Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History Federal Surveillance Civil Rights  CSPAN  December 23, 2017 8:00pm-8:51pm EST

8:00 pm
[applause] >> you are watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend. follow us on twitter at @cspanhistory to keep up with the latest history news. >> next on lectures in history, aaron dell teaches a class about privacy laws and surveillance of civil rights leaders. he describes the mid-20th century creation of the program their cointell pro and tracking of lyrical organizations. his classes about 45 minutes. to class,ome
8:01 pm
everybody. today we are going to talk about government surveillance. want to talk about today, can intelligence agencies operate in a democrat success he -- craddick society and hold up citizen's writes especially the right to dissent. no doubt, there is a need for intelligence communities to operate, to exist. foreign and domestic threats are real. but for over a century in addition to taking action against real threats to the lives of american citizens, bureaus and agencies within the american government have surveilled those who have expressed what they call "strong political views that run counter
8:02 pm
to the prevailing government political paradigm." thatchallenges the notion those who support the state in some sort that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. i will come back to that later in our discussion. ,aybe you adhere to that view maybe you are on the fence about it, maybe you rejected. that is fine. we will discuss it. but the history of surveillance necessitates that discussion. can the same tolls used to ools used- same t to protect be used against citizens for sometimes nefarious reasons. going back in history, teddy roosevelt's attorney general creates a squad of -- becomes known as the bureau of 1930's,ation and by the
8:03 pm
the federal bureau of investigation, the f dei. the fbi's own history, they have a long narrative of their history and they link the creation of the fbi to the progressive moment -- progressive movement. the progressive movement says that the government must industrialn an society. that inspired that unrest and terrible working conditions and so forth. so, the progressive movement inspires things like the fda, to ensure the food you're getting has labels and what you are eating is actually what you think you are eating. it will eventually lead to child labor laws, but it also creates this nationwide law enforcement body that is able to keep tabs
8:04 pm
on criminals throughout the country that did not exist prior to this time. thefbi -- corruption in politics and big business, all addressing organization at the turn-of-the-century as well as national security concerns, particularly with regard to anarchism. as well as threats of war times. subversion and espionage that we talk about the other week when we talk about free speech. the fbi in 1939 makes its first effort groups such as anti-enlistment and -- they will spy on the american civil liberties union, the evangelical american -- of churches, the
8:05 pm
nationwide labor federation, the naacp, the new orleans women's center, the american friends service committee, the quaker social justice organization, the women's peace movement led by etc.adams, pete seeger, sometimes these people and organizations are investigated for decades. these are not violent revolutionary threats. and perhaps even the particular form of government we have, we dothese are not so through specc means. as we noted on our speech on free speech, political spying will begin right around 1908 and will run until about 1924 and
8:06 pm
then will stop for about a decade. the impetus to stop it is the first red scare. immediately after the first world war, 1919, a number of actions that will raise a lot of concerns about government surveillance. the seattle general strike in early 1919 shuts down the city. bombe spring of 1919 of plot is broken up and then there is a wave of anarchist bombings targeting prominent people including the attorney general. this house is down nearer where are hits massachusetts -- where r pitts massachusetts.
8:07 pm
headed by a young agent name j edgar hoover it compiles files on roughly 200,000 individuals. the bureau uses those files to round up several suspected radicals in a series of raids in 1919 and 1920. some people rounded up our well-known, goldman, other people are arrested amply because they appeared for an, members -- appeared foreign. many of those arrests were held commuicado for months. some were put on a boat and sent to russia for anarchist leaves. there is tremendous political backlash because of this. in particular because many of those rounded up again or not
8:08 pm
engaged in radical behavior. perhaps they hold radical views, notnonetheless they have engaged in anything. some of them are simply immigrants. backlasholitical brings the fbi -- to a halt. people that may have been inclined to support this round up in place, especially in light of immigration quotas put in place. it totally shutdown from eastern europe as we will talk about next week. -- known bye end of the black chamber, made up that people of the state department
8:09 pm
and army intelligence essentially for 10 years starting in 19 and running until 1929, western union had provided chamber. this was shut down by henry stimson. he opposed spying on diplomatic allies, not spying in general, but spying on u.s. diplomatic allies. there is a supreme court kate as it -- case at the end of 1920, about wiretapping, whether tapping into someone's phone conversation, does that i late the fourth amendment. here is what the fourth amendment says, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, the first, and
8:10 pm
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and no warrant issued but upon probable cause and particularly describing the place to be searched in the course and -- the person or things to be seized. joins theft supreme court and speaks to the decision to roll against the notion that wiretapping violates the fourth amendment and that will last roughly 40 years. here is what he says in favor of wiretaps laming they don't violate the fourth amendment. "congress may of course protect the secrecy of telephone messages by making them inadmissible evidence in trials by direct legislation. if congress wants to roll on it, it can. but the courts cannot adopt such a policy by a true bidding and
8:11 pm
-- a large and unreasonable meaning to the fourth amendment. if one installs a telephone into his house with connecting wires project his voice are not within the role of the fourth amendment. nor many we have cited of the federal decisions brought to our attention old the amendment to have in my weighted a defendant unless there has been an official search and seizure against his person or seizure of his personal and tangible effects or invasion of his house for the purpose of making a says she's sure -- such a seizure. an act by government officials would make society suffer and
8:12 pm
give terminals greater immunity than before." what he is saying here is if you are using a telephone machine, it is connected to wires that go outside of your house to speak to someone going outside of your home and someone tapping into your life is not actually going into your home and urging your longings. that is outside your home and doesn't fall inside the fourth amendment. this is how the court rules. let me say it again, a standard which would for bid the exception of evidence by government officials would make society suffer and give criminals greater a mean unique known here heretoforth. known here to fouforth. dissented here.
