THE LAWLESS STATE: The Crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies by Morton H. & Others Halperin

THE LAWLESS STATE: The Crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies

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Tersely, with no surprises, the authors (associates of the Center for National Security Studies) summarize recent revelations concerning government intelligence agencies' violations of law and rationality. The book essentially parallels The American Police State by David Wise (p. 1127), with fewer details of scandals and more background about the evolution of agencies like the FBI. Halperin et al. also include the National Security Agency, which ""literally has the potential to intercept all communications,"" and conducts a vast surveillance program though, like the other domestic-spy branches, it has never found serious foreign ties or criminal plots among the millions of citizens it watches. Grand juries come under scrutiny--you may not know that they can abrogate all open-court rules, or that their potential for Bill of Rights abuse has recently been expanded by the Attorney General. The authors find, however, that other institutions lack even a legal figleaf to authorize their domestic and foreign intrusions, and note that crimes like the overthrow of Chile's President Allende were undertaken, not to boost ""national security,"" but to preclude a ""democratic alternative to American policy."" The authors conclude that exposure has not guaranteed reform. They propose various restructurings, but the chief message is that the American population has actually been made rather callous by the abundance of exposes, though the police-state threat has not diminished. No reference is made to Halperin's own experience of wiretapping at the hands of Secretary of State Kissinger; this is an impersonal, businesslike roundup, broader if less passionate than its David Wise counterpart.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1976
Publisher: Penguin