ises for designating the U.S. military the “lead agency” in homeland security affairs. Perry selected another former Reagan appointee, William Sessions, as vice-chair of the Task Force. Sessions was head of the FBI from 1987 through 1993. Shortly after taking office, he announced in a press conference that the Bureau’s notorious investigation into the Coalition In Solidarity with branches across the country, had been “poorly directed” but was nonetheless “legitimate” because CISPES might have been “complicit in terrorism.” CISPES was just one of hundreds of groups opposed to U.S. policy in Central America that had its activities monitored in the 1980s, though no evidence of terrorist activity was ever found. A Senate investigation later condemned the monitoring of what it called the “peaceful political activities of domestic groups.” Sessions, who remained head of the FBI during the Waco and Ruby Ridge shootouts, was removed by Clinton for alleged ethics violations. He is currently a federal judge in San Antonio. By far the most interesting Homeland Security appointee is the Task Force’s chair, Texas Land Commissioner David Dewhurst. In 1995, The Nation broke the story that Dewhurst, a former Air Force intelligence lieutenant, was the CIA’s “number two man” in Bolivia from 1971 through 1973. It was during this period that a coup led by U.S. School of the Americas-trained Col. Hugo Banzer Suarez deposed the elected president and installed a military junta. Banzer’s insurrection was conducted with help from U.S. Air Force communications systems, according to the Washington Post. Within two years, Banzer had imprisoned some 2,000 political dissidents without trial. “All the fundamental laws protecting human rights were regularly violated,” The New York Times reported. In his campaign for Land Commissioner, Dewhurst downplayed the CIA revelations, saying he “thought it was the patriotic thing to do.” Dewhurst has said his involvement with the CIA ended before he was 30, but it has left a clear mark on his career. He retains an interest in Bogan Aerotech, whose Huey II helicopter is sold to governments worldwide for “military, counter-terrorism, and counter-narcotics” uses. Dewhurst is also a former vice president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a pro-Israeli think tank whose board includes Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA director Admiral James Woolsey. Dewhurst is already leveraging his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Task Force in his current campaign for Lieutenant Governor. A recent advertisement in Texas Monthly reads in part: “as Chairman of the Governor’s Task Force on Homeland Security, David Dewhurst encourages you to support President Bush” in the fight against terrorism. \(Aside from the crass self-promotion, an oversight in this ad has brought Dewhurst considerable ridicule: Close observers noted that a stock photo intended to represent an alert and ready American soldier is actually a German officer, prompting some to quip Although the task force has held only two public meetings, Dewhurst has already made it clear that he wishes to proceed without public scrutiny or input. In his opening address at the October 11 meeting, Dewhurst announced that the task force would not be hearing any public testimonycitizens who wished to comment on the proceedings were encouraged to do so via the Internet. The opening remarks were immediately followed by ‘a briefing from the Attorney General’s office on how ‘the Task Force could conduct its inquiries without falling under the scrutiny ofTexas’ open records and open meetings acts. Indeed, despite William Sessions’ frequent remarks that the public would not be reassured by secrecy, much of the business of the hearing was tabled to closed-door meetings. After the initial hearing on October 11, the Texas ACLU’s Police Accountability Project fired off a critique of the unbalanced makeup of the panel and the secrecy around the closed sessions. “Chairman Dewhurst indicated that expanding law enforcement wiretapping and intelligence activities should only be discussed in closed meetings,” wrote the Project’s Scott Henson. “ACLU strongly disagrees. Since all such activities are prospective, the Task Force would only be debating policy, not operational details that could harm an investigation. Those meetings should be open.” On November 4, the ACLU ofTexas circulated a letter addressed to Dewhurst, asking to be allowed to testify and warning that the organization would “stand firm against any proposals that undermine free 12/7/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7
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