Below you will see an article shared by Charlton Stanley that linked a video of Edward Snowden giving a very intelligent, well-received conversation on his motives behind his whistle-blowing and how he accepts the dangers that come with a rogue government as the US has become. The article at the bottom of this blog shows the outright conspiracy that existed as a similar attempt to shout out against the NSA build-up and limiting of US freedoms happened a few decades ago......you can believe these threats of death were real.
As we all know, Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. If you can find this video posted overseas no doubt you will see an American the world thinks has integrity, sincere actions of common good, and a genius for the systems he now hopes the world will regulate.
BERNIE SANDERS AND EDWARD SNOWDEN FOR PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT 2016!!!!
The American corporate media tries its best to spread the neo-liberal propaganda that Snowden committed this act specifically to aid the enemy.....China and Russia. We know that he was in China because his employer.....Booz Allen has a branch in China and Snowden simply needed to find a safe haven. I wonder if Booz Allen is a traitor since they are in China? Snowden ended in Russia because few nations had the courage to shelter him.....not because he works for Russian intelligence.
As Snowden says......the NSA is working as an industrial spy and as hedge funds operate the NSA WE THE PEOPLE are outraged that a government agency that should be public has been outsourced to the very entity that is indeed a traitor and terrorist to the American people.....WALL STREET. Our goal is to turn those NSA super-computers on Wall Street as we rebuild all Rule of Law/oversight and public justice agencies to follow all Wall Street transactions and to bring back tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud stolen from our government coffers and individual's pockets!
THANK YOU EDWARD SNOWDEN FOR RISKING YOUR LIFE FOR THE COMMON GOOD AND HOPEFULLY WE THE PEOPLE WILL TAKE ACTION TO CONTROL THIS TOTALITARIAN CREEP TAKING HOLD OF THE US DEMOCRACY.
NEO-CONS AND NEO-LIBERALS ARE THE FACE OF THIS TOTALITARIAN CREEP......GET RID OF THEM! ALL OF MARYLAND POLS ARE NEO-LIBERALS.
When I viewed this article I was able to see the video attached......when I went back a few days ago....the video was gone. Please look for it posted overseas where free press and democracy still operates!
Edward Snowden speaks: US blackout of interview (Updated with new video source)
THIS IS THE CURRENT UNCENSURED VIDEO SITE!!!!
German Television does first Edward Snowden Interview (ENGLISH) German Television Channel NDR does an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden.
Uploaded on LiveLeak cause German Television thinks the rest of the world isn't intereseted in Edward Snowden.
1, February 1, 2014 by Charlton Stanley, PhD, ABPP
By Charlton Stanley, Weekend Contributor
NSA logo smallLast Sunday, former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden was interviewed for the German television network ARD. The interview was big news in Germany and much of the world in both print and broadcast media. However, the interview appears to have been blocked intentionally by US government authorities. In fact, the media in the US appears to have gone to ‘radio silence’ about it. It has been posted on YouTube several times, but is taken down almost immediately. The video site Vimeo has it embedded, but as I write this, Vimeo is under a DDoS attack. LiveLeak also has it, and that video is embedded in this report by Jay Syrmopoulos for Ben Swann’s news page.
Mr. Snowden spoke candidly in a thirty-minute English language interview with the reporter from ARD.
He says his “breaking point” was “seeing Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress.” That was when Clapper denied the existence of a domestic spying programs when he testified before Congress in March of last year. Snowden added, “The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public.”
In case Ben Swann’s page is taken down, along with the LiveLeak video, here is the interview on Vimeo. Offered without commentary, since Edward Snowden can speak for himself.
An internet search revealed the Edward Snowden interview is up on Rutube. It is a Russian video site somewhat similar to YouTube. The text is in Russian and doesn’t have an English language version. I have a feeling Rutube will not be as knee-jerk responsive to take-down orders from western countries.
