Inside the CIA's Subversion of Democracy, Media, and Unions: Dirty Work of CIA Operatives (1982)
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Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed some of the contents of the "Family Jewels" in a front-page New York Times article in December 1974, in which he reported that:
The Central Intelligence Agency, directly violating its charter, conducted a massive, illegal domestic intelligence operation during the Nixon Administration against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States according to well-placed Government sources.
Additional details of the contents trickled out over the years, but requests by journalists and historians for access to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act were long denied. Finally, in June 2007, CIA Director Michael Hayden announced that the documents would be released to the public at an announcement made to the annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. A six-page summary of the reports was made available at the National Security Archive (based at George Washington University), with the following introduction:
The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s.
The complete set of documents, with some redactions (including a number of pages in their entirety), was released on the CIA website on June 25, 2007.
Congressional investigators had access to the "Family Jewels" in the 1970s, and its existence was known for years before its declassification.
The reports describe numerous activities conducted by the CIA from the 1950s to 1970s that may have violated its charter. According to a briefing provided by CIA Director William Colby to the Justice Department on December 31, 1974, these included 18 issues which were of legal concern:
Confinement of a KGB defector, Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko, that "might be regarded as a violation of the kidnapping laws"
Wiretapping of two syndicated columnists, Robert Allen and Paul Scott (see also Project Mockingbird)
Physical surveillance of investigative journalist and muckraker Jack Anderson and his associates, including Les Whitten of The Washington Post and future Fox News Channel anchor and managing editor Brit Hume. Jack Anderson had written two articles on CIA-backed assassination attempts on Cuban leader Fidel Castro
Physical surveillance of Michael Getler, then a Washington Post reporter, who was later an ombudsman for The Washington Post and PBS
Break-in at the home of a former CIA employee
Break-in at the office of a former defector
Warrantless entry into the apartment of a former CIA employee
Opening of mail to and from the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1973 (including letters associated with actress Jane Fonda) (project SRPOINTER/HTLINGUAL at JFK airport)
Opening of mail to and from the People's Republic of China from 1969 to 1972 (project SRPOINTER/HTLINGUAL at JFK airport – see also Project SHAMROCK by the NSA)
Funding of behavior modification research on unwitting US citizens, including unscientific, non-consensual human experiments (see also Project MKULTRA concerning LSD experiments)
Assassination plots against Cuban President Fidel Castro; DR Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba; President Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic; and René Schneider, Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army. All of these plots were said to be unsuccessful[
Surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971 (see Project RESISTANCE, Project MERRIMAC and Operation CHAOS)
Surveillance of a particular Latin American female, and of US citizens in Detroit
Surveillance of former CIA officer and Agency critic Victor Marchetti, author of the book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, published in 1974
Amassing of files on 9,900-plus US citizens related to the antiwar movement (see Project RESISTANCE, Project MERRIMAC and Operation CHAOS)
Polygraph experiments with the sheriff of San Mateo County, California
Fake CIA identification documents that might violate state laws
Testing of electronic equipment on US telephone circuits
According to the Family Jewels documents released, members of the American mafia were involved in CIA attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The documents showed that the CIA recruited Robert Maheu, an ex-FBI agent and aide to Howard Hughes in Las Vegas, to approach Johnny Roselli under the pretense of representing international corporations that wanted Castro dead due to lost gambling interests. Roselli introduced Maheu to mobster leaders Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante, Jr. Supplied with six poison pills from the CIA, Giancana and Trafficante tried unsuccessfully to have people place the poison in Castro's food.