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You kind of suggest that the need for wiretapping legislation is moot. I hope it is not. I hope it is a live option and maybe the Congress will follow what was recommended by the ACLU 14 years ago. Mr. Long. As I said before, I really don't want to get into that. Mr. DRINAN. I know. Thank you. Mr. KASTENMEIER. Did you want to comment further on that? Mr. Long. No. Mr. DRINAN. Thank you very much. Mr. KASTENMEIER. The gentleman from Iowa, Mr. Mezvinsky.
Mr. MEZVINSKY. I want to commend the gentleman from Maryland. I think his contribution is significant, but I really have one question in view of the comments concerning enforcement.
You pointed out that if you really wanted to enforce the laws, you wouldn't have enough jails to put all of the violators in.
Mr. Long. I think that Shakespeare wrote that if you put everybody who deserves to go to jail in jail, where would there be any honest men to keep them there?
Mr. MEZVINSKY. I guess in view of Shakespeare and in view of your remarks, I want to know, how do we hone to enforce this law?
Mr. Long. Civil suits would be a self-enforcing aspect. If any person felt that his conversations had been recorded, he could bring this out as part of a civil suit or part of a complaint. That would be one way of handling it. Another would be that the person who had acquired this recording as a scheme against another person would be precluded from using it in any legal wav because he had committed a crime in acquiring the recordings. That would be a very important self-enforcing aspect.
Mr. MEZVINSKY. Thank you very much.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The committee is grateful to you Congressman Long for your testimony this morning and for the bill you have introduced, which is one of the issues we will have to confront.
Mr. Long. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the committee for hearing me. I certainly enjoyed the presentation.
[Mr. Long's statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. CLARENCE D. LONG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the distinguished Subcommittee about the need to protect the right of an American citizen to have his personal and private communications remain private.
My home state of Maryland, since 1956, has had an official policy of protecting private communications which could well serve as a model for the nation. The Maryland statutes provide that:
“The interception and divulgence of a private communication by any person not a party thereto is contrary to the public policy of this State, and shall not be permitted except by court order in unusual circumstances to protect the people. It is further declared to be the public policy of this State that the detection of the guilty does not justify investigative methods which infringe upon the liberties of the innocent. (Annotated Code of Maryland, Art, 35, Sec. 92)."
The disclosure last summer of the White House practice of recording the conversations of important officials of the Government, diplomats, and even White House staff members-secretly and without their knowledge shocked the entire nation. The White House bugging, however, is only the tip of the
iceberg. Throughout the country, persons who have assumed that their private conversations were private have been rudely awakened by the widespread incidence of uncontrolled eavesdropping.
My bill, H.R. 9667, would amend Title 18, Section 2511 of the United States Code to require the consent of ALL parties to a conversation before it may be recorded or otherwise intercepted. As the law now stands, if “A” and “B” are conversing, "A" could secretly record the conversation without “B's" knowledge—without breaking any law.
My bill would make such bugging punishable by fines ranging up to $10,000 and up to five years in jail, and violators would also be subject to civil suits. The courts would, of course, retain the power to authorize wiretaps for investigations involving criminal activities or national security.
Twenty-five of my colleagues in the House have joined me in sponsoring this measure.
U.S. District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell recently pointed out that legallysanctioned snooping has become a common practice which has been able, under the present Federal law, to proliferate without judicial supervision. According to Judge Gesell :
"Informers, in return for government promises or hope of favors, are equipped with recording devices and sent into the homes and offices of their friends and confidants to try to trap their words on tape * * Many individuals, without any knowledge of the government, secretly tape their own conversations with others for ulterior purposes and use casual remarks to extort or intimidate * * *"
The time has come to protect individual citizens against unrestricted wiretapping, spying, and surveillance. A recent Harris Poll confirms the timeliness of such legislation; by 77 percent to 14 percent, the public favors passage of a law forbidding such intrusions into their private lives. As Harris pointed out, while the Watergate affair may have acted as a trigger to public opinion, there has been a clear and underlying shift toward greater protection of the constitutional right to privacy.