Here is the Snowden interview as presented on Rutube. WordPress does not support Rutube for embedding, but this link will take you to the interview:
Wall Street's and their corporate media's first reaction of being outed by Snowden and having justice groups like Anonymous hacking into bank's accounts to download and allow international justice groups to follow the money stolen and shipped to offshore accounts --------CLOUD COMPUTING PROTECTS AGAINST HACKERS-------HEAD FOR THE CLOUD! Actually cloud computing opens all data for easy hacking especially for the NSA and Wall Street.
Below you see how people are trying to protect themselves from their own government run by Wall Street. US technology corporations are part of the US global tribunal and no amount of pleading innocent will sell the world on the complicity so we will see the Balkanization of the Internet and US tech corporations will be downsized to regional businesses. This is not a bad thing. WHAT ABOUT ALL THE JOBS?
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT BUSINESSES THAT EARN MILLIONS IN PROFIT AND NOT BILLIONS. JOBS WILL NOT BE LOST IF PROFITS ARE CAPPED. LET THEM GO OUT OF BUSINESS IF NOT AND WE WILL REBUILD A DOMESTIC TECH INDUSTRY.
2/10/2014 @ 5:45PM
Former NSA Security Architect Pushes Email Encryption For The Masses
Will and John Ackerly are touting email encryption for the people with their startup, Virtru.
when using GmailSince former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began divulging information on how vulnerable our personal digital data is – and how much of it security organizations have been helping themselves to – the average web surfer has begun to think a bit more cynically about cyber security. That newfound suspicion creates a headache and a PR-fiasco for the NSA but opens doors for entrepreneurs in the world of online privacy.
Two such entrepreneurs are brothers Will and John Ackerly. The Ackerlys and their startup venture, Washington D.C.-based Vitru, are two weeks into the launch of a product that lets internet users encrypt any and all of their emails for free. Unlike competitors, the service acts as an add-on to your web browser and does not require the email recipient to have signed up for the service. That feature alone makes Virtu notable.
Obama Calls For 'New Approach' On NSA Surveillance--Not New Enough For Critics Andy Greenberg Andy Greenberg Forbes Staff
Hackers And Governments Beware--Online Anonymity For The People Karsten Strauss Karsten Strauss Forbes Staff
NSA Secretly Admitted Illegally Tracking Thousands Of 'Alert List' Phone Numbers For Years Andy Greenberg Andy Greenberg Forbes Staff
Forget Fingerprints, Your Face Is A Security Key Karsten Strauss Karsten Strauss Forbes Staff
“What we’ve tried to do – and what’s different from what a lot of encrypted communication tools out there have done – is really spend time to integrate the encryption technology directly into Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com,” John Ackerly said.
There is no shortage of privacy and security products out there, but the brothers felt that if they created a simple system that required little technical know-how it would catch on with the tech-dyslexic and tech-savvy alike. “86% of Americans, while concerned about the privacy of their personal information, have not taken action because they don’t know where to go.”
Here’s how it works:
I downloaded Virtru as a Firefox add-on and a mobile app. On Firefox, each new email contains a small unobtrusive switch on the top right corner of the message window which turns encryption on (yes, it is opt in). Press “send” and Virtru encrypts the contents on your device with standard AES 256, then sends it to the recipient but separates the encryption key from the message. The recipient does not need to have downloaded Virtru to get the key but does need to confirm his or her identity by email address. Virtru holds the key to that decryption process and won’t fork it over without verification. According to Will Ackerly: “We also have a firewall that makes sure that every keystroke that you type inside the compose window never gets to the server.” Normally, he said, every single keystroke is recorded and sent to Google servers when using Gmail.
Virtru's user to user blueprint.
Virtru’s user to user blueprint.
On smartphone, the user can send out emails via the Virtru mail app that links to, say a Gmail app but only after verifying your identity on the device. Other free services include the ability to control whether your recipient can forward your message and the power to revoke access to the message after a chosen period of time, a la Snapchat.
The two brothers are in a unique position to build security solutions. Will Ackerly, the 33-year-old CTO, spent 8 years working as a cloud security architect for the NSA before taking his talents to the private sector in 2012. John, who is 39 and is Virtru’s CEO, served as associate director of the National Economic Council and director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Commerce Department under President George W. Bush and.
