Christopher Pyle

Christopher H. Pyle (born 1939) is a journalist and Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He testified to Congress about the use of military intelligence against civilians, worked for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, as well as the Senate Committee on Government Oversight. He is the author of several books and Congressional reports on military intelligence and constitutional rights, and has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on issues of deportation and extradition.

Early life and educationEdit

He graduated from Bowdoin College, and earned his master's and PhD at Columbia University.


Church Committee report

While in the U.S. Army in the 1960s as a captain of intelligence, Christopher H. Pyle learned that "Army intelligence had 1,500 plainclothes agents watching every demonstration of 20 people or more throughout the United States" [1] [2] as part of a broad-based program of domestic spying. In January 1970 he disclosed the Army's spying.

Senator Sam Ervin investigated the Army's spying as chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, and Pyle worked as an analyst for his committee, testifying to Congress about his own findings. Ervin continued to investigate government activities; together with the Church Committee inquiries, these Congressional studies led to the drafting of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Pyle served as a consultant for three Congressional committees in this area. Later in the 1970s Ervin served as chair of the Congressional committee that conducted hearings on the Watergate scandal.

Academic careerEdit

Pyle has written several books on military surveillance, extradition, and issues related to the use of torture in intelligence gathering in the US war on terror. He teaches constitutional law and rights at Mount Holyoke College.

Pyle has taught politics to intelligence agents in the army; to policemen at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; undergraduates at University College, Dublin; law students at Harvard University, and graduate students at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He currently teaches constitutional law and civil liberties and Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. He has chaired Mount Holyoke’s programs in American Studies and Complex Organizations and is currently chair of the Department of Politics (2011-2012). In 2007, he received the College’s distinguished teaching award.

He is currently a member of the board of directors of the ACLU of Massachusetts.


  • 1971 and 1972 Polk and Hillman awards, respectively, for investigative journalism in 1971 and 1972, respectively.
  • His Extradition, Politics and Human Rights (2001) won "Outstanding Academic Title," Choice, in 2002.
  • In 2004 he received the Luther Knight Mcnair Award from the ACLU of Massachusetts for his contributions to civil liberties as a “teacher, scholar, and model citizen activist.”
  • In 2004 he was elected chair of the Petra Foundation, a national organization that recognizes and assists “unsung heroes” who make extraordinary contributions to social justice.

Selected worksEdit

  • Extradition, Politics, and Human Rights (2001) ISBN 1-56639-823-1
  • with Richard Pious, The President, Congress and the Constitution (1984) ISBN 0-02-925380-2
  • Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics, 1967-1970 (American legal and constitutional history) (Garland Press, 1986) ISBN 0-8240-8290-7
  • Getting Away with Torture: Secret Government, War Crimes, and the Rule of Law (Potomac Books Inc. (2009) ISBN 1-59797-387-4; ISBN 978-1-59797-387-8
  • with Richard Pious, The Constitution under Siege (2010)

Pyle articles and booksEdit

Related linksEdit