Heart of Terror Network

From FBI to NSC

Oliver North's Private Network

Epidemic of Terrorism Continued

Completing Cover-Up

excerpted from the book

Break-ins, Death Threats
and the FBI

the covert war against the Central America movement

by Ross Gelbspan

South End Press, 1991


... Agents from different units presented reports on the status of various groups and activists they had been monitoring.

A number of the groups were known to have had close contact- and, in some cases, virtual sponsorship-by various liberals in Congress The discussion led into a reading by Davenport and others from the FBI's files on those legislators.

Varelli had known the Administration considered the legislators threats to the security of the country. In fact, he learned from his Salvadoran contacts that Otto Reich, the head of the State Department's Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy, had put out the word through COPREFA, the public information arm of the Salvadoran Armed Forces, that the dozen or so legislators were either confirmed communists or, at least, active supporters of the communist cause. During the morning session, one agent referred to the Congressional liberals as Lenin's "useful idiots" who provided platforms for propaganda and disinformation to forces hostile to the United States. Other agents spoke mockingly of their politics. During the meeting, Davenport read from file information on the legislators, including transcripts of wiretapped telephone conversations.

Ostensibly the legislators were subject to FBI investigation because of their contacts with representatives of foreign governments. That was the hook in the FBI's guidelines that permitted the Bureau to investigate them. But Varelli knew the real reason lay in their sympathy with groups or movements that were clearly "communist-inspired." In fact, the FBI had been monitoring the legislators less to find out what kind of information they were passing to Salvadoran communists and members of the Nicaraguan Sandinista government than to determine how and to what extent they were being used as "agents of influence" by those enemies of the United States.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-Conn.), for instance, was suspected by the Bureau of having clandestine ties to some Sandinista leaders. The FBI knew that Bianca Jagger, a journalist and the former wife of the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, had close ties to the Sandinistas. Dodd dated Bianca Jagger, although the FBI believed that was a cover to conceal his true political agenda which was to promote the Sandinista cause. Material in FBI files indicated that a number of Dodd-Jagger meetings were actually working sessions to arrange plans for demonstrations or for Dodd's promotion of the Sandinista regime on the floor of the Senate, according to Varelli. At the very least, the Bureau concluded, Dodd had made himself a willing target for cultivation by the Nicaraguans as an agent of influence in a textbook "active measures" operation.

Rep. Michael Barnes was generally despised in the Bureau as a vigorous and outspoken opponent of Administration policies in Central America. Moreover, Barnes, along with Conyers, Dodd, Dellums and Solarz, sponsored a number of rallies against the Reagan Administration which were orchestrated by groups strongly suspected by the FBI of being part of the terror network.

Rep. Ron Dellums was suspect because of ties between his staff members and the late Grenadian leader Maurice Bishop. Don Edwards, the California Democrat who had oversight over the FBI through his chairmanship of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, had recently met several years ago with a visiting Soviet delegation to a World Peace Council conference.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, another outspoken opponent of Reagan foreign policies, came under FBI suspicion because of his refusal (along with one other legislator) to condemn the Soviet shootdown of Korean Air Lines flight 007. In addition, Conyers was known to have made overtures to Yasser Arafat, reviled by the Administration as one of the world's foremost practitioners of terrorism. Several months earlier, Conyers wrote to an organizer of the United Nations Conference on the Question of Palestine. In the letter, he conveyed special greetings to the PLO's delegate to the UN, as well as to Arafat, adding: "I urge you to continue your struggle on behalf of peace and to remember there are those of us within the U.S. who represent a broad coalition which supports you. We represent another America, a rainbow coalition dedicated to changing the direction of our country."

The agents read file reports on about a dozen legislators altogether, including Senator Thomas Harkin and Representatives Conyers, George Crockett, Mervin Dymally, Mickey Leland, George Miller, Stephen Solarz, Gerry Studds and Ted Weiss-all of whom had known contacts with people high up in one or more leftist political groups and all of whom had opposed Reagan Administration policies in Central America.

"It was an absolute rule that every single name in the newspaper, everyone quoted as saying things against the Administration or in favor of CISPES or the FDR-FMLN, went into the computers, into the terrorism files. There were no exceptions," he noted.


Passing the Torch: From the FBI to the NSC

At the time the 25-member Western Goals advisory board included a number of figures who would subsequently become known for their activities in what has come to be characterized as Oliver North's private network. Chief among them was John Singlaub, the Administration's point man in raising money for weapons for the contras from private sources. Singlaub's connections went to the center of the clandestine "private network. " He served under CIA director Bill Casey during World War II when Casey was stationed in London for the OSS. Singlaub, moreover, boasted publicly that Casey's office door was always open to him. Following the disclosure of the Iran-Contra scandal, Singlaub acknowledged to Congressional investigators in the summer of 1987 that, through his position with the World Anti-Communist League, he had worked to support anti-communist resistance fighters in five countries in addition to Nicaragua. A former president of the League, Singlaub was closely allied with the Rev. Moon organization, the Korean CIA and elements of South Africa's security forces, as well as with reputed Guatemalan and Salvadoran death squad leaders, including Roberto D'Aubuisson.

In 1985, Singlaub proposed to Casey a plan to get Soviet-made weapons to anti-communist rebels in Angola, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Ethiopia through an "off-the-shelf' operation which bypassed both Congress and the State Department. And while the proposal was apparently never implemented, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.), a member of the Iran-Contra committee, called the plan "as serious a concern as anything I have seen that has come before us in these hearings."

Some of the material which was gathered on liberal and left-wing groups by Rees, Singlaub and others-and which was disseminated to conservative activists and law enforcement agencies-consists of disinformation, character assassination and scurrilous accusations. In a 1985 issue of Information Digest, for example, Rees focused on the movement of some 200 churches and synagogues to provide sanctuary for Central American refugees: "The 'Sanctuary movement' is an outgrowth of long-standing organizing...by radicals who want to [open] the borders to "the totalitarian left." The article added that a lawyers' group sympathetic to the Sanctuary movement has filed lawsuits "of direct benefit to...the Sandinistas, Cuba and the Soviet Union," as well as a "Communist Party front." The article includes the names, addresses and phone numbers of 21 Sanctuary leaders and organizations around the country. Several of those individuals suffered break-ins and other forms of terrorizing harassments.

