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“What’s the matter . . . you want to stay free, don’t you?” political cartoon by Tony Auth, 1975

AUTH © The Philadelphia Inquirer. Reprinted with permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

“What’s the matter . . . you want to stay free, don’t you?” political cartoon by Tony Auth, 1975

Foreign and Domestic Spying

After allegations of domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) surfaced in the 1970s, public demand grew 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 root cause of the excesses . . . has been failure to apply the wisdom of the constitutional system of checks and balances to intelligence activities. Our experience as a nation has taught us to place our trust in laws, and not solely in men.

Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, Foreign and Military Intelligence, April 1976