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intelligence records and the campaigning of former intelligence officers did much to cultivate Americans' fear of surversion and to provide the basis for the growing power of the military at home.


By 1956, the Department of the Army was claiming some continuous peacetime responsibility for collecting information on subversive groups. When President Dwight Eisenhower mobilized troops in 1957, the Counter Intelligence Corps preceded federal troops by two weeks to Little Rock to watch the school and report on local press coverage. The G-2 used the CIC of the 4th Army, intelligence staff officers from the Airborne Division, and FBI agents indiscriminately in the hectic days which followed. Military counter intelligence personnel had charge of surveillance of the nine black youths enrolled at Central High School and of monitoring the Ku Klux Klan and other potential trouble makers. Surveillance in this case continued on the orders of the Secretary of the Army after regular Army troops had been replaced by federalized National Guard. The next year, a Strategic Capabilities Plan restricted the use of intelligence personnel in monitoring civil disturbances until the President judged deployment of troops seemed imminent.

During civil rights activities in Montgomery, Alabama in 1961, the Army developed plans which assumed the Continental Army Command would conduct civilian investigations in domestic emergencies resulting from civil disturbances, and which allowed the Army to employ agents to collect information on civilians when the use of federal troops was "probable." Army agents could only operate within the investigative jurisdiction of civil authorities with specific authority from the President as Commander-in-Chief. The Army was not called into Montgomery in 1961. In 1962, however, members of the 111th Intelligence Corps group conducted covert investigations of civilians, apparently in violation of their directive which called for specific authority from the President. Agents probed "extremist" groups, the reaction of civilians to troop movements, investigated "agitators," and compiled "black, white and gray lists." At the same time, agents failed to assemble adequate reconnaissance information.

A 1963 Continental Army Command plan left surveillance of civilians in the hands of the FBI but specifically authorized the military to file spot reports "as required" on events which might develop prior to the implementation of the plan. Ordinarily civil disturbance information was to be collected mainly through liaison with civilian authorities and through news media reports but an Army commander, if he felt the situation warranted it, could order covert operations if coordinated with the FBI. This plan removed surveillance from central control, allowing the same decentralization which had in the past led to serious invasion of the rights of citizens. In 1965, when this early warning system was transferred to the Army Intelligence Command, the Continental Army surveillance system continued in violation of regulations and without the knowledge of senior Army commanders. Thus the stage was set once more for the expansion of military surveillance of civilians during the next home front crisis.


In 1967, as I was finishing my book on World War I, it was already evident that Army intelligence had begun a vast surveillance program alarmingly similar to that begun fifty years before. I urged then that the line between civilian and military authority be clearly demarcated. Surveillance again occurred at home with almost no civilian control. In 1970, there were also parallels with 1919 when those who questioned military surveillance of civilians found Army intelligence and its supporters intransigent, willing to use subterfuge, ready to wait out press criticism, and able to plead secrecy to keep its activities beyond scrutiny.

Surveillance of civilians by the military took place during every major home front crisis between 1917 and 1967 regardless of which party was in power. It occurred with almost no civilian control because civilian officials, even those charged directly with the affairs of the War Department or

Defense Department were unable to effectively monitor the operations of military intelligence agents. As the military bureaucracy grew and became more technologically efficient, the difficulty of civilian control became greater. Meanwhile, the practice of the military of defining its mission of civilian surveillance in the broadest possible terms and moving in times of crisis from countering espionage to countering political dissent continued. Without further institutional safeguards to control military surveillance it seems highly likely that this practice will not only continue in the future but become an increasing threat to the constitutional rights of civilians.


On February 24, 1971, I had the honor of testifying before this subcommittee at its hearings on Federal Data Banks, Computers and the Bill of Rights. At that time I sketched out the history of the Army's surveillance of civilian politics during the late 1960's and spoke of the need to bring it under control.

