The first congressman to battle the NSA is dead. No-one noticed, no-one cares.

Mark Ames






“Pike will pay for this, you wait and see—we’ll destroy him for this.” Mitchell Rogovin, CIA special counsel, 1976

Last month, former Congressman Otis Pike died, and no one seemed to notice or care. That’s scary, because Pike led the House’s most intensive and threatening hearings into US intelligence community abuses, far more radical and revealing than the better-known Church Committee’s Senate hearings that took place at the same time. That Pike could die today in total obscurity, during the peak of the Snowden NSA scandal, is, as they say, a “teachable moment” —one probably not lost on today’s already spineless political class.

In mid-1975, Rep. Pike was picked to take over the House select committee investigating the US intelligence community after the first committee chairman, a Michigan Democrat named Nedzi, was overthrown by more radical liberal Democrats fired up by Watergate after they learned that Nedzi had suppressed information about the CIA’s illegal domestic spying program, MH-CHAOS, exposed by Seymour Hersh in late 1974. It was Hersh’s exposés on the CIA domestic spying program targeting American dissidents and antiwar activists that led to the creation of the Church Committee and what became known as the Pike Committee, after Nedzi was tossed overboard.

Pike was an odd choice to take Nedzi’s place—he was a conservative Cold War Democrat from a mostly-Republican Long Island district, who’d supported the Vietnam War long after most northern Democrats abandoned it, and who loathed do-gooder Kennedy liberals and Big Government waste. So no one expected Pike to challenge the National Security State and executive privilege so aggressively and righteously—and some argued, recklessly—as he wound up doing…

…Pike quickly discovered the fundamental problem with the NSA: It was by far the largest intelligence agency, and yet it was birthed unlike any other, as a series of murky executive orders under Truman at the peak of Cold War hysteria. Digging into the NSA’s murky beginnings, it quickly became clear that the agency was explicitly chartered in such a way that placed it beyond legal accountability, out of reach of the other branches of government. Unlike the CIA, which came into being under an act of Congress, the NSA’s founding charter was a national secret…

…Any politician’—or political handler— with a sense of history will point to Otis Pike’s fate: He stuck his neck out and took on the National Security State on terms that should’ve appealed to common sense conservative values: Are taxpayers getting fleeced? Is America safer under these programs? He was destroyed. And after he was destroyed, he was forgotten. Now he’s dead, and no one noticed, or cared.



Read the complete article at PandoDigest.



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