tv William Colby Church Committee Hearing CSPAN May 5, 2016 11:16pm-12:18am EDT
continues, watch past presidential campaigns and join us on "real america" which show cases documentaries and other arkievl films. watch for our airings from the portions of the 1975 church committee hearings. investigating the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. look for all of our programming every weekend on c-span 3. we wrap up the night with 1969
campaign ads from richard nixon, and kennedy. beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. now the church committee 40 years later. this is american history tv, only on c-span 3. welcome to "real america" on c-span 3's american history tv. 40 years ago in the wake of watergate, they created a special committee to called the senate committee to study governmental operations with respect oo to operationoperatio. it was best known to history as the church committee. they met for 16 months.
reviewed more than 10,000 documents. called 800 witnesses before the committee and its staff. the legacy includes the creation of the senate intelligence committee, providing ongoing oversight and the creation of the foreign intelligence surveillance act of 1978, which we know as fisa. the church committee's public hearings were held in the historic senate caucus room seen in the watergate hearings only two years earlier. and we go to meet scott, hist historian of the senate and set the stage for the 1975 hearing with cia director, william coalby. >> the church committee was created in 1975 by the senate. in response to a series of revelations and allegations about domestic intelligence abuses in the united states. and the senate created this committee by an overwhelming
bipartisan majority, a vote of 82-4 to establish a committee that would examine just this specific issue of intelligence abuses and maybe how they were violating constitutional protections. the church committee, to understand the context, you have to go back to 1970. that was really the first big revelation of domestic intelligence abuses. a former army captain provided details in 1970 in a published account published by the washington monthly of a nation wide army domestic intelligence program. members of congress didn't know anything about it. it had been secret for about a decade and the whole purpose was to monitor political descent in the united states. those who voiced opposition to
the u.s. domestic and foreign policies. so, senator sam irvin of north carolina chaired a committee to look into the allegations in 1971 and two years after that, sam irvin again shared the senate watergate committee to investigate allegations of impruprity over the presidential campaign and there were new allegations made about the political uses of the fbi and cia during that campaign. and then finally, in december of 1974, pulitzer prize winning journalist published a front page above the fold article in the new york times alleging that cia had developed a domestic surveillance program, which would have been in complete violation of its charter.
it was to have no domestic intelligence applications. and that allegation came about a month after the mid-term elections of 1974 when a large group of so-called watergate babies were elected to congress and many had run on a campaign pledge to clean up the executive branch and come in to provide better oversight. so, something like the abuses that were revealed during the watergate investigation wouldn't happen again. you have a large wave of watergate babies saying we need to change the way government is regulating. and others who say there are some intelligence abuses and congress doesn't seem to know much about them. and so in january of 1975, with the swear -- shortly after the swearing in of this new class,
they agree to create this new special committee. senator frank church is the chairman. that's we had we call it the church committee. he had served on the foreign relations committee for 18 years. he had been a prominent, out spoken critic of the vietnam war. he was deeply involved in issues related to u.s. -- the use of intelligence abroad. he was himself a former intelligence officer during world war ii. so, while he had a deep respect for the nature of intelligence gathering and the usefulness of the intelligence community. he was also skeptical about its applications. the vice chairman of that committee was john tower of texas. he was a fiery member of the republican party, he was a 10-year member of the armed
services committee. and was a little bit skeptical, a little bit concerned about how the senate could investigate these sensitive national security issues without reve revealing national security secrets. so, he later boasted that he was put on the committee to make sure this didn't become the sort of senitatisational event and ie ways to protect the intelligence agencies. that's really the origins of the church committee. >> can you tell us a little bit about some of the other members that are these well known people at the time. >> some were and some weren't. the two senate leaders, mike mansfield of montana was the majority leader and scott of pennsylvania was the minority leader and they wanted to create a committee comprised of members
with a good deal of experience with these issues like frank church and john tower. but they also wanted to acknowledge that the watergate babies were particularly interested in approaching some of these topics in new ways. so, they tried to balance the membership on the committee with older members like frank church, howard baker, with some newer members. richard scheiker was a new leelected member and they had an interest and new members of congress. so, it was a recognition that maybe we needed a new fresh approach to some of the challenges the country was faced with. >> in a moment we're going to see the testimony of cia
director, william colby. >> it was unusual in part because for decades the house and senate had provided oversight of the intelligence community but primarily they had done that in closed executive hearings. and that was for a number of reasons. the primary reason was they didn't want to provide opportunities in a public hearing where information that was classified might be revealed and therefore undermine the security of intelligence methods or practices. but there was increasingly a sense that the people who were supposed to provide oversight in congress of the intelligence community had not been doing it rigorously or effectively. and that -- in the senate for
example, there were two senate subcommittees, tasked with oversight of the cia. one was in the appropriations committee and one in the armed services committee. and the armed services subcommittee that provided oversight was chaired by john stens. he was a conservative democrat from mississippi who very much supported the national intelligence community and did not think that congress had a responsibility to look too closely at how it operated. he famously said if you're going to have a national intelligence community, you have to close your eyes some and take what's coming. and another senator expressed it another way. we don't know what's going on at the cia and frankly, we don't want to know. and since the early years of the cold war, that had been the prevailing sentiment among members of congress.
