1975 July 18

Senator Church Calls CIA “Rogue Elephant”


Senator Frank Church (D–Utah) was chair of the Church Committee, created on January 27, 1975, to investigate abuses by the intelligence agencies (the FBI, CIA, NSA). On this day, during the investigation, he used the metaphor, “rogue elephant,” to characterize past covert CIA activities. His point was that the CIA had been completely out of control, setting its own foreign policy agenda. Most analysts disagreed, and Senator Church himself later repudiated the metaphor, citing direct presidential involvement in most CIA activities, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.

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

Read the reports of the Church Committee: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports.htm

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