“Huge C.I.A. Operation Reported in U.S. against Antiwar Forces . . . ,” by Seymour Hersh, New York Times, December 22, 1974
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh was one of the first to reveal the extent of domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since the 1950s, particularly on antiwar protesters, civil rights activists, and some members of Congress. Congress responded quickly to the allegations, establishing select committees on intelligence in both the House and the Senate in 1975.
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Foreign and Domestic Spying
Allegations of domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) surfaced in the 1970s, triggering public demand for an investigation of federal surveillance operations. In 1975 the Senate established the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, headed by Senator Frank Church of Idaho. The Church Committee’s reports exposed abuses and led to legislation governing domestic and foreign surveillance—most notably, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. House and Senate permanent select committees established at that time now oversee U.S. intelligence.
The critical question before the committee was to determine how the fundamental liberties of the people can be maintained in the course of the Government’s effort to protect their security.
Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans . . . United States Senate . . . , Final Report, April 26, 1976