Skip to main content

tv   Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony  CSPAN  May 7, 2016 10:00pm-11:16pm EDT

10:00 pm
harrisburg community college where students, professors, and local officials learned about our road to the white house coverage and our coverage on the campaign trail. folks were able to share their thoughts about the upcoming election. andisited a middle school met with seven ninth graders for their winning videos. you can view all of the winning documentaries at studentcam.org. announcer: welcome to "reel america" on c-span3. 40 years ago, the nixon administration created the church committee. it was stubborn -- study governmental operations and it quickly took on the nickname of its chairman, frank church, and
10:01 pm
it was best known to history as the church committee. the committee met for 16 months and reviewed more than 10,000 documents and called more than 8000 witnesses before its staff. this included the creation of committee collection and the creation of the foreign internet intelligence surveillance act of 1978 which we know as i sub -- as isa. providehave guests to historical context of the 40-year-old video that you are about to see. frederickork city, schwarz is with us and here in our studio in washington, d.c. is elliot maxwell. thank you to both of you for joining us. start with the basics, mr. maxwell, could you
10:02 pm
explain how the church committee got constituted? most of it came about from a series of articles with activities by the intelligence community within the united states and followed by many people. this was in the context of the post-watergate resignation of president nixon. continuing the vietnam war there was the thought that the intelligence agencies would be directed against american citizens and this led to some public concern and the response in both the senate and the house to establish a special committee to look at activities overall. it was in that context that you need to be able to place the activities of the committee and the response to things that
10:03 pm
happened during the vietnam war, the civil rights movement, and other activities that led to the creation of these two committees. >> mr. schwartz when, what was the mandate or the mission as was constituted? mr. schwarz: this was to look at the facts and to expose them to the american public. our single most important finding was to say that every one of six presidents starting with franklin roosevelt and running through nixon, four democrats and two republicans, everyone one of them had abused their secret powers, and making that broad finding, which is our most important finding, helping
10:04 pm
with the internal cohesion of the committee and help with national reputation. however frank church and john power selected as the chairman and republican vice chair of the committee? mr. maxwell: mansfield selected frank church. the story is that he asked phil hart to do it that phil hart was ill and died of cancer are not too long afterwards, although he served on the committee, and the minority leader, scott, selected power. 11, nonengly, of the of them had been people who are responsible for the prior generation of inadequate oversight by the congress of dc ia and the fbi and the other intelligent agencies. so you had a group of 11 people who came at this without bias, having had supposedly sponsor ability earlier and having
10:05 pm
did, tos the congress exercise really any oversight over the intelligence community before we did our work. to readaxwell, i want for our audience the names of the 11 committee members, because these are some very famous, well-known names, and these are powerful names in the united states senate. walter mondale, the former vice president of united states, walter huddleston of kentucky, robert morgan of and on the republican side, howard baker, who went to be the majority leader, barry and how did these 11, big figures, he get to become respective leaders, and what were the things that came to putting these respective
10:06 pm
leaders into place and what was expected of them on the panel? mr. maxwell: i wasn't privy to these discussions but my sense was they chose people who had stature within the institution and within the nation that this would be considered a product of the associated stature of the members. for me it was really extraordinary in the sense that they were presented a very broad spectrum of views from the most conservative to the most liberal in the senate at the time and i think that the chair of the vice chair were making sure that they could move together. was mentioned earlier about the desire to make this a unified finding about these activities
10:07 pm
in both the choice of the chair and the choice of the members. --mr. schwarz:, i wanted to talk about how the ,ommittee met -- >> mr. schwarz: i wanted to talk about how the committee met for 14 months. what was the strategy regarding television on the hearings? mr. schwarz: well, the first thece we made, obviously, committee made its own discussions on the start about what would be confidential, but the first decision that was made to assassinate foreign leaders like fidel castro and other people, there was a discussion about whether
10:08 pm
those hearings should be public or not, and actually, howard baker, who was a very effective member of the committee, push for public hearings and frank church said, no, i think we are wiser not to have public hearings, these will be our first hearings and you don't want to inadvertently put out stuff that should be kept confidential. we should put it all in our report on assassinations, which we did. it was the most exhaustive coverage of covert actions. then when we got to domestic terrorists, those were all public -- domestic issues, those were all public. the subject of most of those domestic hearings and i think most of our important work and thesing the illegal improper conduct that the fbi under j edgar hoover had engaged edgar hoover had
10:09 pm
engaged in. public and inre the domestic report, which was , everything that we wanted to put out we put out. in the foreign report, there was some things-- were that were not included in the final report but that were available to all of the senators, but by far we had the most disclosure of any committee that has ever been in any committee dealing with intelligence in any country and that is still true to date all of the world. >> a side note on television and sender baker when he became the majority leader in 1981 after the election of ronald reagan, put in television
10:10 pm
in the senate because he was interested in having the senate televised. we are about to show the video, that, the decision to have committee hearings on network television was a big deal. what was the sense of the country in news reporting and the interest level about all of these hearings as they were happening? therexwell: well, i think was a considerable amount of interest because the subject matter was them cells, the relationship between the the committee. little was known about it when we began the committee, at least on the foreign intelligence side, nobody knew what to request common -- request, nobody knew what was there. so when the hearings took ways, it was in the context of, this was new to the public. what these agencies were doing,
10:11 pm
how they were doing it, the impact on themselves, the impact on their friends and family and neighbors and the rest of the world. this was the first time that the curtain had been drawn at all of these agencies, so i think it was inherently interesting for the public. of ouroday's installment video on the church committees, we're going to look at something called the huston plan. we are going to hear the church committee question tom charles huston in 1975 in the senate caucus room. let's watch. you don't deny that the ,nited states should commence as you understood it to commence , is thatommence correct?