Westem Goals fell into disarray at the end of 1983, with the death of Larry McDonald. The organization was subsequently taken over by Carl Channel and used as a financial conduit to launder secret payments to the Nicaraguan contras. By that time, Rees had left the organization following a dispute with its executive director Linda Guell.

But Western Goals was only one of several organizations that directed considerable energy, manpower and financial resources to "neutralizing" liberal political and religious Central America groups with a flood of disinformation, red-baiting and character assassination. Early in 1984, a number of private right-wing groups stepped up their own attacks on groups opposed to Reagan Administration policies in Central America.

For instance, reports accusing CISPES of supporting terrorists by both the Young Americas Foundation, a right-wing group with two White House advisers on the board, and by J. Michael Waller, of the ultra-conservative Council for Inter-American Security, were circulated among FBI field offices and retained in the FBI files."

The YAF report cited the fact that CISPES had helped raise money for a shoe factory in El Salvador as evidence it was supporting the armed guerrillas, since combat boots, which could have been produced at the factory, are, according to the report, a form of military assistance.

The Waller reports, moreover, were financed by the ubiquitous State Department Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy-the office set up by Casey to orchestrate domestic propaganda.

Other FBI documents indicate that members of CARP, the campus arm of the Moon's organization, spied on meetings of left and liberal Central America groups and passed their reports to the FBI. Frank Varelli, moreover, has said that the Moonies were on the payroll of the FBI in Dallas. Their purpose was both to spy on the Central America groups and to create disruptions whenever CISPES or other groups held rallies, marches or other. Even Varelli said his knowledge of Flanagan's payments to the Moonies was reinforced in 1984 following revelations that Flanagan had withheld money from Varelli, as well as other sources. At that point, Special Agent Jim Evans, in the FBI Dallas office, went to the Moon organization to verify Flanagan's payment vouchers, Varelli recalled.

... late in 1984-marked the beginning of a terrorizing and infuriating string of break-ins, death threats, ransacking of offices, thefts of files, torching of homes and abductions of activists that marked the second and most covert phase of the assault during the administration of Ronald Reagan on groups of citizens who found the President's Central America policies repugnant to their own conception of the role of the United States as a vanguard of democracy.


The FBI and Oliver North's "Private Network"

Around the same time that the Office of Public Diplomacy was geared-up for its CIA-inspired covert disinformation and propaganda campaign, Lt. Col. Oliver North was working with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency-an obscure agency which had traditionally overseen relief planning for disasters-to draw up a secret contingency plan to surveil political dissenters and to arrange for the detention of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens in case of an unspecified national emergency. The plan, part of which was code-named Rex 84, called for the suspension of the Constitution under a number of scenarios, including a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.

The strongest objection to the plan within the administration came from William French Smith, at the time President Reagan's Attorney General. In a strongly worded letter to National Security Adviser Robert MacFarlane in August 1984, Smith wrote: "I believe the role assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the revised Executive Order exceeds its proper function as a coordinating agency for emergency preparedness." According to Miami Herald reporter Alfonso Chardy, Smith's letter added: "The [Justice] Department and others have repeatedly raised serious policy and legal objections to the creation of an 'emergency czar' role for FEMA."

The plan, which was modeled after a plan that Reagan and Edwin Meese had developed in California to deal with black activists, anti-war protesters and members of the student Free Speech Movement, involved the cooperation of a number of agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service which took steps to establish a network of detention centers capable of holding thousands of undocumented aliens.

The number of U.S. activists targeted by the preliminary plans for Rex 84 was never disclosed. But in addition to groups opposing United States policies in Central America, the FEMA plan reportedly included environmental activists, opponents of nuclear energy and refugee assistance activists. In addition, the plan reportedly called for the establishment of 50 State Defense Forces, to be composed of members of local law enforcement and military reserve agencies, who would implement the plan at a local level.

The fate of Rex 84 has never been definitively explained. Nor has the plan's development been thoroughly explored. During the Iran-Contra hearings in the summer of 1987, Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) attempted to raise the issue during an open session of the committee during the appearance of Oliver North.

Brooks: "Col. North, in your work at the NSC, were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?"

Sen. Daniel Inouye (Co-chair): "I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch upon that."

Brooks: "I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in the Miami papers and several others that there had been a plan developed, by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of an emergency that would suspend the American Constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was the area in which [North] had worked. I believe that it was, and I wanted to get his confirmation."

Inouye: "May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I'm certain arrangements can be made for an executive session."

That was the beginning and the end of any Congressional discussion of the plan. Apparently, there was no follow-up executive session in which committee members tried to learn just how extensive and well-developed was this plan to surveil and imprison large numbers of citizens and refugees who might object to the United States invading Nicaragua or becoming embroiled in armed hostilities in other parts of the world. But, as researcher Diana Reynolds and others have noted, "It ) is clear that the FEMA contingency plans to round up political dissenters was related to the FBI's investigation of political dissidents."

A Private Eye of the Private Network

In the summer of 1984, North was reassigned from domestic crisis planning to managing the covert and largely privatized effort to support the Nicaraguan contras. But while his new role emphasized the coordination of the Nicaragua initiative, it is clear that North still kept his eye on domestic developments. His relationship with Philip Mabry, a private investigator in Fort Worth, Texas, is a case in point.

In late 1983, Mabry, a former CIA contract agent who works as a security consultant in the Fort Worth area, wrote to Edwin Meese that he wanted to help the cause of the "freedom fighters" in Nicaragua. Meese responded with a letter advising Mabry that his name had been given to the "appropriate people.", Shortly thereafter, Mabry said, Meese's secretary, Dee Kuhn, put him in touch with Wilma Hall, a secretary at the National Security Council who, in turn, put him in contact with North. Her daughter, Fawn, had recently begun a job as North's secretary. At North's encouragement, Mabry set up a small organization called Americans for Human Rights and Social Justice. And while the group, which consisted of the 49-year-old Mabry and his associate, Randy Pearce, a young, entrepreneurial auto mechanic, operated on a shoestring budget, it was quite successful in gaining access to local newspapers and television stations to counter the growing demonstrations against United States policies in Central America.

(Mabry gained inadvertent notoriety during the Tower Commission hearings when the commission unveiled a hand-drawn diagram of a number of interlocking private foundations and conservative organizations involved in the contra support operation. While the commission initially attributed the schematic to North, it was later learned that the diagram was made by Mabry on a memo which later turned up in North's files.)