The President himself has now recognized the need for a new law. In his State of the Union message, the President told the Congress that we need “a new set of standards that respect the legitimate needs of society, but that also recognize personal privacy as a cardinal principle of American liberty."
It is my urgent hope that this Subcommittee will report favorably on the legislation which I and several other Members of Congress have proposed in order to safeguard the personal nature of a citizen's private communications.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The Chair would like to greet as our next witness Mr. William Turner of California.
Mr. Turner has served for over 10 years as a special agent with the FBI. Since he resigned from the Bureau in the early 1960's, Mr. Turner has worked as a private investigator and a magazine editor. He is the author of several books, including “How To Avoid Electronic Eavesdropping and Privacy Invasion."
Mr. Turner would you please come forward. I would say to my colleagues, we do have four witnesses yet this morning and I hope we can proceed expeditiously.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM TURNER, FORMER FBI AGENT, PRIVATE
INVESTIGATOR, AND AUTHOR OF SEVERAL BOOKS, INCLUDING "HOW TO AVOID ELECTRONIC EAVESDROPPING AND PRIVACY INVASION”
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.
I will try and be as brief as I can. I understand that the purpose in my being here this morning is more or less to get an exposition or a feeling for what really goes on from the standpoint of some body who engages in the black arts.
I have been on both side of the fence in the FBI. I was a sound man, which is a euphemism for a graduate of the FBI school which teaches bugging and tapping and burglary, and I also have been involved as a writer in the last 10 years on controversial subjects and hence have been on the other side of the surveillance.
So getting into the issue of electronic surveillance, perhaps if I give some firsthand accounts, it would better establish just what we are trying to reckon with in terms of the subcommittee's investigation.
I went into the FBI in 1951. And in 1952 and 1953 I was assigned to the San Francisco office and, because I was a bachelor, I was assigned to the monitoring plants. These were odd shifts. They were manned 24 hours a day. We had one of the plants down in the produce section and we had another one over in Oakland, which carried the recording equipment for all of the installations in the east bay of the San Francisco area.
Since that particular time, while they have had some mishaps, and the FBI monitoring plants are now located inside the field offices. I said "installations" because I am not distinguishing between wiretaps and microphone installations.
In those particular plants and in the current FBI plants, the lines that feed in carry both microphone and wiretap conversations. The plants are for the purpose of monitoring permanent installations. In most cases, what will happen is that the FBI will lease a line from the telephone company, much as radio stations would lease lines, and the line will feed from the particular monitoring point out to where the installation is. And as you can see, there is a considerable amount of logistics involved in this.
In April of 1958, perhaps because of my engineering background, I was selected to attend the sound school of the FBI in Washington. Now these particular schools are held on an irregular basis as the needs to replenish sound men in the field come up. And I should point out that the Treasury Department and the CIA and the various military intelligence agencies do, or at least did, conduct similar schools in the Greater Washington area.
In that particular school, which lasted 3 weeks, there was very little discussion on the part of the instructors on the constitutional issue of bugging and wiretapping. We simply were told that the FBI tapped under two justifications. And here we are getting into a little bit of the evolution of bugging and tapping and the law or the lack of the law at the time.
The two justifications were that President Roosevelt gave executive authority during the war emergency, and that no succeeding President had rescinded that authority; and the second justification was that the element of disclosure in the Communications Act of 1934 was not violated because information obtained was not disclosed outside of the Justice Department.
In other words, they were viewing the Justice Department as a metaphysical entity. The instructor added that the Communications Act of 1934 was intended not for the FBI, but for telephone employees in league with private investigators.
Now we get into another area here, which is the difference between telephone-connected devices and those which have no connection to the telephone systems at all. In that particular class we were told that the authority for any device connected to a telephone must come from the Attorney General, but that the Bureau installed microphone surveillances strictly on its own authority. So I think that during that period a very misleading picture was portrayed to the Congress and to the public
at large in terms of the total electronic surveillance, at least by the FBI.
The announced wiretaps, if I recall, always hovered in the field of 100 nationwide, but that was only part of the picture.