8:13 pm
decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commanded to the citizens. existence of the government --ld be parol if it fails to tol be imperiled if it fails -- the law recklessly. it teaches the whole people by example. crime is contagious. if the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law. it invites every man to determine the law for himself. .t invites anarchy if the ends justify the means, that the government commit the convictione
8:14 pm
of a criminal, this court should resolutely set its face -- critical spying ends up the 20's to 1926 when franklin roosevelt requests it be resumed. what we see is that government surveillance doesn't target any spurt regular -- any particular group nor one particular party or ideology. greatin roosevelt, the liberal democrat, request that political spying the reinstated led by j edgar hoover appointed head of the adderall bureau of investigation at the age of 29, -- federal euro of investigations at the age of 29. uber put together a list -- hoover put together a list, but
8:15 pm
nonetheless escaped the fallout. the bureau rebounded within the decade. wrote'smphasized the p euro -- rebounds. about soviet spies and concerned about fascists. this is the mid-1930's. there are several u.s. based groups that rise large enough that the american nazi party can hold a rally in madison square gua -- garden. the fbi investigates federal
8:16 pm
crimes. hoover adds to the list diverse of activities. franklinlear how much roosevelt, how much the attorney general new of the extent of what hoover would do. there is no record of the meeting and exactly what was said and roosevelt has bigger fish to fry in some sense. he has an economic depression that continues to grind along. he will ultimately have the war to deal with, but even prior to the 19th century, there is a looming war, but there is no proof that -- hoover renews this. his renewal is authorized outside the courts and discourages roosevelt's legislation because he is sure he won't get approval.
8:17 pm
they are concerned about creating a secret state police force in the first place. approves the resumption of political spying without congressional approval. he wants to have every american fingerprinted, the newest technology at the time. groups that don't want to go to war in europe, groups assure that amerco won't come involved in anything happening over there. fdr says he sees nothing wrong with groups -- grading falls teachings. that may have colored his views of political dissidents. fdr has hoover look into political opponents as well. in particular, he has fbi
8:18 pm
investigates several senators including charles lindbergh, all of whom oppose any intervention in europe. hoover loves from the experience that he can curry neighbor and gain leverage by digging into any of the president perceived enemies. kennedy blackmailed the brothers, but he does give robert kennedy attorney general, monthly updates of everybody he knows, accusations against him and family members. on the one hand, perhaps this is the able knowledge. it also lets the kennedys know everything.knows the kennedys have the inclination to shut down what they may be doing, they will know in the back of their mind that uber has tabs on anything
8:19 pm
they have been doing. the restoration of spying takes place in the context of emerging national security state, one we are familiar with today. world war ends, the cold war begins shortly thereafter. the house on americans activities committee and the federal government's massive loyalty program designed to have out anybody might political views, all rely on fbi reports. a dent in 1956, the fbi goes on the offensive. political views, all rely on fbii counter intelligenm specifically designed to target the communist party. it is specifically counterintelligence rather than prosecutorial. it is a counter operation to destroy political enemies of the government.
