COMMENTS: Freed Information

This was a banner day for the National Security Archive as the Central Intelligence Agency delivered up its Family Jewels. That is the nickname for the 700-page dossier detailing CIA abuses during the '60s and '70s, "the dark side of the Cold War," as CBS' David Martin put it. Thomas Blanton, who runs the archive, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents 15 years ago. NBC's Pete Williams previewed their publication last Friday. Now the unredacted parts can be read, Blanton is "ecstatic," Martin observed. ABC assigned the story to Nightline anchor Terry Moran (subscription required). He detailed assassination plots against the presidents of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and South Vietnam: "the nation's top spies were essentially running amok." Moran offered the "bizarre" too. The CIA tried to wiretap comedian Dan Rowan in Las Vegas because one of the agency's mobster associates "thought Rowan was getting too friendly with his girlfriend." Moran illustrated the CIA's surveillance of inside-the-Beltway journalists with file footage of a hirsute Brit Hume, the onetime ABC newsman, now Fox News Channel anchor.

Moran cautioned against assuming that everything now is copacetic: "The CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive techniques like waterboarding," he reminded us.


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