Will Ackerly’s primary focus with the NSA was developing technology to protect data. “After my experience at NSA I really gained an appreciation for how hard it was for people to protect their data and an acute awareness that there’s a lack of tools out there for individuals to be able to protect their data.”
John Ackerly’s tenure under President George W. Bush coincided with September 11, 2001. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, actions were taken concerning security that had long-lasting impact on the right to privacy, he explained. Massive technological change happening at the same time as major policy decisions led to an undeveloped sense of how much privacy a person can expect, how much data a third party should have access to and what the government is allowed to see. “It was a wonderful moment for me, from the policy perspective, to be talking to my brother around the kitchen table about technology that he was building at the NSA that very clearly could have a transformative impact on the way people feel about communicating online.”
The Ackerly brothers financed the company with their own money early on before raising $4.2 million from angel investors including Bob Pittman, CEO of ClearChannel. John was working for private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg in New York at the time and left to head the young firm. The extra money helped build out a team of developers and the company now stands at 11 full-timers and 24 part-time platform builders. It is a developer-heavy crew and some have experience working with Will at the NSA.
Email encryption is free (“and it will always be free,” they say) but the duo have formulated a revenue model consisting of soon-to-come paid features like attachment security, domain-level enterprise data management platforms, as well as the licensing of their technology to organizations that want to manage their own security keys. The fees themselves have yet to be determined but will be announced in the second quarter.
The majority of its angel round is still in place but the company is not profitable. Remaining cash will likely see Virtru through 2014 but the company could look to raise more money from investors after that.
Will Ackerly and his team have spent the past 18 months making sure the product works in all the top webmail providers and building out mobile apps. So far Virtru has launched its email privacy product as an add-on to Chrome, Firefox and iOS—and user numbers have reached the tens of thousands in less than a month (70% in the U.S.). That’s a limited app, to be sure, but in the coming weeks compatibility will spread to Internet Explorer, Safari and Android, as well as plugins for Outlook and Mac Mail.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s highly publicized disclosures of global surveillance and metadata interception has put the focus on privacy and products that can provide it. That attention has been a boon for the Ackerly brothers and their team, as it has for other security app products from new companies. Says John: “Having that ecosystem of players, we think that’s a great thing. We think that 2014 is going to be the year of encryption and of people embracing it for their personal lives. We think that’s one of the silver linings of the Edward Snowden revelations.”
Get involved in your communities as this NSA deal is simply Wall Street and industrial spying and very little terrorist threat surveillance. It is totalitarian and these Wall Street hedge funds are telling you and me....YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS OF PRIVACY BECAUSE WE DO NOT OPERATE UNDER THE US CONSTITUTION.
THEY SAY WE WILL TAKE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION.....WE WILL GIVE IT TO WHOMEVER WE WANT.....AND WE WILL SELL IT FOR PROFIT.
End NSA Massive Spying Programs
We've told you about TODAY's massive action against mass spying -- and now it's time to act. We're calling today The Day We Fight Back, and dozens of large organizations and websites and thousands of smaller ones are mobilizing their members and visitors to demand an end to broad suspicion-less surveillance.
We announced it on the anniversary of the passing of Aaron Swartz, to honor him and to celebrate the victory over SOPA that he helped us achieve two years ago.
If all of the organizations and sites that have signed on to the cause press forward today, we should be able to drive tens of thousands of phone calls to lawmakers to demand that the NSA's mass spying programs be reined in.
Will you place one of those calls? It'll only take 2 minutes, and we'll make it easy for you by giving you a call script and connecting you to the right office.
Just click here to call your lawmakers.
Then, or if you can't call, please click here to send an email to
We understand the United States to be a democracy, founded upon a Constitution that affords us critical rights, and governed by therule of law.
Yet for years, the NSA has exploited secret legal interpretations to undermine our privacy rights -- thus chilling speech and activism, and thereby threatening to subvert the very underpinnings of our democracy itself.
We are demanding that decision makers remedy this by:
Passing the USA FREEDOM Act, which would end the bulk collection of Americans' phone records and institute other key reforms.