8:20 pm
one, legal proceedings against communist party leaders have been very successful in sending numbers to prison. the laws are favorable during this period of time, but it also exposed at the eye informants -- it also exposed fbi informants. hoover was not keen on that. to it 1957 the court begins rollback laws put in place in the late 30's and early 40's that had given free reign to round up anybody that is a member of a group that might overthrow the united states government, which in court terms was interpreted loosely. top leaders, by the way, operating for a foreign party. rollback and legal
8:21 pm
power, this threat of exposing more informants leads to the creation of the counterintelligence program. actions overs for masses,ce over the information leading to confusion and disunity, penetration in channels of human life, espionage, and sabotage potential. of those, the last two are illegal, but influence over the masses, ability to create controversy, penetration of channels of american life where public opinion is molded, you may find the ideals of the communist party to be reprehensible, nonetheless, those are not the civic league illegal things. -- not specifically illegal things. it effectively destroys what remains of the commonest party. are --66 to 1971 there
8:22 pm
actions against the communist party. it dropped to maybe a thousand active members in the 60's. large part of that is due to legal measures used against the party. they take a huge hit in 1956 -- come to the soviet union. he was a monster who conducted show trials of political enemies and people he thought might be political enemies. that has a huge effect turning people away from the communist party. there is substantial dissent in the ranks of the fbi in the late 1960's, because hoover will not let this go even of the party is
8:23 pm
well past the point where it poses any remotely conceivable threat to the united states. planting evidence to suggest party leaders are informants, right? plant evidence and hope somebody comes along and leaves they are an fbi informant, creating a fake communist party organization in order to -- are ,ou a marxist or a trotsky-ite they foster that descent. send wallsoodwink, documents to provoke a fight between the communist party and the sicilian mafia. is well aware of how cosa nostra deals with threats. here is their suggestion how to deal with this.
8:24 pm
this is an agent rick lasting -- mailed tosion the same teamster union locals in the philadelphia area. laws, i am the loyal union man who wrote you in january. i have more news from you. you will remember that i told you i heard from my commie brother-in-law. among the instructions was trying to get rid of the hoodlums and undocumented in this country. i talked to my brother-in-law and he asked how things were going, he told me he knew there would need a lot of gangsters in mind union, but told me that in february several leaders were meeting party leaders of other countries and it came out again that his party is going to clean up the gangster unions in this
8:25 pm
country. i told him he was all wet. i'm concerned these commies mean business." here is an anonymous letter that to send.s going this is a lie. aboverespect to the letter, it is a act that three meters of the commonest party were in it a past, hungry to attend a meeting of the commonest workers party. two of the three leaders have returned to the united states, however, the information in the letter in hungry it came out again how this party is going to clean up the gangsters has no basis in fact. typographical errors will
8:26 pm
be inserted into the letter." blah, blah. create a plot to dissent. the fbi knows what will happen if summary comes after them, he plan create dissent. is for someone to retaliate violently. there is no evidence that this actually worked, by the way, but it is not for lack of trying. minister and members of this congregation circulated information against the american -- committee. the fbi -- attempts to smear him to sink his campaign. this is not surveillance of violent threats, this is something different.
8:27 pm
the fbi will also target based civil rights movement. began investigating the naacp for commonest links, finds manages nonetheless it to get the naacp on a list of diverse of organizations. martin luther king,, jr. was investigated in the 50's. speech at a school accused of being a communist training center. martin luther king at communist training school, there he is. it was not a communist training school. billboard is rooted in and accurate history. they did it of course to further
8:28 pm
the party's interest, they saw it as a great wedge issue. fear spread by many separate nation is that the civil rights movement was a front to create unrest in the united states. was inlege that someone the communist party because that person donated blood to king when he was stabbed. tells quietly congressmen, senators, and the kennedys that lawyers and king advisors is a commonest party member taking orders from moscow. he left the party in 1950. hoover usesip that
8:29 pm
to make this allegation is over five years old. attempted to recruit levinsohn. how much that could he be if they attempted to turn him? there is no evidence, nevertheless, hoover insist that king is secretly a communist for years. here is william sullivan shortly after the march on washington in martin luther king jr.'s i have a dream speech, we must mark king as the most dangerous knee grow in the future of the nation in the standpoint of communism, knee grow, and national security. it may be unrealistic to restrict our actions to legalistic proofs that will stand up in court or before congressional committees. robert kennedy approves wiretaps of 19g's home in the fall
8:30 pm
to three after the march on washington. the fbi will also tap hotel rooms. goes after king after elected commonest ties and sexual proclivities. i find nothing untoward. shortly after he is named nobel prize winner, the fbi compiles a composite tape of extramarital sexual encounters. the idea is a send one tape to make it sound like king is having a sexual encounter with several women in his hotel room. a send this tape to king anonymously with a letter. -- this view of your" is from the fbi. "i will not dignify your name