Since that time, much has happened. The Department of Defense has issued regulations attempting to curb the stateside intelligence operations of all branches of the armed forces. Army intelligence has destroyed files on thousands of politically active, law-abiding citizens, and the Army Intelligence Command, which did most of the unauthorized surveillance, has been scheduled for deactivation.

At the same time, the Department of the Army has not been entirely successful in its cut-back efforts. While its top officials have been attempting to sell their new policy against surveillance to reluctant intelligence officers within the United States, military intelligence units have continued to monitor the political activities of Americans living abroad.

I will not take the time here to describe those activities. They are well documented by the testimony of John H. F. Shattuck of the American Civil Liberties Union and by Andrew Hamilton's recent article in the New Republic ("Shut Up, Soldier: The Watch on the Rhine," March 30, 1974, pp. 13–15). Nor will I recount what I believe to be the distinct threats to liberty and privacy posed by the surveillance and the data banks it generated. They are well discussed in the testimony presented by Barry Mahoney on behalf of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and by this Subcommittee's past reports.

Instead, I would like to focus my attention on what I believe to be the central, and most difficult question, now facing this subcommittee: What are the military's legitimate domestic intelligence needs?

If it were possible to define with precision each and every interest to be protected, and each and every kind of monitoring to be prohibited in the interest of preserving liberty and privacy, it would not be necessary to address this question. A carefully worded prohibition would suffice. Unfortunately, the problem is not that easy. Even the most ardent civil libertarians must concede that there are occasions when the military has a right to information touching on the politics of persons not affiliated with it. An espionage case involving Communists is an obvious example; attempts by an anti-war group to persuade servicemen to desert is another.

A bill which does not draw careful lines around the military's legitimate and illegitimate informational needs directly threatens the efficiency of government. It also endangers the liberty and property of military personnel, who must make judgments about the law's meaning in the course of carrying out their assignments.

This second danger concerns me most at this time. The government will not go to jail if the law is misinterpreted, but some intelligence agent may, through no fault of his own. Thus, if Congress is to accord due process to government employees while protecting political dissenters, it must state with particularity those investigative and record-keeping activities it does not intend to prohibit.


It seems to me that the military's domestic intelligence needs can be broken down into five basic categories: civil disturbance intelligence, counterintelligence, criminal intelligence, security intelligence, and command intelligence. There is nothing watertight about these compartments; operations begun under one often flow very quickly into the others. But the categories are useful for analytical purposes.

Civil Disturbance Intelligence

During the late 1960's there were three basic kinds of civil disturbances that called for a military response. These were ghetto riots, mass demonstrations, and disruptions of military installations or activities. During the early 1960's there was a fourth category involving interference with the enforcement of federal court orders. It is conceivable that the government might sometime be faced with a fifth: para-military or military resistance to lawful authority of the sort now occurring in Northern Ireland or that occurred in the United States during the Civil War.

Each of these kinds of "disturbances" involves a mixture of political activities, some of which may be constitutionally protected and some of which may be criminal and violent, and each poses a different mixture of problems for the military.

Ghetto riots. The heaviest demand placed upon the military in recent years has been for troops to support civilian law enforcement agencies incapable of controlling mass rioting. In such situations the Army has found a clear need for three kinds of intelligence: reconnaissance of the riot (or potential riot) area, advance (or "early warning") intelligence on escalating violence which threatened to outstrip local and state police and military resources, and tactical intelligence on the targets and activities of rioters.

The Army also assumed that it had a need for personality and organizational intelligence for the purpose of identifying individuals and groups that might incite riots or participate in them. This assumption turned out to be in error. None of the riots of the late 1960's was planned or led by identifiable persons or groups, and few were marked by organized criminal activity directed against the authorities. This is the unanimous conclusion of the military and civilian histories of the era and of the intelligence analysts I have interviewed. The conclusion is confirmed by the Kerner Commission report and echos the findings of every major riot commission for the past half century.

