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Miss Drew [continuing). To the national security.
Mr. KLEINDIENST (continuing] Who are engaged in subversive activities and in-thereby endangering our national security.
Miss DREW. Tht's right. And the Attorney General has asserted that powerI thought it was unprecedented what-when he asked for it in the Chicago
Mr. KLEINDIENST. No. No, it's not unprecedented.
Miss DREW. And the court of appeals has said that-has ruled it out, said that it—you know, he can't do it. And now it's before the Supreme Court
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, that doesn't mean it's unprecedented. I think every President and every Attorney General since Roosevelt, when they began to use this type of electronic device, because of the advance of electronic engineering, has assumed that they had the power to do it. The Supreme Court, by virtue of either dicta in its decisions or its refusal to hear cases like this, has created the further belief in that assumption and now, for the first time, after these many forty years, the issue will be raised squarely with the Supreme Court. And of course, if the Supreme Court says, “You can't do it," then we won't do it.
Miss DREW. Yeah. Well, to get to my question-
Miss DREW. That's all right. Why-what's the problem with going to the courts to get the court order on it?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, superficially you'd say if you have a court order to electronic surveillance in organized crime why not in a case like this?
To begin with, the court really doesn't have the expertise, the background and the facilities to make that kind of judgment, with respect to internal security, the protection of the government. The executive branch can, not because you have a new President who can do it better than another President; but in the executive branch you have a continuation of professional career people whose business it is to understand the whole sensitivity of this issue. That's reason number one.
Reason number two, it seems to me, is that you have some 500 judges, you have thousands of clerks and court personnel. The possibility of a breach of security in cases like this, of extreme sensitivity, both respect to our relations with foreign governments with whom we have diplomatic relations, with respect to the whole business of security, to be sure that innocent persons aren't hurt, and also that—with respect to those that you want to surveythey are not possibly informed about it.
And I think that most people who understand the whole comprehensive nature of this subject matter believe that the executive branch of the government in this kind of case is the proper repository. Now
Miss DREW. Would there be any limits on it at all?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, sure, there should be some limits, and the Supreme Court, over a period of time will carve and has carved out carefully what those limits are. But there's one additional thing here that Attorney General Mitchell has emphasized, and that is that no such electronic surveillance is authorized except by his personal decision. This fixes direct political and administrative responsibility
Miss DREW. But we won't know he's doing it if he doesn't go to court. There'll be no way of telling.
Mr. KLEINDIENST. You will know about it-you will know about it because they are a part of the official records of the Department of Justice
Miss DREW. Could I go in and see the record of who he's— Mr. KLEINDIENST. No, you could notMiss DREW. Okay. Mr. KLEINDIENST [continuing]. But appropriate persons in the United States Congress can.
Miss DREW. Oh, they can?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Yes, they can. Now, that does not mean that the executive branch would give out sensitive information, but the Congress has a way and is informed regularly, you know, of the nature
Miss DREW. Who is being ?
Miss DREW. Well.
Mr. KLEINDIENST. And the interesting thing about it, Liz, is—and I suppose a lot of people in this country think there are thousands of these, you know, authorized wiretaps. And there are a handful, maybe 45, 50, you know. It's a very, very small number. It isn't just hundreds. It isn't thousands. It isn't even dozens. It's a very, very small number.
Miss DREW. When we get to the general question of surveillance, now that the Army has finished its surveillance, or we're told it has, and it's
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Now, let's talk about the Army, too, for a minute.
Mr. KLEINDIENST. The reason why the Army got in it is because President Johnson, as I understood it, couldn't get the kind of information he needed from the Department of Justice, you know, in cases like this. But be that as it may.
Miss DREW. Okay.
Mr. KLEINDIENST. (Laughing) That's why I'm here, is to try to make some points.
Miss Drew. It's back—the Justice Department is taking this responsibility now. Who decides who will be surveilled?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, you have two-well, in that kind of situationyour'e talking about this internal security type of surveillance ?
Miss DREW. Uh-huh.
Mr. KLEINDIENST.. It comes about or can come about as a result of a recommendation of several persons in the Department of Justice, either Assistant Attorneys General, or staff persons, by way of then formal recommendation documents to the Attorney General. And they, by recommendation only, but he and he only decides it. He does not delegate it to anyone; he has never delegated it to me, or to anyone else. So the Attorney General decides the question himself.
