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Encyclopedia > Church Committee

The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) in 1975. A precursor to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the committee investigated intelligence gathering for illegality by the CIA and FBI after certain activities had been revealed by the Watergate affair. Type Upper House President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R since January 20, 2001 President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D since January 4, 2007 Members 100 Political groups Democratic Party Republican Party Last elections November 7, 2006 Meeting place Senate Chamber United States Capitol Washington, DC United States... Frank Forrester Church III (July 25, 1924 – April 7, 1984) was a four-term U.S. Senator representing Idaho as a Democrat (1957-1981). ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  Politics Portal      Further information: Politics of the United States#Organization of American political parties The Democratic... Official language(s) English [1] Capital Boise Largest city Boise Largest metro area Boise metropolitan area Area  Ranked 14th  - Total 83,642 sq mi (216,632 km²)  - Width 305 miles (491 km)  - Length 479 miles (771 km)  - % water 0. ... The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the American Intelligence Community—the agencies and bureaus of the U.S. federal government who provide information and analysis for leaders of the executive and legislative branches. ... “CIA” redirects here. ... F.B.I. and FBI redirect here. ... The Watergate building. ...



By the early years of the 1970s, the unpopularity of the Vietnam War and the unfolding Watergate scandal brought the era of minimal oversight to a screeching halt. Congress was determined to rein in the Nixon administration and to ascertain the extent to which the nation's intelligence agencies had been involved in questionable, if not outright illegal, activities. Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... Watergate redirects here. ...

A series of troubling revelations started to appear in the press concerning intelligence activities. First came the revelations of Christopher Pyle in January 1970 of the U.S. Army's spying on the civilian population [1] and Sam Ervin's Senate investigations that resulted. The dam broke on 22 December 1974, when The New York Times published a lengthy article by Seymour Hersh detailing operations engaged in by the CIA over the years that had been dubbed the "family jewels". Covert action programs involving assassination attempts against foreign leaders and covert attempts to subvert foreign governments were reported for the first time. In addition, the article discussed efforts by intelligence agencies to collect information on the political activities of US citizens. // Investigations Christopher H. Pyle learned while in the U.S. Army in the 1960s that Army intelligence had 1,500 plainclothes agents watching every demonstration of 20 people or more throughout the United States [1] [2]. His disclosure of the Armys spying in January 1970 began the era we... The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... Samuel James Ervin Jr. ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ... Seymour Myron Sy Hersh (born April 8, 1937 Chicago) is an American Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author based in Washington, DC. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine on military and security matters. ... CIA family jewels is the informal name used to refer to a set of reports that detail the illegal activities conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency in the roughly quarter century period in the 1950s-70s. ...

These revelations convinced many Senators and Representatives that the Congress itself had been too lax, trusting, and naive in carrying out its oversight responsibilities.


In 1975 and 1976, the Church Committee published fourteen reports on the formation of U.S. intelligence agencies, their operations, and the alleged abuses of law and of power that they had committed, together with recommendations for reform, some of which were put in place. Intelligence (abbreviated or ) is the process and the result of gathering information and analyzing it to answer questions or obtain advance warnings needed to plan for the future. ...

Among the matters investigated were attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, including Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, the Diem brothers of Vietnam, Gen. RenĂ© Schneider of Chile and President John F. Kennedy's plan to use the Mafia to kill Fidel Castro of Cuba. Assassin and Assassins redirect here. ... Patrice Lumumba as the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1960 Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was an African anti-colonial leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo after he helped to win its independence... This article is about Rafael L. Trujillo, former dictator of the Dominican Republic. ...   «ngoh dihn zih-ehm» (January 3, 1901 – November 2, 1963) was the first President of South Vietnam (1955–1963). ... Generals C. Prats and R. Schneider (right) General René Schneider Chereau (1913-1970) was the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army at the time of the 1970 Chilean presidential election, when he was assassinated during a kidnapping attempt. ... John Kennedy and JFK redirect here. ... This article is about the criminal society. ... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born on August 13, 1926) is the current President of Cuba but on indefinite medical hiatus. ...

