tv Lectures in History Federal Surveillance Civil Rights CSPAN December 31, 2017 11:45am-12:36pm EST
erin bell teaches a class about privacy laws and federal surveillance with civil rights leaders. he describes the mid-20th century creation of the counterintelligence program pro andlled co-intel are infiltrating of domestic political organizations. welcome to class everybody. today we will talk about the history of government surveillance and the central question of what to think about today is can intelligence agencies operate in a democratic society and be successful in protecting the government and its citizens while also upholding those same citizens rights, especially the right to dissent. our liberty and security compatible? foroubt there is a need intelligence communities to operate.
to assess a foreign domestic threats are real. they come from across the local spectrum. for over a century in addition to taking action against real threats to the lives of american citizens, bureaus and agencies within the united states government has surveilled of those who have expressed what the cato institute describes as "strong local views that run counter to the prevailing political paradigm. this challenges the notion often expressed by those in support surveillance state of some sort that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. i want to come back to that later on. maybe you really here to that view, maybe you're on the fence about it. fine, we will have an opportunity to discuss that later. the history of abuse and mastic surveillance in this country necessitates that discussion is the same tool that can be used to protect citizens in a democratic society from legitimate threats can also be
turned against those same citizens for less noble and even nefarious reasons. to look at the sort of history of surveillance in the united states, you go back probably about a century to 1908. teddy roosevelt's attorney general created a special -- squad to work on behalf of the department of justice that it comes to be known as the bureau of investigation and by the 1930's, the fbi. the fbi's own history, you can go on their website, they have a pretty long narrative description of their history, they link the creation of the fbi to the progressive movement that is active in that amount of time -- in that period of time. it's the believe that the federal government must intervene to foster justice in an industrial society. the response to this sort of labor unrest that we talked about in previous classes and everything. that inspired --
aspiresressive movement for things like the fda to make sure the food you are getting has some labels and what you are eating is what you think you are eating. it will eventually lead to things i child labor laws, but also create this nationwide law enforcement body that is able to keep tabs on criminals are of the country that did not exist of time.this period the fbi history explains this creation on the need of law enforcement agency two-phase labor conflicts arrive, violent crime and corruption. both in politics and big business. withf that industrialization of the turn-of-the-century. as well as the national security concern particularly regarding anarchism. ase description describes well as threats in wartime diversion and espionage.
in 1909, the fbi makes its first-ever -- ever to infiltrate a political organization beginning with the socialist party of america. but the mid 1910s, they are investigating anti-militarists. over the years the fbi will spy on a variety of organizations including the american civil liberties union, the evangelical american council of churches, the american jewish congress, the nationwide labor federation, the national association to the grandson of colored people, the ethical society philadelphia, new orleans women center, the american friends service committee, the quaker social justice organization. women's peace movement led by jane adams, prolabor antiwar theseingers, sometimes people and organizations are investigated for decades. these are not violent revolutionary threats.
their political dissidents to oppose certain aspects of u.s. government policy and perhaps even a particular form of government we have. they go through specific means to protect the constitution though as we noted on free speech not much of the turn-of-the-century with anarchism leftist thought. political spying will begin around 1908 and will run until it make its way forward and stop for about a decade. the impetus to stop is the first red scare, immediately after the first world war comes to an end on november 1918, we see the number of actions that will raise a lot of concerns about government surveillance. the seattle general strike in the early parts of mid-19 shuts down that city with tens of thousands of workers going on strike. in the spring of 1919, a bomb plot is broken up and and there is a wave of bombings in the summer, anarchist bombings
targeting prominent people including the attorney general, alexander palmer, right before you get to the main circle there. i've been driving by this house for years. the bureau of investigation creates this thing called the radical division to deal with the resurgence of anarchism headed by a young age and named j edgar hoover. it compiles files on roughly 20,000 individuals, the bureau uses those files to round up several thousand suspected radicals in a series of raids in 1919 in 1920 that occurred across the united states. some of the people rounded up our well-known prominent radicals, the anarchist emma goldman, other people are arrested simply because they appear foreign, were members of a labor union and so forth.
