Talk:Frank Church

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This page should probably mention the "Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area" which is supposedly the largest contiguous wilderness in the 48 lower states. Kaszeta 19:44, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

So mention it! Heh. -Joseph (Talk) 19:46, 2004 Sep 13 (UTC)
Done -- Kaszeta 14:50, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"...and is known regionally as "The Frank."" Does anyone have a source for this? I grew up right next to it, and never heard it called anything except "The wilderness area". Dalrymple 09:43, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm from southern Idaho, but I've never heard called that, either. --Faustus37 18:59, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I removed the phrase under discussion. People have had since February of 2006 to come up with a citation and have not done so. I very sincerely and strongly doubt that there is such a citation. I'm a former resident of the area (and still of the region) and was active in the lobbying to establish the River of No Return Wilderness Area. Even that name never caught on in the region except in formal documents and news reports. The only name commonly used in the region is The Great Idaho Primitive Area but it is far more common for people to discuss particular river drainages, areas surrounding particular mountains, or using other geographical names. Marbux (talk) 08:25, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

"Controversial figure"[edit]

The following was re-added to the article by Joseph:

Frank Church has become a controversial figure, particularly after the September 11th attacks, as his 1970s investigations are blamed by some for reducing the ability of the CIA to gather human intelligence.

I know Frank Church has never been popular with conservatives, but what's new? This looks like a not-so-veiled attempt to blame Church for September 11, which really needs a citation of a reputable source for inclusion here. -- RobLa 08:39, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I was restoring a section which an anonymous editor deleted. In any event, does an accusation by John E. Sununu count? —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 15:08, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
When I look for "conservative" charges made against Church, I do not find any that address the reduction of "the ability of the CIA to gather human intelligence." Kissinger (whose clandestine activities were exposed), Sununu, and James Baker have all made some comments that the Church Committee "hurt" the CIA. I don't think a NPOV editor would necessarily conclude that three opposition political figure's charges constitutes a "controversy" - it would be nice to see a citation from a refereed serial which shows a "neutral" segment of opinion is undecided about a particular issue. The Church Committee did not enact any restrictions, just aired dirty laundry that motivated the House and Senate to set up oversite committees. I think that acknowledging that proponents of secrecy and unrestricted executive power oppose and denounce the Church Committee's actions would be acceptable and it might even be appropriate to show the post-9/11 context of this opportunistic epiphany. -- Cronos1 02:22, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry to butt in here, but I agree completely that the accusation that Church and the so-called Church Committee's work is now "controversial" and considered by some to share "blame" for 9/11 needs further work. Current citations or no, it has an accusatorial air about it, and ignores that others equally are in favor of the changes the Church Committee wrought. As others have noted above, to claim that somebody is "controversial" just because somebody doesn't care for the work they did borders on spurious. One can likely find somebody that dislikes any given public figure for any number of reasons, but that doesn't mean that the reasons carry any sort of heft or that their dislike and arguments are in any way reasonable. At the very least, I'd like to see some balance here, especially in light of ongoing revelations about warrantless NSA spying (and even possible physical breakins) on US soil and involving US citizens. --Dh100 14:35, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Understand that I did not eliminate the 'controversial figure' statement. I could not, in good conscience, restore the eliminated paragraph authored by you as I feel that it overstates the scholarship blaming Church and uses weasle words to describe his critics. Peer reviewed reviews of Knotts books tend to be like Johnson's critique (paraphrasing)...The work is both good and original, unfortunately, what is good is not original and what is original is not good. You did not engage and were not req'd to engage in last March's conversation above. Now would be a good time to address these issues.Cronos1 18:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
As-is, this article reads like a Frank Church love-fest. His effect on the U.S. intelligence community was rather deep, and the tone of this article makes it sound as if it was 100% necessary and progressive. Regardless of whether good came out of this effort, or not, the article must equally present the viewpoint that some changes may not have been positive. Otherwise it's a bunch of PoV nonsense. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 20:52, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
The article does not have to show that ‘some changes may not have been positive’ simply to provide another viewpoint, meaning that there is no obligation for dualism in articles. I do not think you mean to imply any such thing. I do not mean to imply that F. Church is above criticism.

