September 5, 1972 Israeli Olympic team members taken hostage in Munich, 11 killed. State Department announces “special measures” for security.1
September 18, 1972 Operation Boulder is initiated as a visa screening program focusing on Arabs traveling into the United States. This requires all Foreign Service posts to submit a telegram with the following information for name checks, for travelers identified as “Arab”: name, alias, date and place of birth, physical description, citizenship, purpose of travel, US port of arrival, identity of carrier, and scheduled arrival date. Telegrams are received by the FBI, State Department, CIA, INS, and Secret Service. Each agency checks the submitted name on its own indices. 2
September 25, 1972 Nixon sets up special Cabinet committee to combat terrorism. This includes representatives from FBI, CIA, Attorney General, and departments of State, Defense, Treasury, and Transportation. 3
September 30, 1972 ACLU passes a resolution calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon, based on grounds including covert domestic political surveillance tactics.4
October 1972 The US State Department begins to send telegrams with the phrase “Operation Boulder” to embassies around the world.
October 16, 1972 The American Civil Liberties Union sends a letter to the Attorney General, citing Operation Boulder’s measures as unconstitutional.6
October 29, 1972 Association of Arab American University Graduates publishes an ad in the New York Times entitled “Is the Nixon Administration Playing Politics with Civil Liberties?” drawing attention to anti-Arab racism as a possible motivating factor and effect in Operation Boulder’s implementation.7
January 8, 1973 A Los Angeles Times article reports over 14,000 visa applicants screened under Operation Boulder since its inception. The article also reports that “several hundred” of 9000 Arab American university students have been interrogated by federal agents.8
April 20, 1973 US State Department sends a telegram to US Embassy in Moscow verifying that “ARMENIAN NATIONALS RESIDING IN AND CARRYING PASSPORTS OF ARAB COUNTRIES ARE NOT TO BE CONSIDERED ARAB ETHNICS UNDER TERMS OF OPERATION BOULDER.”9
October 16,1973 A telegram from the US Embassy in Rabat to the State Department reads, “ARE OPERATION BOULDER TELEGRAMS STILL CONSIDERED NECESSARY OR SHOULD WE SUPPRESS THEM FOR DURATION?”10
January 29, 1975 The cabinet committee to combat terrorism meets to discuss the possibility of discontinuing Operation Boulder. State Department representatives advise modifications to the program. 11
April 11, 1975 A State Department teletype advises that Operation Boulder is being terminated.12
April 23, 1975 New York Times runs an article announcing the State Department’s decision to officially end Operation Boulder. 13
1.Special to The New York Times, ‘Nixon Tightens Security In U.S. Against “Outlaws”: Nixon Tightens Security in U.S. Against “International Outlaws”’, New York Times (New York, N.Y., United States, 6 September 1972).
2. Hoffacker, Lewis. (1973-11-02). Description of Boulder Program. Intelwire. from http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/Operation-Boulder-SM.pdf
3. Richard Nixon: “Memorandum Establishing a Cabinet Committee To Combat Terrorism.,” September 25, 1972. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3596.
4. American Civil Liberties Union, ‘ACLU Resolution on Impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon’ (September 30, 1973) from http://www.americancenturies.mass.edu.
7. Association of Arab American University Graduates, ‘Is the Nixon Administration Playing Politics with Civil Liberties?’, New York Times (New York, N.Y., United States, 29 October 1972), section THE WEEK IN REVIEW, p. E4.
8. Robert L. Jackson and John J. Goldman, ‘War on Terror: Police of World Pool Resources: Visas Screened, Mail X-Rayed in Efforts to Halt Mideast Fanatics’, Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) (Los Angeles, Calif., United States, 8 January 1973), section Part I, p. a1.
13.‘A PLAN TO SCREEN TERRORISTS ENDS: U.S. Project to Block Arabs Was Not “Cost Effective”’, New York Times (New York, N.Y., United States, 24 April 1975)