(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.