I think it is inaccurate to call Kissinger, Baker, & Sununu’s charges a ‘controversy’. ‘Some’ critics is a weasel phrase when we have 3 specific critics. The charges are rather general in nature; they do not say that the Church Committee initiated a specific act that had specific consequences. In my opinion, logically, the HUMINT charge is rather spurious. The Committee is known for exposing Covert Operations, not for exposing sources and means of developing agents in target nations. Why not say something to the effect that two former Sec of State & whatever-you-want-to-call Sununu have said that Church's Committee has weakened the agency? You've got the sources. Robert Baer (for instance) puts the responsibility for lack of agents on the risk averse (as in expense/results) administration of the agency with some blame going to prohibitions on employing criminals/violators of human rights…don’t believe it would be accurate to blame Church for either of those, do you? If so can you provide documentation? Personally, I do not see the article as a Love-Fest, just a series of statements of facts and opinions. Do you really think Church’s Committee has had any lasting impact on the CIA? Look at the various scandals since Church. No one is writing that ‘on Comrade Church’s initiative, the CIA became a tool in the People’s arsenal to rid the world of Capitalism’ or some other expression of rapturous love. I don’t particularly want to debate, just express areas of concern that you might be able to address with a revision to your edit. Thanks for thinking about it.Cronos1 23:58, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the article is very one-sided and sympathetic to Church and is utterly lacking in objectivity. It talks almost with sorrow about how Church's defeat was brought about by various PACs and the early Reagan returns. His defeat was brought about because someone finally had the organization to stand up to his entrenched political machine. Church was an unrealistic idealogue who badly weakened America's ability to defend itself. His Amendment which pulled the rug out from under South Vietnam just after their greatest military victory of the War led directly to the fall of Saigon. Church's actions led directly to Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia, the Fall of Iran to the Ayatollahs and many of the problems we have today. The article needs to show all the warts and not be an apology for a man who many earnestly believe deeply harmed this nation and jeopardized our future. Church's chickens have truly come home to roost. Suprisingly, I am neither conservative nor republican. Botendaddy (talk) 18:44, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Late political career[edit]

A large amount of material in this section actually talks about activities from Church's early career, not late career. Section needs a rewrite. Proxy User (talk) 05:23, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Bias and Questionable Source[edit]

The last section "Death and Legacy" appears to contain personal commentary and hearsay. In addition, the section is not formatted to Wiki standards. I have removed this section as being vandalism.

Quoted text from "Death and Legacy:"

The Rise and Fall of Frank Church: A Lesson for Conservatives: By Larrey Anderson There was a reporter who attended both speeches with me. He was a liberal friend and confidant of mine. The reporter seemed unperturbed by (and unaware of) the glaring inconsistency in Church's speeches and the senator's "stand" (whatever it was) on abortion.

"Aren't you going to write about what Church said?" I asked the reporter.

"Said about what?" he responded.

"About abortion. Frank was all 'rah, rah' for Roe v. Wade this morning. Now he is crying about dead babies."


"So he is lying."

The reporter thought for a moment before he replied. "He's not lying. He's a politician. He is telling his audience what they want to hear. Do you understand how much this man has done for Idaho? "Sounds like lying to me," I shot back."You need to spend more time around politicians." Sure enough, not one Idaho newspaper picked up on the discrepancy in the two speeches. As far as the media was concerned, Frank Church was too big to fail.

But slowly failing he was -- at least with his voters. Frank Church was a very liberal senator in a very conservative state. He became a strong opponent of the war in Vietnam -- though he initially endorsed sending U.S. troops into the conflict.

The one bone Church tossed (and tossed and tossed) to Idaho's conservative voters was his support for the 2nd Amendment. This was a political contrivance that Church perfected. He mentioned his opposition to gun control in every speech I ever heard him give (in Idaho). It is a ruse still used by "moderate" politicians in conservative states. These otherwise die-hard liberals flaunt their NRA ratings at every opportunity. This is a fact that NRA members (or at least conservatives who belong to the NRA) need to take into consideration when the NRA endorses progressive candidates who pick the 2nd Amendment as their one "bona fide" conservative credential.

