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provision that any court order obtained should have a 6-month duration?
Mr. STEINBEGR. That is all right. You ask me as a prosecutor, and you bring me up short, because I am "Pooh-Bah." I am here in two capacities.
Mr. Collins. I mean in view of your background.
Mr. STEINBERG. Yes, that is in the New York provision, and it works all right. Because we have found that in 6 months either the wire is blown because somebody starts getting cautious, or he starts wondering that every time he is going to the corner there is a mysterious stranger lurking there. They are not too stupid. So in 6 months either the wire is blown, or if it isn't blown there is nothing wrong in taking 5 minutes off to go to the judge and saying, "Let's extend it.”
Mr. COLLINS. However, couldn't we distinguish? It may very well be that the 6 months limitation works well in New York because the offenses are comparatively minor. When we are thinking of legislation, though, affecting the internal security of the Nation, the Attorney General was of the view that there shouldn't be any such time limitation.
Mr. STEINBERG. The Attorney General, Mr. Collins, is a “poohbah," too. Because, not only is he an advocate who tries one side of a case against another fellow in a court, but he is an administrative officer. He appoints judges. He does investigating. He is head of the FBI. He has too many different functions. And he is not talking as a lawyer when he says it. He is trying to think of all his varied and sometimes inconsistent functions, and he is trying to put out a blanket that will cover any possible or conceivable situation.
I honestly don't think it makes a lot of difference. I think I would like to see it, because it isn't practical and doesn't stop anything, because it can be renewed. But if you think, or he thinks, that that is something which is going to hamper him, I don't think it is going to make much difference, because you will only keep the tap in as long as it is useful. And I have never heard of a tap that was useful for 6 months.
Senator WELKER. I can think of some that would be quite useful if we had had them not only for 6 months but for 6 years.
Mr. STEINBERG. Can you conceive of a fellow blithely talking to a fellow on a line that was tapped for 6 years!
Senator WELKER. I wish you could have come along with me on some of my little hearings. "I might enlighten you on something in connection with espionage or sabotage, without naming any names. But I can assure you of this, that we are going to do the best we can. I propose not to sign a bill that would appear to be a crippling bill; that is not going to help. Because if it isn't going to help, we might just as well let the American people know that we want to protect these people, in my opinion.
As I say, I was on a national broadcast several days ago. I have yet to receive one letter from the ordinary good old-fashioned American; yes, even one espionage agent, telling me that my philosophy on this matter is wrong. However, tomorrow I may get a lot of them that will tell me I am wrong.
Thank you very much, Mr. Steinberg.
Mr. COLLINS. Just one question. I think Mr. Pearson could answer for us, Senator, that I didn't get a chance to ask him in his testimony this morning
He heard the Defense Department witnesses.
Noticing your report that you submitted for the committee, your committee on Federal legislation would oppose the granting of the powers to wire-tap to the defense agencies. I take it that your committee believes it best to limit this power to tap to the Attorney General and to the FBI?
Mr. PEARSON. That is right. It wasn't in my prepared statement, but it is in the full report.
Mr. COLLINS. That is why I asked. I was wondering, in view of hearing their testimony this morning: Has that affected your particular view at all, or is that still the view of your committee on Federal legislation.
Mr. PEARSON. No, sir; it is still my view. I didn't think they made a very good case for their proposition. I don't know. They didn't explain why. As I understood it, all they said was, "Well, we have got to keep track of our own people.”
Well, sure they do.
Senator WELKER. Mr. Hoover will do a pretty good job of that, too, you know, if they will pay any attention to it.
Mr. PEARSON. Yes; I don't see how that would prevent them, if they had somebody in the Armed Forces that they were suspicious of, from producing the Department of Justice at that point. I think in the hearing last summer that point was made that although they have to watch their own people while they are, so to speak, on the reservation, when it gets to the stage of any civil prosecution, they admitted at the hearing they would have to bring it to justice anyhow.
Mr. COLLINS. And for any wiretap action they would have to go to the Attorney General first anyway under the language of the House bill?
Mr. PEARSON. That is right.
Mr. COLLINS. So therefore your committee on Federal legislation, in the event that there is any legislation coming from the Congress on this subject, would urge that the authority be vested only in the Attorney General and the FBI and that the Congress not give such powers to the defense departments?
Mr. PEARSON. That is correct.
Senator WELKER. I am glad to get that observation. I missed that portion of the hearing. Because I don't know the experience these people have had.
As I stated to you, I have been in the service; but I wasn't such an addition to the service, and maybe some of those men aren't such great additions to the service. I am glad to get your observations.
The committee will now recess until May the 12th. (Whereupon, at 1:10 p. m., the hearing was recessed until 10 a. m., Wednesday, May 12, 1954.)
WIRETAPPING FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 1954
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, at 10 a. m., pursuant to recess, in room 324, Senate Office Building, Senator Herman Welker (presiding).
Present: Senators Welker (presiding) and Johnston.
The first witness will be Mr. Raymond C. Shindler, private investigator, New York City, N. Y.
STATEMENT OF RAYMOND C. SHINDLER
Senator WELKER. Mr. Schindler, will you state your name, residence, occupation and profession, please?
Mr. SHINDLER, Raymond C. Shindler. I live at Sprat House, in Kerrytown, N. Y. I am a private investigator. My business is at 7 East 44th Street, New York.
Senator WELKER. How long have you been so engaged, Mr. Shindler?
Mr. SHINDLER. Forty-eight years.
Senator WELKER. I take it your investigating has been quite voluminous ?
Mr. SHINDLER. Yes.
Senator WELKER. Mr. Shindler, are you acquainted with the matter that we are hearing today with respect to the proposed wiretap legislation? Mr. SHINDLER. Yes, I am.