8:31 pm
with a mr., or a reverent, or a doctor, your name calls to mind a king like that of henry the eighth. look into your heart, you know you are rate fraud and liability grows of our us knee this is" -- definitely a dude from the fbi. ,you are a colossal fraud clearly you don't believe in any personal moral principles. you are filth' etc.. you are on the record, all of your or trees. listen to yourself, your filthy -- you filthy animal here to the american public, the church organizations helping protestants, catholics, and will know you for
8:32 pm
what you are, a beast. there is only one thing left to thing -- is only one you better do it. you are done. your fraudulent self is bared for the nation." he is encouraged to kill himself because he is such a threat to the nation in their view. then offers to turn the tape over to the press. the press turns him down and the down in the face of a looming investigation into federal surveillance. lyndon johnson takes over for the assassinated kennedy, cranks down on wiretapping. there are a couple of court
8:33 pm
cases, katz versus united states. in these cases the supreme court changes its tune and says wiretaps must follow the same procedures as a warrant. the people initiating the tap have to specify the crime they are investigating, specify the conversations to be seized. congress then follows suit. overall. not stop e severalurveill groups such as the black panther party. the fbi will go after the new left and the ku klux klan. they will successfully undermine some of these as we will discuss. a specialgate,
8:34 pm
committee led by frank church, a democrat from idaho, to investigate the intelligence community. someone managed to break into an fbi headquarters, grab a bunch of documents. when i got back to their hole, they discovered they had a whole proh of these cointel documents which nobody know existed. there had basically been no major effort in intelligence reform higher to that despite records that the federal government had used information policies.ail and -- there are committees, but they clearly did nothing.
8:35 pm
what the church committee discovers, a laundry list of terrible things. had files on over one million americans, people suspected of conversion that court convictions. the national security agency had investigated every cable sent or received by americans overseas 1947 to 1975. the irs allowed tax information to be used by intelligence agencies for political purposes. lyndon johnson ordered the cia to spy on antiwar protesters believing the soviets or chinese had to be behind it, because he couldn't wrap his mind around the idea that american students were on their own so deeply opposed their policies. it has to be the soviets, it has to be the chinese directing
8:36 pm
these students. this is a direct violation of the cia's charter. evens operation chaos, not trying to hide how serious the stuff is. operation chaos indexes 300,000 files onh in-depth over 7000 people, no evidence of foreign direction found for any of them. worth noting, church camilla to -- church committee conducted drug experiments and participated in efforts to assassinate foreign political leaders. this was a gun that was supposed to give someone a heart attack if you shop them with it. cointelpro was not spying, it
8:37 pm
was proactive lyrical intelligence. the lesson here, anti-fascist and anti-communist paranoia dealt momentum that led to the famous red scare, the house -- investigations, later mccarthyism. it is all part of the same spectrum. it doesn't end with mccarthy's public downfall. instead, it carries through in a civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960's and the 1970's. the ends justify the means in the government's view. instead, it carrieswhat amount f the -- mondale, were you concerned about its legality? >> legality? ? whether it was legal?
8:38 pm
in what sense, whether it was a legal thing to do? yes. that didn't enter the discussion. i was asking whether you were concerned whether that would be legal and proper. we didn't consider it at the time, no. the threat seems so egregious in the minds of these folks, they will just act and deal with legal consequences later even though there turns out to be no evidence that there was a plot by the soviets or chinese to inspire antiwar protests, civil rights movement activities and so forth. >> i was curious when you were talking about the fbi counterfeiting letters to mlk, what year was that? >> that was 1964, right after he received the nobel peace prize. the result of this church committee investigations, on the legal side, the most in written
8:39 pm
the of establishment -- better checks on foreign and domestic intelligence agencies, but is in approval on what existed. they propose changes to make permanent. the house creates its own. this is opposed by the white house and intelligence community , by some conservatives at the time, especially the hard-core anti-communist ones. they argue this will cap the ability to protect itself. it's all the threats that cointelpro never found. the church committee counters that. there were legal routes through which legal objectives would've been met. they argue that security and liberty are compatible. in 1978, congress passes the board surveillance act which creates a special court to review wiretap request.
8:40 pm
this is meant to draw a line between foreign and domestic spying. there is also a 10 year term limit placed on fbi directors. until he a director dies in 1941. nonetheless, here we are, stop.e this doesn't in the 1980's the fbi stop. in spies on those opposed to ronald reagan's policies in south america. the terrorist attacks of september 2001 on surprisingly are a huge impetus to reboot this kind of program. fear drives the feeling that you must act regardless of the legal propriety of it, deal with the constant as is later.