One reason was of course that there were a lot of microphone installations that the Bureau installed on its own authority.
I can cite an example of how these books were kept in order. In one instance I was instructed to put in a wiretap and this wiretap was made. It was very simply made by making a bridge on the pole box not too far from the subject's home. There was no necessity to trespass at all except on the telephone privacy. So that tap was in operation for a couple of years. And it was not furnishing information or intelligence on a continuing basis. It was for a one-shot piece of information.
So I got a letter from the FBI laboratory instructing me to yank that particular tap and in place of it to install a microphone installation. Now this presented an entirely different problem. In order to install the microphone, I first had to have the FBI laboratory fabricate a special device, a small microphone with the little preamplifier inside a connecting block, a regular Western Electric connecting block. I then had to get up what we call a "black bag job” team, which was a burglary team actually, and we had to go through the whole drill of breaking and entering a premises in order to install that particular device, replacing the other connecting block, running wire underneath in the basement of the house, connecting it with fine wire that was concealed inside the drop wire out to the telephone, and then connecting up with the leased line and making the hookup in the FBI field office.
So, in that particular instance, the book indeed was in balance, but I think the Constitution suffered because of the fact that we had to break and enter in order to make the installation.
Going back to the training sessions, they were conducted over in the old Identification Building and in the southwest area of Washington. There was a practice room where we planted bugs in the walls and taps on a mute phone there. We went down to the FBI radio station, which is out in rural Virginia, and practiced pole climbing with regular telephone pole climbing equipment.
In an attic of the Justice Building there was a workshop where the FBI's top burglar taught us how to make lockpicking devices, and how to use them.
And after that course we were sent back out into the field to employ these skills, which I did in the Seattle office, in the Oklahoma City office also, for approximately 312 or 4 years.
The additional duties of sound men, in addition to these kinds of positive installations, is also the very legitimate function of handling security of the FBI office communications. I can recall that there were tapes made on people involved in the Coors kidnaping of people who were somehow identified with the suspect; there were taps on Communist Party functionaries; taps on various so-called security subjects.
As I said, the permanent installations involved the leasing of a line from the telephone company under some cover name such as the Federal Research Bureau.
Down in Las Vegas, the FBI used the Henderson Novelty Co. I suspect that the telephone company knew all along the purpose of our request for a line that was not ordered hooked up at either end. And the way that we went about getting those kinds of lines, or any kind of special consideration, such as the hookup of the recorder in the telephone company central office, was to maintain a liaison with the special agents of the telephone company. In some instances, they were former FBI agents. In most instances, they were former law enforcement officers. And they would assist with these arrangements. They would furnish information from the subscriber's cable card, that was necessary to install the tap, and they would notify us if telephone company personnel found a tap or a bug that we may have put in.
I can recall being called by a special agent of the telephone company and he asked me about a little thin wire hanging down from a telephone pole. I thought I got it in the cracks pretty well, but a telephone lineman on a service call found it.
He called me immediately and asked me if I knew anything about it. I said I did and that was the end of it.
This particular installation I made in terms of what we call a “suicide tap”. A suicide tap was one that was installed strictly on the initiative of the agents in the field and of course in collaboration with the sound man. It was called a "suicide tap” because it was strictly unauthorized by Washington and usually was authorized by the agent in charge of the field office. And it does illustrate the problem of training and equipping people with the necessary skills and knowledge and equipment to go out and use this kind of a black art and still try to control it, either from Washington or through some kind of central authority.
I mentioned the burglaries. The FBI alluded to the burglaries as “black bag jobs" after the kind of doctor's kit that the tools were carried along in. And when I entered the Bureau in 1951, black bag jobs were spoken of in terms of being a standard technique, just as tapping phones and mail covers and trash covers. They were conducted for two main purposes, the first was, as I have recounted one episode, to install a microphone inside a premise. And the second purpose was to gather intelligence and to photograph documents.
Now the black bag job is different from a conventional burglary in that nothing is removed and every effort is made to disguise the fact that entry was made.