10:12 pm
yes, it was my understanding that this was the technique employed, particularly within the fbi, and within the intelligence committee and they thought it was necessary to be undertaken with an extreme circumstances and that they felt that they were authorized to do so. you were also basing your views upon the entire intelligence committee, advocating that the united states should commence or recommence to commit burglary to acquire valuable intelligence information. is that right? thatuston: yes, i was told we were taking these jobs over a number of years since 19 six d6 and it was successful and valuable, particularly in matters involving the fbi, and
10:13 pm
given the revolutionary climate, they felt it was necessary. >> and there you can see mr. schwarz questioning mr. huston: in 1975. , who was mr.rz huston? getschwarz: we wanted to presidential blessing for the illegal things that have been done for years and years and years. out,ventually, it fizzled but the intent was to legalize what had been done and which was illegal. us an absolutely fantastic quote and i think in my interrogation of him later i used it, what he said when you start these programs, you always
10:14 pm
have mission creep, and his language was, you go from the kid with the bomb to the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate and you go from looking at dangerous activity to migrating to looking at the political views of people in this country, of americans, and the nsa did the same thing. they got every single telegram that left the country for 30 years, it was given to nsa. at the beginning, their objective was only to look at encrypted cables from foreign embassies back to, like from the russian embassy back thomas ago -- tech to moscow, but there was the very thing that huston admitted to me in a very
10:15 pm
language, there was mission creep, so we were looking at cables of anti-vietnam war protesters within the united states and of civil rights leaders in the united states, something which the government had absolutely no business looking at and certainly not looking at in a legal way. these telegrams are an agent thing for some of our younger viewers, so could you put into context what it would mean today to read every single telegram within the united states? mr. maxwell: well, it is easy given the lastat two or three years after the edward snowden discussions. that is an externa re-think to have if you want to look at the
10:16 pm
activities of people and it is the kind of notion of people what they are talking about. if i scoop up enough of this material, sooner or later i'm going to find this thing. all of this material could go soond that original thought, it is not the kind of technology that is employed, it is the notion that you could scoop everything in and then work from that. >> in a little while, we are going to see 40 minutes of of tom houston -- charles huston testifying. but listless and the barry goldwater. let's watch. you, mr.ater: thank chairman. i want to speak first about the internal revenue service, and i am very happy that the chairman has mentioned this.
10:17 pm
someone on this committee has likened the cia like a bull elephant running rampant or the irs like a rattlesnake slithering along in the grass, probably the greatest threat to american freedom and americans and yet this morning, it is the first public indication that i have heard that the internal revenue service is going to be investigated, and i think it is time. >> mr. maxwell, what was the intent of bringing the irs into the investigation? mr. maxwell: i think the republican side encompassed the entire range of the political partyum on the republican , from mac matthias and diction whites are -- and dick schweizer. for barry goldwater, the irs was a snake and he wanted to make
10:18 pm
sure it was part of the investigation and not shunted aside. of the case part for priorities for the other senators. >> we only have a few minutes before we begin showing 40 full minutes of questioning of tom charles huston. i would like to have you kind of go back to that moment in time and particularly, the significance of people watching today. what is it that you would like people to think about this in terms of constitutional questions or americans' relationships with their government in review of this testimony? i think the american people should be bothered anytime the american government exceeded power and does so without the american government knowing what it is doing. so the american citizen should be free of fear that their government is doing things to
10:19 pm
to collect excessive information, now we never on the church committee said the government shouldn't collect any information. it was that the government shouldn't collect information without going through a proper right, to develop the for example, or a judge saying the is legitimate to do so, irs, just to go back to this, was a legitimate subject of inquiry, and i thought we brought out some very disturbing facts. again, this shows the nonpartisan side of the committee. for example, we show that john kennedy as president had done irs toto try and get the go after particular people and we had a quite cooperative witness who was of the head of the irs and we brought out a lot of information.