In a series of interviews, the short, balding, pipe-smoking South Carolina native-whose telephone bills show more than 40 calls to North's NSC office in 1984 and 1985, and whose name pops up frequently in North's diaries-explained that North gave him a list of individuals and organizations opposed to U.S. policies in Central America. "Ollie suggested to me very strongly-I think his exact words were,

'A good way to get these assholes is to let the FBI check them out. This list includes pro-Marxists, communists, traitors.'" Mabry said that North instructed him to write to the FBI, requesting that the Bureau investigate the groups-and asked Mabry to arrange for a number of other conservative activists to send similar letters to the FBI all citing the names of the same liberal and left-wing activists and groups. "Ollie explained that if the Bureau got a bunch of letters from different sources all citing the same people, that would be enough for the FBI to have a legal mandate to investigate those groups," Mabry recounted.

Writing under the letterhead of his organization, Americans for Human Rights and Social Justice, Mabry addressed his letter to William Webster, then FBI director. In the letter, Mabry wrote: "In the interest of justice...and our U.S. National Security, we respectfully request an investigation of the following protest groups and individuals that are in our opinion. . . pro-Marxist and. . . a threat to our national security and vital interest in [Central America.]"

The groups cited in the list included the National Network in Solidarity with the Nicaraguan People, the Nicaragua Exchange Office, the Central America Peace Campaign, the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America. The individuals Mabry cited in the letter include Robert White, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador; Elaine and Gene Lantz ... and Hollywood personalities Arthur Gorson, Sean Daniel, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Vonetta McGee, Susan Anspach and Susan Sarandon. (Sarandon was active in a group called Madre, which provides literacy, parenting and nutrition assistance to poor women, especially in Central America. The group suffered two mysterious break-ins several years later.) In addition, Mabry listed 10 members of Congress, including former Speaker Jim Wright, who had signed a conciliatory letter that year to Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega.

The FBI-NSC Connection

While the documentary evidence linking North to the FBI's sweep of Central America groups is more suggestive than conclusive, it is clear that the former lieutenant-colonel used the FBI to go after Administration critics who were threatening to expose the illegal contra support operation he coordinated. In fact, a body of clues points to a back-channel relationship between the NSC and the Bureau far broader than anyone in Congress or the FBI has acknowledged.

Ollie's Enemies

There are indications, as well, that the FBI also cooperated with North in his efforts to spy on and sabotage the work of domestic critics who were trying to unravel the cloak of secrecy surrounding his operations.

The FBI's Revell, for instance, told a Congressional committee that North had asked him to order the FBI to investigate the funding sources behind a suit brought by two journalists, Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan, who were being represented by the Christic Institute in a lawsuit against members of North's private network. But, Revell added: "I told [North] that is what the FBI didn't do."

Revell's response, however, was less than candid. The relationship between North and the FBI was far more extensive than Revell acknowledged. And it did involve, among other efforts, an FBI check on Daniel Sheehan, the lead attorney for the Christic Institute, as well as the surveillance of Honey and Avirgan, the plaintiffs in the Christic lawsuit. On another front, the FBI also assisted North in his efforts to neutralize Jack Terrell, the former member of the private contra operation who turned whistleblower A key to the relationship between North and the FBI lies in a 14-month series of contacts by phone and in person between North and

Special Agent David Beisner, an FBI foreign counter-intelligence agent assigned to the same Washington Field Office that was involved in the first CISPES investigation and that was central to the Capitol bombing investigation in which Varelli participated.

... Beisner told Congressional investigators that he spoke with North on numerous occasions in 1985 and 1986. Shortly after his meeting with North in May 1986, Beisner requested FBI and CIA checks on Sheehan, the Christic Institute attorney who was representing Avirgan and Honey. A June 2, 1986, notation in North's calendar, moreover, refers to a conversation with Beisner and bears the notation: "Looking at what can be done to expand surveillance activity of Avirgan and Honey."

The following month, after learning of Terrell's assistance to liberal and left-wing groups, North told Revell that Terrell might be involved in a plot to assassinate President Reagan. Revell assigned the case to Beisner, among others. But it appears fairly clear that the investigation of Terrell as a possible presidential assassin was not taken at all seriously inside or outside the FBI. For one thing, the FBI's questioning of Terrell involved material such as a book proposal by Terrell and accounts of his work with the left-wing and liberal watchdog groups, according to Terrell's attorney, John Mattes. The operation resembled an attempt to intimidate Terrell and take pressure off the contra operation much more than one designed to protect the President.

In a memo for President Reagan, prepared by North and forwarded over the signature of National Security Adviser John Poindexter, Terrell was described, in July 1986, as: "An active participant in the disinformation/active measures campaign against the [contras]. Terrell has appeared on various television 'documentaries' alleging corruption, human rights abuses, drug running, arms smuggling and assassination attempts by the [contras] and their supporters. Terrell is also believed to be involved with various Congressional staffs in preparing for hearings and inquiries regarding the role of U.S. Government officials in illegally supporting the Nicaraguan resistance."

... While the Iran-Contra Committee never undertook to explore what linkages may have existed between North and the FBI's massive investigation and harassment of political groups opposed to the President's policies in Nicaragua and El Salvador, an appendix to the Committee's final report, authored by Representatives Peter Rodino, Dante Fascell, Jack Brooks and Louis Stokes, concluded that in the fall of 1986:

"Members of the House Committee on the Judiciary wrote to the Attorney General requesting a preliminary investigation [regarding allegations] that North, Poindexter, Casey and others illegally assisted the contras...Attorneys [in the Justice Department] canvassed the FBI and Customs to determine what investigations involving the contras were pending. Neither the FBI nor Customs revealed their numerous contacts with North in various criminal investigations. It is a question the appropriate committees of Congress should pursue more fully."

Such pursuit never materialized in the rush of Congress to put the half-explored Iran-Contra scandal behind the country.

An Epidemic of Terrorism: Continued

And how effective were the break-ins, the death threats, and the FBI investigations in curtailing the Central America movement?

"It depends on who you talk to. Many American church activists- those who responded out of their hearts rather than out of political ideology-have clearly been intimidated by these activities. The Central Americans up here-Salvadorans and others-who have been the object of these threats have been absolutely terrified. Many have been reluctant to give their names. Others have made us promise never to divulge their identities. They recall the death squads and security forces first hand. Those are the most terrified of all. A lot of Salvadoran groups were so freaked out they simply stopped functioning.

