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Appendix 1.-Statement of American Civil Liberties Union..
ments by intelligence agencies-Appendix 7.-Correspondence relative to legislative bills. Appendix 8.—Newspaper articles relating to notice and programs covered
by bills. Appendix 9.-Other materials relating to notification and programs
covered by hills.
NOTIFICATION TO VICTIMS OF IMPROPER
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ACTIVITIES
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 1976
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room 2247, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. "Bella S. Abzug (chairwoman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bella S. Abzug, John Conyers, Jr., Michael Harrington, Andrew Maguire, Sam Steiger, Clarence J. Brown, and Paul N. McCloskey, Jr.
Also present: Timothy H. Ingram, staff director; Eric L. Hirschhorn, counsel; Theodore J. Jacobs, professional staff member; Robert S. Fink, professional staff member; Anita Wiesman, clerk; and Thomas K. Sullivan, minority professional staff, Committee on Government Operations.
Ms. Abzug. The hearing will come to order. I ask unanimous consent that the hearings be televised and broadcast.
Mr. STEIGER. I object, Madam Chairwoman, and move that the television be removed from the room summarily.
Ms. ABZUG. A motion has been made to have the television equipment removed from the room.
All of those in favor, signify by saying, “Aye.”
Ms. Abzug. Will the clerk call the roll, please. The motion, as I understand it, is to remove the television.
CLERK. Chairman Abzug.
Mr. HARRINGTON. No.
Ms. ABZUG. The vote is six"noes" and one "aye." The motion 18 defeated.
The hearing will now continue.
The subcommittee today begins consideration of an extremely timely and important subject—the rights of individuals who were subjected to surveillance and harassment by programs such as the FBI's Cointelpro and the CIA's Chaos.
We have before us H.R. 169, H.R. 13192, and H.R. 12039, which would require that all who were objects or subjects of such programs be provided with notice that the Government maintains files on them and that they have a right to have such files destroyed.
Related to this matter, and another subject of these hearings, is the impending resumption by the intelligence agencies of their programs of destruction of documents. We are frankly concerned that before Congress can act on H.R. 169 and H.R. 12039—the bills before us which would require notification—the agencies may dispose of the evidence of past wrongdoing. Several agencies have indicated their strong desire to resumo destruction of documents now that the Pike and Church committees have reported. We have asked them not to do so, at least until Congress can act on this or similar legislation to notify the victims of improper activities.
It is now common knowledge that the FBI and CIA, among other agencies, have in the past three decades engaged in many improper or illegal interferences with the rights of innocent individuals who were merely exercising the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution.
These invasions took several forms, from illegal mail openings and burglaries to elaborate programs of harassment and disruption such as the “Special Service Section" of Internal Revenue and the FBI's Cointelpro, to the monitoring of international cable traffic, to extensive programs of data collection and dissemination such as the CIA's Chaos program,
The bills to be considered today would require that every person and organization who is named in an index or the subject of a file concerning any of these programs and certain other activities such as illegal wiretaps, mail openings, or break-ins—that every such person or organization be informed that there is a file or reference to him or her, that he or she has certain rights under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, and that he or she has a right to have expunged such files or references which violate the Privacy Act.
The purpose of these hearings is to ascertain whether legislation which presently exists should be amended. It may be necessary, for example, to expand the programs and activities covered by the bills to include forms of harassment and interference with individual rights not covered by arbitrary program designations such as Cointelpro or Chaos.
Our concern is not to interfere with any legitimate law enforcement or foreign intelligence activity of these agencies, but solely to require that the domestic subjects of unlawful programs and activities be notified and be informed of their rights under the law.
We will be considering a number of programs which the record already indicates constitute illegal maintenance of files and activities concerning the rights of American citizens. They include information which is gathered through illegal methods of mail openings, burglaries, warrantless surveillance, monitoring of international communications, the Chaos program, the Cointelpro program, and the “Special Service Section" of Internal Revenue.
The Attorney General recently announced a limited program of notifying victims of Cointelpro. We will want to discuss that program with the Justice Department witnesses here today.
We also wish to discuss with our first witness today, George Bush, how the CIA intends to protect and notify those individuals on whom there is significant evidence that many files and items of information have been collected illegally.
The Privacy Act presently requires that no Federal agency may maintain files on individuals which are not accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. Also, no agency may maintain records describing how any individual exercises first amendment rights. These were the provisions of the act recently utilized in the expungement of the content of the taps and surveillance conducted against columnist Joseph Kraft. But thousands of other Americans are the subjects of improperly gathered materials about which they are unaware. The bills under consideration here would provide that notice be given, and would make clear that the individual has the right to have improper records expunged.
This hearing and subsequent hearings will attempt to ascertain the extent and nature of the files maintained and will attempt to ascertaiņ from the appropriate agencies what they intend to do about remedying the serious invasions of individual rights. They will also attempt to ascertain the extent and nature of the files maintained by the various intelligence agencies on the subjects of our bills. This is so that we can be certain that when we do produce legislation, it will indeed attempt to remedy some very serious invasions which by now everybody admits were incorrect.
The bill also eliminates the specific exemption the Privacy Act presently gives the Secret Service and the CIA. When the Privacy Act was passed, we did not have the information that we presently have-namely, that there were categories of domestic activity that the CIA and the Secret Service were engaging in in violation of both the Constitution and the rights of privacy.
It is the opinion of many, including the chairwoman of this committee who opposed a general, broad exemption at that time because of some idea and suspicion that there were indeed these illegal activi
ties which have subsequently been proven, that it would be important to give the CIA and the Secret Service the same kinds of exemptions of confidentiality, the protection of foreign policy questions, and the protection of criminal law enforcement files as the other agencies received.
No other agency has a blanket exemption under the Freedom of Information Act and no other agency has a blanket exemption under the Privacy Act except for the CIA and the Secret Service. And while we want to protect their essential work which is necessary in order to conduct their authorized activities, we do not wish to continue, it would seem to me, an exemption of activities that were illegally conducted against and in violation of the Constitution, the criminal laws of this country, and the right to privacy of citizens.
At this point in the record, we will include the text of the bills before us and the Privacy Act of 1974.
[The bills follow:]