tv Lectures in History Federal Surveillance Civil Rights CSPAN January 15, 2018 5:10pm-6:01pm EST
much. >> watch "the communicators" tonight on c-span 2. >> next on lectures in history, american university lecturer aaron bell teaches a class about privacy laws and federal surveillance of civil rights leaders. he describes the mid 20th century creation of the counter intelligence program often called cointel pro and their tracking and infiltrating of domestic organizations. his class is about 45 minutes. welcome to class, everybody. the question i want 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 the same citizens' rights. especially the right to dissent. in other words, are liberty and security compatible? no doubt, there is a need for intelligence communities to operate. threats exist from foreign and domestic sources. they've been real throughout history. they come from across the political spectrum. for over a century, in addition to taking action against real threats to the lives of american citizens, bureaux and agencies within the united states government have surveilled those who expressed what the cato institute describes as, quote "strong political views that run counter to the political paradigm." it challenges the notion often expressed by those who have a
surveillance state of some sort. if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. we'll come back to it later on. maybe you adhere to the view. maybe you're on the fence about it. maybe you firmly reject it. we'll have an opportunity to discuss it later. the history of abuses in domestic surveillance in this country necessitates that discussion because the same tools that can be used to protect citizens in a democratic society, from legitimate threats, can also be turned against the same citizens for less noble and even nefarious reasons. if you want to look at the history of surveillance in the united states you go back probably about a century to 1908. teddy roosevelt's attorney general creates a squad of investigators to work on behalf of the department of justice. becomes known as the bureau of investigation. and by the' 30s the federal bureau of investigation. the fbi. the fbi's own history, if you go
on their website, they have a pretty long narrative description of their history. they link the creation of an fbi to the progressive movement that is active in that period of time at the turn of the century. the progressive movement, it's the belief that the federal government must intervene to foster justice in an industrial society. a response to the sort of labor, unrest that we've talked about in previous classes and everything that inspires that terrible working conditions and so forth. the progressive movement inspires things like the fda to ensure that the food you're getting has labels on what you're eating is what you're think you're eating. right. it'll eventually things to child labor laws. also, then, create this sort of nationwide law enforcement body that is able to keep tabs on criminals throughout the country. it did not exist prior to this period of time. the fbi's history explains, again, this creation based on
the need for professional law enforcement agency and the face of labor conflict. arrives in violent crime and corruption. both in politics and big business. all of that, you know, accompanying urbanzation and industrialzation at the turn of the century. as well as national security concerns. particularly regarding anarchism with the fbi describes adds the first modern day terrorist as well as threats of wartime subversion and espionage, which we talked about the other week when we talked about free speech. in 1909, the fbi makes the first efforts to infiltrate political organizations. beginning with the socialist party of america. by the mid 1910 they're investigating anti-militaryist. over the years the fbi will spy on a variety of organizations.
sometimes these people and organizations are investigated for decades. these are not violent revolutionary threats. right but rather political dissidence who oppose certain aspects of government policy and perhaps the particular form of government we have. they do so through specific means protected under the constitution as we noted in our class on free speech, not so much at the turn of the century when anarchistics law was strictly policed. political spying will begin right around 1908 and will run to about 1924 and stop for about a decade. and the impetus to stop it is the first red scare.