many of those arrested were held incommunicado for months. no access to their families. 249 resident aliens are put on a boat and deported to russia at the end of 1919 because of their alleged anarchist believes. there's a tremendous political backlash against this in particular because a lot of these committees rounding up again are not engaged in radical violent behavior, they instead our political dissidents not making a very radical views, but nonetheless they have not engaged in things. some are just immigrants from southern and eastern europe. the political backlash against this brings the spine to a temporary halt. this is made palatable for those in power and they've been inclined to support this round of it first in part because of new immigration quotas put in place in 1924, these quotas
restrict immigrants from southern and central europe and shut down immigration from east asia which we will talk about next week in the context of talking a japanese-american internment. of a 10 year end long intelligence gathering program run by an organization known as the black chamber, this is made up of people from the state department and army intelligence. essentially for 10 years starting in 1919 running until 1929, a u.s. telegraph company western union had provided them with incoming and outgoing cable traffic. 'sis is shuts down by hoover incoming secretary of state. he specifically oppose the spying on the diplomatic allies, not necessarily spying in general but on u.s. and double medic allies. saying famously gentlemen don't read each other's mail.
there's also a supreme court case at the end of the 20th that deals with death 20's the deals with wiretapping and letting whether or not tapping into someone's phone conversation does that violate the fourth amendment? it's at the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure shall not be violated and no shall issue on probable cause by those or affirmation and particularly describing the place to research and the person or things to be seized. william howard taft joins the supreme court and speaks for the court's decision to basically rule against the notion that wiretapping violates the fourth amendment. that approval will last for roughly 40 years. here is what he says.
this is in favor of ruling -- wiretaps claiming they don't violate the fourth amendment. congress may of course protect the secrecy of telephone messages by making them when intercepted, in evidence in federal criminal trial a direct what death by direct legislation. if congress wants to rule on this they can. the court may not adopt such a a large andeating unusual meaning to the fourth amendment. the reasonable of you is that one who installed in his house a telephone instrument with connecting wires tends to project his death intends to project his voice to those right outside and the wires around his house and messages passing over are not within the protection of the fourth amendment. those who intercept the projected voices were not in the house of either party to the conversation, neither of the cases we have cited nor any of the medical debt many federal
brought to our attention hold the fourth amended to a been violated against a defendant unless there has been an official search and seizure of his person or such a seizure brings tangible material to actual physical invasion of his house for the purpose of making a seizure. a standard which would for bid the perception of evidence obtained by other than nice, ethical conduct by government officials that make society suffer and give criminals greater unity that has been known or in again, what are you saying here is that if you're using a telephone machine, it is connected to wires that go outside the house which lead to outside your home so than someone tapping it is not going into your house and searching your belongings. that is outside of your home, it is not fall under the office it -- author of the fourth amendment. i want to hit again on the fact of what he says. a standard which would for bid the perception of evidence if obtained by other than ethical
conduct by government officials would make society suffer and give criminals greater immunity than his been known here for. indeeds brandeis, who desk in the 27 standard for free speech and dissent. he dissented in this case and here's what he said. in particular regarding that comment. here is what brandeis says. "decency, security and liberty alike would mean government officials are subject to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizenry. a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it failed to observe the laws scrupulously. if a government of laws existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the laws scrupulously. our government is opposed to the omnipresent feature for good or
for ill that keeps -- crime is contagious, if the government becomes a law breaker it breeds contempt for the law and invites every man to become a law unto himself and insights anarchy. to declare that any ministration of the law that the ends justify the means, to declare the government can make crimes for the conviction of a private criminal that brings terrible retribution against this permission is -- pernicious document." political spying ends in the 1936 when franklin roosevelt requested be resumed. what we will see very clearly -- clearly here is there not targeting one particular group, historically its targeted lean left but not always. nor is it simply the pervasive one particular party or ideology . franklin roosevelt requests that
political spying be reinitiated ,n 1936 led by j edgar hoover appointed head of the bureau of investigation in 1924 at the age of 29. younger than i am. hoover had helped put together the list that it been used in the first red scare to round up a vast swap of people, but nonetheless he managed to escape .he political fallout of that the bureau had rebounded within a decade. hoover had tried to emphasize the bureau's role as a crime-fighting organization particularly in the 1930's during the depression we have these famous criminals that arrive like john dillinger, hoover emphasizes this. reboundsu's reputation about sovieterned
spies and concerned about fascists. this is the mid-1930's, fascism is on the rise in europe. there are several u.s. based enough that the party can hold a rally in madison square garden. adolf hitlerfter invaded poland in 1939, the fbi is authorized in two the treason and sabotage. to that listdds subversive activities. franklinlear how much roosevelt, how much is attorney general, people high up in the government knew about the extent of what hoover would do. there is no record of that meeting and what exactly was said in it. in a result has bigger to fry -- roosevelt has bigger fish to fry, in a sense.
