tv Lieutenant General Lew Allen Church Committee Testimony CSPAN May 30, 2016 5:44pm-6:38pm EDT
notable investigations, portions of the investigation into the titanic accident were conducted right here in this room. that takes us back to the early 20th century. senator joe mccarthy famously conducted hearings here in this room. water gate was famously conducted in this room, the vietnam hearings conducted by the senate foreign relations committee in 1966-1967 were done in this room. it's a beautiful space. it's a space that is impressive for a number of reasons. but also just historically and institutionally it has been the site of some of the most important investigations in the senate's past. and i think that the fact that they had the church committee hearings in this room suggests they knew there would be a large
crowd, the media would want to attend and they would need space for them. i think it was intentionally a site that drew references to earlier very responsible investigations because one of the challenges that the church committee had to overcome was the criticism that investigating the national intelligence community in the public and exposing to the public some of the activities of the intelligence community which by the very nature classified or secret will be exposing the intelligence community and there by weakening it. and by having the hearings here in this room i think they meant to draw upon sort of the institutional respect that people have for responsible investigations. >> thank you very much.
>> thank you. our coverage of the church committee 40 years later continues. 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 the united states senate created a special committee to look into activities of u.s. intelligence services. the committee had a long official title senate select committee to study governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities. and it quickly took on the nickname of chairman frank church and best known to history as the church committee. the committee met for 16 months. it reviewed more than 10,000 documents. it called 800 witness before the committee and its staff. its legacy includes creation of senate permanent select intelligence committee providing ongoing oversight of the
intelligence agencies and the creation of the foreign intelligence surveillance act of 1978 which we know as fisa. two former staffers of the church committee are with us and will be with us to help provide historical context and understand the significance of the 40-year-old video that you are about to see. from new york city the committee's chief council is with us. here in soour studio is elliot maxwell. thank you for joining us. in this installment of our series looking at the work 40 years ago of the church committee and work of u.s. intelligence agencies we focus on the committee's investigation into national security agency and the fourth amendment rights of american citizens and where those come into conflict. let's watch a clip from october 29, 1979. >> this morning the committee
begins public hearings on the national security agency or as it is more commonly know, the nsa. actually, the agency remains unknown to most americans either by acronym or full name. in contrast to the cia, one has to search far and wide to find someone who has heard of the nsa. >> 40-year-old video of the church committee's work. that was the chairman of the committee and immediately to his right 39-year-old chief council to the committee fritz schwarz who is our guest joining us. he is with us in new york. elliot maxwell here in washington, d.c. today in the wake of 9/11 the nsa is something of a household word for anybody who followathize news. how well known was the agency in 1975? >> well, hardly at all.
the nsa, the joke was that nsa stood for no such agency. it was not meant to be discussed at all. it wasn't generally. it was to have the hearings on the nsa was one of the most hard fought issues within the committee. i think it was a quite close vote and not at all on partisan lines about whether we should or should not have a public hearing. we decided to have a public hearing. then there was dispute on whether we should reveal the names of the companies that for 30 years had given every single telegram every day to the nsa. and we voted again very closely to do that. actually, the wonderful staff member who had uncovered that, brit snyder, had recommended we not disclose their names. i disagreed with him because i
said look they violated the rights of their customers and they did it for 30 years. so they deserve to be mentioned. another thing of attitudes are members speaking to the general counsel of the nsa when we began getting information indicating we needed to get more information. and he said to me, but the constitution does not apply to the national security agency. that was an interesting idea, that the constitution didn't apply to a whole agency. i think i know what was in the back of his mind, that their work was meant to be foreign. they were meant to be doing things overseas largely. and my rejoinder to him was, of course the constitution applies to the nsa when you're doing things that affect americans and affect americans within america.