"On the other hand, many North Americans, especially those who have worked as activists before, are better able to cope with this sort of thing. For many, it only strengthens their resolve. On the other hand, we've gotten a number of calls from church groups who want to know how to deal with their congregations. They feel, in some cases, they have to find a way to prove they're not communists. In several cases, congregations have been split by internal dissension and fear. Look at Old Cambridge Baptist Church. The FBI refused to release their files on the church on the grounds that it could compromise the identity of a confidential informant. Can you think of any better way to turn a congregation against itself with suspicion and intimidation? The issue of informants inside a congregation or a group is very divisive, very destructive. The FBI could not have found a better strategy."

Completing the Cover-Up

The real secret ... is the fact that the FBI-following the lead of the White House and the Reagan CIA-allowed the direction of its investigation of American liberals to be partially dictated by the Salvadoran security forces, thereby collaborating in the persecution of American citizens with one of the most terrorist governments in the world.

In fact, the CISPES investigation was but one of at least a half dozen investigations of U. S. citizens who opposed the Administration's policies \ in Central America. By burying aspects of the same investigation under separate captions, the FBI in fact investigated thousands of groups and individuals under a number of investigations of which CISPES was only one. Documents on file indicate that the FBI used such captions as "Salvadoran Leftist Activities, " " Salvadoran Leftist Activities in the United States," "Nicaragua Demonstrations" and "Central American Terrorism" to surveil, penetrate and possibly disrupt religious and political activists concerned about U.S. policies in the region. Unfortunately, the relevant Congressional committees have not seen fit to call the FBI to account for any of those other investigations.

In its report on the CISPES campaign, the Senate Intelligence Committee essentially endorsed the FBI's version of events. It concurred with Sessions that the problem lay not in a deliberate abuse of political power by the FBI but in lax management by FBI officials at middle and lower levels of the Bureau. While both the Committee and the FBI deny it, it appears that the investigation was known to officials in the Reagan White House and National Security Council. What neither Sessions nor the Committee acknowledged, moreover, is that the investigation was authorized and encouraged by the top level of FBI leadership. Hundreds of documents in the CISPES files, for instance, were initialed by Oliver "Buck" Revell, until recently the number two person at the Bureau. It was Revell, moreover, who authorized the October 1983 order to expand CISPES into a nation-wide investigation.

But five years later, that development would prove the occasion for a curious display of institutional amnesia by Bureau officials. When FBI director Sessions testified before Congress in 1988, he called the October 1983 expansion of the investigation the "biggest mistake" of the whole investigation. During his appearance before Congress, Sessions was asked by one senator why no FBI higher-ups had been punished for their roles in the investigation. Sessions responded that, try as he might, he could find no evidence in the documents to indicate the involvement of higher-level officials. He must not have looked very hard. A copy of the October 28 teletype-directing the nation-wide expansion-was signed by no less a higher-up than Buck Revell.

A Speculative Scenario: The Guiding Hand of the CIA

It is clear from notations on a number of FBI documents that the Central Intelligence Agency was certainly kept abreast of the FBI's campaign against political dissenters. One speculative scenario suggests that the guiding hand behind the FBI's campaign was that of William Casey, the late Director of Central Intelligence.

It was Casey who, shortly after assuming his post in 1981, declared to colleagues that El Salvador had become the latest battleground in the global contest between freedom and communism. It was also Casey who raised the issue of "active measures" as a major threat to the security of the United States. And it was Casey's CIA that identified CISPES, within months of the group's formation, as an "active measures front" of Moscow.

Simultaneous with the production of the CIA study that cited CISPES as an "active measures" operation, the CIA forwarded to the FBI intelligence material that purported to prove that the group was the creation of the Salvadoran leftist guerrillas. That material, which allegedly came from the diaries of two Salvadoran communist leaders, was provided by the Salvadoran National Guard to the CIA, which forwarded it to the FBI.

But, as Senate investigators would conclude eight years later, the FBI, in using that material: "...asserted without documentation that CISPES was composed of groups 'initiated by the Communist Party USA...and Farid Handal'." Calling the diaries "alleged," and "unauthenticated," the investigators concluded: "The FBI's CISPES file does not reflect any Justice or State Department characterization of the nature or reliability of the alleged captured document or any effort to evaluate its bona fides. The [FBI's] Inspection Department was unable to find any information directly corroborating the statements in the purported Handal document."

What is most ironic is that the CIA and FBI, in collaboration with the Salvadoran security forces-the elements that most feared the persuasive power of CISPES' message-were driven to use a disinformation-based "active measures" strategy in their effort to paint CISPES as an "active measures" front group.

William Casey's sensitivity to the threat of adverse public opinion was clearly the motivation behind his initiative in establishing a covert "public diplomacy" operation designed to reach beyond the conservative elements of American society who already supported the Reagan Central America policies.

Finally, as Bob Woodward noted in Veil, his 1987 book about Casey's CIA, there was a strong constituency around Casey which favored breaking down the traditional barriers between the CIA and the FBI. That notion was articulated by Kenneth de Graffenreid an expert on counter-intelligence who was to become a major force inside the Reagan National Security Council. In a study of the country's counter-intelligence de Graffenreid promoted the notion that "[b]ureaucratic barriers needed to be broken down between the FBI, the CIA and the military intelligence agencies. . . If necessary, a centralized counter-intelligence authority with centralized records should be created. The split of counter-intelligence functions at the U.S. borders (CIA abroad, FBI at home) was artificial. It was a civil liberties bugaboo to worry whether they were joined. It was not a distinction the KGB observed."

Given the extraordinary expertise in the use of disinformation by both the CIA and the Salvadoran National Guard, one can make the argument that, if the FBI was not explicitly "tasked" by the CIA to crack down on political dissenters, it certainly could have been "unwittingly duped" by the Agency into the same operation.

In fact, there is evidence the relationship was more deliberate. One month after the issuance of the President's December 1981 order governing the intelligence operations, Reagan signed a directive authorizing the CIA to "request the FBI to collect foreign intelligence or support foreign intelligence requirements of other [intelligence] agencies..."9 Given William Webster's statement to Congress in 1985 that the FBI may have been "tasked" by the CIA or National Security Council to interview activists returning from Nicaragua, it seems apparent that such "tasking" had become a routine part of FBI activities by the mid-1980s.

