Forty years ago, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr. played a crucial role in exposing decades of appalling secret conduct by U.S. intelligence agencies. Today, he is publishing “Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy,” a timely and provocative book exploring the origins of the national security state and the urgent challenge of reining it in.
The idea of a new Church Committee is sound, timely, and necessary; but I agree that Congress is not the best choice for putting this entity together.
The revelations of truths can be a double edged sword. Yes it important there an informed citizenry BUT those in power will very obviously select to release certain truths so as to ensure there a conformed citizenry. It a way of letting them know they being watched.
The problem with the Church Committee and so many like it is that while they report and detail some of these abuses, they still kept very much of the truths hidden thus acting as a shield for the same,The vast majority of the information garnered by the Church Committee remains classified as vital to national security. Added to that there was no prosecution of persons involved in those abuses. The message being "they have impunity for their actions".
I applaud whole-heartedly Ms. vanden Heuvel's sentiments and logic, but as other commenters have noted, the Church Committee changed nothing and was itself severely undermined and lied to by the CIA under their arrogant disdain for governmental oversight ("Plausible Deniability"). Who are those bastards answerable to?
I would never accuse Ms. vanden Heuvel or indeed Noam Chomsky of mendacity, but maybe I can accuse them of hiding from the truth, because it is so evil and all-powerful. Anyone who has read James Douglass' "JFK & The Unspeakable. Why he died and Why it Matters" will understand that the "Unspeakable" (whether it be the MIC, CIA, NSA, neo-cons) subvert Democracy and cheat, lie, murder, torture, silence, incarcerate, bully anyone who looks like they might stand up for the little guy against Big Business. JFK naively believed that he was in charge only to find that the CIA thought otherwise and committed treachery to inveigle the US into attacking Cuba in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Kennedy swore to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and sacked Allen Dulles. No surprise then that Dulles was the micro-manager of the Warrenn Commission whose only task was to "prove" that the CIA didn't assassinate the President and that there was no conspiracy. No-one believed these lies and so to deflect some of this disbelief, the CIA orchestrated the campaign to label anyone who questioned the official version as a "Conspiracy Theorist". Well hello! Despite all their best efforts, the Church Committee concluded that JFK was "probably" killed by a Conspiracy - thus making "Conspiracy Theorists" of the Church Committee. But wait!!! If said Committee suspected a Conspiracy, then by whom? Oh the Mafia did it, but NOT the CIA. Trouble is that the CIA lied - as they do, all the time. Whilst the CIA exists, there will never be truth and accountability in America, and Democracy is a complete sham. God Bless America!