Since his political positions were purposely obscured (or ignored) by most of the Idaho press corps (Church was almost always called a "moderate"), the senator felt free to move farther and farther to the left[iv]. So he did.

Soon after his reelection in 1974, Church created and chaired a new committee dedicated to "investigating" the American intelligence establishment and agencies (in particular the CIA)[v]. A month later, the House of Representatives set up a similar committee[vi].

Between the two "investigations" and subsequent reports of the committees, the top-secret intelligence procedures, operations, and even the names of some active intelligence operatives working for the United States were made public and distributed to all of our enemies -- including the Soviet Union, communist China, North Korea, and communist regimes in Asia, Africa, and South America.

(The Church Committee, for example, conducted more than eight hundred interviews -- mostly with people involved in intelligence-gathering -- and produced more than 110,000 pages of documents. Almost all of the information gathered by both committees ended up in the hands of our adversaries.)

The reports, taken together, literally destroyed America's worldwide intelligence-gathering network. The Pike Committee report was so obviously and outrageously a threat to the intelligence community that even the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted against its publication. The report was nevertheless leaked to the media.

Within days of the release of the reports and documents, thousands of people sympathetic to the cause of freedom in communist countries around the world were arrested. Hundreds of people simply disappeared -- most of them were executed.

In the late 1970s, I worked for the Justice Department while I was in law school. I was able to meet some of the people mentioned in the documents -- and some individuals who knew the people rounded up by the communists as a result of the Church and Pike reports.

One of the close friends I made in D.C. worked with a U.S. intelligence agency[vii]. He had been a MIG fighter pilot for a communist country in Eastern Europe. One night, he snuck his wife and two young children to the airfield where he was stationed. He stripped a MIG fighter of all unnecessary weight. He stuffed his wife and two little kids onto the floor of the MIG.

He took off and headed west. He flew less than a hundred feet above the ground to avoid radar detection. He fled to the West with his family until the jet ran out of fuel. He landed in a farmer's field...just a few miles inside the border of a free European country. He had escaped communism with his entire family.

He was one of the men who told me what was happening (and had already happened) to the "informants" that had been identified by the KGB and other communist security organizations because of the Church and Pike reports. From my friend and other sources, I learned the names and locations of some of the American "sympathizers" who had managed to escape detection by the KGB.

But it wasn't the Church and Pike Committee reports, or the deaths of hundreds of decent, innocent, freedom-loving people, that got Frank Church booted out of office. The media painted the Church and Pike Committees' reports as groundbreaking exposures of corruption in the intelligence community. (The New York Times and the Village Voice not only published parts of the banned Pike report -- they reveled in their "exposure" of the CIA.) Barely a word was written about the people who were murdered as a result of the information garnered by our communist enemies from the Church and Pike reports and the supporting documents[viii].

It was, oddly enough, the Panama Canal Treaty that ended Frank Church's political career. The Panama Canal was a long way from, and of little importance to, most Idahoans. Still, Idahoans are, for the most part, fiercely patriotic, and they saw the "giveaway" of the Panama Canal as stupid at best and treasonous at worst.

Because of his senior position on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Church was the chief sponsor in the Senate of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties that transferred the Panama Canal from U.S. to Panamanian jurisdiction.

Yet Church sent letters to his constituents in Idaho (and the Idaho press dutifully reported them) saying that he had not "made up his mind" on how he would vote on the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. He made these pronouncements at the same time that he was in charge of ramming the treaties through the Senate[ix].

The inconsistency (and deception) of Church's position on the Panama Canal was impossible to hide from the voters back home. Enough was enough -- the Idaho people replaced Church in 1980.

Because of the duplicity of Senator Church (and a willingly protective media), it took Idahoans twenty-four long years to figure out the real Frank Church and finally dump him.

Jeperkin (talk) 06:09, 12 February 2010 (UTC)jeperkin