As for the doctrine of "active measures" which was raised to the level of high policy focus by Casey and used by the FBI to justify numerous operations-including a campaign to spy on users of public libraries-it is still the subject of an ongoing inter-agency task force and, as such, can still be used to discredit and investigate law-abiding citizens by labeling them as "fronts" for Moscow, Havana or other purported hostile foreign powers.

As late as August 1989, for instance, the State Department issued a report titled: "Soviet Influence Activities: A Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1987-1988." That report, according to its preface, was prepared by an inter-agency Active Measures Working Group which includes representatives of State, the CIA, the U.S. Information Agency, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Defense and Justice.

The speculative scenario, which casts the CISPES campaign as merely one arm of a CIA-directed operation which involved the country's entire national security apparatus, is supported by a good deal of evidence that the FBI did not pursue its investigation of policy foes in a vacuum. Its campaign against political dissenters was paralleled by the surveillance of political activists at the request of Oliver North's National Security Council as well as by the secret domestic propaganda campaign run out of the NSC at the direction of Bill Casey. And the activities of all those agencies-the FBI, the NSC, the CIA and the State Department- were augmented by a network of private individuals and organizations all of whom united under the umbrella of the Administration's foreign policies-especially those in Central America. As former Ambassador Robert White said in response to a question about the CISPES investigation: "You're only looking at the FBI. That's just one piece of it; What Ronald Reagan has done is to mobilize the entire government around his policies in Central America."

Unasked Questions: The FBI and the Disappeared Refugees

The most sinister aspect of the FBI's collaboration with the Salvadoran National Guard may lie in unmarked graves and obscure ravines in the small war-ravaged Central American nation, where refugees, having sought shelter and a safe haven in the United States, were buried after being deported by U.S. officials back to waiting security forces.

One sample of 154 refugees deported in 1983 and 1984, which was reported by the Political Asylum Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Fund, included 52 returnees who were killed, seven who were arrested, five who were jailed as political prisoners, who disappeared (fates unknown) and 43 who were captured and disappeared under violent circumstances." But because of a number of circumstances-including Salvadorans' fear of speaking out, the use of false names by refugees, the problem of admittedly inaccurate record keeping of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the lack of cooperation by the Salvadoran security forces-it is impossible to document the number of refugees killed or "disappeared" on their forced return to El Salvador. Given the additional blanket of secrecy covering the collaboration between the FBI and the National Guard, it is impossible to estimate the numbers killed by Salvadoran security forces with the cooperation of the FBI.

But if, as Varelli has maintained, "the FBI knew and approved of every damn call I made [to the National Guard]," then the Bureau has on its hands the blood of innocent refugees. And it is remarkable that, in its efforts to call the FBI to account for abuses of lesser gravity, the Congress chose not to question the Bureau about its possible participation in the most grotesque kind of human rights violations.

The Unsolved Break-Ins

From a U.S. standpoint, the most frightening aspect of the assault on dissenting citizens lies in the string of break-ins, thefts, death threats and assaults that stretches forward from 1983 to 1990 like an underground epidemic of low-grade terrorism.

Partly because the FBI has consistently declined to investigate those break-ins-categorizing them as local crimes under the jurisdiction of local police rather than evidences of an interstate conspiracy-we may never know who has planned and coordinated them.

The CIA could well have coordinated a number of private groups, Salvadoran as well as North American, in a campaign of break-ins which it hid under the cover of the FBI's official investigations of those groups. It does not seem coincidental that the majority of break-in victims were also affiliated with groups which were targeted for official investigation by the FBI.

It is equally plausible to speculate that the string of break-ins was coordinated by elements in Oliver North's private network, using lists of targets produced by the FBI, CIA or State Department. When Revell, for instance, said he was afraid that Glenn Robinette, the head of security for North's "private enterprise," may have been running a plumbers' operation, he could have been referring to a campaign of illegal burglaries and harassments that extended far beyond a few groups like the Christic Institute or the International Center for Development Policy, which were working to expose North's illegal operations.

It is also possible that at least some of the break-ins were the work of right-wing Salvadorans and other zealots inside the United States who, by virtue of their earlier information-trading arrangements with the FBI, felt they had the Bureau's sanction in taking the next step and stealing files, trashing offices and terrorizing activists.

Rep. Don Edwards, the former FBI agent who has chaired the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights which held hearings on the break-ins in February of 1987, has said he believes the break-ins to be the work of Central American operatives. In late 1987, Edwards wrote an article titled "The Unsolved Break-Ins," in which he stated that "there are two likely sources for these break-ins...[One possibility is that they] may be the work of agents of one or more Central American government or of factions representing the ruling classes in those countries. We know in the past, violent governments have sent their agents to the U.S. to harass and intimidate their opponents here. The Shah of Iran and Marcos of the Philippines both had active intelligence operations in this country...The right-wing government of Chile was involved in the car bombing in Washington that killed Orlando Letelier. Is history repeating itself? Are foreign agents now carrying out break-ins against sanctuary churches and opponents of the Administration's militaristic policy in Central America?"

"Another possibility," Edwards wrote, "is that the break-ins are the work of [U.S.] right-wing groups who support the contras and U.S. policy in Central America. We know there was a private network established to raise money for the contras. We also know that some members of the network were active in promoting the Administration's views. Is it possible that they were interested as well in frustrating the efforts of groups opposing those views and sought to collect information about them? Unfortunately, we may never know the answers to these questions."

Perhaps the most likely scenario is that the break-ins were coordinated by the CIA, which had (and continues to have) direct lines into both the network of private right-wing activists in the U.S., as well as into the security forces of El Salvador and Guatemala. And while the break-ins may not have been committed by U.S. government agents, there is no doubt they are part of a well-coordinated, centrally-directed campaign to neutralize and intimidate opponents of U.S. policies.

CISPES: The Latest Chapter in an Old History

Whether or not the FBI played an active role in the break-ins-or whether the Bureau was merely a passive accomplice in declining to investigate them-the FBI's operations against liberal and left-wing citizens opposed to U.S. policies beg to be seen in the context of the Bureau's history of abusing its law enforcement powers by persecuting law-abiding dissenters for strictly political reasons.

Given that historical context, the FBI Director's description of the CISPES probe as an "aberration" is indefensible. For the FBI's investigation and harassment of Central America groups in the 1980s is, after all, simply one more chapter in a continuing series of FBI political police operations which date back at least to the 1950s-and which have continued, virtually unabated, to the present.

