Two days after ABC correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than illegal CIA activities from decades ago, on Tuesday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC's Terry Moran made his own comparison between the past when the CIA was "running amuck" and modern times. Moran: "But many experts say [the documents] also shed light on this era, on the question of what the agency should and shouldn't be doing at a time when the CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding and expanding its role in the war against al-Qaeda and other terrorists.
Below is a complete transcript of Moran's report from the Tuesday June 26 World News with Charles Gibson, with the critical portion in bold:
CHARLES GIBSON: Well, the nation's spy agency, the CIA, revealed many of its older secrets today, releasing documents known within the CIA as the "family jewels." Much of what is outlined in the documents has been known for some time, but it's still sobering to see confirmation that the nation's spy agency was breaking the law in the 1960s and '70s, plotting assassinations and spying on Americans. Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran is here with the story.
TERRY MORAN: On page after page, some of the darkest chapters of the CIA's history are described in chilling detail -- the efforts to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders, extensive spying on civil rights leaders and Vietnam War protesters in the U.S., surveillance of journalists, opening mail, wiretapping, break-ins, all in violation of the law.
THOMAS BLANTON, National Security Archive: These documents suggest the CIA basically had no limits.
MORAN: Certainly there were few limits in the effort to kill Castro. The documents released today show that in August 1960, top CIA officials decided to launch "a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action." The mission target was Fidel Castro. The agency recruited top mafia bosses, one of whom suggested "if he could be furnished some type of potent pill, that could be placed in Castro's food or drink, it would be a much more effective operation." Mafia contacts in Cuba then tried and failed to poison Castro. In a bizarre twist, the whole plot nearly came to light when a CIA technician was caught in Las Vegas trying to wiretap comedian Dan Rowan because one of the mafia bosses thought Rowan was getting too friendly with his girlfriend. Castro wasn't the only foreign leader the CIA targeted for assassination. Others included Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and Diem of South Vietnam.
BLANTON: The documents suggest that people at the very highest levels wanted to get rid of some pesky foreign leaders, CIA was happy to come up with some poison or some guns or some mob figures to go whack these guys.
MORAN: The documents also show just how extensively the CIA spied on Americans. Nearly 10,000 files were amassed on Vietnam War protesters. And the agency helped police in Washington, D.C., to spy on protest marches. Several journalists who broke stories containing classified information were special targets of CIA surveillance.
MICHAEL GETLER, Former Washington Post Reporter: They actually took pictures through the picture window of our home in the suburbs.
TERRY MORAN: All in all, these documents open a window on another era, a time when the nation's top spies were essentially running amuck. But many experts say they also shed light on this era, on the question of what the agency should and shouldn't be doing at a time when the CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding and expanding its role in the war against al-Qaeda and other terrorists.