fdr provedsense that hoover's intel work either. his unit of investigative activities is outside the courts. he discourages roosevelt's administration from getting approval. suspicious of the federal bureau of investigation that he created in the first place, a secret police force. fdr proves political spying, the --sumption of political spry spy a. when the aclu complains, groups war inn't want to go to
europe is trying to make sure the united states does not get involved. fdr sees nothing wrong in event spreaddo -- groups that information and false teachings. loved, which been may have colored his views. an particular, he has the fbi investigates several senators figures, allublic of who oppose any intervention in europe. hoover learns from this experience he can curry favor against anyerage opponents. is -- accusations
against him, any family members, and helps personal log -- knowledge that robert kennedy can use [indiscernible] thelso ensures that kennedys know that whoever knows everything that everybody is doing. so the kennedys have the inclination to shut down what they are doing. the restoration of my takes place in the context of emerging national city state right when the second world war and's. the cold war begins shortly thereafter. of the house on americans activity committee and the federal government's loyal program, all of those rely on fbi reports. the fbi then goes on the offensive with the creation of:
-- cointelprousa, cpsusa. it is a counterintelligence operation to destroy a political enemy of the government. for a couple reasons. it had exposed fbi informants. well-placed informants were then revealed in court hearings. in 1950 6-9057, the corals back the measures that were able to tax political dissidents. reign to round up
any group that might espouse to overthrow the united states government, which in court rulings was interpreted pretty loosely. it, areers, by the way operating for a foreign party. rollback in legal power, this threat of exposing informants leads to the counterintelligence program. of those, the last two are illegal, espionage and sabotage. influence over the masses, ,bility to create controversy
you may find the ideas of the communist party to be reprehensible, nonetheless, those are not specifically illegal things. the objective here is to destroy the communist party or its political activities. this effectively remains what is left of the communist party. membership drops to maybe a .housand act members a large part is due to the legal measures used he is party. they take a huge ship -- a huge hit when khrushchev comes to party. and reveals the rumors about stalinist behavior are totally true.
he is a toronto, monster who murdered millions and consent -- had political show trials. nonetheless, hoover's up session with the party keeps us going cpusa is point where relevant. hoover will not let this go when the party is well be on the point that it is a conceived -- . conceivable threat to the usa planting evidence to suggest the party leaders are informants in helps of someone else comes along and sees it and believes , creating a fake on organization to attack the party -- are yourxist left a marxist or a trucks yet that story trucks he -- or a
trotsky-ite. false documents to provoke a fight between the communist already in the sicilian mafia. of fbi is well aware threats. here is the suggestion they have or how to deal with this. this is an agent asking permission to prepare the following letter, which will be sent to the same teamster local in the philadelphia area. the first anonymous letter, dear union boss, i am the loyal union man who wrote you around the end of january and i have more news for you. --eard from my company brother-in-law that the communist party has been in moscow. initial actions a
came back was to get rid of the hud loans here. he asked me how things are going in my teamster local. he told me he knew there were a lot of gangsters in my union but that things would be changing for the best shortly. he told me some of the leaders of this party were in hungary meeting other people of the party and how the party would clean up a gangster-controlled of this country. i told him he was all wet. watch out. in other words, here is an anonymous fake letter the fbi the send suggesting that communist international would be targeting the sicilian mafia which are involved in things that the teamsters union. this is a lie. says.s what the fbi
union leadershat worried hungary, meeting a communist workers party. accounts of their attendance appeared in newspaper articles. two of these letters have since returned to the united states. it came up again how the party is going to clean up the gay -- the gangsters. and there was no basis in fact. this is all a plot to create dissent. the fbi house with the sicilian mafia does when they think someone is coming after them. get the mafiato the cpusa.ainst
unitarian minister and members of his congregation circulated a petition against the house american activities committee. city council campaign of people prosecutor under the smith act. that lawyer runs for city council and the fbi smeared him to sink his political campaign. this is not surveillance of violent threats. this is something different. the fbi will also tire the civil rights movement in the years proing up to a formal: tell el pro.n tell -- coint martin luther king jr. and the southern leadership conference were investigated for communist
prompts. here is a billboard that floated around the south. it's not a communist training school. this billboard accusation is rooted in inaccurate history. this is piping on the spear of many segregationists. martin luther king jr. sunday of thank you letter to a next counsel personnel happen to be a communist party leader because that person donated blood
ticking after he had been stabbed. hoover carly tells congressmen, that stanley levinson is a communist party member taking orders from moscow. he had left the party in the 1950's. information is over five years old. that's probably not very useful. the fbi had attempted to recruit levinson to be an informant. how much of a threat could he be at the fbi tried to turn him. here is the head of the co-and tell operations shortly after the march on washington.
