[Thursday, December 5, 2002] After I testified against the surveillance in 1971, Sen. Sam J. Ervin’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights hired me to write two book-length reports on the Army’s spying. To do this, I had to read the contents of six Army computers containing spy reports. What struck me most was not the harm that any one of those often inaccurate reports could do by itself, but the harm that could be done if the government ever gained untraceable access to the financial records and private communications of its critics.In 1975, while working for Sen. Frank Church’s Select Committee on Intelligence, I became exquisitely aware of just how nasty domestic intelligence agencies can become. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was the worst. It not only engaged in thousands of illegal wiretaps, mail openings and burglaries, it also blackmailed members of Congress, defamed government critics and even tried to drive the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to suicide by threatening to disclose embarrassing tape recordings of his extramarital affairs.
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