1975 January 4

President Ford Appoints Rockefeller Commission to Investigate CIA Abuses


President Gerald Ford on this day created the Rockefeller Commission, chaired by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, to head off Congressional investigations of CIA misdeeds. Pressure to investigate the CIA was the result of an exposé of CIA spying on Americans by The New York Times on December 22, 1974. Ford’s move failed when the Senate created the Church Committee on January 27, 1975, and the House created the Pike Committee on February 19, 1975, both of which investigated the intelligence agencies.

The reports of these committees revealed shocking abuses by the CIA, the FBI and other agencies. The Church Committee reports (see below) are still an invaluable resource on the history of abuses by the intelligence agencies.

The revelations of CIA plots to assassinate foreign leaders did not break until April 28, 1975. The Rockefeller Commission had planned to avoid this subject, but, after the revelation, was forced to change its plans and address the controversy, which it did very delicately.

Read the Rockefeller Commission Report: http://history-matters.com/archive/contents/church/contents_church_reports_rockcomm.htm

Read the Church Committee reports on the CIA and abuses by other intelligence agencies: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports.htm

Learn more about the post-Watergate investigations of the intelligence agencies: Kathryn Olmstead, Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI (1996)

Learn more about the CIA: Tim Wiener, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (2007)

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