but elliot may remember more details about that it was a controversial issue within the committee where actually you couldn't predict who was on one side at all and it was quite a close vote about whether we should have the public hearings on the nsa or just issue some report without a public hearing. >> while you're thinking about that, was it also difficult to get the nsa director to testify? >> well, i think that was another issue. nsa is a pe kpeculiar beast. and it was the only reference to the legal authority for nsa, was a provision in the espionage act about the disclosure of
intelligence. this is a large agency with information around the world. it rested on the authority of a crime to disclose its product. which is an odd thing. at that time if you went to a bookstore and looked for books about the cia or nsa or the fbi, you would come up with one or two. that's all. nobody knew anything about it. nobody knew what was being done, nobody knew how it was being done. it was remarkably effective at what it did. it also was a creature of the defense department. and the leadership was a military officer because the primary support was for defense activities. and military officers respond to the chain of command and they do what they're told, absent some really extraordinary reason not
to. and nsa was being told partly in the context of the vietnam war and protests against it, was being told to target people beyond that which they would target normally outside of the country. and i had -- i spent six months going up every day to nsa and the conversations i had at the time, which i think were genuine, were that we want to know what we're allowed to do. we're not going to fight about the restrictions. we will do what we're told to do. we will honor what we are told to do. we're being told by our chain of command to do these things and there's nothing that says we can't. and that was extraordinary and they acted inappropriately. they acted improperly. they violated the rights of americans. but they were doing what they
were told, i think, largely. not aggressively going out and saying, i want to do more and more and more and more in the united states. but saying if my commander tells me to do that, then i'll do that. >> much of the work of the church committee, people who are watching will hear echoes in the recent debates and the post-terrorism investigations. we have another clip that will resonate. this is of general allen testifying before the committee about watch lists. >> requirements for watch lists were developed in four basic areas. international drug trafficking, presidential protection, acts of terrorism and possible foreign support or influence on civil disturbances. in the '60s there was presidential concern voiced over the massive flow of drugs into our country from outside the united states. early in president nixon's
administration, he instructed the cia to pursue with vigor intelligence efforts to identify foreign sources of drugs and the foreign organizations and methods used to introduce illicit drugs into the united states. >> elliot maxwell, almost we could have this same testimony today. >> absolutely. that's one of the great lessons from the work of the committee, that one has to be constantly vigilant when power can be exercised in secret. whether it's now or whether it was then, when the next crisis comes, the same questions will be asked and the same forces will be pushing for more and more and more. and it's an object lesson that we have to be individuavigilant. >> before we show a longer portion of this, anything to comment about the context for what we're about to see? >> i think you always have to
have in mind that many of the missions of these organizations are important, vital to the country, legitimate. and in a way, one of the tragedies of where the agencies go beyond the bound that they should go is it can undermine their ability and their reputation to do the things we want them to do. >> and with that thought, let's watch now from october 29th, 1975 portions of the church kmi committee hearing on the nsa and fourth amendment rights. this was recorded at the time by nbc cameras. >> the hearing will please come to order. this morning the committee begins public hearings on the
national security agency or as it is more commonly known the nsa. actually, the agency remains unknown to most americans, either by its acronym or its full name. in contrast to the cia, one has to search far and wide to find someone who has even heard of the nsa. this is peculiar because the national security agency is an immense installation in its task of collecting intelligence by intercepting foreign communications, the nsa employees thousands of people and operates on an enormous budget. its computer facilities comprise some of the most sophisticated machinery in the world. just as the nsa is one of the least known of the agencies, it is also the most reticent.