immediately after the first world war comes to an end, the following year, 1919, sees a number of actions that will raise a lot of concerns about government surveillance. the seattle general strike in early part of 1919, shuts down that city and tens of thousands of workers go on strike across industries. in the spring of 1919, a bomb plot was broken up. then there's a wave of bombings in the summer. bombings targeting prominent people including the attorney general. his house is right before you get to the main circle there where r hits massachusetts. i realize at some point that was his house and i was driving it for years. super weird. the bureau of investigation creates the thing called the radical division. it's a deal with this resurgence of anarchism. headed by a young agent named j edgar hoover. it compiles files on roughly
200,000 individuals. bureau then uses the files to round up several thousands of suspected radicals in a series of raids in 1919 and 1920 that occurred in at least 40 cities across the united states. some of the people rounded up are well known prominent radicals. emma goldman. other people are arrested simply because they appeared foreign were members of a labor union and so forth. many arrested were held for months. no access to lawyers. no accesses to their families. and 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, right, a lot of these people were rounded up, again, they are not engaged in radical violent bhaish behavior. maybe they hold radical views,
but nonetheless, they have not engaged in anything. and some are simply immigrants. they were immigrants from russia and southern and eastern europe. so the political back list against this brings the fbi's political spying to a temporary halt. and may have been inclined to support this round up at first. in part because of new immigration quotas put in place in 1924. the quotas restrict immigrants from southern and central europe to totally shut down immigration from east asia. we'll talk about that next week in the context of talking about japanese-american internment. 1929 sees the end of a ten-yearlong 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 ten years starting in 1919 running until
1929. u.s. telegraph companies like western union provided them with incoming and outgoing cable traffic. this is shut down by hoover's incoming secretary of state. henry stemson. stemson specifically opposed spies on the u.s.'s diplomatic allies. not necessarily spying in general. saying famously, don't read each other's mail. there's also the supreme court case at the end of the '20s that deals with wiretapping. and weighing whether or not tapping into someone's phone conversation. you have to imagine this is early on in this period where there are phones. does that violate the fourth amendment? here is what the fourth amendment says. the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but
upon probably cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing a place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. william howard taft, formerly president of the united states joins the supreme court. he speaks for the the court's decision to basically rule against the notion that wiretapping violates the fourth amendment. the court essentially approves this and had approval for the last 40 years. here is what he says. again, in favor of ruling in wiretaps. claiming they don't violate the fourth amendment. congress may, of course, protect the secrecy of telephone messages by making them when intercepted inadmissible in evidence by direct legislation. and congress wants to rule on it, they can. and thus apart from the common law of evidence. the courts may not adopt such a policy by attributing an enladies and gentlemene
enlarged meaning to the fourth amendment. one who installs in his house a telephone instrument with connecting wires intends to project his voice to those quite outside. at the wires beyond his house and messages while passing over them are not within the protection of the fourth amendment. those who interaccepted the projected voices were not in the house of either party to the conversation. neither the cases we have cited nor any hold the fourth amendment to be violated against a defendant unless there's been an official search a seizure of his person or such a seizure of his papers or tangible material effects or invasion of his house for the purpose of making a seizure. a standard, which forbid the reception of evidence if obtained by other than nice ethical conduct by government officials would make society suffer and give criminals greater immunity that has been known here. again what are you saying here. if you are using a telephone
machine, it is connected to wires that go outside the house and speak to someone outside of your home. and thus someone tapping into the wire is not going into your house and searching your belongings. that's outside your home and doesn't fall under the office the of the fourth amendment. this is how the court rules in 1928. i want to hit on the last thing he says. let me say it again. a standard forbid the reception of evidence if obtained by other than nice ethical conduct by government officials would make society suffer and give krms greater immunity than has been known here to for. in the '20s set the standard for free speech that ultimately became the court's ruling many decades down the road. he dissented, in this case, as well. here is what he said regarding after it's last comments. which is saying the end justifies the means. here is what he says. decency, security, and liberty
alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizens. and that government of laws existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law unskruscrew u s. it teaches the whole people by its example. crime is contagious. if the government becomes a lawbreaker with, it breeds contempt for law. invites every man to become a law unto himself. it invites an ark i can. the end justifies the means to declare that the government can commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal would bring terrible retribution against this pernicious doctrine this could should res luteally set its
face. political spying ends in the '20s until 1936 when franklin roosevelt request it be resumed. we'll see clearly here is that government surveillance again does not necessarily target any one particular group. it targets the left. not always. nor is it simply the one political party or ideology. franklin roosevelt requests that political spying be reinitiated in 1936 and lead by our man up here. j edgar hoover. hoover had helped put together the list used in the first red scare and a round up. nonetheless he managed to escape the political fall out of that.
