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TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 1954
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:30 a. m., pursuant to notice, in room 424, Senate Office Building, Senator Alexander Wiley, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Present: Senators Wiley, Watkins, Welker, and Johnston.
Also present: Thomas B. Collins, subcommittee counsel, and J. G. Sourwine, counsel to Senator McCarran.
Senator WILEY. The meeting will come to order, please.
I am sorry that I am a little late, but I happened to be with the Secretary of State.
This subcommittee convenes today for one of the most significant purposes of any committee in this session of the 83d Congress.
Our purpose is to analyze various bills relating to the interception and divulgence of telecommunications and all the issues related thereto.
The four principal measures pending before us and their sponsors are:
H. R. 8649, as approved by the House of Representatives on April 8 by a vote of 377 to 10.
S. 3229, by Senator Pat McCarran.
S. 832, which I personally introduced at the start of this Congress, in February 1953, largely, I may note, for the purpose of bringing this issue up before the Judiciary Committee.
As chairman of this subcommittee, I am happy to have the opportunity to serve with the splendid associates who have been designated by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It will be my purpose to conduct these hearings in an expeditious and thorough way which will best serve the objectives of the American people and to do so in a manner fully agreed upon by my associates and myself.
I want to say that the chairman of this subcommittee enters upon this review with no preconceived commitments, but with certain fundamental principles in mind.
Among these principles which will guide my own particular approach and which I respectfully submit to my colleagues, are the following:
1. The greatest obligation of this Nation is to preserve itself. Selfpreservation is still the first law of nations and of individuals.
As I see it, this Nation must use every instrumentality which may be necessary in this age of the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb and this age of the international Communist conspiracy-in order to be adequate in defending itself.
2. A second principle is to bring order out of the present legal chaos which prevails on this wire-tap issue.
There is almost complete disuniformity and widespread confusion, administratively and statutewise, on this issue.
It seems to me that it is our obligation to straighten out this situation so as to provide a clear framework of national policy.
3. It is clear that the issue of the procedure to be set up under this legislation will become one of the most important of the phases under debate.
If one grants the premise that certain types of cases do require that wire-tap evidence be made admissible in Federal courts, then what shall be the procedure for authorization of the taps? Who shall be the authorizing source or sources to grant the power to intercept communications, and how shall the authority be implemented ?
Ours is a government of laws rather than of men, and we are anxious that the soundest, most careful procedure be devised.
I point out that the very nature of national security cases requires that every possible effort be made to prevent any “leaħ” that particular individuals or groups are under surveillance.
4. Another principle is that, because our is indeed a government of laws, it is essential that those who violate the laws receive the full punishment of law.
For individuals to escape scot free although they have committed the crime of seeking the destruction of this Nation for this to happenresults in a situation extremely damaging to the well-being of this country.
5. Fifth, we must distinguish very carefully between criminal offenses of various types.
What we are principally concerned with on this subcommittee is crimes against the United States, against national security, crimes which would enable the enemies of this Nation to destroy it.
There are, however, other heinous crimes, such as kidnaping, which likewise fall very clearly within our purview.
6. Just as we are principally concerned with certain crimes, so we are principally concerned with the need to assure the effectiveness of the principal guardians of our liberties.
Foremost among these guardians is the United States Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In addition, there are such key units as the Intelligence Divisions of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency and similar organizations.
7. I feel it is incumbent upon us to take note of the vast and ever-in.creasing degree to which communications are brazenly intercepted by private parties, engaged for entirely private purposes.
The traditional privacy which we have come to associate with the American way of life is being diminished more and more by all sorts of electronic devices.
I feel that this subcommittee is obligated to take cognizance of this alarming phase as well.
8. Another key issue is the effective date on which any of the authority for admissibility which we may attempt to set forth, may be established.
The issue of the retroactivity of any such authority is a most significant one which we shall want to analyze carefully.
These eight aspects are, of course, by no means the only phases which will fall within our jurisdiction.
With regard to the procedure of this subcommittee, it is my intention to proceed, as I have stated, as expeditiously as possible so that this issue can be submitted to the full committee and so that the bill will not be caught in a last-minute legislative logjam on the Senate floor.
At the same time, however, I feel that the nature of this subject requires that we analyze this subject with the greatest of care and attention.
I should like to submit to my colleagues the proposed schedule of our work.
If it is agreeable to them and if it fits within their crowded programs, it is my intention that next Wednesday, April 28, we will hear testimony by the distinguished Members of Congress who have sponsored the various alternate bills, or who have particularly interested themselves in this subject.