it gives out precious little information about itself. even the legal basis for the activities of nsa is different from that of other intelligence agencies. no statute establishes the national security agency or defines the permissible scope of its responsibilities. rather, executive directors make up the sole charter for the agency. furthermore, these directives fail to define precisely what constitutes the technical and intelligence information which the nsa is authorized to collect. since its establishment in 1952 as a part of the defense department, representatives of the national security agency have never appeared before the senate in a public hearing. today we will bring the agency from behind closed doors. we have prepared ourselves
exhaustively. we have a particular obligation to examine the nsa in light of its tremendous potential for abuse. it has the capacity to monitor the private conversations of american citizens without the use of a bug or a tap. the interception of international communication signals sent through the air is the job of nsa. the danger lies in the ability of the nsa to turn its awesome technology against domestic communications. indeed as our hearings into the houston plan demonstrated, a previous administration and the former nsa director favored using this potential against certain u.s. citizens for domestic intelligence purposes. while the houston plan was never put into affect our investigation reveals that the
nsa has been long before the houston plan was proposed and continued to do so long after it was revoked. this illustrated how the nsa could be turned inward and used against our own people. it has been a difficult task of this committee to find the way through the tangled webs of classification and claims of national security, however valid they may be, to inform the american public of deficiencies in their intelligence services. it is not, of course, a task without risks. but it is the one that we have set out for ourselves. the discussions which will be held this morning are efforts to identify publicly certain activities undertaken by the national security agency which are of questionable propriety and dubious legality. general allen will provide for
us today the background of these activities and he will be questioned on their origins and objectives by the committee members. like the cia and the irs, the nsa too had a watch list containing the names of u.s. citizens. this list will be of particular interest to us this morning, though we will take up another important subject as well. the dominant concern of this committee is the intrusion by the federal government into the inalienable rights guaranteed americans by the constitution. in previous hearings we have seen how these rights have been violated by the intelligence services of the cia, the fbi and the irs. as the present hearings will reveal, the nsa has not escaped the temptation to have its operations expanded into provinces protected by the law. while the committee has found the work of the nsa on the whole
to be of a high caliber and properly restrained and has tremendous respect for the professional caliber for the people who work there, the topics we shall explore today into demonstrate excessives and subject areas where legislative action is desirable. that is why we are here. >> this complex and sophisticated electronic capability is the most fragile weapon in our arsenal. and unfortunately i cannot elaborate on that because that would not be proper. public inquiry on nsa i believe serves no legitimate legislative purpose. not exposing this vital element of our intelligence capability to unnecessary risks, risk acknowledged in the chairman's
own statement. 21 does authorize nsa inquiry and this has been done very thoroughly in closed session. >> beginning in 1967, request agencies provided names of perchs and organizations some of whom were u.s. citizens to the national security agency in an effort to obtain information which was available in foreign communications as a byproduct of our normal foreign intelligence mission. the purpose of the list varied but all possessed a common thread in which the national security agency was requested to review information available through our usual intercept sources. the initial purpose was to help determine the existence of foreign influence on specified activities of interest to agencies of the u.s. government. with emphasis then on presidential protection anddist
throughout the nation. then concern over drug trafficking and acts of terrorism, the emphasis came to include these areas. during the early 1960s requesting agencies had asked the national security agency to look for reflections in international communications of certain u.s. citizens traveling to cuba. 1967 to 1973 requirements for watch lists were developed in four basic areas. international drug trafficking, presidential protection, acts of terrorism and possible foreign support or influence on civil disturb answ disturbanc disturbances. in the '60s there was concern over the massive flow of drugs into the united states. early in president nixon's administration he instructed the cia to investigate with vigor the foreign organizations and
methods used to introduce illicit drugs into the united states. the bndd asked the national security agency to provide communications intelligence relevant to these foreign aspects and bndd provided watch lists with some u.s. names. international drug trafficking requirements for formally documented in use of requirements in august 1971. the one instance in which foreign messages were intercepted for specific watch list purposes was the collection of some telephone calls passed over international communications facilities between the united states and south america. the collection was conducted at the specific request of the bndd to produce intelligence information on the methods and locations of foreign narcotics trafficking. the cia was asked by nsa to assist.
