Just four months after Richard Nixon's resignation, New York
reporter Seymour Hersh unearthed a new case of government
abuse of power: the CIA had launched a domestic spying program of
Orwellian proportions against American dissidents during the
Vietnam War. The country's best investigative journalists and
members of Congress quickly mobilized to probe a scandal that
seemed certain to rock the foundations of this secret government.
Subsequent investigations disclosed that the CIA had plotted to
kill foreign leaders and that the FBI had harassed civil rights and
student groups. Some called the scandal 'son of Watergate.' Many
observers predicted that the investigations would lead to
far-reaching changes in the intelligence agencies. Yet, as Kathryn
Olmsted shows, neither the media nor Congress pressed for reforms.
For all of its post-Watergate zeal, the press hesitated to break
its long tradition of deference in national security coverage.
Congress, too, was unwilling to challenge the executive branch in
national security matters. Reports of the demise of the executive
branch were greatly exaggerated, and the result of the 'year of
intelligence' was a return to the status quo. American