the pure row rebounded within the decade. he wanted to emphasize the rules of the crime fighting organization. particularly during the '30s during the depression you had criminals. john dollinger, for example. hoover emphasizes this and knows how to work the media in his favor. the bureau's reputation rebounds. fdr is concerned, though, concerned about soviet spies and concerned about faction fascism. fascism is on the rise in europe. there are several u.s.-based groups that emerge after hitler's rise to power. large enough that the american nazi party can rally in madison square garden. immediately after hitler invades poland, the fbi is authorized to investigate espionage, treason, and sack damage.
it's unclear how much franklin roosevelt, how his attorney general, people high up in the government knew about the extent what hoover would do. there's no record of that particular meeting and what was said in it. and roosevelt has bigger fish to fry, in some sense. not knowing what is coming down the road. he has economic depression that continues to grind along. he'll have the war to deal with. but even prior to the united states that's a looming sector of a renewed war in europe. blue there's no sense that fdr opposed the intel work either. hoover renews this his renewal of investigative activities is authorized outside the courts. he discourages roosevelt's administration from going to congress to get legislative approval. he's sure he won't get it. congress has been suspicious of the bureau of investigation being created in the first place. concerned about creating a state police force. hoover warns fdr that haters
will twist the truth. and so fdr proves political spying the resumption of political spying without congressional approval. fdr supports hoover's suggestion which doesn't come to pass. to have every person in america to be fingerprinted. it was the newest technology at the moment. when the aclu complains about surveillance of groups that don't want to go to war in europe. to ensure that the united states doesn't become involved. and anything that is about to happen over there. fdr responds in writing he sees nothing wrong with groups that spread false confirmation. his house had been bombed in 1919. that may have colored his views. fdr has hoover look at political opponents, as well. in particular, the fbi investigate several senators and several prominent figures all of whom oppose any intervention in
europe. hoover learns from this experience in gaining leverage by digging into any president's enemies. better perceived enemies. he never blackmails the kennedy brothers. but he does give robert kennedy attorney general monthly updates about the people he knows. the accusations against him and family members. and on the one hand, perhaps this is some helpful personal knowledge that robert kennedy can use however he sees fit. it also ensures that the kennedys know that hoover knows everything. knows everything that everybody is doing. the kennedys have any inclination to shut down what they're doing. they know hoover has tabs.
cold war begins shortly thereafter. the house on american activities committee investigates the suspected subversive and the loyalty program. all of those rely on fbi reports. in 1956, the fbi goes on the offensive with the creation of cointel cpusa. counter intelligence program. specifically designed to target the communist party of the united states of america. it is specifically counter intelligence rather than prosecutorial. they're not trying to dig up evidence to go to court. it's a counter intelligence operation to destroy a political enemy of the government. they have been successful in sending a number of them to prison.
the laws are favorable toward doing it in this period of time. it had also exposed fbi informants. they had to go before a judge and reveal the information. and well-placed informants were revealed as part of the court hearings. hoover is not keen on that. and in 1956 and '57 the court begins to roll back the legal measures. laws put in place that had given free reign to round up anybody who is a member of a group that might es spouse to overthrow the united states government. court rulings was interpreted loosely. top leaders, by the way, you know, are operating for a foreign party. cpusa and the top leaders are control. but this sort of roll back in legal power and the threat of exposing more informants leads to the program.
hoover's memo calls for actions to negate the communist parties, quote, "influence over the masses. ability to create controversy leading to confusion and disunity. penetration of specific channels in american life or public opinions molded in espionage and sabotage potential." of those the last two are illegal. espionage and sabotage. influences over the masses. those are not specifically illegal things. the objective here is to destroy the communist party for the political activities. from 1956 to '71 there are 1,388 different actions conducted against the communist party.