the nsa provided the cia names of individuals on the narcotics trafficking watch list and this collection by the cia lasted for approximately six months from late 1972 to early 1973 when cia stopped because of concern that the activity exceeded statutory restrictions. >> with respect to wholly domestic communications, is there any statute that prohibits your interception thereof of is it merely a matter of your internal executive branch drek directives? >> my understanding is that at least the national security intelligence directive defines our activities as foreign communications and we have adopted a definition consistent with the communications act of 1934. therefore i think -- >> you believe you're consistent with the statutes but there isn't any statute that prohibits your interception of domestic
communications. >> i believe that is correct. >> nothing further. >> that was a term that began in 1969 and as we described somewhat formalized the process by which these messages were handled. which had gbegun apparently abot 1967. >> now in the initial communication on mineret, is it true that one of the equally important aspects was not to disclose that nsa was doing this? >> that appears in the documentation regarding that, yes. >> and what was the reason for not disclosing to the other intelligence agencies who were the consumers that nsa was not doing this? >> it's hard for me to really answer because i'm not exactly sure as to what was the feeling of the people at the time. my understanding is that the
concern was that the people in nsa felt it was terribly important, the activity be solely related to foreign intelligence and that by delivering these kinds of messages to agencies that had a law enforcement function, there was a danger that material would end up being used for a purpose which would not be appropriate. therefore for that reason there were a set of procedures adopted which made the material be handled in a distinctive and separate way to where it went to only specified individuals, only hand carried, clearly marked for background use only and also devoid of the kind of designators which are placed on the kind of intelligence information which nsa produces for a broader range of users. >> might there have been some concern that this was a questionable legal area and that
therefore dissemination of who was doing it and how might have also been injurious to the agency? >> it's possible. i think that of course the concern was that if the material was the basic concern as i would imagine it was in people's minds at that time was that if the material were used for some purpose associated with prosecuting or evidentiary basis, that the sources and methods which were used to obtain that intelligence would then be vulnerable to disclosure or demands by courts to see it. so there was a very great concern to ensure that this material was handled in such a way as to minimize the possibility that it would be used in that fashion. >> what has occurred yesterday could occur tomorrow.
i really see no legislative basis for this public disclosure. i don't think that it's necessary from the standpoint of our legislative mandate. it appears that committee rule 7-5 is the only point having any merit at all. and in my view it must fail. this rule provides for procedures ensuring the protection of classified materials. this rule does not authorize the unilateral release of classified
information. the proper reading would be that the rule goes to disclosure of information, not declassification. a majority vote is necessary prior to committee release of any material of a classified nature. but it's spurious to state that a simple majority vote is enough to de -- >> but the case at hand has to do with unlawful conduct that relates to certain domestic companies in this country. it's not a matter of such gravity that it would even impair the national security of the united states in ways that your examples suggest. >> that is a matter to be debated in executive session. >> very well. >> those were video highlights from nbc archives of the church committee hearings. that particular hearing was looking into the nsa and its director had testified before the committee october 29th, 1975. elliot maxwell, the body language was so interesting
between the chairman and vice chairman there. give us some sense of what was going on in that room. >> one of the central issues for the committee in the course of its work was obtaining ma y'a is from the executive branch. that back and forth between the committee and the executive branch went up to the very end of the work of the committee. and there were a number of instances in which the executive branch dug in its heels and said you cannot disclose this. in some cases, they eventually rele relented. in others they did not. john tower had been an active supporter of committee access to material in many early
instances. but that grew weaker and weaker over the course of the committee. and as -- i think in the case of john tower, as things got closer to the military where john tower had been on the armed services committee for years and was later chairman of the armed services committee if he wasn't at the time, that was a area where he felt more protective than i think he felt in terms of the domestic activities of the fbi. that was not his area of greatest interest. and it will always be the case that the executive branch is more protective about its information and the congress is more or less aggressive about what it does. and one of the lessons of the committee is there has to be a kind of ingrained aggressiveness
on the part of the congress the get materials or it will not get materials, simple as that. i don't know how you provide a kind of vaccine against acquiescence for the overseers. there needs to be a kind of vaccine that provides kind of skepticism in general about secret activities, recognizing that many of them are very important, but that you have to keep asking the questions to make sure that you don't go beyond what people are required and should be doing. >> 40 years ago, april 1976 the church committee. wrapped up its work and delivered 14 separate reports of the scope of work that the committee had been asked to look at. what are your remembrances of the release of that report to the public and how it was met in washington, by the news media and by the public?