that because of the global threat of communism, the united states needed to develop these capabilities in the national intelligence community that -- and the methods shouldn't be second guessed. and so for decades, the oversight that had been provided had been done in closed executive sessions. the transcripts hadn't been made public, hadn't been disseminated among members of the senate and there were a few members in the senate who were increasingly unsettled by this lack of oversight and one of them was mike mansfield, the majority leader. and he was actually the first senator to propose a permanent cia intelligence oversight committee and he continued every congress to resubmit his propose tool establish this permanent
cia oversight committee. and at some point he had about -- he was joined by about 20 co sponsors to get this committee created. he was never able to get the kind of committee he really wanted until the intelligence -- domestic intelligence allegations in 1974. he was the one that created the church committee in 1975. william colby himself is an interesting character. it's interesting that he's the one called to testify in a public session. william colby had spent the majority of his professional career in the cia. he had actually worked during world war ii, to the oss, the cia's precursor and then went into private law practice for a few years and then joined the
cia. he had worked abroad in europe. he had been deeply involved in cia operations, cold-war related cia operations for 30 years before he ka came back to washington and was nominated by president nixon and confirmed by the senate to serve as the new cia director in 1973. so, he comes to this position as director while the cia is in a bit of term oil. the former director had ordered a report, an inhadternal report to be produced and had asked cia officers to come forward and report on any programs they believe the agency has been involved with, which may have been perhaps, if not illegal, at least unethical, immoral,
improper. and this intelternal report became known as the family jewel. and at the start of the church committee investigation, they -- the staff did a lot of work behind the scenes. they literally had to investigate these agencies more broadly, in some ways for the first time. well, luckily, fortunately for them, william colby provided them with a copy. and it provided them basically with a road map. they could begin to sort of map out what the cia had been doing and look deeply into some of these cases of improper behavior. william colby was firmly committed to the cia and tits intelligence operations.
he was concerned with some of the activity the agency had been inuvl involved in. he was concerned about political pressure from the white house. he wanted to insure the strength of the cia moving forward. while he faced a good deal of criticism from inside the cia and outside, even from former intelligence officers for cooperating with the church committee investigation. he thought that it was the best way to strengthen the agency moving forward. and i would characterize his cooperation as limited. he wanted to cooperate with them in the sense that he did provide them with materials they needed but he also created a sort of liaison operation within the cia itself, to manage the relationship with the church committee. so, the staff of the church
committee would make requested for documents that were necessary to build their story and the cia would push back. why do you need that material? and further delaying the church committee's ability to dig into these stories and get the big picture. so, he received lot of criticism for working with the committee. but he did manage to re strict that cooperation in important ways. and you'll recognize. they'll speak about the frustration they experience. >> so, here's paul duke of pbc introducing about a 30-minute portion of the cia hearing. it william colby will be testifying first and then we'll get comments from you.