Under recommendations and pressure by this committee, President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905 (ultimately replaced in 1981 by President Reagan's Executive Order 12333) to ban U.S. sanctioned assassinations of foreign leaders. For other persons named Gerald Ford, see Gerald Ford (disambiguation). ... An executive order is an edict issued by a member of the executive branch of a government, usually the head of that branch. ... Reagan redirects here. ... Executive Order 12333 extends the powers and responsibilities of US intelligence agencies and directs the leaders of other US federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information. ...

Together, the Church Committee's reports have been said to constitute the most extensive review of intelligence activities ever made available to the public. Much of the contents were classified, but more than 50,000 pages have since been declassified under the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act. Intelligence (abbreviated or ) is the process and the result of gathering information and analyzing it to answer questions or obtain advance warnings needed to plan for the future. ...

Committee members

Majority (Democratic) Minority (Republican)

Frank Forrester Church III (July 25, 1924 – April 7, 1984) was a four-term U.S. Senator representing Idaho as a Democrat (1957-1981). ... Philip Aloysius Hart (December 10, 1912–December 26, 1976) was a Democratic senator from Michigan. ... Walter Frederick Fritz Mondale (born January 5, 1928) is an American politician and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (largely established by former Vice President Hubert Humphrey). ... Walter Darlington Huddleston (born April 15, 1926) is a retired American politician. ... Robert Burren Morgan (born 5 October 1925) was a Democratic U.S. Senator from the state of North Carolina between 1975 and 1981. ... Gary Warren Hart (born Gary Warren Hartpence, November 28, 1936) is a politician and lawyer from the state of Colorado. ... John Tower John Goodwin Tower (September 29, 1925 – April 5, 1991) was the first Republican United States senator from Texas since the Reconstruction after the Civil War. ... Howard Henry Baker, Jr. ... Barry Morris Goldwater (January 1, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–87) and the Republican Partys nominee for president in the 1964 election. ... Charles McCurdy Mac Mathias, Jr. ... Richard S. Schweiker Richard Schultz Schweiker (born June 1, 1926) is a former U.S. Congressman and Senator representing the state of Pennsylvania. ...

Opening mail

The Church Committee learned that beginning in the 1950's, the CIA and FBI intercepted, opened and photographed more than 215,000 pieces of mail by the time the program called "HT Lingual" was shut down in 1973. This program was all done under the "mail covers" program. A mail cover is when the government records without a warrant or notification all information on the outside of an envelope or package, including the name of the sender and the recipient. The Church report found that the CIA was zealous about keeping the Postal Service from learning that mail was being opened by government agents. CIA agents moved mail to a private room to open the mail or in some cases opened envelopes at night after stuffing them in briefcases or coat pockets to deceive postal officials.[2] Mail cover is a law enforcement investigative technique. ...

The Ford administration and the Church Committee

On May 9th the Church Committee decided to call acting CIA director William Colby. That same day Ford's top advisers (Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Buchen, and John Marsh) drafted a recommendation that Colby be authorized to brief only rather than testify, and that he would be told to discuss only the general subject, with details of specific covert actions to be avoided except for realistic hypotheticals. But the Church Committee had full authority to call a hearing and require Colby's testimony. Ford and his top advisers met with Colby to prepare him for the hearing.[3] William Egan Colby (January 4, 1920 – April 27, 1996) became Director of Central Intelligence on September 4, 1973, after James R. Schlesinger. ... Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. ... Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) is a businessman, a U.S. Republican politician, the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, and the 21st Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006. ... John Marsh was born in Northumberland in the late 1940s, he studied at Ravensbourne College first in furniture design and later in typography[1] and Communication design. ...