10:20 pm
senator goldwater was good on that issue. he was not someone is interested in the rest of our work. in fact, i think he was less interested than all of the other senators who were profoundly interested. even firstdwater urged that we should investigate the fbi's treatment of martin luther king week as if he said we do that, quote, "they will and after we discovered that they tried to convince martin luther king to commit suicide by sending him a composite tape of recordings taken of king in various hotel rooms, i said to the committee, i have not looked at the tape, nor have i let anybody on the staff look at the tape, because to do so was not less a serine to make our point -- not necessary to make our point. and then barry goldwater said
10:21 pm
something that i think was very disappointing. he said i think we should get that tape and play it on national television. i am making those comments a little bit in criticism of senator goldwater all of the other 10 senators constantly worked very hard and were very interested in all of our issues. was a purelyer partisan vote and in general was in great cooperation. i regarded myself as the chief counsel for the whole committee and not the chief counsel for the democrats. i felt i was chief counsel for the whole committee. senatoring about , senator schweiker i think had the best record of any doator of always wanting to
10:22 pm
what we thought was the most appropriate thing to do. >> will thank you for that background and introduction. today, the senate intelligence committee still has a reputation issues,ng in bipartisan so it is something with a historical context as a committee. so at this point, thank you to both of you for setting the stage for this part of the investigation. we are now going to show 40 minutes as the church committee investigates the huston clan. 1975 by televised in the public broadcasting service. let's watch. did you admit to the president certain recommendations with respect on intelligence collections? mr. huston: yes. mr. schwarz: and have you got different view the document? mr. huston: yes. mr. schwarz: is that the document in which you gave the president? mr. huston: well, which i
10:23 pm
committed -- mr. schwarz: which you gave to mr. hall? mr. huston: yes. mr. schwarz: in the document, you made certain recommendations with restraints in which you thought had been placed upon the intelligence group. is that correct? mr. huston: yes. mr. schwarz: in making those recommendations, do you believe you were making a consensus within the entire working group on the study for yourself and for the president? mr. huston: yes. mr. schwarz: so whatever inommendations you made respect to it illegal openings of the mail or burglary or forced entry, were one in which you believe represented the view of the entire intelligence community, with the exception of the footnotes mentioned? mr. huston: yes. you did recommend,
10:24 pm
the united, that states should commence, in your recommence,ce or the illegal opening of mail. is that correct? mr. huston: yes, it was my understanding through my contact in the bureau of that this had been a technique that had been employed, particularly in of the professional intelligence community. we felt it was a necessary technique under extreme circumstances and that they felt they should be authorized to do this. mr. schwarz: similarly, you also gave your views on the recommendations for mr. hoover's footnotes, advocating that the united states should commence or recommence to commit burglaries
10:25 pm
to acquire valuable intelligence information. is that right? mr. huston: yes, i was told that the bureau had jobs like that 1956 number of years since and they had been -- since 1966 and they had been useful and valuable in espionage and given the climate, they thought that was threatening to do. cases,warz: and in some your position was in effect, the end justifies the means? mr. huston: well, i am not going to big what their position is. i'm sure other persons here would question you on that issue. through mr.t nixon halderman approve recommendations for changes you made on behalf of the entire intelligence community? mr. huston: yes. mr. schwarz: what happened after
10:26 pm
that? mr. huston: the question that rose was how should the agency changes be of limited? i have recommended to mr. halderman that the director office -- director's office should be contacted and that was the proper course to take, in particularly in the view of the decisions relative to mr. hoover . however, the president and mr. halderman didn't think that was necessary. so then the question became, how should the decision memorandum go out? mr. halderman seemed to think it was not necessary for either the he or the president to do that so i was nominated. mr. schwarz: so you -- mr. huston: i provided signatures.
10:27 pm
mr. church: this documented represented your proposal for the president in relaxing restraints on the intelligence community on what you call the revolutionary climate, i suppose that is in reference to the antiwar protests? mr. huston: senator, i really was personally interested in protests, but i was worried about the bombings that took place in one year. i was worried about the 39 police officers who had been killed. mr. church: and everything connected with that -- mr. huston: i am talking about revolutionary violence in opposition to antiwar protests. mr. church: well, whatever your purpose, the document that you sent to the president contained your recommendation for relaxing
10:28 pm
-- mr. huston: these restraints would be in context of the military. was it yournow understanding when use a bit of that document to the president that his authority was being requested for lifting or relaxing, if he chose to accept your recommendation? mr. huston: yes. mr. church: now turning to the onstion of mail coverage page two of your recommendation, i read recommendation restrictions on legal coverage should be removed and i take it by legal coverage you reference the procedure that enables intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to look at the envelopes and if procedures
10:29 pm
follow, there is a legal way of doing that. mr. huston: yes. mr. church: then you recommended should becoverage relaxed on selected target priorities or intelligence and security issues. now here, you are referring to opening the mail, are you not? mr. huston: yes. mr. church: and that was against the law, was it not? mr. huston: yes. mr. church: so you were making a very serious recommendation to mr. nixon. you were recommending that he authorize opening even though those openings were a violation of law? whatuston: well, i think we were recommending was that they be employed despite the fact that there was a federal law that prohibited it, it was not a relationship to have surreptitious entry.