>> perhaps it was because they already knewilar to the much is, each senator arriving with a fat notebook all marked top secret. after five months of closed door investigation, of talking in private with intelligence agents and officials, most of the senators now agree with chairman, frank church, that the cia has indeed been a rogue elephant out of control. so, the testimony of colby didn't alay the hearings. the scene of the dramatic watergate investigation just two years ago. the press was back in great numbers today, but not the public. there were no long lines and the seeds reserves were at times only 2/3 filled. someone said after what has haf happened during the past two years, there are no more future
shaukz. but today isope on hearing. and focus major attention on the way the cia has gone about its business in the united states. >> the subject today consrntz the cia's involvement with the army biological laboratory at fort detrick. the amendment of amount of shell fish toxins. the relationship between the cia and the army biological laboratory is an activity requiring further investigation. it resulted frump information from a cia officer not directly associated with the project. all past activities which might be considered questionable be brought to the attention of agency management.
indicated that the project involved warfare agents, some lethal. a search was made for records available on the project. this search produced information about the basic agreement between the army and the cia and limited records covering its activities from its with ginning in 1952, to its termination in 1960. and about 11 grams, of shell fish toxins and 8 milligrams of cobra venom were discovered in a vaulted store room in an agency building. the start was to find a replacement to the standard cyanide l' pill issued to agents. this was how we discovered the
shell fish toxen. the only application was in the other cookies, during which gary powers carried such a device concealed in a silver dollar. and the it grooves of the drill were filled with shell fish toxins. it was offered to him to provide him with an option. the power swipe is the only time we're aware that the toxen was provided for operational use. although, the l pill was may the made available to other strikes. various desimination devices such as an one designed to release heat. available records do not indicate that all specific items
were developed exclusively for the cia. and work for similar devices was also done for the army. the person responsibility says there are is no recollection as to how it got there. discussions were hold with the requirement agency. he had been the gs 15 draft chief, stated that the toxen had been moved from fort detrick and stored in the laboratory. he further a stated that he made this decision based on the fact that that cost and difficulty that it simply made no sense to destroy t especially when there would be no future source of this toxen. he does not recall the actual act of receiving the material
from fort detrick. they agree that one was told of the atensh of the shell fish toxins. >> if that amount were administered orally, which is one of the least efficient ways for administering it in terms of its lethality, that quantity was sufficient fookill at least 14,000 people. if it were administered with the sfophisticated equipment that ws foundlaboratory, that would be consistent to kill a great deal more. it estimates vary into the upwards of hundreds of thousands. my first question is why does
the agency prepare a shell fish toxen for which there is no practical antidote, which attacks the nervous system and brings on death very quickly. why did the agency prepare toxins of this character in quantities sfif sufficient to kill? many thousands of people. what was the need for that in the first place? long before the presidential order came down to destroy this place. think the first part of the answer is the fact that the l-pill, which was developed during world war ii, does say some time to work and it's particularly agonizing to the
subject who uses it. some of the people who would be natural requesters of such a capability for their own protection and of their fellow agents, would not want to faces that kind of a fate. but if could be given an instantaneous one, could accept that. and that was the thought process behind the capability. i can't tell you why except this was a collaboration with the united states army and we did develop this as a possible use. owhen krercia retained the amout did, it did them improper elahit the quantity. and the various devices for
administering the toxen that were found in the laboratory, certainly makes it clear that purely defensive uses were not what the agency was limited to in any way. in fact, there were dart guns, you mentioned suicide. the suicide is usually accomplished with a dartd, particularly a gun that can place the dart in a human target in such a way that he doesn't even know he's been hit. >> no question about it. it was also for offensive reasons. >> have you brought with you some of those devices would would have enabled the cia for
using this poison? >> yes, for killing people. don't point it at me. >> can you roll that over? does this pistol fire the dart? >> yes, it does, mr. chairman. the round thing at the top is obviously etthe site, the rest it is practically a normal .45, although, it's special. it works by electricity. there's a battery in the handle and it fires a small dart. >> so, when it fires, it fires
silently. >> almost silent lly, yes. >> what range does it have? >> 100 meters i believe, about. >> about 100 yards, 100 meters. >> about 100 meters range. >> and the dart itself, when it strikes the target, does the target know he's been hit and about to die? >> that depends on the particular dart used. there aren't kie-- and one was enter the target without perception. >> and did you find such dart in the laboratory? >> we did.
