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1941a

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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

HATTON W. SUMNERS, Texas, Chairman EMANUEL CELLER, New York

U. S. GUYER, Kansas ZEBULON WEAVER, North Carolina

CLARENCE E. HANCOCK, New York FRANCIS E. WALTER, Pennsylvania EARL C. MICHENER, Michigan CHARLES F. MCLAUGHLIN, Nebraska JOHN M. ROBSION, Kentucky SAM HOBBS, Alabama

CHAUNCEY W. REED, Illinois JOHN H. TOLAN, California

JOHN W. GWYNNE, Iowa WILLIAM T. BYRNE, New York

LOUIS E. GRAHAM, Pennsylvania DAVE E. SATTERFIELD, JR., Virginia RAYMOND S. SPRINGER, Indiana JAMES M, BARNES, Illinois

ALBERT L. VREELAND, New Jersey ESTES KEFAUVER, Tennessee

JOSEPH P. O'HARA, Minnesota
A. SIDNEY CAMP, Georgia
JOSEPH R. BRYSON, South Carolina
FADJO CRAVENS, Arkansas
WILLIAM R. THOM, Ohio
THOMAS H. ELIOT, Massachusetts

FRANK CONNELL, Clerk
VELMA SMEDLEY, A 88istant Clerk
HARMON L, WATKINS, A88istant Clerk

SUBCOMMITTEE No. 1

JOHN H. TOLAN, California, Acting Chairman EMANUEL CELLER, New York, Chairman EARL C. MICHENER, Michigan JAMES M. BARNES, Illinois

JOHN M. ROBSION, Kentucky A. SIDNEY CAMP, Georgia

LOUIS E. GRAHAM, Pennsylvania II

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H. R. 2266..

Letter from President Roosevelt to Hon. Thomas H. Eliot, M. C...

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WIRE TAPPING

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1941

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 1 OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, D. C. (Subcommittee No. 1 met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a. m., Hon. John H. Tolan, presiding, for consideration of H. R. 2266, which is as follows:)

(H, R. 2206, 77th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To amend the Judicial Code by adding thereto a new section authorizing, for the

purpose of detecting or preventing crime, any investigatorial agency of the United States, when specifically authorized by the head of the department of which it is a part, to intercept, listen in on, or record telephone, telegraph, radio, and any other similar messages or communications; and making such authorizations and communications, and testimony concerning same, admissible evidence; and for other purposes

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Judicial Code be, and the same is hereby, amended by inserting after section 2740 thereof a new section, to be numbered 274e, reading as follows:

"SEC. 274e. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever the head of any executive department of the U'nited States has reasonable ground for believing that a felony cognizable under any law of the United States the enforcement of which is under his jurisdiction, may have been committed, is being committed, or may be about to be committed, and he so certifies, any investigatorial agency forming a part of such department may, in connection with investigation, detection, or prevention of such felony or the apprehension of the perpetrators thereof, intercept, listen in on, or record telephone, telegraph, radio, and any other similar messages or communications.

"Any such certificate shall be admissible in evidence in any court having jurisdiction of any such case, and upon being offered in evidence, it shall be admitted as a self-proving document. Upon and after the admission of such certificate in evidence in any case, any evidence obtained by the interception of hearing or recording of any telephone, telegraph, radio, or other similar message or communication, as well as testimony concerning the same, shall be admissible and admitted in evidence, in any prosecution for such an offense, if such evidence is otherwise admissible."

[H. R. 3099, 77th Cong., 1st sess.) [NOTE.—This bill was introduced after hearings were commenced on H. R. 2266.] A BILL To amend the Judicial Code by adding thereto a new section 274e, relating to the

interception of wire or radio communications by persons employed in the investigation, detection, or prevention of offenses against the United States

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That chapter 11 of the Judicial Code (U. S. C., 1934 edition, title 28, chapter 10) is amended by inserting after section 274d thereof a new section, to be numbered 274e, as follows:

"Suc. 274e. (1) Upon application by any person employed in the investigation, detection, or prevention of offenses against the United States, a judge of a United States district court, or of a State or Territorial court of record, or a United States commissioner, shall issue a permit, signed by him with his name of office, authorizing the applicant to intercept, listen in or, on record, in the district,

State, or Territory in which such judge or commissioner has jurisdiction, any message or communication which may be transmitted by wire or radio by the use of any specified communication facilities, if such judge or commissioner is satisfied that there is probable cause to believe that such communication facilities are being used or are likely to be used in transmitting information which would be useful in investigating, detecting, or preventing the commission of a felony cognizable under any law of the United States relating to the national defense, or useful in the apprehension of the perpetrators of any such offense.

“(2) The judge or commissioner shall, before issuing such permit, examine on oath the applicant and any witness he may produce, and require their affidavits or take their depositions in writing and cause them to be subscribed by the parties making them. The affidavits or depositions must set forth the facts tending to establish the grounds of the application or probable cause for believing that they exist.

“(3) Whoever shall knowingly and willfully obstruct, resist, or oppose any person acting under authority of any such permit, or shall assault, beat, or wound any such person, knowing him to be a person acting under such authority, shall upon conviction thereof be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than two years.

“(4) Sections 125 and 126 of the Criminal Code (U. S. C., 1934 edition, title 18, secs. 231 and 232) shall apply to and embrace all persons making oath or affirmation or procuring the same under the provisions of this section, and such persons shall be subject to all the pains and penalties of said sections.

“(5) Any person who maliciously and without probable cause procures a permit under the provisions of this section shall upon conviction thereof be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than one year.

“(6) Any person who, in exercising the authority granted by a permit issued under this section, willfully exceeds his authority thereunder, or exercises it with unnecessary severity, shall upon conviction thereof be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than one year.

"(7) Any permit issued under authority of this section shall be admissible in evidence in any court of competent jurisdiction in a prosecution for the commission of a felony cognizable under any law of the United States relating to national defense, and, upon being offered in evidence in any such case, shall be admitted as a self-proving document. Upon and after the admission of such permit in evidence in any such case, any evidence obtained under authority thereof, as well as testimony concerning such evidence, shall be admissible and admitted in evidence."

Mr. TOLAN. The committee will be in order. We have for con sideration this morning H. R. 2266, introduced by Mr. Hobbs.

Mr. WALTER. Mr. Chairman, I do not know what the practice of this subcommittee is with respect to hearing other Members of Congress, but I have a very important engagement this morning, and if it is not asking too much, although I do not want to be presumptuous, I should like to be heard immediately.

Mr. Tolan. We extend every courtesy to every member of this committee and the Members of Congress. So, if you would like to go ahead right now, we will hear you, Mr. Walter.

STATEMENT OF HON. FRANCIS E. WALTER, A REPRESENTATIVE

IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA Mr. WALTER. Mr. Chairman, I am appearing in opposition to H. R. 2266, for the reason that the enactment of this legislation will bring us around to the situation that prevailed at the time we made wire tapping illegal. Under the provisions of the bill, as written, unquestionably this unusual authority, wire tapping, will be exercised by employees of the Federal establishments rather than by the head of the agency affected. I do not think that there is any question of the fact that whenever permission is sought for the exercise of this unusual authority it will be by one representative

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