Defeating the so-called FISA Improvements Act, which would entrench -- and potentially expand -- the spying.
Creating additional privacy protections for non-Americans.
Ending the NSA's subversion of encryption and other data security measures.
And we're not even that far from winning on at least one key front:
The USA FREEDOM Act has more than 100 bipartisan sponsors, including two powerful lead sponsors: Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who was the original author of the PATRIOT Act and is furious that it has been abused to spy on Americans en masse.
This summer an amendment that's very similar to parts of the USA FREEDOM Act failed to pass in the House of Representatives by just a handful of votes. Enough lawmakers now say they would have voted in support that it would pass if it came up for a vote today.
Now we need to force a vote on the issue in the House, and a first vote on it in the Senate -- and we'll do that by putting pressure on lawmakers by calling and emailing them today. Tens of thousands of people are poised to join the cause: Please be one of them.
Just click here to call your lawmakers.
Then, or if you can't call, please click here to send an email to your lawmakers.
We're going to persist in this fight, and we will win it.
Below you see the threats this early fighter of NSA overreach endured as he shouted loudly and strongly against these unconstitutional actions decades ago. BUT THE SUPREME COURT SAYS IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO BE EVERYWHERE YOU SAY. No, the Supreme Court says that certain methods of surveillance is legal but we all know none of what is being done follows the law. We ask as well, is the Supreme Court re-writing law rather than interpreting it if corporations are allowed to own and profit from all of our activities on the web when the web is engrained in daily life? OF COURSE NOT.
CITIZENS OF NATIONS HAVING A COUP AGAINST THE PEOPLE AND THEIR CONSTITUTIONS OFTEN THROW THE SUPREME COURT OUT OF OFFICE WITH THE POLITICIANS COMMITTING TREASON AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION. WE KNOW THAT THE TPP IS ILLEGAL AND A COUP AGAINST THE US CONSTITUTION AS WE KNOW ALL OF THE LOSS OF PRIVACY IS AS WELL. THIS NSA SURVEILLANCE IS AN EXTENSION OF US GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND PROFIT.
The first congressman to battle the NSA is dead. No-one noticed, no-one cares.
By Mark Ames
On February 4, 2014
“Pike will pay for this, you wait and see—we’ll destroy him for this.” —Mitchell Rogovin, CIA special counsel, 1976
Last month, former Congressman Otis Pike died, and no one seemed to notice or care. That’s scary, because Pike led the House’s most intensive and threatening hearings into US intelligence community abuses, far more radical and revealing than the better-known Church Committee’s Senate hearings that took place at the same time. That Pike could die today in total obscurity, during the peak of the Snowden NSA scandal, is, as they say, a “teachable moment” —one probably not lost on today’s already spineless political class.
In mid-1975, Rep. Pike was picked to take over the House select committee investigating the US intelligence community after the first committee chairman, a Michigan Democrat named Nedzi, was overthrown by more radical liberal Democrats fired up by Watergate after they learned that Nedzi had suppressed information about the CIA’s illegal domestic spying program, MH-CHAOS, exposed by Seymour Hersh in late 1974. It was Hersh’s exposés on the CIA domestic spying program targeting American dissidents and antiwar activists that led to the creation of the Church Committee and what became known as the Pike Committee, after Nedzi was tossed overboard.
Pike was an odd choice to take Nedzi’s place—he was a conservative Cold War Democrat from a mostly-Republican Long Island district, who’d supported the Vietnam War long after most northern Democrats abandoned it, and who loathed do-gooder Kennedy liberals and Big Government waste. So no one expected Pike to challenge the National Security State and executive privilege so aggressively and righteously—and some argued, recklessly—as he wound up doing.
The reason is simple if you think in 1975 terms. Pike was an ambitious political animal—and in 1975, standing up to the secrecy-obsessed NatSec State like Warren Beatty and Robert Redford did on screen seemed like smart politics. Pike was looking to trade up to the Senate in 1976, just as Frank Church was looking to use the Church Committee hearings to springboard into the White House.