its membership around 80,000. at the enof the second world war it drops to a thousand active members in the '60s. a large part is due to the legal measures used against the party. they also take a huge hit when in 1956 and the rumors about stalin's behaviors are true. he was a monster who murdered billions who conducted show trials of the political enemies and people he thought might be his political enemies. that is a huge effect in turning people away from the communist party. hoover's obsession with the party keeps it going long past the point where it's relevant. hoover will not let it go. even though the party is well past the point where he opposes any sort of remotely conceivable threat to the united states. tactics for attacking cp usa
include leaking smear attacks to the media. planting evidence to suggest the party leaders are informants. plant evidence and hope someone else comes along and sees it and believes their coleader is an fbi informant. creating a fake communist organization to attack the party from the marxist left. they create the fake organizations to create foster that kind of dissent. my personal favorite of these operation hoodwink. send false documents to provoke a fight between the communist party and the mafia. the fbi is aware how they deal with threats. here is the suggestion they have for how to deal with this. let's see. all right. this is an agent requesting
bureau permission to request the following letter. here is the leader. i'm the man who wrote you around the end of january. i've got more news for you. you'll remember i told you then i heard from my comy brother-in-law that the leaders of his party had been in moscow. while i was talking with my brother-in-law, a few nights ago asked me how things were going and i said okay. he told me he knew that there were a lot of gangsters in my union but said things would be changing for the best shortly. he told me that in february some of the leaders of his party were in hungary meeting party people from other countries and it came up again how his party is going to clean up the gangster-controlled unions in the united states. i told him he was wet. but i didn't use those words. i'm afraid these communists mean
business. watch out. thank you for the free use of a copy machine. i can get the word around about this. here is an anonymous fake letter the fbi is going to send suggesting that, right, the communist international will be targeting the mafia, which is involved in things like the teamster's union. it's a lie. here is what the fbi says internally. with respect to the above letter, it is a fact that three leaders of the communist party were in hungary in february and march 1968 to attend an international consultant meeting of communist workers parties. accounts appeared in newspaper articles. two of the three leaders have since returned to the united states. the information in the letter that in hungary it came up again how the party is going to clean up the gangsters has no basis of fact. a few typing errors would be inserted into the letter. it would be typed on commercial
stationary. it was sent out. it was a plot to create dissent. the fbi knows what the mafia does if they believes someone is coming after them. the effort to provoke the mafia to retaliate violently against members of the cp usa. there's no evidence of this actually works. bay, it's not for lack of trying. cp usa is used to attack noncommunist party political opponents. unitarian minister and members of the congregation circulated a petition against american housing activities committee. city council campaign of a lawyer who defended people and prosecuted under the smith act. leaders of communist party. and that lawyer runs to city council and the fbi attempts to smear him. this is not surveillance and violent threats. it's something different. the fbi will also then target the civil rights movement for african-american rights. and the years leading up to a
formal intel pro. it's begun in 1967. the fbi began investigating the naacp for communist links. finds nothing. nonetheless attempts to get them on to a list of subversive organizations in the '50s. martin luther king jr. and the southern leadership conference are investigated for communist party links beginning in the late '50s. here are the things that prompt that. martin luther king jr. gave a speech at a school. the social justice leadership training school. here is a billboard that floated around the south. this billboard accusation is rooted in an accurate history of the communist party. especially supporting civil rights for african-americans. they did it, of course, to further the party's interest and saw it as a great wedge issue.