One contention of numerous experts which is worth noting here is that the FBI, which was established in 1908 as a national law enforcement agency, has never been explicitly authorized by Congress to gather intelligence on political, as contrasted with criminal, targets. In fact, virtually every authorization of the FBI to gather political intelligence and mount political operations against domestic political activists and movements has come in the form of Justice Department guidelines and Presidential executive orders-without passing the test of open public debate.

Nevertheless, dating at least from the McCarthy period of the 1950s, the Bureau has engaged in active investigations of virtually every major dissident political movement in recent American history. Those investigations have involved techniques ranging from file checks to active surveillance to infiltration and provocation to harassments and character assassination to such covert operations as "black-bag jobs," wiretaps and assassinations.

In its report on "Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans," the Senate's Church Committee in 1976 cited a series of FBI campaigns all of which were patently political in nature and had little, if anything, to do with the FBI's legal mandate to investigate criminal activities.

According to that report: "Intelligence agencies have collected vast amounts of information about the intimate details of citizens' lives and about their participation in legal and peaceful political activities. The targets of intelligence activity have included political adherents of the right and the left, ranging from activist to casual supporters. Investigations have been directed against proponents of racial causes and women s rights, outspoken apostles of nonviolence and racial harmony; establishment politicians; religious groups; and advocates of new lifestyles."

The targets of FBI intelligence operations cited by the Church Committee 15 years ago included participants in virtually every significant political movement.

"The 'Women's Liberation Movement' was infiltrated by informants who collected material about the movement's policies, leaders and individual members. One report included the name of every woman who attended meetings, and another stated that each woman at a meeting had described 'how she felt oppressed, sexually or otherwise.' Another report concluded that the movement's purpose was to 'free women from the humdrum existence of being only a wife and mother....

An adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Stanley Levison, was investigated on suspicion he was a communist sympathizer. According to a 1964 FBI memorandum which ordered the investigation to continue:

"The Bureau does not agree with the expressed belief of the field office that [Levison] is not sympathetic to the Party cause. While there may not be any evidence that [he] is a Communist, neither is there any substantial evidence that he is anti-communist."

The Committee found, moreover, that the Bureau continued to investigate the NAACP for possible communist links for more than 25 years despite an early FBI report that the NAACP had a "strong tendency" to "steer clear Communist activities."

Similarly, the Bureau investigated the Socialist Workers Party for more than 30 years, collecting information on the organization's attitudes toward food prices, race relations and the Vietnam War, despite an FBI finding that the group had committed no illegal acts.

In the case of the small SWP alone, the Bureau employed 1,600 informants in a 16-year-period to infiltrate the group, at an estimated cost of $26 million.

In 1970, according to the Congressional report, the FBI ordered investigations of every member of the Students for a Democratic Society and of every Black Student Union, regardless of "their past or present involvement in disorders.' As a former FBI intelligence official told the Committee, the Bureau opened files on thousands of young men and women so that "the information could be used if they ever applied for a government job."

Nor was the Bureau immune to the political bidding of a succession of U.S. presidents. President Franklin Roosevelt instructed the Bureau to open investigative files on citizens who wrote the White House to espouse an "isolationist" policy in opposition to the President's foreign policies. Harry Truman solicited FBI reports on union organizers, journalists and former Roosevelt aides. Dwight Eisenhower received FBI reports on "purely political and social contacts with foreign officials" of Bernard Baruch, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. And officials in the Kennedy White House had the FBI wiretap "a Congressional staff member, three executive officials, a lobbyist and a Washington law firm," while Attorney General Robert Kennedy received the fruits of FBI wiretaps on Martin Luther King, Jr. At the request of President Lyndon Johnson, the FBI conducted file checks on various anti-war legislators and compared their statements on the Vietnam war to the statements of the Communist Party.

Given the FBI's compilation during the 1980s of investigative files on at least a dozen Senators and Representatives who opposed President Reagan's policies in Nicaragua and El Salvador-some of which included material procured through electronic surveillance-it is difficult to accept the assertion in the 1989 report of the Senate Intelligence Committee that "there were no instructions given or requests for information made to FBI officials during the conduct of the CISPES investigation by anyone within the office of the White House or acting on behalf of the White House in an effort to influence their investigation."

In the course of its operations against civil rights organizations, black political activists, anti-Vietnam War groups, the Free Speech Movement of university students, the American Indian Movement and the movement for Puerto Rican independence, the FBI opened hundreds of thousands of letters; wiretapped thousands of telephone conversations; conducted break-ins at hundreds of residences and offices; and surveilled untold numbers of groups and activists.

The Bureau, moreover, engaged in a number of disruptive tactics which the Church Committee called "indisputably degrading to a free society." These included attempts to have political activists fired from their jobs by anonymously informing their employees about their political beliefs-a tactic which was repeated in 1987 with the FBI's approach to employers of members of the TecNica organization.

It included, as well, anonymous letters to the spouses of FBI targets in order to destroy their marriages. One favored tactic of the FBI involved anonymously labeling political activists as FBI informants, thereby destroying their credibility and effectiveness as political organizers...

The Bureau's anonymous provocations included ... anonymous letters to Black Panther Party members indicating they were on the "hit list" of other Panther activists and implying their wives or girlfriends were engaged in secret affairs with other Party members. One of the FBI's more notorious operations included providing Dr. King with a tape recording of his private activities, along with a note suggesting he commit suicide to avoid public humiliation.

One of the FBI's most egregious actions involved the Bureau's engineering of the 1969 assassination of Panther leader Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago.

In the following decade, between 1973 and 1976, the Bureau is said to have either provided assistance for or participated in the murder of nearly 70 members of the American Indian Movement and the violent attacks on another 300 Native Americans who had occupied the areas of Pine Ridge and Rosebud in South Dakota.

Ten years later, the FBI's campaign against advocates of Puerto Rican independence peaked when more than 300 FBI agents and U.S. Marshalls conducted raids throughout Puerto Rico in 1985, trashing homes and offices and arresting scores of activists-two of whom were held without bail in pre-trial detention for more than two-and-a-half years. The FBI's operations in Puerto Rico resulted in the creation of files on 74,000 individuals.

Given the FBI's history of thinly rationalized political repression, it is very difficult to accept the conclusion of the Senate Intelligence Committee that: "The Committee does not believe the CISPES investigation reflected significant FBI political or ideological bias...."

