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The Family Jewels

The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power

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In December 1974, a front-page story in the New York Times revealed the explosive details of years of illegal domestic operations by the Central Intelligence Agency including political surveillance, eavesdropping, and detention. These revelations shocked the public and led to investigations by a presidential commission and committees in both houses of Congress. Investigators soon discovered that the CIA abuses were described in a top-secret document that Agency insiders dubbed the “Family Jewels.” That document became ground zero for a political firestorm that lasted more than a year. John Prados, a Senior Fellow of the National Security Archive in Washington, DC, recounts the secret operations that constituted the “Jewels,” shows that the abuses have since been replicated by the intelligence agencies at the global level, and exposes the strenuous efforts – by the Agency, the Executive Branch, and even presidents —to evade accountability. 

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