10:30 pm
there was of course electronic surveillance and the whole we would exercise this power and i think that is i think this is where the question arose. this is something i had told had been done for 25 years, had been done with the intelligence of the intelligence community. that they would be here long after we left town. the question was, whether inherent in the executive power the matters involving internal security or the security of the state, the president could act country to the statute. -- act contrary to the statute. mr. church: you were recommending that the president, in this case, authorize mail opening, even though such action was contrary to federal statute.
10:31 pm
mr. huston: yes. mr. church: and you have suggested that there might be some inherent right that circumvents the fourth amendment to the constitution of thegary during citizens -- the united states guaranteeing citizens against unreasonable search and seizure, barringa warrant for the national security responsibility's of the president. mr. church: mr. huston: i think this goes to the heart of the matter. there was a clause that that in effect nothing in this act could limit whatever power the president might have with respect to national security matters. rights asth amendment they involve national security, that opened the door to the men that thought they could go ahead and do it. you yourself suggested this was a very serious question.
10:32 pm
you were asking the president to take action that would violate federal statute. on the theory that he had some inherent right to do this. since that is such a sensible question. since it goes to the production offered american citizens youered by the constitution, should take the matter up with the attorney general and secure his opinion. mr. huston: no. mr. church: when you testified, earlier in an executive session, the following. you were not aware of the fact, i take it, that at this time, the time you're smithing your
10:33 pm
recommendation to the president, the cia was opening mail. mr. huston, you replied, no. in fact, i think one of the more interesting things is why i didn't know half the things i didn't know and the president of the united states and directors of the intelligence agencies, and that i want a complete report on what is going on. i didn't know about the cia mail opening. i did not know about the clientele program. these people were conducting all these things on their own that the president didn't know about. do you still stand by that testimony? mr. church: with the exception-- mr. huston: with the exception00 i can't be sure that the president did not learn from other sources. but i can say that i did not know about it.
10:34 pm
knowledge, he did not know. mr. church: it would have been a serious exercise for him, wouldn't it? to look at your recommendations, asking for your authority to open the mail, knowing that that process has been going on. and he never raised that with you? mr. huston: no. mr. church: and five days later, upon reaching consideration, report,pulled back this did he do that for the purpose of revoking the authority he had given? mr. huston: yes, mr. hoover and attorney general mitchell had approved to change his decision. there was no doubt in my mind,
10:35 pm
nor could there conceivably any doubt in the others, that the recall of the decision memorandum meant a reversal of the president's decision. mr. church: so the president revoked the authority he had given for such things as mail opening-- mr. huston: yes. mr. church: and yet work you aware that mail openings continued? mr. huston: i read the rockefeller report, yes. >> i created an entire array of new techniques that infringe upon the civil liberties of the
10:36 pm
american people, and i forced it throats and i used my heavyweight on all these poor intelligence professionals -- i think the fact of the matter is the entire intelligence community thought we had a serious crisis in this country. i thought we had a serious crisis in this country. my attitude was that we have to do something about it. who knows what to do about it? the professional intelligence community. they tell me this is what you give us. we can follow the problems. the thing that is interesting to me that i didn't know about mail known, many we had of these tools they were asking to use had already been used. we still were getting these results. it could easily have changed our entire attitude toward the
10:37 pm
covenant we were willing -- the confidence we were willing to place in the intelligence community to deal with this problem. this is the first time we talked back in may, on our service committee. i had been out on front in this thing. i never wrote this report. i didn't write their report. for the record, i thought we had a serious problem. i wasn't concerned about people didn'tught nixon -- that like nixon. we were talking about bombers, assassins, snipers. i felt something had to be done. they said, here are the tools we need, i take full responsibility. mr. church: so you are saying the inspiration for the report and most of its aspects, in the absence of the guidelines by the
10:38 pm
white house, actually came from the agents involved. mr. huston: i never saw some of these recommendations. and yet here they are. mr. church: what was your attitude to the president's reversal that resulted in the rejection of the plan? mr. huston: i thought it was a mistake for several reasons. the first reason i thought it was a mistake is that it goes back to ground zero. which was not merely ground zero in terms of operational techniques, but in terms of lack of any coordination among the intelligence agency. secondly, i felt in my own mind that mr. hoover's objections i want toased -- rephrase that. not all of mr. hoover's