Pike was less interested in sensational scandals like Church’s poison darts and foreign assassination plots than he was in getting to the guts of the intelligence apparatus, its power, its funding, its purpose. He asked questions never asked or answered since the start of the Cold War: What was America’s intelligence budget? What was the purpose of the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies and programs? Were they succeeding by their own standards? Were taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Were they making America safer?
Those were exactly the questions that the intel apparatus did not want asked. The Church Committee focused on excesses and abuses, implying that with the proper reforms and oversights, the intelligence structures could be set right. But as the Pike Committee started pulling up the floorboards, what they discovered quickly led Rep. Pike and others to declare that the entire intelligence apparatus was a dangerous boondoggle. Not only were taxpayers getting fleeced, but agencies like the NSA and CIA were a direct threat to America’s security and democracy, the proverbial monkey playing with a live grenade. The problem was that Pike asked the right questions—and that led him to some very wrong answers, as far as the powers that be were concerned.
It was Pike’s committee that got the first ever admission—from CIA director William Colby—that the NSA was routinely tapping Americans’ phone calls. Days after that stunning confession, Pike succeeded in getting the head of the NSA, Lew Allen Jr., to testify in public before his committee—the first time in history that an NSA chief publicly testified. It was the first time that the NSA publicly maintained that it was legally entitled to wiretap Americans’ communications overseas, in spite of the 1934 Communications Act and other legal restrictions placed on other intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
It was also the first time an NSA chief publicly lied to Congress, claiming it was not eavesdropping on domestic or overseas phone calls involving American citizens. (Technically, legalistically, the NSA argued that it hadn’t lied—the reason being that since Americans weren’t specifically “targeted” in the NSA’s vast data-vacuuming programs in the 1970s, recording and storing every phone call and telex cable in computers which were then data-mined for keywords, that therefore they weren’t technically eavesdropping on Americans who just happened to be swept up into the wiretapping vacuum.)
Pike quickly discovered the fundamental problem with the NSA: It was by far the largest intelligence agency, and yet it was birthed unlike any other, as a series of murky executive orders under Truman at the peak of Cold War hysteria. Digging into the NSA’s murky beginnings, it quickly became clear that the agency was explicitly chartered in such a way that placed it beyond legal accountability, out of reach of the other branches of government. Unlike the CIA, which came into being under an act of Congress, the NSA’s founding charter was a national secret.
In early August, 1975, Pike ordered the NSA to produce its “charter” document, National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 6. The Pentagon’s intelligence czar, Albert Hall, appeared before the Pike Committee that day—but without the classified NSA charter. Hall reminded Pike that the Ford White House had offered to show the NSA charter document to Pike’s committee just as it had done with Church’s Senate Committee members, who had agreed to merely view the charter at a government location outside of Congress, without entering the secret document into the Senate record. Officially, publicly, it still didn’t exist. Pike refused to accept that:
“You’re talking about the document that set up the entire N.S.A., it’s one which all members [of Congress] are entitled to see without shuttling back and forth downtown to look at.”
Assistant Defense Secretary Hall told an incredulous Pike that he hadn’t brought the NSA charter with him as he’d been told to, and that he couldn’t because “I need clearance” and the charter “has secret material in it.”
“It seems incredible to me, very frankly, that we are asked to appropriate large amounts of money for that agency which employs large numbers of people without being provided a copy of the piece of paper by which the agency is authorized.”
Pike’s investigations led him to believe that the combined intelligence agencies were massively understating their budgets, and that the true figure was in the area of $10 billion in 1975 dollars (about $43 billion today), with the NSA by far the largest intelligence agency of all. Broken down, he discovered that about one-fifth of the FBI’s budget went to counterintelligence, largely wasted except as it targeted and harassed leftist dissidents and political opponents. He estimated that the CIA spent about a third of its budget bribing or funding foreign political parties and foreign politicians, including in allied countries like Italy. And that the NSA was a powerful tool in some of the most nefarious—and illegal—domestic surveillance programs.