8:41 pm
the nsa after september 11 begins collecting the metadata of every phone call in the united states from major carriers witches who did you call, how did you call them, what time, what date. phone conversations, actual transcripts, so long as someone is outside of united states. internet communications, ostensibly, they will always be allowed to do this so long as one person is outside the united states, that inevitably domestic conversations are collected, too, because there is no automatic way to sort out for in and domestic -- foreign and domestic traffic. reported in 2005-2006 and confirmed years later with the revelation of the snowden documents, there was a review of this broad data collection under
8:42 pm
.eorge w. bush if department of justice determined it is illegal and bush decided to re-up it anyway and only the threatened resignation of robert moeller -- robert mueller and james comey stops it. timehurch committee, at a when people's suspicion of the government was through the roof. americans will never trust the government again. this comes at the same time as the pentagon paper were -- watergate. the fbi has been infiltrating and destroying groups including peace activist. you can point to some things, that the fbi set up an
8:43 pm
assassination attempt in memphis, not that they did it, but they knew it was coming. when --introduced here heroin and then crack in the from envy to destroy it within. so, of course the suspicion is there. suspicious are we when we carry tracking devices everywhere we go, that always know where we are. soon they will be scanning your face here it we want please be wearing body cameras. taser, who is actually a company, developing software that will have facial recognition software.
8:44 pm
skin your face here and then police when you walked on the street, police will know you are. we use these who tracks everywhere you go, every purchase you have made your it if you use a metro card, that tracks for you go in the city. city track tracks every step you take in the city. on one hand, some of it is nasa's area. -- is necessary. you want the police to be able to effectively police, of course. this is loaded in the direction of no surveillance, but of course there is a need for it. by the crimes to take place. some of it is innocuous. it is good to track your health. i enjoy receiving coupons from the grocery store based on purchases i have made. it is a little weird that they know what tables i like or what
8:45 pm
cramer i use, but somebody is tracking all of that stuff. on the flip side, some of it is innocuous, some is necessary, it is actually advantageous to law enforcement that keeps us safe. on the other side it requires -- of the person at the switch. that person may not the at the switch inbe at the the next administration. i remember bill moyer's interview when the nsa stuff was in the media and being kicked around. and this conservative legal scholar who was opposed to what the nsa had been doing this point and it was if you support what the administration is doing as a necessary action to keep us eighth on the threat of terrorism -- i don't know how old you guys were, but i remember.
8:46 pm
i was a sophomore in college on september 11. his argument was that imagine hillary clinton at the hands of that switch. the clintons were the great bugaboos of the rights. that was his argument, you may support this now under george w. bush, but imagine hillary clinton having it. you can expand this to other subjects as well. you might support for example, the obama administration's use of drones to target terrorists around the world. you may think obama has good judgment, this prevents troops from risking their lives, it is easy. ok. if you support the obama use of that, is would assume that you have not
8:47 pm
supported the current president. and if you'd do support the current president, the next one who comes down the line, that person will have their hand on the switch. these are the things to think about your it is easy in the moment to get sucked into fear and concerns we have. they are not always unfounded or unreasonable, but keep in time -- keep in mind long-term effects. once the genie is out of the box, it is tough to get it back -- get back in. to the notionbe that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear? we will discuss that next time. thanks everybody. >> join us every saturday evening at a time at p.m. and midnight eastern as we join
8:48 pm
students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures in history are always available as podcasts. download them from itunes. >> queen elizabeth delivers her annual christmas message. eastern --30 p.m. >> what kind of moral character, human values are we willing mode. are we willing to forget area ugly realities in gaza and west tank. isif you look today, there one country in the world that is the focus of 90% of u.n. resolutions and that is israel.
8:49 pm
>> at 6:30 p.m. eastern, jerry yellen recalls his bombing missions with a book called " fighter pilot." >> the squadron took off which a it is hard for me to tell you how i felt, but i miss my airplane. we were there to protect freedom. we were there to fight. we did that. it was after the war that i suffered for 30 years. hamilton play white accepts the u.s. historical freedom award. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] when you are a theater kid
8:50 pm
you work hard to make something greater than the sum of your parts. just to the process of making something great, you learn to trust your passions and --[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> next, saint john's university law professor examines the life and career of robert h jackson and his relationship with rank when the roosevelt. up wanted to the supreme court, astice jackson also served solicitor general, attorney general and chief prosecutor of nazi leaders after world war ii. the supreme court's historical society hosted the lecture and chief justice john roberts program.e [applause] >>


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on