>> isn't it true too that the effort, not only involved designing a gun that could strike at the human target without knowledge of the person who had been struck but also the toxen itself would not appear in the autopsy? >> well, there was -- >> or the dart? >> yes, so there was no way of perceiving that the target was hit. >> as murder instrument, that's about as efficient as you can get, is it? >> it is a weapon, a very serious record. >> this seems to show a lack of accountability. so, that we not only have a secret agency, but an agency about which there is some question as to its accountability to the authority of the president or the national
security counsel. the record seems to disclose that there's no presidential or security counsel order in the first place directing the cia to establish this program at all. secondly, there appears to be no report by the cia to higher authority of the existence of these toxins or biological weapons. thirdly, there seems to be no evidence that those in charge of the cia inquired of subordance as to the existence of toxins or biological weapons or that following the presidential order decreeing destruction of such toxins, that any formal order went forth within the cia to require their destruction. moreover, the record seems to support the notion that it was
only by chance that the leadership of the cia became aware some years later of even the existence of these lethal toxins which were in violation of a direct presidential order. in short, the records -- and we may never know exactly what happened. >> no one has known why he has drawn the material, the records. >> no, we have not interviewed him to the region. we do not have an inventory. >> do you think they math have said who it was authorized the formulation? do you have any reason to believe it might or might not contain that information? >> this case from the evidence we have at hand -- >> does it have any reason to think it might say how, it if at all this material was used against someone to kill someone?
>> there may well be some of that. >> when was the documentation destroyed? >> in 1973. >> they destroyed it the same time those tapes -- >> 1972. >> when in 1972? >> in november, i believe. >> you have any idea what volume of records were destroyed? >> i don't. >> do you know who authorized the destruction? >> there was a memo between the director. >> and the director was? >> mr. helms. >> and he's in this room. >> will be our witness at tomorrow morning's hearing. i believe he's the leadoff witness. >> i won't prolong my opportunity to examine the witness much longer. may i ask you only this other
question in general mr. colby. you've heard of the doctrine of plausible deniability? >> i say we cannot defend on that anymore. >> the question i was going to put to you is that phrase of art. does it have a separate significance that you understand? >> it was a rationale used in earlier years. the united states could deny something and not be clearly demonstrated as having said something falsely, then the united states could do so. >> in the case of assassinations and domestic surveillance and the formulation of poiseens, under the previous rationale, would the doctor, in a plausible viability have led the agency to compartmentalize to the point where it would be a committee such as this later wouldn't be
able to establish what really happened. >> i think it was used in the sense of international diplomatic relationships. i would not say it didn't have anything to do with it at all but i think the basic rational was so that our nation could deny something and not be tagged with it. >> colby, can you be absolutely sure that there aren't other vaults containing poison somewhere in this town or country or in our possession in some part of the world? >> i can't be absolutely sure, no, senator. we obviously, are conducting such investigations and have issued such orders as are possible. but i can't blooe be absalute elasu -- absolutely sure. >> you explain your practes for
compartmentalization. >> it's merely the strict application of the need to know principal. if an employee in the intelligence business needs to know something in order to do his job, then he has a right to the information. but if he does not need to know, he does not have a right to the information. and if the information is one which is required for large numbers of employees, large numbers of employees will be allowed to know it. if the particular activity is the very sensitive matter and only a very few employees need to know it, then it will be known for only a very few employees. we make a particular effort to keep the identities of our sources and some of our more complicated technical system, restricted very sharply to the people who actually need work on them and many of the people in the rest of the agency don't know anything about them.