10:39 pm
objections have been submitted to the president. thirdly, i was concerned about what effect this would have on the intelligence community, other than the fbi, if they could put their back into this project, which was supposed to have been a joint effort. they all agreed to consensus. the director of the fbi succeeded in reversing it. while you did not prepare this plan, you are in fact its advocate. mr. huston: yes sir. mr. church: what legal justification or other do you have as an attorney, an officer of the court, and as a public officer to entertain and recommend illegal acts by the government? mr. huston: it was my opinion at the time that the fourth amendment didn't apply to the
10:40 pm
president in the exercise of matters relating to the internet security -- to internal security. justice douglas anticipated this in the district court, and was ruled unconstitutional domestic wiretaps. every president, with the exception of attorney general clark, every attorney general argued that the president has the authority and executive power to engage in warrantless wiretaps. although the court in criminal matters held that a warrant widely the fourth amended. the justice department took the case to the supreme court because they felt there was that inherent power. you and i both know as lawyers that if there is an exception to the fourth amendment, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to extend that via the telephone to
10:41 pm
trespass the a mail opening. these were the kind of dangerous raods -- roads. mr. church: you are going that it is legal for the president to violate rights, constitutional rights of citizens if he is the president and invokes national security as a justification. you did not say that in the memo. you said these things were illegal. purposesn: for the that seemed to me most relevant that the operation will be undertaken by an individual, where if he is caught, it is clearly illegal. mr. church: it would be fair to say that you understood that it was illegal, but to justify it now, you invoke a national security defense that would make it lega.
10:42 pm
which position is it? mr. huston: senator, i am not invoking anything now. you asked me what my opinion was at the time. i am telling you my opinion now. what i'm saying to you is that the consideration given by not only me, but by the others that that ithis report, was was in the president's power to do it. mr. church: why didn't you say that in your memo? that it appears to be illegal, but in fact it is legal, because as president you have powers not mentioned in the constitution, but in our judgment, we feel was necessary. you are essentially saying the law doesn't apply to you, and that the constitutional rights of citizens don't apply. where does the president decide that national security dictates the course? why didn't you say that, instead of it being illegal? mr. huston: i said that because
10:43 pm
that is what the report said. mr. church: do you recall at the time you were discussing these various options to be recommended to the president -- what the position was that the principles representing the various agencies. you had a representative from the nsa, one from the cia, and one from the fbi. which of them objected during the course of making up these recommendations which involved illegal acts? mr. huston: i don't recall any objections. mr. church: do you recall any of them saying, we can't do this because it is illegal? mr. huston: no. mr. church: can you recall any discussion whatsoever concerning the legality of these recommendations? mr. huston: no. mr. church: does that strike you as peculiar? that top public officers in the
10:44 pm
most high level and sensitive positions of government would discuss recommending to the president, actions which are clearly illegal and possibly unconstitutional without ever asking themselves whether that was a proper thing for them to be doing? mr. huston: yes, i think it is. except for the fact, that for many of those people, they were aware this had been taken care of for a long period of time. mr. church: is that an adequate justification? mr. huston: i am just trying to explain what happened. mr. church: if criminals to be excused on the ground that someone had done it before, there would not be much of a population in the presence today. -- in the prisons today. what are the things were being done, as you discovered, that may or may not have been recommended? mr. huston: i think there were several things that were critically important that we
10:45 pm
should not --that we should have known about that have influenced our judgment. operation chaos, or whatever it was, the cia had its own operation going that we do not know about. mr. church: is there any reason the witness should not tell us what those programs are? mr. church: there is no reason. the justice permit has made these disclosures. mr. huston: the program was designed, i don't know what the correct technical term is, but a program against the designated targets by the fbi in terms of-- mr. church: give us an example. mr. huston: let's say professor
10:46 pm
jones is a member of the socialist workers party and is running for the school board. a neighborhood fbi agent sends a letter to the newspaper saying, you may not know this, but this guy is running for the school board and is a member of the socialist party. when the justice department-- did notch: did or president of the united states know-- mr. huston: i don't believe anyone in the bureau was to know about it, including the justice department. including the attorney general. mr. church: was the other operation? mr. huston: operation chaos, apparently the cia had a group set up. they were concerned directly with matters affecting domestic intelligence collection.
