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President Ford Approved Warrantless Wiretaps in 1974

President Ford/whitehouse photo

President Ford/whitehouse photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Gerald Fold authorized the FBI to use domestic warrantless wiretaps in 1974, according to the website WIRED.

The website, which cites a classified memo recently obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, says Ford signed a Dec. 19, 1974 memo giving his approval  “just one month before the Senate established an 11-member panel, known as the Church Committee, to investigate government surveillance programs.”

It said he had reviewed the matter and found it was legal. The signing came at a time critics were up in arms over what they considered excessive government surveillance on the domestic front.

“The Church Committee would ultimately uncover other unconstitutional spying activities, such as that conducted by the National Security Agency under the rubric of Operation Shamrock,” WIRED wrote. “Two days after the memo was signed, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, writing in The New York Times, disclosed a covert government spying program that focused on monitoring political activists in the U.S.”

The website said Ford later supported the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which required permission from a special court so law enforcement  could conduct domestic surveillance.

The news of Ford’s memo comes after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled last week that the National Security Agency illegally wiretapped conversations of two lawyers and a Saudi charity during the Bush years.

To read more click here.

Read Ford Memo


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