Senator WELKER. Without boring you, I should like to ask you for your opinion, given in your own language, as to what you think of the proposed wiretap legislation, or any suggestion you might have, Mr. Shindler.
Mr. SHINDLER. I think it is absolutely essential that the law-enforcement agencies of this country have the protection that it gives them, the opportunity to solve crimes which otherwise in many instances are not solved.
It seems to me that it is most important, when we appoint men like the Attorney General of this country, a man we must have confidence in, he must have ability, and then we tie his hands without allowing him to do certain things that are most essential if he is to prosecute the enemies in this country or the breakers of law, not only sabotage.
I go further. I believe that the FBI in my opinion is the greatest investigating bureau in the world—and I have been abroad in every
country. There is nothing comparable to their work; and to tie their hands is not right because the crook, the thief, the saboteur is not waiting. He is going to commit a crime. The FBI are following him, they are checking him, and yet they haven't the right to tap his wire.
The very essential thing that would solve the crime and catch the man is not allowed and we have to do it some other way, the hard way. In many cases we miss it completely, so that it is most important.
Senator WELKER. Mr. Shindler, is it a fair assumption, without legislation to permit the use of wiretapping, the American people speaking through its Congress, and naturally its executive branch, are merely putting a roadblock in the way of American people to get decent, fair law enforcement?
Mr. SHINDLER. We certainly are.
Senator WELKER. I am sorry I interrupted you. You may proceed, sir.
Mr. SHINDLER. That is all right. I practically covered it. I believe that all law-enforcement officers should have the right. They must decide at a moment's notice. You are shadowing somebody and all of a sudden they are about to commit a crime. By the time you find a judge and got permission to do something, it is too late. That goes for our domestic affairs and anybody. Other countries don't have these restrictions. You can go to practically any country on the face of the earth and get the kind of evidence by wiretap that you can't get here.
Senator WELKER. Is it true, Mr. Shindler, that the policy of this matter was established when some 32 of our sovereign States had adopted wiretap legislation, made it admissible within the State ?
Mr. SHINDLER. Yes.
Senator WELKER. And some of those States go as far, not only to the interception of wiretap legislation with respect to felonies, but they even go down to common misdemeanors such as carrying matches in a public forest and things of that nature?
Mr. SHINDLER. Yes.
Senator WELKER. Now, I think I should acquaint you with the fact, Mr. Shindler, that perhaps most of the opposition in this matter has arisen over the statement, I think, by Justice Holmes that this was dirty business.
Now, based upon your years of investigation, law-enforcement work, let me ask: Is the tapping of a wire any dirtier than the boring of a hole for an eavesdropper to listen in on a private conversation, or observing the private happenings of what goes on in a man's sanctuary, his home, his place of business, or anything else?
Mr. SHINDLER. It is not.
Senator WELKER. Mr. Shindler, I want to inquire of you, because you are a valuable witness with respect to our hearings—you have lived in the great State of New York, and I am advised by my counsel that you enjoy one of the finest reputations there of a private investigator-what has been your observation with respect to the uniformity of orders permitting wiretaps when requested before your many judges who are authorized to grant that order?
Mr. SHINDLER. Because my experience in New York City, where the laws are very strict on wiretapping, and where there are restric
tions on it, as you well know, that require that you do have permission in certain instances before you can tap it, in certain types of cases is your question to what my opinion is on that?
Senator WELKER. I wanted to inquire, if you knew, Mr. Shindler, with respect to whether or not certain judges would grant an order on the same set of facts, the same particulars, while other judges would refuse?
Mr. SHINDLER. Yes; that is right.
Senator WELKER. In other words then, I take it if the McCarran bill, as we are now considering it here, or the amendment to the original House bill that came over, which would require the order of a Federal judge before a wire could be tapped, is it fair to state there could not be a unanimity of decisions and therefore it would result, in a bit of chaos in the immediate necessary tapping of wires that you have related ?
Mr. SHINDLER. That is right.
Senator WELKER. Mr. Shindler, I want to ask you your observations with respect to one of the provisions of the McCarran bill which would preclude the private tapping of wires by private individuals, not law-enforcement officers.
Mr. SHINDLER. I am not so much against that because it can be abused a great deal. There are a lot of crooks in my business like there are in many others, and I think that some very definite restrictions should be placed on the private individual.
I believe, however, that as we do today, do a certain amount of tapping under certain regulations, that those restrictions should not be curtailed.
Senator WELKER. I would like to have you give your opinion as to the difference between wiretapping and that of shadowing, and listening in on your friends who are 20 feet away talking to a man about a certain matter.
If they say wiretapping is dirty business, I will ask you if it is not a fact that truthful statements made over the telephone should be competent, the same as truthful statements made by an informer or man who listens in on a conversation?
Mr. SHINDLER. There is no question about it.
Senator WELKER. In other words, Mr. Shindler, based upon your years of experience, if a man is going to be a liar, he can lie just as well about a wiretap as he can on what he heard or what he swears he heard, or what he swears he saw through the door, the peephole, or the window?
Mr. SHINDLER. It is competent in all the courts of the United States for “Roper”-now, "Roper” in my business is a person I had to get acquainted with, for instance, to get certain information for you and to sit and talk and under some pretext get some subject matter. And I get the information and I can go into any court in the land and comment as to what I heard. Or, if I am sitting on the next table and hear two people talking I can go to any court and listen to what they said. But if I listen over the phone I haven't the right to do that, get that same information.
Senator WELKER. And of course you are familiar with the fundamental rule about admission against interest?
Mr. SHINDLER. Yes.