The Ford administration, particularly Rumsfeld, was concerned about the effort by members of the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the House to curtail the power of U.S. intelligence agencies: "They were very specific about their effort to destroy American intelligence [capabilities]," remembers Robert Ellsworth, a U.S. diplomat. "It was Senator Church who said our intelligence agencies were 'rogue elephants.' They were supposedly out there assassinating people and playing dirty tricks and so forth...Well, that just wasn't true."[4] The Pike Committee is the common name for the House Select Committee on Intelligence during the period when it was chaired by Democratic Representative Otis G. Pike of New York. ... Robert Fred Ellsworth (born 1926) was a U.S. diplomat. ...

Results of the investigation

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) were inspired by the recommendations of the Church Committee. [5] Today, the FISC oversees requests for surveillance warrants of suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the United States by federal police agencies. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of foreign intelligence information between or among foreign powers. FISA is codified in 50 U.S.C. §§1801-1811, 1821-29, 1841-46, and 1861-62. ... The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is a secret U.S. court composed of eleven federal judges, established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978), and expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. ... In law, a warrant can mean any authorization. ... Secret Agent is a 1936 British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. ...


Early on, critics from Bing Crosby to Paul Harvey accused the committee of treasonous activity. The 1975 assassination of Richard Welch, a CIA station chief in Greece, intensified the public backlash against its mission.[6] The committees work has more recently been criticized after the September 11th attacks, for leading to legislation reducing the ability of the CIA to gather human intelligence.[7][8][9][10] In response to such criticism, the chief counsel of the committee, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., retorted with a book co-authored by Aziz Z. Huq, denouncing the Bush administration's use of 9/11 to make "monarchist claims" that are "unprecedented on this side of the North Atlantic". [11] Harry Lillis Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ... For the Stuckist artist, see Paul Harvey (artist). ... Richard Skeffington Welch (1929—December 23, 1975), a Harvard educated classicist, was a CIA Station Chief murdered by the radical leftist organization Revolutionary Organization 17 November. ... A sequential look at United Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center The September 11, 2001 attacks (often referred to as 9/11—pronounced nine eleven or nine one one) consisted of a series of coordinated terrorist[1] suicide attacks upon the United States, predominantly... HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, is a category of intelligence gathering disciplines that encompasses all gathering of intelligence by means of interpersonal contact. ... Frederick August Otto Schwarz (October 18, 1836 – May 17, 1911) was a toy retailer who started FAO Schwarz. ...

In September 2006, the University of Kentucky hosted a forum called "Who's Watching the Spies? Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans," bringing together two Democratic committee members, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale and former U.S. Senator Walter "Dee" Huddleston of Kentucky, and Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., chief counsel to the committee, to discuss the committee's work, its historical impact, and how it pertains to today's society.[12] The University of Kentucky, also referred to as UK, is a public, co-educational university located in Lexington, Kentucky. ... Walter Frederick Fritz Mondale (born January 5, 1928) has been a two-term U.S. Senator, the forty-second vice president of the United States (1977-1981), and the wildly unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee for president in 1984 against the incumbent, Republican Ronald W. Reagan. ... Walter Darlington Huddleston (born April 15, 1926) is a retired American politician. ...

Sections of the Church Committee report

Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders (Index Only, in text form) (364 pages)

Volume 1: Unauthorized Storage of Toxic Agents (249 pages)
Volume 2: Huston Plan (409 pages)
Volume 3: Internal Revenue Service (128 pages)
Volume 4: Mail Opening (264 pages)
Volume 5: The National Security Agency and Fourth Amendment Rights (169 pages)
Volume 6: Federal Bureau of Investigation (1010 pages)
Volume 7: Covert Action (234 pages)
Book I: Foreign and Military Intelligence (659 pages)
Book II: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans (412 pages)
Book III: Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans (989 pages)
Book IV: Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Foreign and Military Intelligence (181 pages)
Book V: The Investigation of the Assassination of President J.F.K.: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies (112 pages)
Book VI: Supplementary Reports on Intelligence Activities (384 pages)

Books II and III "Church Committee" report

Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. United States Senate, 94th Congress, 2nd Session, April 26 (legislative day, April 14), 1976. [AKA "Church Committee Report"]. Archived on COINTELPRO sources website. Transcription and HTML by Paul Wolf. Retrieved April 19, 2005.

  • Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, Book II
I. Introduction and Summary
II. The Growth of Domestic Intelligence: 1936 to 1976
III. Findings
(A) Violating and Ignoring the Law
(B) Overbreadth of Domestic Intelligence Activity
(C) Excessive Use of Intrusive Techniques
(D) Using Covert Action to Disrupt and Discredit Domestic Groups
(E) Political Abuse of Intelligence Information
(F) Inadequate Controls on Dissemination and Retention
(G) Deficiencies in Control and Accountability
IV. Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports, Book III

See also

COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) was a program of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. ... The Family Jewels is the informal name used to refer to a set of reports that detail activities conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. ... The Hughes-Ryan Act was an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, that forces the President of the United States to report all covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations to a Congressional committee within a set time limit. ... “MKULTRA” redirects here. ... Emblem of Gladio, Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind paramilitary organizations. ... The Pike Committee is the common name for the House Select Committee on Intelligence during the period when it was chaired by Democratic Representative Otis G. Pike of New York. ... A Senate committee, the Church Committee in 1974-1975 conducted an investigation of the intelligence agencies. ... The U.S. Presidents Commission on CIA activities within the United States was set up under President Gerald Ford in 1975 to investigate the activities of the CIA and other intelligence agencies within the United States. ...

Further reading

  • Johnson, Loch K. (1988). A Season Of Inquiry, Congress And Intelligence. Chicago: Dorsey Press. ISBN 0-256-06320-6. 
  • Smist, Jr., Frank J. (1990). Congress Oversees the United States Intelligence Community, 1947-1989. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-651-4. 


  1. ^ Sources: ABC News Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
  2. ^ Benjamin, Mark (January 5 2007). "The government is reading your mail". 
  3. ^ Prados, John (2006). Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512847-8.  p. 313
  4. ^ Frontline. www.pbs.org. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
  5. ^ Cohen, David; John Wells (Apr 17, 2004). American National Security and Civil Liberties in an Era of Terrorism. Palgrave. ISBN 1-4039-6199-9.  p. 34
  6. ^ Church Committee Created www.senate.gov
  7. ^ Knott, Stephen F (November 4 2001). "Congressional Oversight and the Crippling of the CIA". History News Network. 
  8. ^ Mooney, Chris (November 5 2001). "The American Prospect". Back to Church. 
  9. ^ Burbach, Roger (October 2003). "State Terrorism and September 11, 1973 & 2001". ZMag 16 (10). 
  10. ^ (May 19 2002) "Debate: Bush's handling of terror clues". Cable News Network. 
  11. ^ Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror (New Press, 2007).
  12. ^ (September 14 2006) "UK Hosts Historical Reunion of Members of Church Committee". University of Kentucky News. 

Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 211th day of the year (212th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... History News Network is a project of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. ... CNN or Cable News Network is a cable television network that was founded in 1980 by Ted Turner & Reese Schonfeld [1]. It is a division of the Turner Broadcasting System, owned by Time Warner. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Second Congregarional Church - Committee Members Handbook (4169 words)
The Chairperson of the Church Council is the chief lay officer of the Church and as such presides at all meetings of the Church and the Church Council and is authorized to sign contracts on behalf of the Church, once the contracts have approved by the congregation or Church Council.
The clerk of the Church is the clerk of the Church Council.
The Church and Ministry Committee consists of the pastor, the chairperson and vice chairperson of the Church Council, and the chairpersons of the Board of Deacons, the Christian Education Committee, and the Nominations Committee.
  More results at FactBites »



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