>> does that involve cases of the director of central intelligence? >> i do not believe i need to know the name of an agent in a foreign country serving us at the risk of his life. i know he's there, and what kind of a person he is but don't need to know his actual name and i've kept that out of my knowledge because i travel and don't want to know that kind of a thing. but that's the only area i would apply it to. i'm responsible for everything that happens in the agency. i need to know everything that happens in the agency. >> we've spoken rather extensively here about apparent lack of clear lines and authority running downward and clear lines of responsibility and accountability running upward. to the best of your knowledge, has there been any pervasive,
noncompliance in the matter of orders from directors to the president or the dci, on the part of subordinates? in other words, has this reached greater proportion that might even have been revealed here as a result of our discovery of a very significant instance of insubordination. if indeed it has been survas pe, isn't there need for much tighter control at the top? >> i believe that we are really -- we have in cia, a very tight discipline. i'm not saying it's total, obviously. it did not work in this case. but i think with the people scattered around the world doing very sensitive work, doing highly compartmented work, there
has been a very high sense of discipline and compliance to the regulations and the rules and directives of the organization. and i think leadership of the organization has felt very much subject to direct presidential control and responsive to it. >> so, you would say actually that this incident is an exception to the rule. that ordinarily the discipline has been good; that the control has worked and the accountability has worked in the way it should according to proper administration? >> in the business in which we are in, the intelligence and covert act operations, i think there have been very few cases in which the agency or its employees have done something they shouldn't have. and many of the cases we now question, we find those activities were approved by the appropriate authorities at that
time. that the sense of discipline within the organization seemed quite tight. >> senator, goldwater. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i only have one question, mr. colby but have a short statement i'd like to make to you. criticism and analysis are important ingredients in making our democracy work, but both are being abused to the point of self destruction. i say we must get out of pesmism in which we have sunk. a tidal wave of criticism has swept over the intelligence agency. the damage is severe. it continued its survival is uncertain. before this committee, had appeared men of the cia both active duty and retired.
nothing we have heard distracts from the cia as a highly competent organization. men and women are doing a great job under very trying conditions. and i would say to them as our nation gets back on course, i believe there will be change for the better and ask you to hold on until that happens. you were never more needed by this country than right now and as one american, i'm proud of you. to those young people who may be looking for careers and have a desire for public service, i can think of no better way to serve your nation than as an intelligence officer. many skills are required to keep the cia at a useful organization. continuity is vital to america. >> senator, goldwater, if i may, on behaflf of our employees, thank you. they are under a lot of pressure
these days and they'll appreciate that. thank you. >> have other countries develop bacterial warfare? >> that's one thing that the president's directive in 1979 and 70 tells the cia to continue and that's to follow the activities of other nations. we will see the capabilities and activities of other nations in this field and we have some officers who do follow this -- these activities abroad and they are quite general. there are very, very dubious areas where we're just not sure of the actual capabilities in some respects but we do follow it indeed and there's extensive effort done by other nations in this line. >> you are now prevented from -- >> no, we can follow the foreign ones. that's no problem. >> can you do anything to offset them? >> i think defensive against those possible things is a matter for the department of
defense. >> you feel you're safe in that field? >> i think in collaboration with the department of defense and advising the department of defense, foreign developments in this area, we're giving them the basis for developing such defensive efforts as we need. >> thank you. that's all i had, mr. chairman. >> senator, morgan. >> gentleman, mr. colby. since this is the first public hearing of this committee, i think we should note that we feel and i certainly feel that the role played by the central intelligence agency is a very vital one and very important one. and i think the fact that you quoted from president kennedy who said that quite often our successes go unharolded is appropriate here. this committee has been told by
witnesses that had the central intelligence agency existed before world war ii, pearl harbor might never have happened and if it had, the loss of deaths and property might have been much les. so, i want you to know that we do recognize the role of the central intelligence agency. we recognize the fact that we in this country must be able to know in advance what our potential adversaries and enemies may be planning so that we can cope with them. so, i do think that it is important. i believe, mr. colby, most of the questions have been asked except that earlier the reference was made to the presidential order and we eluded to what was in fact i think the press release, concerning the presidential order but as i read
the presidential order, i find that -- united states bacterial augical programs will be confined to research and development to defensive purposes, safety measures, etc. this does not preclude research into the offensive aspects necessary to determine what defensive measures are required. now, earlier you stated it might have been the mentality of those who made the decisions to keep these toxins, that they might be needed to develop defensive weapons. do you think if that was their thinking, it would be in keeping with the presidential order? >> i think you might be able to make a case for that, senator, if you were actively involved and had responsibilities for
these defensive measures, but the quantities maintained by cia are difficult to defend under that directive. in 1970, i was on detached service.>> until we discovered may. >> i would commend you, mr. colby, for taking the steps to determine what has happened. i think most men in the cia, as well as those in the internal revenue service and the federal bureau of investigation are dedicated public officials and want to do what is right. i think your method of asking for any known violations has
been helpful to this committee. i would commend it, mr. chairman, to the internal revenue service that they might ask their feelings of a known violation in this area and commend also to the director of the federal bureau of investigation. i believe a presidential order directed the cia to continue to maintain surveillance of the bacterial warfares of other states. you say you have done that? >> we do so, yes. >> are you in a position to tell the committee whether or not other states and potential adversaries have stockpiles of such toxins? >> i don't think i can say much about stockpiles, but there are installations that appear to be experimental of some sort. >> thank you, there colby. >> in the chemical field, there
are. we are aware of that, also. >> i have no further questions. >> thank you, senator. senator methais? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. colby, some of america's greate esest victories and some america's greatest defeats represented failures of intelligence. trenton, pearl harbor, i think all illustrate the vital necessity of intelligence. a year ago, almost exactly a year ago, when senator mansfield and i introduced legislation that resulted in this investigation, we had that very much in mind. we wanted to be sure that we had
the best intelligence system which was available. i think we also had in mind john adams warning, that a frequent recurrence to the principles of the constitution is absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty and to maintain a free government. i think the discovery of this toxin raises some interesting questions which are within the investigation which i think have to be answered before this committee completes its work and makes its recommendations to congress. for example, i accept your statement that this toxin was never used.