Following their testimony, I believe that we should, on Thursday, hear from the spokesmen of the various security and intelligence agencies of our Government.
Thereafter, in the following week, I hope we may hear from various private organizations and individuals who are interested in this issue.
I return now to the one most important question of all:
How can we in this subcommittee best assure the self-preservation of this Nation?
In my judgment, we will adequately serve our country if we come up with a sound answer to that most basic question of all.
We are privileged this morning to have the Attorney General of the United States testify before this
subcommittee, and I am very happy that he is here. I am sure we will give him the right-of-way. Carry
Mr. COLLINS. May we at this point place copies of the bills in the record ?
Senator WILEY. At this time it is suggested, and I am happy to introduce into the record the four bills that were mentioned in my opening statement. Also included is the amended version of S. 3229. (H. R. 8649, S. 3229, S. 2753, and S. 832 follow :)
[H. R. 8649, 83d Cong., 2d sess. ] AN ACT To authorize the admission into evidence in certain criminal proceedings of
information intercepted in national security investigations, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That information obtained prior to the effective date of this Act by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice; the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 of the Army General Staff, Department of the Army; the Director of Intelligence, Department of the Air Force; and the Director of Naval Intelligence, Department of the Navy, through or as a result of the interception of any communication by wire or radio upon the express written approval of the Attorney General of the United States and in the course of any investigation to detect or prevent any interference with or endangering of, or any plans or attempts to interfere
with or endanger, the national security cr defense of the United States by treason, sabotage, espionage, sedition, seditious conspiracy, violations of chapter 115 of title 18 of the United States Code, violations of the Internal Security Act of 1950 (64 Stat. 987), violations of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 755), as amended, and conspiracies involving any of the foregoing, shall, notwithstanding the provisions of section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934 (48 Stat. 1103), be deemed admissible, if not otherwise inadmissible, in evidence in any criminal proceedings in any court established by Act of Congress, but only in criminal cases involving any of the foregoing violations.
SEC. 2. That information obtained after the effective date of this Act by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice; the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 of the Army General Staff, Department of the Army; the Director of Intelligence, Department of the Air Force; and the Director of Naval Intelligence, Department of the Navy, through or as a result of the interception of any communication by wire or radio upon the express written approval of the Attorney General of the United States and in the course of any investigation to detect or prevent any interference with or en· dangering of, or any plans or attempts to interfere with or endanger, the national security or defense of the United States by treason, sabotage, espionage, sedition, seditious conspiracy, violations of chapter 115 of title 18 of the United States Code, violations of the Internal Security Act of 1950 (64 Stat. 987), violations of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 755), as amended, and conspiracies involving any of the foregoing, shall, notwithstanding the provisions of section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934 (48 Stat. 1103), be deemed admissible, if not otherwise inadmissible, in evidence in any criminal proceedings in any court established by Act of Congress, but only in criminal cases involving any of the foregoing violations: Provided, That prior to intercepting the communications from which the information is obtained, an authorized agent of any one of said investigatorial agencies shall have been issued an ex parte order by a judge of any United States Court of Appeals or a United States district court, authorizing the agent to intercept such communications. Upon application by any authorized agent of any one of said investigatorial agencies to intercept communications in the conduct of investigations pursuant to this section, a judge of any United States Court of Appeals or a United States district court may issue an ex parte order, signed by the judge with his title of office, authorizing the applicant to intercept such communications, if the judge is satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that such crime or crimes have been or are about to be committed and that the communications may contain information which would assist in the conduct of such investigations.
SEC. 3. No person shall divulge, publish, or use the existence, contents, substance, purport, or meaning of any information contained in any aforesaid ex parte order or obtained pursuant to the provision of this Act otherwise than for the purpose hereinbefore enumerated.
SEC. 4. Any person who willfully and knowingly violates any provisions of this Act shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year and a day, or both.
SEC. 5. All carriers subject to the Communications Act of 1934 (48 Stat. 1103) are hereby authorized to permit such interception and disclosure of any such communications by wire or radio.
Sec. 6. If any provision of this section or the application of such provision to any circumstance shall be held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this section and the applicability of such provision to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Passed the House of Representatives April 8, 1954.
LYLE 0. SNADER,
[S. 3229, 83d Cong., 2d sess. ] A BILL To prohibit wiretapping by any person other than a duly authorized law-encorce
ment officer engaged in the investigation of offenses involving the internal security of the United States
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That chapter 13 of title 18 of the United States Code entitled “Civil Rights”, is amended by“