Unfortunately, a review of the FBI's political operations also suggests that, with the exception of the Church and Pike Committee investigations in the mid-1970s, Congress has been unable or unwilling to exert the kind of control and oversight with which the public has entrusted it. In the case of the CISPES scandal, it is unclear whether the Senate report endorsed the FBI's cover-up because it was politically expedient or because the FBI withheld critical material from Congressional investigators. It seems that both factors played a significant role.

Concurrent with the history of documented FBI political abuses over the past 35 years, is an equally clear history of an institutionalized FBI practice of routinely Iying about its activities. That history of Iying to Congress has continued unabated from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s.

When the first set of FBI documents in 1988 indicated that the CISPES investigation was far more extensive than Congressional overseers had been led to believe, investigators on Capitol Hill said flatly that the FBI had lied to them in its previous briefings. Nor were the FBI's lies to Congress confined to the CISPES investigations.

The "DO NOT FILE" File

The Bureau, during the 1960s, maintained a set of files which were headed "DO NOT FILE." The files, which recorded FBI break-ins and thefts at civil rights and anti-war offices during the 1960s, were used to keep such activities away from public scrutiny. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, FBI officials swore under oath that they had discontinued the use of the "DO NOT FILE" caption, especially since the federal Freedom Of Information Act requires that the existence of all agency files be acknowledged, if not released, to requesters using the act.

But a "DO NOT FILE" file, provided to the author in 1988, indicates that the FBI has continued to maintain such records. The "DO NOT FILE" document, apparently unrelated to the FBI's campaign against Central America dissenters, was a 1985 communication from Revell to then-FBI Director William Webster. It cited a request from Henry Kissinger for a personal meeting with Webster about alleged harassment by members of the Lyndon LaRouche political organization. The document was titled "DO NOT FILE" apparently because-Kissinger did not want any bureaucratic paper trail indicating his private meeting with Webster to discuss the LaRouche group.

When Rep. Edwards questioned the FBI about the document, he was told simply that it was erroneously captioned. Despite Edwards' concern that "reinstituting 'Do Not File' files would emasculate the oversight process," Congress apparently accepted the Bureau's explanation that the file should have been captioned "Informal Advice-Not For Retention"-a freshly-minted FBI euphemism for "Do Not File."

Then there is the matter of the Terrorist Photo Album. While Webster himself assured Rep. Patricia Schroeder, Sen. Christopher Dodd and others that they were not included in the FBI's Terrorist Photo Album and were not the subjects of FBI Central America-related investigations, an internal FBI memo, initialed by Webster, indicates that the Bureau deliberately lied to the legislators.

A reading of the Senate Intelligence Committee's CISPES reports indicates, as well, that the FBI withheld critical documents from the committee. In addition to concealing its retroactive alterations of Varelli's polygraph results, it is clear from the report that the FBI withheld other significant documents as well. As one example, the Senate report concluded that during his 1983 visit to Washington, "Mr. Varelli's report indicates that he never actually met any Washington members of CISPES or attended any of their meetings. He did report on several left-wing bookstores, however, as well as some churches..."

However, the FBI's files contain a full debriefing of his infiltration of CISPES headquarters following the bombing of the Capitol-a document which was apparently withheld from the Committee to further discredit Varelli. The airtel sent from the FBI's Dallas Office to FBI headquarters, moreover, bears a handwritten notation, apparently from an FBI supervisor who wrote: "Good job. Thanks. I talked to (DELETED) who was very pleased. He said the unit chief was impressed also." The document substantiates Varelli's version of his visit to CISPES headquarters in Washington in December, 1983, following the bombing of the Capitol Building.

Again, when William Webster told the Congressional Iran-Contra Committee that he had disclosed all of the FBI's contacts with Oliver North, he neglected to mention a 14-month relationship between North and special agent David Beisner of the Washington Field Office-a relationship which was aimed at gathering intelligence on groups attempting to expose North's illegal contra-supply operations.

The findings of both the FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee stand in stark contrast to those of U.S. District Executive Magistrate Judge Joan H. Leflkow, who ruled in February 1991 on a case involving Chicago-based Central America groups. In that ruling, the federal judge found that the FBI used infiltrators to penetrate the leadership of several groups. Moreover, the FBI's Chicago field office obtained copies of bank deposit slips, canceled checks, and signature cards for CISPES members, as well as copies of the group's long-distance telephone records "to determine the identity of Chicago CISPES memberships and contacts."

"At the direction of Headquarters, the FBI conducted a photographic surveillance...of one Chicago CISPES leader and, on April 8, 1985, submitted his photograph and background data for inclusion in the Terrorist Photograph Album. "

The judge found, moreover, that "In a sworn statement made on April 8, 1988 [three years after the original submission], the FBI case agent for the Chicago CISPES investigation, who submitted the photograph and data, admitted that he did not believe his investigation had established the Chicago CISPES leader to be a terrorist."

According to the decision, "The Chicago Field Office received and placed in its file articles attacking CISPES written by the political organizations Young Americas Foundation, Students for a Better America, Inc., and the Council for Inter-American Security. The FBI later, as a result of its internal inquiry, characterized these articles as 'conservative material."'

The inadequacy of the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings was underscored by Judge Leflkow, who concluded: "The FBI has not shown that there is no reasonable expectation of recurrence against either the named petitioners or other[s]...Although the FBI has enacted new guidelines, they have also enacted guidelines in the past which were meant to prevent this type of investigation. . .The FBI's own regulations are, therefore, not sufficient to prevent violations. The regulations can also be repealed or modified in the future and do not, therefore, guarantee future compliance...Based on the FBI's past behavior, there is a reasonable likelihood of repetition."

Criminal Penalties for Criminal Conduct

Clearly the FBI systematically uses distortion, disinformation and deliberate lies as official instruments of policy. Whether those lies are directed toward political adversaries, news reporters, other agencies of the executive branch or overseers in Congress charged with monitoring the Bureau's operations, the record of the FBI's counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence units demonstrates unequivocally that it is not to be trusted to tell the truth. With the acquiescence of the Congressional committees, the FBI has succeeded in Iying its way out of a series of scandals whose casualties have been truth, the democratic process, and the First Amendment to the Constitution.

In the spring of 1990, Adm. John Poindexter, the former National Security Adviser to whom Oliver North reported, was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to Congress. At Poindexter's sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Greene said that, had Poindexter not served time in jaiI, it would be tantamount to a statement that a scheme to lie to and obstruct Congress is of no great moment, and that even if the perpetrators are found out, the courts will treat their criminal acts as no more than minor infractions." Judge Greene held that Poindexter and North had acted "in violation of a principle fundamental to this constitutional republic-that those elected by and responsible to the people shall make the important policy decisions, and that their decisions may not be nullified by appointed officials who happen to be in positions _ that give them the ability to operate programs prohibited by law."

