The National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL) and the First Amendment Foundation were predecessor organizations to Defending Rights & Dissent. NCARL led a campaign against CIA’s covert actions. William Blum, a journalist and historian who documented covert actions, was an ally of our work. He recently passed away at the age of 85. Below, Kit Gage, Former Director, National Committee Against Repressive Legislation and the First Amendment Foundation, remembers Blum’s life and work.
William Blum was an inveterate reporter and documentarian of the actions, rules, deeds and misdeeds of the intelligence community at home and mostly abroad. His books and their revisions, and his electronic reporting were comprehensive, compelling and depressing. That he remained an even-keeled and dogged advocate to expose and publicize national security state overreaching over decades is remarkable. That he continued in the face of a remarkable expansion of that power, in terms of legal authority and technological revolution, is virtually heroic.
I knew him in the pre-9/11 days where we quaintly thought that the wall between domestic and international surveillance could be kept or even strengthened. And we thought the Pike and Church Committees and their legacies could be shared and lessons learned for a new generation. He was a critical participant in our efforts, but he kept at it long after the battle lines changed. Viva William Blum.