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Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI
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Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Just four months after Richard Nixon's resignation, ""New York Times"" reporter Seymour Hersh unearthed a new case of government abuse of power: the CIA had launched a domestic spying programme of Orwellian proportions against American dissidents during the Vietnam War. The country's best investigative journalists and members of Congress quickly mobilized to probe a scandal that seemed certain to rock the foundations of this secret government. Subsequent investigations disclosed that the CIA had plotted to kill certain foreign leaders and that the FBI had harrassed civil rights and student groups. Some called the scandal ""son of Watergate"". Many observers predicted that the investigations would lead to far-reaching changes in the intelligence agencies. Yet, as Kathryn Olmsted shows, neither the media nor Congress pressed for reforms. For all of its post-Watergate zeal, the press hesitated to break its long tradition of deference in national security coverage. Congress, too, was unwilling to challenge the executive branch in national security matters. Reports of the demise of the executive branch were greatly exaggerated, and the result of the ""year of intelligence"" was a return to the status quo.

KATHRYN S. OLMSTED is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Davis. She is author of Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI.

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