Thus, the Army had no need for mug books, potential round-up lists, or large data banks on persons thought to be prone to rioting. Nor, in fact, were any of these records ever used at command headquarters or by units in the streets. What information military commanders needed to know about racial politics in the riot areas they received from civilian politicians and intelligence analysts who relied primarily on the press.

The major justification for civil disturbance intelligence offered by Army intelligence was that detailed information on incidents, organizations, and individuals was needed for planning purposes. Reports on civil rights demonstrations and ghetto altercations were collected on the theory that examination of their nature and frequency might reveal trends. The idea apparently originated with an after-action report prepared by Cyrus R. Vance following the Detroit riot. Vance, who was the President's representative to Detroit, recommended the analysis of incident reports to see if patterns could be discerned which might predict riots. He also proposed the development of a "normal incident curve" of ghetto crime against which apparent increases in violence could be compared. The need for such information, as he saw it, was at the local level, and the proper people to collect it, he believed, were the police. Unfortunately, his report to the President did not emphasize that point, and Army intelligence responded with a nation-wide incident reporting system. The reports were funneled, among other places, to the Continental Army Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia, where intelligence analysts attempted to construct a weekly "Dow Jones" average of violence in the nation as a whole. The exercise was a waste of time, of course, because a national average could not help the Army to predict where and when the next major riot

would break out. At Fort Holabird, the home of the Army Intelligence Command, wiser heads prevailed and the idea of a computerized barometer of racial tensions was quietly shelved.

The collection of incident reports on minor altercations also was justified on the theory that they might give early warning of where and when riots would break out. In point of fact, the reports did not give the Army analysts any better advance notice than top Justice Department officials, who relied more on personal contacts with community leaders.

When the decision to call out federal troops was contemplated, the President, the Attorney General, and the Under Secretary of the Army did not turn to Army intelligence for information and advice. They relied instead on the observations and judgment of their own personal representatives at the scene. Since federal troops could not be deployed until state authorities had demonstrated their lack of resources, there was time for a personal reconnaissance by high government officials and their aides. While the civilians were making their reconnaissance, stand-by riot units were alerted and sometimes prepositioned at nearby bases.

The military's own after-action reports of the riots of the late 1960's clearly demonstrate that the Army's greatest advance requirement was not for personality or organizational data pertaining to the politics of the ghettos, but for reconnaissance and liaison data. What it needed most were city packets of maps and other records describing potential approach routes, the height of overpasses and the strength of bridges, information on potential riot areas and bivouac sites, the addresses and telephone numbers of local law enforcement officials, and the frequencies used by police and National Guard radio networks.

Unfortunately, reconnaissance and liaison work often took a back seat to the investigation of individuals and organizations, because investigating was what military intelligence was most accustomed to doing. This sometimes left troop commanders gravely unprepared for riot duty. For example, when General Throckmorton entered Detroit at the head of a joint force of 10,000 Army and National Guard troops, he had only a gasoline station map to guide him. (He and his troops did not even share the same company's maps). Back at the Pentagon, the officers in the war room struggled to follow the action in Detroit on a map which recorded contours and elevations in great detail, but omitted city streets.

The second urgent need of riot units was for tactical intelligence: information on mobs, fires, and potential targets of looting or damage. Here again, Army intelligence's obsession with subversion limited the production of useful intelligence. The first items which the intelligence analysts plotted on the situation maps at the Pentagon were power plants, radio stations, and armories-the traditional targets of Communist insurgents bent on seizing governments. Meanwhile, apolitical rioters in Detroit happily looted stores and supermarkets.

During the riots, there were reports of sniping which seemed to confirm the view that conspiracies lurked behind the riots. Most of these reports turned out to be false or exaggerated. When the smoke cleared, it was the civilians who had been shot with government bullets. Insofar as there were snipers, they were attended to without the help of dossiers or mug books.

