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Does the US need another Church Committee?




Chairman Frank Church, D- Idaho., the Senate Intelligence Committee, holds up a poison daft gun as co-chairman John G. Tower, R-Texas looks at the weapon during a session the panel's probe of the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, Sept. 17, 1975 in Washington.
Chairman Frank Church, D- Idaho., the Senate Intelligence Committee, holds up a poison daft gun as co-chairman John G. Tower, R-Texas looks at the weapon during a session the panel's probe of the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, Sept. 17, 1975 in Washington.
Henry Griffin

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As we learn more about the operations of the super-secret NSA, it's no surprise that some are calling for a full investigation of the nation's intelligence gathering community. 

In fact, there is already an example of such an investigation. It was called the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. It's quite a mouthful, so most people refer to it as the Church Committee, after the chairman, Idaho Democrat Frank Church.

In 1975 and 76, the committee heard from scores of witnesses and  investigated CIA, NSA and FBI operations that sometimes sounded like the stuff of spy fiction. 

n example: The demonstration of a gun that fired a frozen sliver of poison, that mimicked the effects of a heart attack.