It is perplexing that the appropriate officials of the FBI-Ronald Davenport, Oliver Revell, and William Webster-have not been held to the same standards as Poindexter and other federal employees who have been convicted of Iying to Congress. The message inherent in the lack of such convictions is that the very agency empowered to enforce the t_ federal laws of the country is, itself, beyond the reach of those laws.

Given the Bureau's tenacious adherence to illegal domestic operations in the face of public and Congressional criticism, given its unwillingness or inability to police its own actions in accordance with the requirements of free speech embedded in the Constitution, and given its time-tested proclivity to act, not as a guardian of the law but as a proprietary police force for the incumbent power structure, there seems no reason for advocates of civil liberties to accept, once again, another promise that the FBI will respect the basic rights of freedom and privacy of U.S. citizens.

The CISPES investigation, alone, involved 59 field offices, stretched from 1981 through mid-1985, generated thousands of pages of file material and resulted in not one conviction for illegal activities. (A 1990 report by the General Accounting Office found that between 1982 and 1988, the FBI used the "terrorism" excuse to open some 10,000 investigations of U. S. citizens, most of which were subsequently closed because no links between the subject of the investigation and terrorism could be found.)

As Frank Wilkinson, a former minister who endured more than three decades of FBI surveillance and dirty tricks, has consistently pointed out, the only reliable remedy for illegal FBI activities is a Congressional charter that would remove the responsibility for overseeing the Bureau from the Bureau itself. Such a charter would mandate the so-called "criminal standard." Under its terms, the FBI would be prohibited from any investigation unless there were clear and present indications that a law had been broken or was about to be broken. Whether Wilkinson's organization, the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, will be successful in its current efforts to promote such a charter remains to be seen. But short of completely abolishing the FBI, there seems no other solution that would be acceptable to the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens who have been victimized by the zealotry of the Bureau.

A major accomplice of the unidentified individuals who coordinated, planned and executed the break-ins is a press corps which finds nothing extraordinary or ominous about a sustained campaign of political assault against law-abiding citizens who disagree with their president's foreign policies. That was the kind of activity that heralded the rise to power of Hitler. And, if the United States ever falls prey to demagoguery, zealotry or institutionalized intolerance, this is the way it will begin. And it will proceed with an assist from the press whose members who will most likely dismiss victims of political repression as "fringe types" as they turn away from uncomfortable clues of tyranny.

It was the press, after all, that was unconcerned that the FBI was permitted to enter tens of thousands of names of citizens into its terrorism ( files-records which can be used to deny them jobs, to savage their reputations, to subject them to arbitrary surveillance, and to make them criminal suspects the next time a bomb explodes in one of America's cities.

Caught in the grip of economic uncertainty and facing a future of environmental degradation and global political upheaval, much of the U.S. public has lost sight of the very civil liberties that distinguish the United States from other empires that were merely powerful and wealthy. If that forgetfulness persists, this country will have lost that which has made it an ideal for newly emerging "Pro-Democracy" regimes throughout Eastern Europe, that which has made it special in the light of history.

The notion of civil liberties-a major hallmark of the American Constitution-seems very elusive to many Americans in the 1990s and virtually irrelevant to others. But from both a societal and an individual point of view, it is critical to the survival of the country as we know it. Throughout U.S. history, solutions to problems have often come from oppositional political movements-most recently the Civil Rights movement, the Nuclear Freeze, the environmental movement, the women's movement-many of which began with small followings and marginal influence. But the existence of unpopular or dissenting groups provides a kind of intellectual wetlands, a spawning ground for new experiments, new ideas, new solutions to problems which are intractable to traditional approaches.

To wipe out those wetlands by means of censorship, intimidation or enforced silence is to undermine one of the richest resources of the country's public life. When new problems arise, there will be only old solutions. And both an important early warning system, as well as a source of innovation and ingenuity, will have been eliminated.

What we have learned about the operations of the FBI-not only against Central America activists, but also against opponents of nuclear weapons, civil rights groups, and environmental organizations-suggests that the Bureau sees its basic mandate as preventing the success of any significant movement for social change in America. From its mission as a national police force, dedicated to thwarting interstate and international crime, the FBI has become a guardian of the status quo, the incumbency, and the front line in the war against any set of citizens who oppose the policies of the country's leadership. That mission may have been appropriate in Stalin's Soviet Union or Deng's China or Pinochet's Chile. It is not appropriate to the laws of the United States.

From an individual point of view, the country was founded on the premise that each citizen has the political right and the moral obligation to develop his or her self and work to realize his or her potential as fully as possible.

Contrast that ideal with the hypothetical situation of a concerned individual in the 1980s-we will call her Jill-who is moved to action by her sympathy with Central American refugees she has seen on television or in the downtown area of the city she lives in. Or, perhaps, she found herself outraged at her government's support of a foreign regime which murders and incarcerates its citizens at will. Or, let's assume, she feels compelled to speak out against her government's attempts to undermine and destroy a democratically elected government in another part of the world.

Jill would probably be surveilled by FBI agents who enter her name in the Bureau's terrorism files. Her telephone could be tapped and her mail periodically opened and inspected. She might come home one night to find the house ransacked, files stolen and a death threat left in full view. She could spot her name in any one of a dozen publications published by extremist political groups and disseminated and financed by the State Department. She could, at the same time, be on a "watchlist" provided to the National Security Agency so that every international phone call she made was monitored and recorded. Her taxes could be audited by the Internal Revenue Service because of "questionable" political activities. Her landlord, employer and close friends could be interviewed by FBI agents who may well suggest that continued association with or employment of Jill could result in their own entry onto a government list. Because of her sincere convictions and her courage to act on them, she can find herself deprived of her rights to privacy, limited in her occupational opportunities, subject to physical attacks, and shunned by the society she thought she was working to improve.

All these things have happened to citizens who publicly opposed the Administration's policies in Central America and elsewhere.

They happened in the 1980s with barely a notice in the mainstream press and with hardly a protest from the public at large.

And, unless American citizens are able to remember why this country was founded and what made it unique in the sight of history, it will, no doubt, happen again.

Break-ins, Death Threats and the FBI

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