robert kennedy approves wiretaps after the march on washington. the fbi would also tap kings hotel room. in 1964, the fbi goes after king by feeding tips to the press about his alleged communist ties and so -- and sexual proclivities. shortly after he is named the nobel prize winner, the fbi compiles a composite tape of extra mineral -- extramarital sexual encounters to make it sound as though thing is having
an extramarital affair with several women in his hotel room. they send this tape ticking anonymously with a letter. king, in view of your low-grade, abnormal personal behavior, i will not dignify your name with either a minister or a reverend ray dr., only the -- or a reverend or a doctor. king, look into your heart. you know you are a fraud and a great liability to us negroes. why people have enough frauds of their own. you are no clergyman and you know it. you could not believe in god and act as you do.
clearly, you do not believe in any moral principle. etc., etc. it is all there on the record, your sexual oranges. orgies. -- sexual the american public, the church organizations that have been helping protestant, catholic, and jews, you are done. king, there is only one thing left for you to do. .ou have 34 days . this number has practical, significance. you better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent known to the nation. -- king obviously does not kill himself. the fbi offers to turn this tape
over to the press. the press turns him down. the fbi backs off in the face of moving congressional investigation of electronic surveillance. from 1965 to 1967, lyndon johnson takes over for john f. kennedy. down on wiretapping, suggests that it should be outlawed. ,here are a couple of law cases both in 1957. itssupreme court changes tune and says wiretapping has to follow the same procedures as a warrant. there must be probable cause. those initiating the tire waupun -- that tire -- the wiretapping. congress sets specific standards for obtaining our taps. -- wiretaps.
after thell also go new left in the ku klux klan and successfully undermines both to some degree. in 1975, watergate. spyingions of government prompts a congressional committee. democrats from idaho, to investigate the intelligence community. someone managed to break into an fbi headquarters somewhere, got documents. and when they got to their hiding hole, they started leaking it to the press. this also comes out when the pentagon papers were released, now it -- showing that the
government had known all along that the vietnam war was hopeless. they had been lying about it for years. had used information on members of congress as blackmail for the purpose of policy. there are oversight committees. they had clearly done nothing. the church committee discovers a long week -- a laundry list of awful things. the fbi had filed of over one million americans and investigated 500,000 of them from 1974 that produced zero court convictions. the national security agency had orestigated every cable sent received by americans overseas from 1947 to 1975. tax information
to be used by intelligence agencies for political purposes. lyndon johnson had ordered the cia to spy on antiwar protesters , believing the chinese or the soviets had to be behind it because he could not wrap his mind around the idea that american students were on their own so deeply opposed to his policies, particularly when he had thrown his weight the hind civil rights. it had to be the soviets. it had to be the chinese directing these students. it was a direct violation of the cia charter. the name of the operation, operation chaos -- it's like they are not trying to hide had affairs this stuff -- operation chaos indexes 300 names and , noepth files of 700 people evidence of foreign direction found in any of them. , it reveals the fbi
conducted drug experienced -- doug -- drug experiments on unsuspecting americans. assassinateo foreign political leaders, some successful, some not. was avelation of these shock to congress because it is not spying. it is pro-counterintelligence. the-communist paranoia of early cold war belt of this momentum to the red scare, the investigations, later mccarthyism, all part of the same spectrum. mccarthy'send with public downfall. instead, it carries through to
the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960's and 1970's. the ends justify the means, in the government's view. mondale, where you concerned about its legality. that particular aspect did not enter into the discussion. i was asking if you are concerned whether that would be legal and proper. we did not consider it at the time, no. the threat was so egregious in the minds of these folks, they will just act and deal with the legal consequences later. even though there turns out to be no evidence that there was a nefarious plot by the chinese to conspire.