but this is on this fear that will be spread by many segregationists that the civil right the movement is, in fact, a communist front being orchestrated by moscow to create social unrest to the united states. martin luther king jr. sent a thank you letter to excity councilman who happened to be a member of the communist party. they donated blood to king after he was stabbed in 1958. a member of the socialist workers party offered join the sclc. i don't think he got the job. hoover quietly tells that lawyer and mlk lawyer stanley levinson is a communist. he left the party in the '50s. comes from two informants. that's it. the fbi, in fact, attempted to
recruit levinson to be an informant. how much of a threat can the person be if the fbi thought they could turn him. there's no evidence that the communist party of the united states is influencing levinson or king. nonetheless, hoover insists for years that king was a communist. here is the head of the cointel pro operations william sullivan shortly after the march on washington. and the famous "i have a dream" speech. we must mark king now if we have not before as the most dangerous know gr negro in the future of this nation. it may be unrealistic to limit our actions to legalistic proochs that would stand up in court or before congressional committees. robert kennedy approves wiretaps of king's home and the slc offices after the march on washington. the fbi will tap king's hotel
rooms. which kennedys didn't know about. unclear. in 1964 the fbi goes after king by feeding tips to the press about his alleged communist ties. encourages the irs to harass him. they find nothing. shortly after named the nobel prize winner in october of 1964, the fbi compiles a composite tape from king's hotel rooms of extramarital sexual encounters. the idea they sent one tape to make it sound as though king is having an extramarital affair with several women in hois hote room. they send this tape to king anonymously with a letter. king, in view of your -- this is from the fbi. king, in view of your low-grade abnormal personal behavior, i won't dignify your name with a mr. or a reverend or a doctor and your last name calls to mind only the type of king such as king henry viii and the
abilities of adultery. king look into your heart. you know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us negros. it's dudes in the fbi. white people in this country have enough frauds of their own but i'm sure they don't have one at this time that is anywhere near your equal. you are no clergyman and you know it. you're a fraud and evil vicious one, at that. you couldn't believe in god and act as you do. clearly you don't believe in any personal moral principles. let's go down. you're filth. et. cetera. et. cetera. right. it's all there on the record. your sexual orgys. you're on the record. et. cetera. the american public and church organizations that been helping will know you for what you are. so will others who have backed you. you're done. there's only one thing for you to do. you know what it is.
you have 34 days in to do it. the number has been selected for a reason. you're done. there is but one way out for you. you better take it before your fraudulent self is beared to the nation. the fbi encourages dr. martin luther king to kill himself because he's such a threat to the nation in their view. the fbi offers this tape -- king does not kill himself. the fbi then offers to turn the tape over to the press. the press turns it down. imagine such an era. and the fbi backs off in the face of looming congressional investigation into electronic surveillance. the timing works out in his favor, i suppose. lyndon johnson takes over for the assassinated john f kennedy. clamps down on wiretapping and suggests it should be outlawed. there are a couple of supreme court cases. katz versus united states. and these cases the supreme
court changes its tune and said wiretaps have to follow the same procedures for a warrant. must be probable cause, the people initiating have to specify the crime they're investigating and the place to be searched, specify the conversation to be seized. in 1968, congress follows suit and sets specific standards for obtaining wiretaps. this will not stop them. cointel pro will go on to target other groups including black panther party. which it helps to destroy within informants, misinformation, and violence. and the american indian movement, which ends with a violent 1971 siege in south dakota. the fbi will also go after the new left and the ku klux klan successfully undermine both in some disagree. then in 1975 watergate. revelations in the "new york times" that government spying prompted the creation of a special congressional committee
lead by frank church, democrat from idaho to investigate the intelligence community. someone managed to break into an fbi headquarters somewhere. grab a bunch of documents and when they got back to their hidy hole they realized they all the cointel stuff before and started leaking it to the press. it comes out in an era with where the pentagon papers have been released proving the government has known the vietnam war is hopeless. there have been no major effort in intelligence reform prior to this. despite rumors that the fbi had data banks of u.s. citizens. there are oversight committees in each chambers arms service but they clearly have done nothing. here is what the church committee discovers. it's a laundry list of awful
things. fw they investigated 500,000 of them from '74. people suspected of subversion. the national security agency had investigated every cable sent or received by american the overseas from 1967 to '75. the irs allowed tax information to be used by intelligence agencies for political purposes. less than don johnson had ordered the cia to spy on anti-war protesters. believing that the soviets or chinese had to be behind it. because he could not wrap his idea around americans students were on their own. so deeply opposed to his policies. particularly it has to be the soviets. it has to be the chinese directing these students. this is a direct violation of the charter which prohibits it
from conducting domestic intelligence operations. it's operation chaos. it indexes 300,000 names with in-depth files and over 7,000 people. no evidence of direction found for any of them. not entirely related to our class but nonetheless worth noting. they also reveals things like the cia conducted drug experiments on unsuspecting citizens. cointel pro the revelation of these programs is especially shocking to congress. it's proactive counter intelligence. the historical lesson here, if you were to draw one,
anti-fascists and anti-communist paranoia of the early cold war built this momentum that lead to famously the second red scare. the house of american activities committee investigations. right. leader mccarthyism. it's part of the same spectrum. but it doesn't end with mccarthy's public downfall and the rollback of some of the laws that allowed for the prosecution to mix party leaders. emblematic exchange between walter monodale and the nsa regarding the collection of cable intelligence. monodale, were you concerned about the legality? legality? whether it was legal. in what sense? whether it would have been a legal thing to do. yes. that particular aspect didn't enter into the discussion. try to give another chance.
