An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Idaho Senators of Different Eras Differ on Reports of CIA Abuse

Two different Idaho senators from different eras, different parties, different philosophies, weighed in on revelations of CIA abuse and came to - no surprise - vastly different conclusions. Idaho Republican Senator Jim Risch has condemned the new CIA torture report as one-sided and partisan, and fears it'll mean severe damage for America's intelligence operations.

But 40 years ago, Idaho Senator Frank Church, a Democrat, led a Senate committee which cataloged CIA, FBI and NSA abuses of law and power, and made dozens of reform recommendations, some of which were adopted.

The abuses cited by Church's select Senate committee sound familiar today - under the guise of national security, rampant spying on American citizens, illegal surveillance by the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency, covert attempts to subvert foreign governments, assassination plots, interception and opening of mail and communication eavesdropping.

In fact, in 1975, Church warned of NSA's extensive ability to vacuum up electronic communications without mentioning the agency's name.

Senator Church's committee found that abuses and law=breaking were carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The committee's 14 voluminous reports - more than 50-thousand pages of which have been declassified - are said to be the most extensive review of US intelligence activities ever undertaken.

Related Content