

So who are you going to listen to, the spin mongers or Fitzgerald? Read the indictment: www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/index.html

Tim

Great response Tim. Yor clear logic will be much needed as the rabid right goes into non stop spin mode over this. Especially if Fitzgerald actually DOES indict Rove.

I saw that bore Ann Coulter on tv a few nights ago calling Ms Plame "Flame" in a mocking manner and calling Ambassador Wilson "A clown".

Of course the right will "blame the victim: it's what they do. It's trademark.

Dawn

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So John if Pike or Dellums indeed disclosed a report that was supposed to be classified I can only assume John that you believe they deserve the same scorn as Scooter Libby does (I assume the statute of limitations may have run on criminal prosecution).

Somehow I suspect that whether someone receives plaudits or opprobrium for "leaking" classified information depends on their political persuasion!

I am fully aware that you are against the leaking of CIA documents unless they show that Castro/KGB were behind the assassination of JFK. You did not seem to mind when James Angleton leaked documents suggesting a left-wing conspiracy against JFK.

However, as usual, you are badly informed about these events. I know you will fail to grasp the following, but I thought other members of the thread should be aware of the background to the case.

On 22nd December, 1974, Seymour Hersh published an article in the New York Times where he claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency had been involved in domestic spying activities. President Gerald Ford responded by asking Nelson Rockefeller to head a commission to investigate CIA activities in the United States.

Congress also reacted to this information and decided to investigate the entire intelligence community. On 27th January, 1975, the US Senate established the Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities under the chairmanship of Frank Church. On 19 February 1975, the House of Representatives voted to create a House Select Intelligence Committee. Its first chairman was Lucien Nedzi. Five months later he was replaced by Otis Pike.

The House Select Intelligence Committee examined the effectiveness of the CIA and its cost to the taxpayers. The CIA and the White House did not take kindly to this investigation and Pike and his committee had considerable difficulty gaining access to documents. In a letter written to William Colby on 28th July, 1975, Pike claimed that he was not interested in history, sources and methods, or the names of agents. "I am seeking to obtain information on how much of the taxpayers' dollars you spend each year and the basic purposes for which it is spent".

Officially, Henry Kissinger cooperated with the committee but according to Gerald K. Haines, the CIA official historian, he "worked hard to undermine its investigations and to stonewall the release of documents to it". On 4 August 1975, Pike made a public statement that: "What we have found thus far is a great deal of the language of cooperation and a great deal of the activity of non-cooperation".

The final draft report of the Pike Committee claimed that the cooperation of the CIA and the White House was "virtually nonexistent." The report asserted that they had practiced "foot dragging, stonewalling, and deception" in response to committee requests for information.

Senior CIA officials were extremely upset when they first read the draft report. They recommenced deleting large sections of the report, including almost all the budget references. Otis Pike and his committee refused to accept these suggestions. The final report also recommended that Congress draft appropriate legislation to prohibit any significant transfer of funds or significant expenditures of reserve or contingency funds in connection with intelligence activities without specific approval of the Congressional intelligence committees.

On 19th January, 1976, Pike sent the final draft of a 338 page report to the CIA. Mitchell Rogovin, the CIA's Special Counsel for legal affairs, responded with a scalding attack on the report. He complained that the report was an "unrelenting indictment couched in biased, pejorative and factually erroneous terms." He also told Searle Field, staff director of the House Select Committee: "Pike will pay for this, you wait and see....There will be a political retaliation.. We will destroy him for this."

Despite the protests of the CIA, on 23rd January 1976 the committee voted 9 to 7 along party lines to release its report with no substantial changes. Republican Party members on the committee, strongly supported by President Gerard Ford and William Colby, now led the fight to suppress the report. Colby called a press conference to denounce Pike's report, calling it a "totally biased and a disservice to our nation." Colby added that the report gave a thoroughly wrong impression of American intelligence.

Robert McCory, the leading Republican on the House Select Intelligence Committee, made a speech on 26th January, 1976, that the release of the report would endanger the national security of the United States. Three days later the House of Representatives voted 246 to 124 to direct the Pike Committee not to release its report until it "has been certified by the President as not containing information which would adversely affect the intelligence activities of the CIA."

Pike was furious and pointed out: "The House just voted not to release a document it had not read. Our committee voted to release a document it had read." Pike was so upset that he threatened not to file a report at all because "a report on the CIA in which the CIA would do the final rewrite would be a lie."

Worried that the report would never be published, someone on the House Select Intelligence Committee leaked the report to Daniel Schoor. He gave it to The Village Voice, which published it in full on 16th February 1976 under the title "The Report on the CIA that President Ford Doesn't Want You to Read." This led to his suspension by CBS and an investigation by the House Ethics Committee in which Schorr was threatened with jail for contempt of Congress if he did not disclose his source. Schorr refused and eventually the committee decided 6 to 5 against a contempt citation.

I will be posting large sections of the report on the Forum. You will see why the CIA and the White House fought so hard to suppress the report.

However, the CIA carried out its threat and Pike resigned from Congress in 1978.

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John wrote:

I am fully aware that you are against the leaking of CIA documents unless they show that Castro/KGB were behind the assassination of JFK. You did not seem to mind when James Angleton leaked documents suggesting a left-wing conspiracy against JFK.

John, obviously I never said this and I have written that the security laws should be enforced regardless of who wants to violate them or for what purpose.

So, though you may disagree with why or how Congress voted not to release the Pike Report, do you agree that it was wrong for whoever leaked it to the press to do so?

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...do you agree that it was wrong for whoever leaked it to the press to do so?

I wouldn't agree that it's always wrong to leak classified information, compared with the different matter of leaking an agent's identity. A shield law would protect reporters in cases such as with the Pike Report, but not violators of the agent identity disclosure law. Most agree that the 1982 legislation is impractical and needs to be reworked (shouldn't people who don't know if an agent's status is undercover err on the side of caution?). Similarly, the reporter shield law must be carefully crafted and implemented. But as the prosecutor said, the Plame disclosure wouldn't have been covered by a shield law, even had one been in place. It's one thing for the press to disclose governmental secrets, and quite a different matter for a journalist to conspire with an agent of the government to perform as a propagandist in exchange for access, as was the case with Judyth Miller.

Tim

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