i was asking if you were concerned about whether it would be legal and profeproper. we didn't consider it at the time, no. the threats seem so egregious in the minds of these folks. they'll just act to address the threat. deal with the legal consequences later. even though, right, there turns out to be no evidence there was a nefarious plot by the soviets or chinese. >> i was curious when you were talking about the fbi counterfeiting letters to mlk. when was that? >> '64. after he received the nobel peace prize. >> yeah? >> the results of this the church committee's investigations on the legal side of it. this is probably the most important legacies is the establishment of a better degree of legislative checks on
domestic and foreign intelligence agencies. it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. the select committee is made permanent. the house creates its own in 1977. this is opposed by the white house. by the intelligence community. by some government conservatives at the time. especially the hard core anti-communist ones. they argue it will cap the united states act to protect itself against the threats that the operations never found. church committee counters that where intelligence agencies had violated the law. there were legal routes through which u.s. security objectives would have been met. in other words, they argue that security and liberty are compatible. in 1978 congress passes the board intelligence surveillance act which creates a special court to secretly review wiretap requests against foreign spies operating in the united states. this is meant to draw a line between foreign and domestic
spying. monitor threats while protecting the civil liberties of american citizens. there's a ten-year term limit placed on the fbi director. hoover's director from 1924 until he dies in dies. no more 48-year czars. nonetheless, here is where we are because it doesn't entirely stop. the fbi spies on occupied wall street, on code pink, on burning man. the terrorist attacks of september 2001 unsurprisingly are huge impetus to reboot this kind of program, fear drives this. right, fear drives this feeling that you must act regardless of the legal propriety of it, deal with the consequences later. nsa begins collecting the
metadata of every phone call in the united states, which is like who did you call, how long did you call them, what time, what date. phone conversations, the actual transcripts so long as someone is outside of the united states or involved in international terrorism as far as the fisa court is concerned. internet communications, now os tense ostensibly they're only allowed to do this as long as one person is outside the united states. but domestic communications are collected too because there's no automatic way to sort out foreign and domestic internet traffic. it's all interconnected. and what do you do when apple servers are in ireland, for example? right? the nsa stuff is first 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 george w. bush when revelations come out about the nsa's illegal wiretapping, department of
justice determined it's illegal and bush decided to reup it anyway, and only the threatened resignation of then fbi director robert mueller and acting attorney general james comey keeps him from doing so. but the fisa court goes ahead and approves it. now it's legal. if you want to look at the cultural legacy of this, the church committee comes at a time when people's suspicion of the government is through the roof. americans will never trust the government again. this comes at the same time as the pentagon papers and the same time as watergate. now it turns out the cia has been spying on american citizens and murdering foreigners and the fbi has been destroying political dissident groups including peace activists. within the african-american communities specifically you can certainly point to some things, the suspicion that the fbi setup king to be assassinated in memphis. not that the fbi did it. but they knew an assassination attempt was coming and chose to
do nothing. the suspicion that the cia introduced heroin and then crack into the black community to destroy it from within. the reason there is so much suspicion in part is because the fbi did, in fact, infiltrate civil rights organizations in an attempt to destroy them through nefarious and sometimes violent means. so of course the suspicion is there. and yet how uncomfortable, suspicious are we, we carry tracking devices everywhere we go that always knows where you are. soon this will be scanning your face. we want police to be wearing body cameras. those cameras can be used to film our private residences. taser is actually a company, is developing software so police body cameras will soon have facial recognition software. so you'll scan your face here and police walking down the street will know who you are.