Unfortunately, the riot manuals used by the Army and FBI today still depict the typical mob as an instrument of revolution, manipulated by wellcoordinated agitators. Military and civilian planners, transfixed by the rhetoric and aspirations of "revolutionary" groups, continue to ignore their own experience and the indisputable fact that America has yet to experience an organized ghetto riot.

Mass demonstrations. The second major justification for the Army's civil disturbance intelligence program was that it was needed to give early warning of the intentions, capabilities, and probable courses of action of the leaders of mass demonstrations.

During the late 1960's, there were five mass demonstrations of particular concern to the Army. These were the anti-war March on the Pentagon in October 1967, the Poor Peoples' Campaign (including Resurrection City and Solidarity Day) in the Spring of 1968, the demonstrations at the Democratic

National Convention that summer, the Counter-Inaugural demonstrations in January 1969, and the anti-war Moratorium March on Washington in November 1969. In each instance, the key problem for those government officials who were determined to avoid violence and permit lawful protest was to strengthen the leadership of non-violent organizers and to structure the mode of protest so as to defuse tensions and limit confrontations between demonstrators and troops.

There was no need for extensive files on or the infiltration of the anti-war and civil rights groups which organized the major marches on Washington. Most of these groups were open about their plans, as indeed they had to be to lead the thousands of unorganized persons they hoped to bring together. Newspaper reports of press conferences, handbills, and other easily obtained publications outlined most of their objectives and tactics. The civil rights groups worked closely with the Community Relations Service of the Justice Department; and the anti-war groups disclosed their plans while negotiating for parade and demonstration permits. The most serious danger of organized violence came from fringe groups like the Yippies and SDS, and they were watched closely by civilian law enforcement agencies. The most serious danger of unorganized violence came from government officials who deliberately predicted violence in order to deter moderate protesters from participating.

Detailed personality and organizational information also was not necessary to estimate the size of the crowds. Advance estimates were obtained from bus companies and railroads (sometimes in an unnecessarily intimidating manner) by FBI and Army agents. Government agents also made vehicle counts on the highways coming into Washington while military planes took aerial photographs of the assembling crowds.

Infiltration of demonstrating groups was standard practice for many government agencies, including the Army, but there is little evidence that the reports obtained were of much use. (Had the groups been intent on doing violence, the reports might have been different, but even then, there is no reason to believe that the information had to be collected by the Army).

The approach of civilian officials responsible for supervising Washington's response to mass demonstrations was to go out into the streets and see for themselves. For example, during the November 1969 Moratorium demonstrations Army General Counsel Robert E. Jordan III waded into crowds at DuPont Circle with his own team of radio-equipped lawyers. Jordan was not about to trust reports from agents he did not know so long as it was possible for him to see the situation for himself. During the March on the Pentagon in 1967, top military and civilian officials observed the events from their windows and over closed-circuit television filmed from the building's roof.

Chicago was a different problem. There the Yippies and city officials conspired to create a situation in which violence was inevitable. Early warning intelligence on the intentions of the various demonstrating groups was not very helpful because the authorities deliberately destroyed the leadership capacity of moderate groups by refusing to permit them to march near the convention center or camp in the parks. At the same time, the Yippies skillfully inflamed official expectations of violence with outrageous threats that were totally beyond their ability to carry out. On this occasion, analysts at the Army's Counterintelligence Analysis Branch took note of the dwindling numbers of protesters determined to go to Chicago and the size of the Illinois National Guard to rightly predict that federal troops would not be required. Their prediction, however, was not conveyed to President Johnson who, in any case, would probably have ignored it just as he ignored the counsel of the Attorney General. Political risks, rather than intelligence estimates, were the decisive factors in the President's decision.

The key point which should be borne in mind about the mass demonstrations is that while they required reconnaissance and liaison data for planning and tactical intelligence about the route or place of protest, the mode of demonstration, and the leadership capacities of the organizers, they did not require political surveillance by the military. What background information the Army needed to brief its generals about the politics of the situation was easily obtained from civilian officials and the press.

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