In the late 1960s, Mount Holyoke Professor of Politics Christopher H. Pyle was an army captain teaching constitutional law at the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Fort Holabird, Maryland. In that capacity, he learned about the army’s domestic spying operation, which involved 1,500 plainclothes military personnel spying on antiwar and civil rights protesters across the country. Pyle disclosed the surveillance in 1970 in two award-winning articles and went on to recruit 125 former intelligence agents to testify before Congress.
Pyle will deliver a free public lecture, “Government Secrecy and the Rule of Law,” on April 21 at 5:00 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1801 Euclid Avenue.
In the 1970s, Pyle’s Congressional testimony helped launch U.S. Senator Sam Ervin’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights and U.S. Senator Frank Church’s Select Committee on Intelligence. As a result, the entire U.S. Army Intelligence Command was abolished, all its files on dissidents were burned and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) was created.
But that was then. Today, Pyle says that “…the walls between military intelligence and civilian law enforcement, and between the FBI and the CIA, are being destroyed. The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures lies in a coma, while dozens of government agencies are laboring to develop a police state apparatus that is more extensive, intrusive and unrestrained than anything we exposed in the 1970s.”
Pyle is an award-winning investigative journalist, scholar, teacher and historian. He is the author of The President, Congress, and the Constitution (1984), Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics (1986), and Extradition, Politics, and Human Rights (2001), a work that analyzes our country’s treatment of political fugitives, from the regicides of colonial times to the suspected terrorists and war criminals of today. Pyle has written extensively on freedom of expression, equal protection of the laws, rights of privacy, terrorism and the detention of aliens and citizens without trial. His articles and op-eds have appeared in hundreds of newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Nation and many legal and political journals.
He is Chair of the Petra Foundation and serves on the boards of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the ACLU of Massachusetts. In 2007, he received Mt. Holyoke’s distinguished teaching award.
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Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, founded in 1897 as the Cleveland Law School, was the first law school in Ohio to admit women and one of the first to admit minorities. In 1946, the Cleveland Law School merged with the John Marshall School of Law, founded in 1916, to become the Cleveland-Marshall Law School. In 1969, the Law School joined Cleveland’s new public university as its sixth college and was renamed the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University. Early graduates of the College of Law laid the foundation for the legal profession in Northeast Ohio. Now in its 111th year, Cleveland-Marshall is preparing promising students to be America’s leaders in the 21st century in law, business, non-profit agencies and government.
For more information on Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, visit www.law.csuohio.edu or call 216.687.6886.
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