Miss DREW. Now, we—the Washington Post had a story over the weekend that there are 10,000 people in what's called a "security index," who would be subject to arrest in case of war or national emergency. Who decides that?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. I read that in the newspaper, and I was rather astounded by it as 1-4
Miss DREW. You didn't know about it?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. I know that there is some kind of list that has been maintained by the Internal Security Division for decades—the same list that was maintained by Ramsey Clark and Mr. Katzenbach and
Miss DREW. Yeah. I'm not picking on you for it
Mr. KLEINDIENST. I've never seen it. I've never been curious about it. I don't know the numbers there.
Miss DREW. And what are you going to do about it now, if you were so amazed by its existence?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, I might get a little curious to find out more about it, but I believe it probably has been a traditional function of the Department of Justice—again, agreed upon by President Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. I can likewise feel that, since this is the first time, to my knowledge, a story has come out about it, that it's very securely kept under much restraint, for the protection of innocent people. You know, there's rumor information in it.
Miss DREW. Well. But the question would be, who would decide that there was this national security emergency
Mr. KLEINDIENST. You mean, for the use of a thing like that?
Miss DREW [continuing]. And really, on what grounds these people would be arrested.
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Oh, I can't imagine. You and I have debated this before, but I don't believe people should be arrested and detained without full due process of law. That if you have reasonable cause to believe somebody has committed a crime, arrest him; but if you do, immediately thereafter they should be arraigned, be able to set bail, and then have a trial, you know, very quickly thereafter. I can't imagine-well, it's incomprehensible to me that any administration, this one, the next one, the next one after that, or past ones, would arrest people and detain them without due process of law. We did it once with the Japanese, which I abhored-did then, have since, and do now. And would never want to see that done again.
Miss DREW. On Mayday, were the
Miss DREW. Mayday. Were the arrests there to get the people off the streets or to prosecute them for breaking a law?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. The arrests were there because those policemen under those circumstances, at that time, had reasonable cause to believe that the persons who were at or about the place of activity were either going to commit a misdemeanor or a felony or were in the process of doing so. And I think that's all the law requires, is that reasonable cause at the time.
Now, what happens to them afterward, I think, is a great tribute to our system of due process, because once arrested a person again has to be arraigned within a reasonable period of time. As I recall in the Pentagon disorders of 1967, it took three, four, and five days to have them arraigned, and these people were arraigned and left within 12, 14, 16, 18, 22 hours.
Miss DREW. But I gather it became clear early that evening, or even that afternoon, that there really wasn't enough evidence to prosecute a lot of these people. Why were they held
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, it wasn't-
Mr. KLEINDIENST. It wasn't clear, Liz. It wasn't clear until you could create a situation where once a person was arrested, he was properly arraigned, whether a policeman was available under the circumstances, to come into court and identify that person and say, “Yes, I saw him at 6:45 a.m. this morning throw a can out in the street or resist arrest or not move along." In each case, when there wasn't such an identifying police officer, the case was dismissed, as it should have been.
Miss DREW. But that was known that night-
Mr. KLEINDIENST. You couldn't predetermine each case, however, until you've gone through them all. You don't let-you-I think that you have the obligation to go ahead and finish due process
Miss DREW. For the whole group.
Mr. KLEINDIENST [continuing]. Which you do in every case. For the whole group. Yes, indeed.
Miss Drew. Even though it was clear that you didn't have the evidence on them all?
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, sure, but how do you know which ones until the process has worked itself out? The great thing about this whole situation isand that is, to my knowledge, no innocent person has been convicted, you know, of wrongful
Miss DREW. Hardly anyone's been convicted
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, fine. But that also means there have been no innocent people convicted. If the law had to be sure that a person was guilty before he was arrested, you would never have anybody arrested under our system of jurisprudence. What we are interested in is to see that no innocent person is convicted of a crime that he did not commit.
Miss DREW. But does this mean that when you have large groups in town again, I mean, that they might expect that this same procedure again
Mr. KLEINDIENST. Well, there's large groups have been in this town before, six times since I've been the Deputy Attorney General
Miss DREW. Well, some of which are interfering with
Mr. KLEINDIENST. This is the first time a large group apparently conspired to stop the government by illegal conduct and activity. And it was illegal conduct and activity. I don't think, and I certainly hope, that that kind of group will come back and try to do that again. If they did it again under these circumstances as existed before, I would fully expect, I would urge, that the same steps be taken as was taken by Chief Wilson on that day.
Miss DREW. I have a lot of subjects I want to cover, and you're out-talking me. We're not going to get through
Mr. KLEINDIENST. (Laughter.]