1970 January 15

Army Spying on Americans Exposed


Retired Captain Christopher Pyle, a former Army intelligence officer, exposed spying on political activity by the U.S. Army. The spying program had started in 1965 in response to the urban riots. By 1970 there were over 1,000 Army investigators, based at Fort Holabird near Baltimore, developing files on the membership, ideology, and programs of “virtually every activist political group in the country,” from the Ku Klux Klan to Women’s Strike for Peace. Pyle exposed the spying program in an article published on this day in Washington Monthly magazine.

Pyle went on to earn a doctorate in political science, and taught at Mount Holyoke College. The Senate Church Committee report detailed the history of military surveillance of Americans (see below).

Read: Christopher H. Pyle, Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics, 1967–1970 (1986)

Watch Pyle discuss military surveillance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0d5OBnmxw4

Read the Senate Church Committee report on military surveillance of Americans (pp. 785–834): http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_book3.htm

Learn about the early history of military spying on Americans:  Joan Jensen, Army Surveillance in America, 1775–1980 (1991)

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