except in one instance, which you described. but, i then have to ask you this, if you had used the toxin, what provision of the constitution would have afforded authority to do so? >> well, i think cia's operations are certainly overseas operations. they fall under the national security act of 1947 and they fall consequent lly under the provisions of the constitution that call for the national defense and foreign relations of the united states. >> the use of a toxin of this sort is a use of force, wouldn't you agree? >> it's a weapon. >> yes, it's a use of force. and, normally, if a force is to be employed against another
nation, congressional approval is required, isn't that true? >> well, i think we are now in the midst of the war powers act, senator. this activity, of course, preceded that. >> yes, it did precede it. but, what occurs to me is we have an illustration, the use of force and the relation to the united states with other powers in the world, or at least the potential use. as you say, it's never been used in this instance. which differs only a degree from covert operations in louse or other examples we could think of. so, it seems to me that the discovery of this toxin raised
very fundamental questions about the relationship of covert activities be it the cia, fbi or others. with the constitutional process by which this government is conducted. i would think, mr. chairman, that there is no responsibility greater upon us than to define that relationship as accurately as possible before the close of these hearings. thank you. >> it is, of course, contained within the amendment to the foreign assistant act passed last december that requires any activity of cia other than intelligence gathering shall be found to be important to the national security by the president and shall be reported to the appropriate committees. that includes six committees of congress at the time. this is this is a statutory provision
which we are in compliance with. >> and let me say, mr. colby, i agree with you. let me say this imposes responsibilities on the congress that i don't think we've always discharged very well. i can recall members of congress who recoiled from responsibility of knowing what was happening, members of congress who said don't tell me, i don't want to know. and i think that is an indictment of the congress, just as severe as any indictment which is labeled against any of the intelligence community. >> i wouldn't call it an indictment of the congress. it rath reflected the general atmosphere and political atmosphere or tort intelligence that was the traditional approach. we americans are changing that and this act is an example of that change, as is this committee. >> i think you're more generous
than i'm inclined to be. i can't be that permissive. i don't think climate will excuse what is really a dereliction in duty. and if there had not been the dereliction of duty, perhaps we wouldn't be here today. >> i must say that i agree fully that we've been victimized by excess i secrecy not only with the fail chur of the congress to in the past exercise proper surveillance over activities, but also excessive secrecy has created this kind of mischief in the executive branch. here we have a case where the very methods of secrecy concealed for five years, active insubordination within the cia that came to light only by the happenstance that mr. colby, the present director, asked the agency if they please wouldn't
tell him what's been going on that's wrong. as a result, somebody, knowing something about this, gave him a tip. as a result of which he then conducted investigations that led to this disclosure. so i believe that the internal workings within the agency itself are a matter that we must lock at very closely to be sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. if it can be prevented. excessive secrecy may have victim ieized this agency as we as the congress. >> the senate hearing we've been watching took place in the room on september 16th, 1965. kate scott at one point there was a poisoned dart gun passed from william colby to the senators. >> there was a bit of criticism that the committee used that
weapon, that it was used, people argued, as a kind of prop. and it sensationalized a very serious subject. and i always think about congressional hearings as -- they present a real challenge for members of congress. because members of congress use congressional hearings typically as a way to educate the american public about a particular set of issues that they think are important. sometimes to shape public opinion, sometimes to shape the opinion of members of congress. and typically because they have a legislative recommendation in mind down to road and they want to use that situation with the press involved to let the american public know what's going on. so there was some internal debate about the usefulness of that dart gun, internal debate