>> well, i have a memory of being very excited that we'd gotten the work done, that we were finished, at least with the committee reports and that we had done a great service. i think the general reaction to our final reports was very favorable. and if you step away from what was done, it was never really partisan. that doesn't mean there weren't differences and elliot described and i think i did earlier how john tower toward the end of the work became less in favor of disclosure. but there never was a real partisan difference on that. but the impact of the committee in showing it could successfully deal with secret information, showing it could get the information, distill it and describe it to the public and bringing to the attention of the
american public the importance of the issues that we'd focused on, i think was a very, very great accomplishment. and i do know that never since then has there been anything like it either in this country or anywhere else. >> let me break down the impact into several big areas and have you both taught ilk about it. let's start on the congress itself and its over sight responsibilities for intelligence. what happened as a result of the church committee's work? >> perhaps the two most significant things is they set up a permanent intelligence committee. prior to the church committee over sight was the bailiwick of some of the senate lions, the chairman of the armed services committee, the majority laeader and minority leader. there were eight senators who were talked to and that
constituted the over sight. after that there was now a permanent intelligence committee and it was going to have to wrestle with all of the issues that frits was just talking about, getting information, keeping it secret, distilling it, trying to decide how much to disclose and there was a requirement that covert action be notified to the intelligence committee and there's one other piece that for me was particularly interesting. i had come to the -- i had written a paper about the disclosure of the intelligence committee budget. >> and you were 25 years old at the time right? >> right. the committee voted and disclosure of the aggregate budget was defeated by one vote. later in the '90s one of the cia
directors decided they could release the budget without harming the community. one number was disclosed in 1994. in 1995 they decided differently that it would harm the community. it wasn't until the 9/11 committee that the aggravate amount was disclosed to the american public. >> the so-called black budget. >> right. there is a conclusion in the constitution that a regular be published from time to time. if you opened it in 1975 it was somewhere else, it was somewhere hidden in this document. so we're making some progress about this, some notion of disclosure, some notion of the boundaries. i think while the work was extraordinary and very important, we never went further as i think we should have been able to or i think the congress should have done, is to clarify the authorities of these
agencies, to make it really absolutely clear what they can do and what they can't do to bolster the worthwhile and important things they do and to prevent them from being pushed by the political masters or pushed by what the technology can do into going beyond their limits. >> so one of the effects in congress is that it passed legislation, the foreign intelligence surveillance act in 1978. so what was the importance of that act for american society and for congressional oversight? >> i think that meant that the agencies could not just go wiretap someone without getting court approval. now, two things have happened. the court has approved almost everything that's come before them, but that doesn't mean the law has not had a positive impact, because the kind of things the fbi and the other
agencies were doing in terms of surveillance would not be tried now, because they would not feel they would ever want to put on paper what they were trying to do. and then after 9/11, the court began being used in a way that a court doesn't do very well, as more sort of a public policy agency. let me make a bigger point, which is there will be another church committee at some point. and there should be. and when that's done, we will learn that there have continued to be things that are done which we would not wish to be done. there will be surprises and some of them will be very unpleasant surprises. but the culture in the agencies is a little better.
secrets tend to last less long for complicated reasons, some of which i talk about in my recent book called "democracy in the dark." but the culture is a little better. the public, of course when there is a new attack, you get, oh, let's do more by way of law enforcement and of course we should do a lot by way of law enforcement. but that doesn't mean that you don't need to have appropriate oversight. and the culture in the congress is better than it was, infinitely better than it was before the church committee. and the public as a whole is more knowledgeable about the complexity of these issues and the importance of these issues. >> let me turn to the agencies especially the foreign intelligence agencies, nsa, cia.