we use these to track every purchase you've made, and use a metro card that tracks everywhere you go in the city. fitness software that tracks how many steps you took, knows where all those steps were. now, on the one hand, some of this is necessary. you want the police to be able to effectively police. of course. this is loaded very much -- this lecture is loaded very much in the direction that is like no surveillance. but of course there is a necessity for it. violent actors do exist in the world. crimes very much take place. some of this is innocuous. it's good to track your health. i enjoy personally receiving coupons from my grocery store based on the purchases i've made. it's a little weird for them to know what bagels i like or what creamers i use, but nonetheless it's awesome because it's cheaper but someone is tracking all that stuff. on the flip side, yes, some of
this innocuous and some of this is necessary and advantageous to law enforcement and keeps us safe. on the other hand, this requires faith in the person who's at the switch. and that person who's at the switch now may not be the person who's at the switch the next administration around or ten years down the road. i distinctly remember listening to bill moyers' interview in 2007-2008 when the nsa stuff was in the media being kicked around. and this conservative legal scholar who was deeply opposed to what the nsa had been doing made this point. and it was if you support what the george bush administration is doing as a necessary action to keep us safe from the threat of terrorism -- and i'm not sure how old you guys were, i remember how frightening that period was, we didn't quite know what was going on. i was a sophomore in college on september 11th.
i definitely remember that period. his argument was that imagine, which then didn't seem like a likely outcome, hillary clinton at the hands of that switch. the clintons were the great bugaboo of the right since the '90s when bill clinton was president. hillary clinton looked like she'd be the presumptive nominee for the democratic party. that was the argument. you may support this now under bush but imagine hillary clinton having it? you can expand this kind of thinking to other subjects as well. you might support, for example, the obama administration's use of drones to target suspected terrorists around the world. you might think obama has good judgment. this prevents u.s. troops from having to go and risk their lives. it's quick and easy. okay. if you supported the obama administration and its use of that, i imagine you may not have voted for the current president. but he has use of the same tool. and if you do support the current president, the next president that comes down the line, perhaps a more left leaning democratic candidate,
that person will have their hand on the switch. this is the thing to think about, right? it's easy in the moment to get sucked into kind of the fear and concerns that we have. they are not always unfounded. they're not always unreasonable. but keep in mind the long-term effects. once the genie's out of the box, it's tough to get it back in. no president is going to willingly surrender a tremendous amount of power. government agencies don't do that either. they just don't. that's not their nature. do you subscribe to the notion if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear? we'll talk about those issues in our discussion next time. thanks everybody. interested in american history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. view our tv schedule, preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, museum tours,
archival films and more. american history tv at c-span.org/history. >> tonight on the communicators, we are at bell labs in murray hill, new jersey, where they conduct advanced communication research. >> probably the most exciting is 5g communication. >> which is? >> 5g is an interesting thing, because it's been a hundred years since we had marconi, the first wireless communication. this has changed our species. this is what we do. it's what all wireless communication is. wifi works off the same principle. what we want to do is go to a new era of communication. that era of communication is directed beam communication as opposed to broadcasting the signal everywhere, we want to target the beam at individuals and communicate like that. the reason we want to do this is because our thirst for data is never ending. we always want more and more.
we have saturated our spectrum at lower frequencies. we can simply not do it anymore. we have to go to higher frequencies and the higher frequencies have many other challenges. one of the challenges is the signal loss is too much. so we can't too broadcast in traditional sense. if i want to talk to you, i have to direct my beam directly at you and get some data from you and then move to the next person. this is a completely changing paradigm in communication. with that, of course, huge set of challenges. the entire wireless industry is excited about this. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. the c-span bus continues its 50 capitals tour this month with stops in raleigh, columbia, atlanta and montgomery. on each visit we will speak with state officials during our live "washington journal" program. follow the tour and join us on wednesday at 9:30 a.m. eastern for our stop in raleigh, north
carolina, when our "washington journal" guest is north carolina attorney general josh stein. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. each week american history tv's american artifacts visits museums, archives and historic places. the national museum of african-american history and culture opened in september of 2016. located on the national mall near the washington monument, the museum has quickly become one of the most visited in the nation's capital with capacity crowds almost every day. next we visit the museum to tour the history galleries which begin three stories