was serious when you are talking about the fbi counterfeiting letters. what year was that? >> it was 1964, right after he received the nobel peace prize. on the legal this, side of it, the establishment of federal legislative checks on for intelligence agencies, it is an improvement of what existed. own. creates its this is opposed by the white house, by the intelligence community. by some government conservatives at the time. they basically argued that this would cap the united states
ability to protect itself. that, committee counters where intelligence agencies had violated the law, there were legal routes through which should purity objectives -- security objectives would have then successful. establishedurt is to see wiretaps. this is meant to draw a line before -- between foreign and domestic spying. limitis a 10-year term placed on the fbi director. hoover's director from 1924 until he dies in 1971. here we are because this doesn't entirely stop. in the 1980's, the fbi investigates the people of solidarity who are opposed to reagan cost -- reagan policies
and central america. the terrorist attacks of are a huge001 impetus to reboot this kind of program. fear drives this. fear drives his feeling that you must act, regardless of the legal propriety of it, and deal with the consequences later. the nsa, after it september 11, begins collecting metadata of every phone call through major carriers. rudy to call, how long did you call them, what time, what date. phone conversations, the actual transcripts, so long as someone is outside the united dates or involved in international terrorism, as far as the pfizer court is concerned. internet communications -- as court isa
concerned. internet communications are collected because you can't sort out foreign and domestic internet traffic in the world we live in. it is all interconnected. what do you do when apple servers are in ireland? nsa first reported in 2005 and 2006 and is confirmed letter through the snowden documents. the department of justice determines it is illegal and bush decided to re-up. it anyway -- re-up it anyway. fisa court goes ahead and improve the and now it is legal. the church committee comes at a time when people suspicion of the government is through the roof. trust thewill never
government again. ass comes as the same time the pentagon papers and watergate and attempts to murder foreigners and fbi attempts to destroy and help local dissident groups. the suspicion that the fbi said king to be assassinated, that they knew that it was coming and chose to do nothing. -- suspicion that the by that the fbi to reduce and cocaine to the black community. the suspicion is in part because the fbi did infiltrate civil rights organizations through nefarious and sometimes violent means. how uncomfortable and suspicious are we when we carry
tracking devices everywhere we go. soon, this will be scanning your face. we want police to wear body cameras, cameras that can be used to film their private residences. taser, the company, is developing software to improve a-day cameras that will have facial recognition software. soon, it will never you are. these. this tracks everywhere you have gone, every just you have made. if you use a metro card, it tracks everywhere you go in the city. on the one hand, some of this is necessary. you want the police to be able to effectively police. of course. iss is -- this lecture
loaded very much in the direction of no surveillance, but crimes very much take place. some of this is innocuous. it is good to track your health. i enjoy receiving coupons from the grocery store based on the purchases i have made. it is weird to know that they know what bagels i like and what creamer use. someone is tracking all that stuff. hand, yes, some of this is innocuous. yes, some of this is necessary. it is advantageous to law enforcement and keeps us safe. on the other hand, this requires faith on the person at the switch. and the person at the switch now may not be the person at the switch in the next administration.
a conservative legal scholar was deeply opposed to what the nsa was doing and made this point. if you support with the george bush administration is doing as a necessary action to keep us safe from the threat of i can distantly remember how frightening that period was. i was a sophomore in college on september 11. imagine hillary clinton with her hands at that switch. bugaboo ofs were the the 1990's. that was his argument. withon't like this now george bush. imagine hillary clinton having it.
you might support the obama administration's use of drones to target terrorists, suspected terrorists around the world. you might think obama has good judgment. this prevents u.s. troops from having to go in and risk their lives. imagine you may have not voted for the current president, but he has the use of the same tools here in the next president who comes down the line, a more left-leaning democratic president, that person will have their hand on the switch your this is the thing to think about. the moment to get sucked in a fear over the concerns that we have. they are not always unfounded. they are not always unreasonable. keep in mind the long-term effects. once the genie is out of the box, it is tough to get it back in.
no one will willingly surrender tremendous amount of power. they just don't. that is not their nature. do you subscribe to the notion that, if you have nothing to , we will discuss those in our class discussion next time. thanks, everybody. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, www.c-span.org/history. american history tv, on c-span.org/history. isck's american history tv on c-span3 every weekend, featuring museum tours, archival films, and programs on the presidency, the civil war and more. here is a clip from a recent program. warnderstanding the
, from the beginning of 1861. there is a change that affects military practice with the massive earthworks here. but also military policy because the armies would become a dominant tool for implementing policy as it affected social institutions, the institution of slavery, and of course civilians. those policies would become a major point of debate within the you -- the union war effort. and within the armies themselves . because the army was such an important tool and because it's early commander was so avid in
his insistence of participating in the debates over what those policies should be, the politics of officers within the army in the potomac came to matter a great deal. although he was a conservative opposed who generally using the army as a tool for emancipation, for example, although he doesn't seem to have been wide as solicitous of civilians, he opted out of the public debate. peoplethis day, many really don't have a clear view of what his politics were. intentional on his part. he made himself disappear on those subjects that could do him the most harm and perhaps
inhibit his advancement in the army. watch this and other american history programs on our website, where all of our video is park i've. >> -- our video is archived. >> brotherhood of man promotes and argues that all people are essentially the same despite different skin color. according to the national film preservation foundation, the film was attacked by anti-communists because the includedting critics one of the blacklisted hollywood 10. mr. lardner was jailed after refusing to testify before the house un-american activities committee in october 1947.