For example, the CIA-run MH-CHAOS program (which I wrote about here and here in the days after the Snowden story first broke last summer—an illegal domestic spying program which grew out of the CIA’s surveillance of Ramparts magazine and the mighty Warren Hinckle) used the NSA to provide thousands of files on US antiwar activists, celebrities, dissidents and even political figures. It became increasingly clear that if you really wanted to reform and restructure the US intelligence community, you had to take on the NSA.
When the Pike Committee started looking into what taxpayers were really getting for their $10 billion annual investment in intelligence, things went from bad to worse. Pike charged the NSA with taking unacceptable risks that threatened to spark war with the Soviets on several occasions, using Navy subs, including nuclear-armed subs, to penetrate Soviet territorial waters to perform intelligence activities. On a few occasions, the Navy subs doing NSA missions were spotted and pursued by Soviet warships and air forces. Perhaps the craziest revelations involved Navy submarine missions inside the Soviet naval ports in Vladivostok, where “technicians” attached small transmitters to cables that connected Vladivostok’s naval installations with their counterparts in Moscow, all of which was recorded into NSA computers in Ft Meade, Maryland.
Did those risky and expensive intelligence operations make the United States safer? Did they prevent attacks on America or American interests, or correctly warn the White House of some impending crisis? To answer that, Pike looked into some major world events to see how US intelligence fared: The 1973 Yom Kippur War; Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus; and the 1974 coup in Portugal (as well as the US intelligence failure in the 1968 Tet Offensive).
The answers were devastating and embarrassing—in every instance, US intelligence failed miserably. In October 1975, while the hearings were still ongoing, Pike told the New York Times,
“If an attack were to be launched on America in the very near future, it is my belief that America would not know that the attack were about to be launched.”
To find out why US intelligence was such a dangerous and expensive boondoggle, Pike summoned Secretary of State Kissinger to testify— but Kissinger refused to appear. Pike wasn’t playing ball the way Church was, so the Ford Administration and the intelligence community decided to stop cooperating and to start pushing back—stonewalling or ignoring subpoenas, gumming up the investigation’s gears. The Pike Committee held Kissinger in contempt; Kissinger responded that he was the victim of Congressional “McCarthyism”— and much of the Washington Establishment backed up the invented Kissinger-as-McCarthyism-victim meme.
Meanwhile, an even more radical subcommittee on privacy in the House, headed by Bella Abzug, targeted the NSA’s domestic spying program, subpoenaing government officials and the heads of the major telecoms and cable telex firms—AT&T, ITT, Western Union and RCA. The more the House dug into the NSA’s foundations, the more they discovered about the murky extralegal arrangements and deals made between private telecom firms and the National Security State apparatus. In the late 1940s, as the NSA was being formed out of the Army Security Agency and other military signal intelligence branches, Truman’s top defense officials cajoled the major US cable telex firms to agree to let the nascent NSA tap into all international communications. Some of the firms were more reluctant than others; all asked for written legal assurances and legislative action, but were given less than they were promised. Everything remained legally murky—promises, but nothing concrete and publicly legalized, like the NSA itself. [For more on this, read James Bamford's excellent history of the NSA, "Puzzle Palace."]
To prevent the public from learning that the NSA had programs physically tapping and recording all international telex cables, President Ford invoked executive privilege for the first time in history on behalf of private corporations, to exempt them from having to testify to Abzug’s committee. Eventually, some went ahead and testified anyway. Like I said, for a brief period in the mid-1970s, the smart money was on the Robert Redford anti-government heroes…
But what Abzug, Pike, Church and others hadn’t counted on was that some seemingly-permanent cultural changes turned out not to be as permanent as thought. The shock from the stream of revelations was no longer so inspiring—as more dirty linen was aired, it had a cumulative numbing effect on much of the public, turning them away from politics—away from the institutions they trusted, and away from the political mavericks taking them on—away from it all, and inward, just as the Baby Boomers themselves were turning inward in droves, away from messy political struggles, and into the purity of personal fulfillment…away from struggling for world peace, in favor of seeking inner peace.