what happened to those agencies and their operations as much as we know it in the wake of the church committee? >> i guess i'd argue that their activities oscillate over time. if you said what they were like right after the church committee and for the next number of years, i think there was a lot more internal discussion about what's promoappropriate and not appropriate. there were a lot more recognition of the importance of their central role and the need to be able to constrain their activities to that. in the '80s that changed somewhat and it changed because the president wanted it to change and the news dr director the central intelligence wanted it to change and there were a number of episodes in the '80s where the agencies were involved
in things that we as a country had said they shouldn't be doing. after 9/11 and the patriot act one saw another swing back toward older patterns of behavior and toward doing all that the technology allowed you to do and asserting a kind of general attitude of relying on presidential power and that's almost unlimited and we are being told to use every means necessary to be able to implement the policies of the president. so it moves back and forth with the tenor of the times. i think after the snowden revelations there was a mood that said these are things we don't want to do, these are things we have to look carefully at, we have to understand what the limits are, we have to be able to respond to those and yet
do the work that we need to do. but we will always be subject to these oscillations. it just means that oversight as the church committee recommended is critical, but it's hard to do. it's very hard to do. and it's hard, as i said, to have an attitude of skepticism with people you work with all the time. if you imagine a workplace where every time you came into the workplace you were looking saying is he or she doing something wrong. it's a terrible kind of burden. yet in some ways oversight is like that. you need to be close to the people, you need to understand what they need to be able to, you have to give them the authority to do it and you have to encourage and empower them. at the same time you have to say beyond this there be dragons and you cannot go there. i don't know if there will ever be a church committee, but there will be things that go wrong.
and they are intricately related to the pressures of the moment. >> speaking of that, i wanted to get on the record before we finish this. when you talk about the oscillation and the tenor of the times i know that we've so much established that the period of time that the church committee was looking at really dealt with the realities of the cold war, the war in vietnam, also domestic disturbances protesting that war. there were things going on in this country that presidents were trying to ensure public safety against. can you put that context of the time into the period that the committee was observing? >> well, if you start with franklin roosevelt and run through nixon that's when we covered, there was crisis almost all the time. and there's been a lot of crisis since then. you have to be vigilant to protect the country. and you don't want to use the need to protect the country as a
device to let you do things that everybody would say are improper. i'd like to make two other comments that in response to elliot's excellent summary of how it vacillates. after the snowden revelations -- and the snowden revelations happened when we have dysfunction in the congress because both parties are just unable or unwilling to cooperate with each other. but the legislation that was passed in response to the snowden revelations was completely bipartisan. in the senate the leaders were senator mike lee, a tea party senator from utah, and senator pat leahy a liberal senator from
vermont. in the house the other sponsor of the reform in the house was john conyers, a long time african-american democratic liberal from detroit. so these issues can bring people together. the other point i'd like to make is in terms of what the church committee did and didn't do. on the afternoon of 9/11, james baker, who was a bush and reagan cabinet member and bush h.w. and ronald reagan cabinet member and who had been the principle lawyer for george w. bush in florida and was a real establishment person. went on channel 7 abc news and said the church committee caused 9/11. and that was a very farfetched thought. first, if you read what the church committee said, we said
that for example with the fbi that the fbi should increase attention to terrorism and devote less or no attention to american domestic politics. that they should increase their attention to terrorism. and we said the cia should do more to use human infiltration of bad groups and not simply tend to rely on the wonderful technology that we now have. so the baker in making the comment that we'd caused 9/11 didn't go back and read our reports or read what howard baker had said, which was that the investigation had been good for the intelligence community. but the other thing that was sort of ludicrous about baker's statement is that at that point it had been 25 years from the
church committee. and ronald reagan and george h.w. bush and mr. baker himself had been in power. and if, as baker said on the television interview, the church committee had disabled the intelligence agencies, they could have done something about it. so it was interesting emotional and i'm sure if mr. baker were questioned today, he would say, well, i was a little over wrought on the afternoon of 9/11 and i said something which didn't make any sense, which it surely didn't. >> there were a number of think pieces written after 9/11, critical and pointing back to a an antecedents from the church committee. what was your reaction to the criticisms? >> i think i shared fritz's view
that it was nonsense. what was happening and what the 9/11 commission said had happened was people failing to communicate and follow up the intelligence that they could have followed up. and it had nothing to do with what the church committee had done. it had been the notion of these isolated towers for whatever reason not communicating with the adjoining silo, not responding to the intelligence that was gathered. and it was an easy scapegoat. it was saying we can just point to the church committee and say that destroyed american intelligence and then we don't have to account for our own failures. it was annoying, but you get used to it being annoying because it was a theme that had gone on amongst the critics of the church committee since 1975.