10:47 pm
didn't know about that. in fact, impression we had was that the cia had very little interest in areas which we thought were important, which was what happened abroad when these people under surveillance by the fbi. that is where we thought the cia effort should be. >> i am told i only have one minute left. let me ask you this. do you have any information, qui ckly, who authorized these programs? was it presidential operation? mr. huston: i don't think any president knew about it. i think both of those programs were originated before this administration. i think the first went back into the johnson administration. i am just trying to establish
10:48 pm
in my own mind's eye, whether these agencies were self-starters. mr. huston: i don't know, except that they were inspired by the administration. my understanding is that president johnson did not know about it, and i don't believe president nixon did either. >> thank you mr. chairman. i have a watch in front of me and i will confine myself to 10 minutes. some of the interrogations ahve run 15. i want to speak first about the internal revenue service. i'm very happy that the chairman has mentioned this subject. somebody on this committee has likened the cia to a bull elephant running rampant. i liken the irs to a rattlesnake, sliding along in the grass, probably the greatest threat to american freedom and americans of anything we have.
10:49 pm
yet this morning was the first indication that the irs is going to be investigated. i think it's time. i noticed a letter written by you on september 21, in which he said nearly 18 months ago, the president indicated a desire for isr to move againsts leftist organization taking advantage of tax shelters. i had been pressing irs since that time to no avail. in other words, the irs will protect any organization they feel like protecting in this country, and close down on any organization that they feel like protecting. i think it's high time that this committee or some other committee expose just what we are up against in this country. the power to tax is the power to destroy. mr. huston, have you ever been a member of the cia? mr. huston: no sir. >> dia. mr. huston: yes, i was assigned
10:50 pm
when i was enormous -- i was an army intelligence officer. >> you were hired by the white house as a speechwriter? and you went in preparation to the so-called huston plan. was it ever used? mr. huston: no sir. what do you think about the huston plan as you sit here today. mr. huston: senator, i still believe there is a threat that maybe characterized as an internal security threat. i think there are people that want to destroy this country. i think people are willing to go to great lengths to do it. i think the 2 attempts on the life of the president are symptomatic of that. i think there is a necessary place in our society for an effective domestic intelligence collection effort. more importantly than
10:51 pm
collection, for professional analysis of that information. i think that it is perhaps easy to justify the emphasis that we attached in 1970. i think it is just as easy to discount it. we were sitting in the white house, getting reports day in and day out about what was happening in this country. in terms of the violence, the numbers of armies, the assassination attempts, the snip ing incidents, 40,000 bombings. 6 attacks aperiod, day against rotc facilities. what happened then, at least from my perspective, is that we were convinced that this was something that would continue to get worse. until we reached the point where bodyybody looking -- ever
10:52 pm
predicting police intervention was a self fulfilling prophecy. panther raids.ck my view is that we had to do something to stop it. theoretically, that maybe true. i don't think the terms that we used with top selected targets was a bit looser than the tersm attorney general clark used and what president truman authorized electronic surveillance. the fact is, we were motivated unjustly perhaps, or unconscionably by a legitimate concern related to the lives and property of people subject to random acts of violence. my view was that i had confidence in the professional
10:53 pm
intelligence community. these were the professionals. these were the people that have been authorized to solve these problems. what i didn't realize then was that these kinds of programs, although theoretically could be used in the best interests of the country by responsible people, can lead to the federal things that happened with watergate. everybody tries to link the huston as the precursor of the plumbers and watergate. in my mind, that is totally untrue. but it's obvious that this kind of thing lends itself easily to the corruption that we have seen. therefore, i have come to the conclusion that wheras i have traditionally taken the position that i will run some small risk of converging on some small portion of the public's legitimate rights for the
10:54 pm
greater good of all the people, i know come to the conclusion that we have no practical or genitive to take a far greater risk. there are kinds of things that we can't deal effectively against until such time as records is for the ongoing criminal process. i don't want to leave the impression that i think there is no problem. i think we need to do with this in such a way as to maximize the respect of the rights of the citizens. at the same time, not just during the capability of the people -- not destroying the capability of the people protecting this country. >> i thank you for that statement. i agree with that 100%. no other questions, just comments. as long as we have some newspapers, journalists, media
10:55 pm
intent onganizations changing the basic philosophy of this country by the same kind of subversion that you are now b eing charged with partway, i think we have to be forever on our toes. i think you have expressed your purpose well. every time i pick up a morning paper and see the disclosure of secrets that i thought were locked up in my brain or heart, i get worried about my country. i hope that this committee, through the continued diligence of its chairman and staff members, will disclose everything wrong with this country. that's all i have.