among members of the committee as well as the staff. should senator church weld that weapon in front of the cameras. of course there were hundreds of photos taken. those photos were splashed across newspapers across the country and played very well on the televised hearings. and i think that ultimately because it was the first public hearing of the church committee, and the church committee had been investigating for months, at that point five or six months. had been devoted to uncovering the programs and they were angst and getting pressure from the media and members of the senate to talk about what they were finding. and so they put together this hearing and indeed they wanted to make a splash. they wanted to get people's attention. and you can see from the hearing, you know, the caucus room is filled with prez. there are photo journalists, tv cameras. members of the press are sitting in the back. some members of the public are
here although it wasn't as well attend as the watergate hearings of 1973. you have the opportunity the shock the nation. this is the kind of stuff that the cia has been enhanced in. is this the kind of program that the intelligence community should be developing and finally, who is overseeing this program. if these toxins were meant to be disposed of, why do they still exist. in other words, who's watching the watchers? that was sort of the perennial question. and so senator church received a good deal of criticism for using that, for brandishing that weapon if you will. because people thought it was sensationalizing a very serious topic. but there were others who said look, we needed to get press attention this issue and more
broadly to get the american public to take notice of what we were finding in order to help us achieve our legislative goals which we saw coming down the pike. i'm sure we'll talk about those a little later. but a congressional hearing is a moment that provides an opportunity for members of congress to really to cause national attention. and indeed using that weapon did just that. focused national attention on these types of programs. >> so to wrap up this whole issue of the colby hearing, the first public hearing, what was the legislative result? did they get what they wanted? >> yes. well, it was limited. it was a limited success. from the very early stages of the committee investigation there were staff who were devoted to developing what we call charter legislation. and charter legislation was really just an effort to legally define exactly what these agencies should be doing. so there was -- the cia already
operated under a charter but it had, it had, it had violated that charter by developing these domestic surveillance programs. so members of the committee were focused on, how can we revise that charter to make the cia more effective. and at the same time there was a parallel effort to establish a charter for the fbi, the federal bureau of investigation. and those were seen as important legislative goals that could come out of the church committee investigation. the second thing, though, is -- and oftentimes this is what happens with congressional hearings. is that by shining light on an issue, it often forces the agencies under investigation to perform their own sort of internal review and by doing so they often will institute their
own internal reforms. that's certainly what happened with the fbi, the new attorney general, edward levi came out with the guidelines to prevent it from engage in abuses in the future. the cia was already engage in this process before the church committee as the family jewels report suggests, they were already reviewing their activity. i think that the cia did not -- the legislative charter for the c ix a was never approved for a variety of reasons. and so the legislative portion of those -- of the review of the cia never quite reached fruition. there were, from what i understand, a number of internal reviews and internal changes that took place as a result of the church committee inquiry. and then later the congress establishes the cia inspector
general position in order to provide consistent internal oversight of the agency. and that person, of course, the ig has to report to congress about what it finds, about what problems internally. >> kate, scott, thank you very much. >> thank you. tonight you've been watching some of our american history tv programming in prime time. you'll find us here every weekend on c-span3. we'll take you live to conferences, symposiums and historical sites. on american artifacts go behind the scenes with us and travel with us to the nation's classrooms where you'll hear from college and yurt professors on lectures in history. as the 2016 campaign continues, watch past presidential campaigns on road to the white house rewind. and journey with us through the 20th century on reel america which show cases documentaries
and other archival films. watch for our airings of portions from the 1975 church committee hearings investigating the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs and nsa. look for all of our programming every weekend on c-span3. friday on american history tv in prime time, or chooifl coverage of presidential races. beginning at :00 p.m. eastern with a ross perot campaign rally in texas from 1992. garry hart's 1987 campaign announcement and just before 10:00 p.m. a look at the 1968 campaign in the u.s. information agency film "a private decision." we wrap up the night with campaign ads from richard nixon, and robert kennedy. american history tv in prime time beginning at