it will destroy american intelligence, it had destroyed american intelligence, it will in the future destroy american intelligence. and it was that those people weren't wrestling with the issues in the way that i think the committee genuinely wrestled with, how to affirm the importance of the secret security agencies, how to make sure they don't go beyond their writ and how to ensure that the rights of americans are protected in a world in which there's danger. and by agencies that are by necessity secret, but also because they're secret are potentially dangerous to the rights of americans and to the well-being of the united states. so you get a little thicker skinned about this, but it is a -- i think an enormous
expenditure of time and effort by a very talented group of people who were genuinely struggling with the dilemma of how do you have secret agencies in a democracy and how will you make sure that they operate in a way that we would all say is appropriate? >> over the course of our conversations with both of you and the video that we've showed of the work of the church committee we've talked a lot about the tensions within society, constitutional rights and the need for security. i'm wondering about how the work that you did with the church committee 40 years ago affected both of you in terms of your careers and your own thinking about american citizenship and our society. let me start with you fritz. you've written two books. seems as though it's become something of your life's work. >> it certainly was an aspect of
my life's work. i've tried to work on civil rights. and i did a lot of work for new york city in being its head lawyer and changing its constitution. but definitely the church committee work made a huge -- had a huge impact on me. it gave me a good reputation, which is always a nice thing to have. and it did certainly stuck with me as issues that were of great importance to the country. and those two books, the first one "unchecked and unbalanced" is about presidential power in a time of terror and checks and balances. and the more recent one "democracy in the dark, the seduction of government secrecy" is wrestling with something that elliot has brought up a lot in this conversation, the importance of secrecy which is
necessary sometimes and abused and unnecessary other times. so it certainly affected my work a great deal. >> and how would you answer the question? how has it affected you over the course of these 40 years? >> i stayed to work on the permanent committee for a while and then had to make a decision whether i wanted to be a national security lawyer where if i did everything right only six other people would know that i was successful and if i did something wrong it was going to be on the front page of the "washington post." that led me to doing other things. but if i look on the arc of my career, it probably is that the last 14 years or so i've before writing and speaking at openness and about the importance of openness to have progress and innovation. and i think probably the seeds
of that were in the church committee work, which was for a young, not yet bar certified lawyer an extraordinary experience to engage at the deepest level with important questions for the country. and i remember when i was asked to serve on the committee, i looked at the membership and here was frank church and barry goldwater and john tower. and if there were to be a discussion about the tensions between civil liberties and the needs of the intelligence community and the power of government and the importance of security, this was where those
things should be thought out. this is where those things should be discussed. and that was an extraordinary opportunity not only for me but for fritz and others. i also probably like to wrap one other thing up, which is when you talked about the kind of lack of partisanship, i think lots of credit goes to fritz, but it would be wrong not to say that the staff director who served as the staff director for the entire committee, bill miller, was a very important part of that. and kind of his knowledge of the senate and his relationship in the senate and his general optimistic view of the world was very important in achieving that for the committee. so for me it was in retrospect a treat. it was just a wonderful, wonderful gift that was given to me. and i hope i did what i should do in response to that gift. >> well, on that note, let me
say thank you to you here in washington. joining us from our studios in new york city for your ret stroe speckti ret strro specktive views of th work of the church committee. thanks for your time. >> in the relationship between congress and technological advancements in communications for radio and television. >> 50 years ago our executive branch began appearing on television. today marks the first time