10:56 pm
sen. goldwater:-- toolsart: you mentioned discussing white house approval for obtaining. why do you think they were going through the charade? mr. huston: i wish i knew. part of the problem was that if the other agencies knew they were doing it, there would be all sorts of problems. for example, the fbi greatly resented president johnson ordering collection intelligence, because that was their charter. they had to live with it, although they were anxious that the urban committee hearings leave those out of the water. with the fbi, mr. hoover would have had a stroke if you did not know that the cia had operation
10:57 pm
chaos going on. the last thing the cia have done is disclosed to the bureau that they were working on their turf. i think interagency jealousies had part to do with it. the second thing, if you have a program going and are happy with its results, why take the risk that it might be turned off if the president decides she doesn't want you to do it? they had no idea what decision the president might make. why should the cia run the risk that the president might say no? if they had admitted it, they would have to close the thing down. even the justice department did not know about it. it seems to me many of these agencies operated in their own world. they had their own programs going. they did not want anyone else to know it. i always have the illusion that
10:58 pm
the purpose of intelligence was provide policy makers with information to make policy. but policymakers don't even know that information is available, i don't know what good it does anybody. >> this rings the facts to senator mondale's question. how could president feel that the law is being obeyed and that the presidential policies being adhered to? us fullthat bring circle back to the constitution and the assurance that we can be sure of any human undertaking that the constitution is understood? mr. huston: yes, you can count on a assumption of all
10:59 pm
officers is that-- we havethe problem that had is not just in this area, i think it is in many areas. over the past 30 years, you've had an increase claim of executive power. years, you, after 30 woke up one morning and here was this creature that no one had contemplated. each of these steps were made honestly. belief that these people in the intelligence community were honest, dedicated people, wanting to do an honest job for what they thought was great for the country. i don't think they were out to destroy the liberties of american people for any perverse political purpose. but what happened, in my judgment, where i got sucked in, and where i should have known better, and where other
11:00 pm
professionals got stuck in, is a whole concept of inherent executive power that really extends beyond anything contemplated by those who laid the incremental claims as we went through the years. i think that decision has been reached. in my judgment, perhaps we are swinging too much the other way. i think that is healthy and that we are on the right track. >> you have just been watching tom charles huston at the end of his testimony. what is your reaction to that? >> it was a terrific example of this ongoing debate that we had in this country that animated the convention, where the constitution was originally created. balanced to carefully powers within the federal government.
11:01 pm
kernelis getting to the of the matter. congress is investigating these intelligence abuses in 1975 in part because it hadn't consistently provided oversight over the intelligence community for 30 years. tom huston is suggesting that the executive branch, with the acquiescence of congress, had assimilated vast powers during the cold war. now congress is ready to reassert its authority. he's saying, look, there is a tug of power. now covers want to exercise more oversight. what we are trying to understand constitutional principles involved? how do we protect constitutional liberties, constitutional rights, and still ensure some type of national security?
11:02 pm
that. how he summarizes must beeally, congress involved. and they haven't been. they need to provide oversight, but they need to do it in a careful and cautious manner. if you compare the senate church committee investigation with the parallel investigation in the house at the same time. you see the senate is much more careful about how it handles its materials, its sources. it has a whole security system in place to manage classified materials. the house doesn't manage the investigation in the same careful way and brings a lot of criticism on the process of congressional oversight in the process. -- i love this particular exchange with tom huston. he is getting to the meat of the matter. yes, we have these
11:03 pm
constitutional principles. we need to protect them and ,nsure that we are doing providing intelligence in a lawful manner. but we need congress' help to do that. he is careful to say that congress shouldn't go too far in exercising good oversight. [laughter] ng this during -- this heari took place on september 3, 1975, in this room where you are sitting. could a hearing like this happen now? or a committee like this exist now? four have hearings changed since then? >> hearings have changed a great deal. in part because the internet revolution allow senate hearings to be broadcast live. most senate committee hearings are broadcast live in the committee hearing room. and so it has taken some of the specialness out of the process. in 1975, when the senate church
11:04 pm
committee was televised nationally, broadcast live, and segments were rerun for the evening news, that was still relatively new and a novel process. this was the era before cable television. if it didn't come on the evening news, most americans did not watch it. [laughter] that is not true today, when we have c-span, which broadcasts senate and house proceedings live. and we have live broadcast of most senate committee hearings. i think today, if you tried to organize a committee hearing like this one, a committee investigation, you may not -- the members sitting behind the day is may not be -- the dais may not be speaking to a packed audience. the journalists would be able to watch from the comfort of their own desks, sitting in front of
11:05 pm
their laptops. takes some ofit the specialness out of the process. it is harder to get a large argan's for committee hearings these days. -- a large audience for committee hearings these days. >> you are enthusiastic about the church hearing. why should americans care about what happened in this room 40 years ago? >> it is important because it reminds us that the issues we face in balance a need to protect civil liberties with the need to protect security is an ongoing debate. it is certainly not one we are just engaging in for the first time. it has been ongoing for some time. the crisis of the 1970's era and the senate's response to that crosses with new statutory reform and agency internal reforms suggests there are ways to address immediate problems in
