The CIA's Assassination Chemical Weapon - Secret Heart Attack Gun - Senate Testimony (1975)
The Church Committee (formally the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) was a U.S. Senate select committee in 1975 that investigated abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Books on the topic: https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=U...
Chaired by Idaho Senator Frank Church (D-ID), the committee was part of a series of investigations into intelligence abuses in 1975, dubbed the "Year of Intelligence", including its House counterpart, the Pike Committee, and the presidential Rockefeller Commission. The committee's efforts led to the establishment of the permanent U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The most shocking revelations of the committee include Operation MKULTRA involving the drugging and torture of unwitting US citizens as part of human experimentation on mind control; COINTELPRO involving the surveillance and infiltration of American political and civil-rights organizations; Family Jewels, a CIA program to covertly assassinate foreign leaders; Operation Mockingbird as a systematic propaganda campaign with domestic and foreign journalists operating as CIA assets and dozens of US news organizations providing cover for CIA activity.
Foreshadowing the 2013 Global surveillance disclosures by Snowden, it also unearthed Project SHAMROCK in which the major telecommunications companies shared their traffic with the NSA.
By the early years of the 1970s, a series of troubling revelations had appeared in the press concerning intelligence activities. First came the revelations by Army intelligence officer Christopher Pyle in January 1970 of the U.S. Army's spying on the civilian population and Senator Sam Ervin's Senate investigations produced more revelations. Then on December 22, 1974, 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 on 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.
The creation of the Church Committee was approved on January 27, 1975, by a vote of 82 to 4 in the Senate.
The Church Committee's final report was published in April 1976 in six books. Also published were seven volumes of Church Committee hearings in the Senate.
Before the release of the final report, the committee also published an interim report titled "Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders", which investigated alleged attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, including Patrice Lumumba of Zaire, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, Gen. René Schneider of Chile and Fidel Castro of Cuba. President Gerald Ford urged the Senate to withhold the report from the public, but failed, and under recommendations and pressure by the committee, 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.
In addition, the committee produced seven case studies on covert operations, but only the one on Chile was released, titled "Covert Action in Chile: 1963–1973". The rest were kept secret at CIA's request.
According to a declassified National Security Agency history, the Church Committee also helped to uncover the NSA's Watch List. The information for the list was compiled into the so-called "Rhyming Dictionary" of biographical information, which at its peak held millions of names—thousands of which were US citizens. Some prominent members of this list were Joanne Woodward, Thomas Watson, Walter Mondale, Art Buchwald, Arthur F. Burns, Gregory Peck, Otis G. Pike, Tom Wicker, Whitney Young, Howard Baker, Frank Church, David Dellinger, Ralph Abernathy, and others.
But among the most shocking revelations of the committee was the discovery of Operation SHAMROCK, in which the major telecommunications companies shared their traffic with the NSA from 1945 to the early 1970s. The information gathered in this operation fed directly into the Watch List. In 1975, the committee decided to unilaterally declassify the particulars of this operation, against the objections of President Ford's administration.