What Pike and Church were uncovering turned out to be something much darker and harder to process than Watergate. With Watergate, there was a simpler narrative that reaffirmed America’s own fairytales about itself: Here was a bad apple, Nixon, and a few bad apples around him, eventually exposed and overthrown by the good guys—the valiant press, the politicians with integrity—proving that the American System worked after all.
But what the Pike Committee (and to a lesser extent the Church Committee) revealed was something much more systemic, much more complex and depressing to grapple with.
As Pike put it, in Watergate the American people were asked to believe that “their President had been a bad person. In this situation they are asked much more; they are asked to believe that their country has been evil. And nobody wants to believe that.”
Watergate was inspiring; the Pike Committee was a “bummer” (in the parlance of their times).
American public opinion proved to be fickle and shallow, and the reactionaries in the intelligence community took advantage of this fickleness to destroy Pike and others like him. When in January 1976 the Pike Committee approved its draft report slamming the intelligence community as a dangerous boondoggle, calling for radical budget reductions, the abolition of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other radical structural reforms, the special counsel to CIA director George H. W. Bush called Pike’s office and warned that if the report was approved, “we’ll destroy him for this.”
“I’m serious, there will be retaliation,” Rogovin said. “Any political ambitions that Pike had in New York are through. We will destroy him for this.”
And so they did. The Pike Committee’s report was quashed by a vote in the House. Portions of the Pike Committee report were leaked to the Village Voice by CBS reporter Daniel Schorr, which only made the Pike Committee look worse, “irresponsible” as they put it. Newly-appointed CIA director Bush accused Pike of losing hundreds of classified documents, making matters even worse. The House not only voted to quash the Pike Committee report, it launched a separate new investigation into the Pike Committee—who leaked the classified report to Schorr? Who lost the alleged lost documents? The House investigation into Pike’s committee lasted months, ending with Schorr, who’d been fired by CBS, dragged before Congress to testify. Through it all, Pike, the conservative Democrat, was made to look like a loose cannon and a revolutionary radical in his conservative Long Island district, where local Republican officials started openly red-baiting him. Pike backed out of his Senate run, and quit politics for good two years later. Rightly sensing a massive GOP backlash in the 1978 elections, Pike bitterly complained to a New York Times reporter that voters in his own district were driving around with bumper stickers on their cars reading “Pike Is 2 Liberal 4 Me”.
Bella Abzug’s committee report on the NSA and privacy was likewise quashed, and she was out of Congress, and out of political life, the following year.
Frank Church also lost out: from leading Democratic Party nominee for president in early 1976, to not-even-vice-president material a few months later. The next time he ran for his Senate seat in 1980, he lost to a crypto-Bircher by a couple thousand votes, in a contest that received murky outside campaign funding. By the time Reagan triumphantly won a second term in office, Frank Church was dead of cancer, and whatever positive reforms he was able to push through during the Carter years were long undone—thanks to Reagan’s EO 12333, the CIA was now authorized to engage in some domestic spying activities so long as it involved “terrorism,” and the FBI was once again infiltrating and harassing leftist dissidents on a scale that would’ve made J. Edgar proud.
By 1978, the reform energy was dead. As quickly as that, the culture seemed to want to forget about it and brush it all under the carpet again. As a Washington Post reporter, George Lardner, put it that year,
“All that seems left is the steady tattoo of suggestions that the scandals were somehow imagined.”
Today, there’s an underlying assumption that exposing dark government secrets is somehow transformative in itself, even without a wider politics to frame it. It’s hard to know where that silly assumption comes from: a vestigial Freudian faith in the transformative power of dark secrets brought to light? Are we really that foolish?
What we have instead: No hearings, no politics, no frame to make sense of this or to transform our lives for the better. Instead, we have the language of public relations and marketing, the rush to frame the story, feeding the outrage monkey and nothing to show for it.
Any politician’—or political handler— with a sense of history will point to Otis Pike’s fate: He stuck his neck out and took on the National Security State on terms that should’ve appealed to common sense conservative values: Are taxpayers getting fleeced? Is America safer under these programs? He was destroyed. And after he was destroyed, he was forgotten. Now he’s dead, and no one noticed, or cared.