11:06 pm
a way that makes people feel more comfortable and confident in the process, and in the system going forward. i think history is best when it reminds us that the current issues we are grappling with today are in some ways not new. we need to look back on these period in our past and say, okay, we have faced these problems before. we have seen these crises in the past. how will we respond to them today that is mindful of the progress we made then and the limitations of the investigation 40 years ago? >> thank you very much. >> this weekend, the c-span cities tour, hosted by our charter and time warner cable partners, teaches you san bernadino, california to export the history and literary culture
11:07 pm
located east of los angeles. on december 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack in the inland regional center in san bernardino. we'll talk with congas when pete agler about the recovery efforts about the community. his district includes the inland regional center. >> when we talk about terrorism, the fight against terror, it isn't something in the abstract anymore. it's something that across this country, means something. this is a big city in san bernardino that was attacked. this could happen anywhere. >> we will speak with san bernardino city councilman about establishment a permanent memorial to the victims of the attack. >> it provides a sense of remembrance. it highlights their lives and what they have contributed to our local community. ill alwaysnly they w be near endear -- near and dear
11:08 pm
to provide consolation. we are thinking a prayer chapel in and around this area. --on tv, we will learn about >> the connection that the earp's have to san bernardino dates back to 1852 when the father of quiet earp -- wyatt e basicallylas earp, left his family temporarily. they were living in monmouth, illinois. he heard about the gold rush in northern california. he went back to the midwest. he ventured down to southern california. he passed through the san bernardino valley. keep out that one day he would come back. -- he vowed that one day he would come back. >> on american history tv, we
11:09 pm
visit the railroad museum and talk about the importance of the railroad to san bernadino with the san bernardino historical society vice president. located in the santa fe depot. annals many objects related to the city's railroad history. >> construction completed in 1918. it replaced the wooden structure approximately 100 yards east that burnt in 1960. why it was built a lot larger than it was needed? they decided to house the division headquarters atlas location. tourtch the c-span cities brought the day on c-span 2's book tv. at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span cities tour. working with cable affiliates and is adding cities across the country. iraq andh afghanistan, i hope them with their constitutions -- helped with ththeir constitutions.
11:10 pm
your influence is considerable to heads of state and government. heads of government are very interesting with you. >> sunday night on q&a, former ambassador to iraq and afghanistan discusses his memoir "the envoy: my journey through a turbulent world." >> extremists exploited. although we corrected it toward the end of the time i was there, by the surge, by reaching out to the sunnis, by building up iraqi forces, by establishing a unity government. to bring about security, violence was way down. unfortunately when we left, the vacuum was filled by rival regional powers pulling iraq apart. the violence escalated and we have isis now.
11:11 pm
>> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on c-span's q&a. on lectures in history, university of maryland professor robert chiles talks about unrest and reform in the gilded age. here is a preview. aof. chiles: there was neurologist, and he identified this disorder with a symptom of modern life. unnaturalsed by this -- above all, it was caused by modern technology. technology was not natural, it is degrading us in our biology. the solution was a regiment of electrical shock. happily other physicians called for bed rest.
11:12 pm
to a lot of intellectuals, they said, if this burnout is a symptom of modernity, the solution is to embrace anti-modernism. so they wanted something more than the superficial consumerism, the secularized drive for material gain that seemed to makr therk their time. many of them rejected modern society in favor of any number of more basic alternatives. a vague return to the simple life, a return to craftsmanship. working with you are hands. a return, in some cases, to medieval style religion devotion. or a new turn to ancient religious practices of the far east. and th romances asiane of all things -- the romanticization of all things oriental.
11:13 pm
often times, in a bizarre way. nevertheless, it gives you insight into their frustration with this society. for many of them, including the , self exertion was the tonic of choice. theodore roosevelt was a young sickly elite young money point. his solution was the vigorous life. particularly time spent in the great outdoors. and so in his very famous attempt to break himself and his class -- to invigorate himself and his class, theodore would hunt big game, lead military cattle, andle encourages fellow white men to procreate as much as possible. these were some of his solutions
11:14 pm
to a vigorous life. >> watch the entire lecture saturday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern on c-span3's "american history tv." the 16ek, until election, road to the white house rewind brings you archival coverage of residential races. coming up, a 1968 campaign film by george wallace, former alabama governor and democrat. best known for his staunch support of racial segregation. he ran under the banner of the newly formed american independent party. this articles his push to get on the california ballot. governor wallace succeeded in getting on the ballot in all 50 states. he came in a third in the general election, receiving 13.5% of the vote and winning 5 states. republican richard nixon won the presidency that year in a tight race over hobart humphrey.
11:15 pm
this half hour film is courtesy over the alabama department of archives and history. >> i am pleased to announce this morning that more than 100,000 telephone ends have registered as members of the american independent party to give us assistance in getting ap lace in the california ballot in next year's general election. i want to thank the countless californians who have done so much to assist us. i point out these people are representative of millions of americans who are generally concerned about the current direction being followed by our national leadership. ♪ sunshine ♪g int he upon your face ♪

239 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on