1976 February 18

President Ford Bans Assassinations by CIA


Following revelations of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assassination plots, on April 28, 1975, by reporter Daniel Schorr, and investigations by the Senate Church Committee, President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905 on this day banning assassinations of political leaders by any government employee. The order stated: “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”

The misdeeds of the CIA and the other intelligence agencies were exposed by the investigations of the Senate Church Committee (established on January 27, 1975) and the House Pike Committee (established on February 19, 1975). Every U.S. president upheld Ford’s prohibition on assassinations until the terrorist attacks in September 2001. A month after planes hit the World Trade Center in NYC and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush contended that the ban on political assassination did not apply to wartime and that prohibition did not preclude the United States taking action against “terrorists.”

The ban: “(g) Prohibition of Assassination. No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”

Read the entire Executive Order: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=59348

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

Read the Senate Church Committee report on CIA assassination plots: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_ir.htm

Read: Gerald Ford, A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford (1979)

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