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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 south west 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 31/2 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.
I participated in a number of black bag jobs, including a 1957 burglary of the Japanese consulate in Seattle. And in that operation, the top burglar flew out from Washington. He used radioactive cobalt to bring out the arrangement of the locking mechanism. And after a period of hours, was able to open the safe. The contents were photographed and returned to their exact position in the safe.
In these kinds of operations, elaborate measures were taken to insure the security of the black bag job participants. In the first place, we were instructed never to take anything that would identify us with the FBI in the event that an unfortunate mishap occurred.
Just like in a bank robbery, the premises were thoroughly cased . to make sure that the identity of the regular occupants were known and their normal movements were known. And when the black bag job was about to take place, surveillances were put on them in order to make sure that they didn't double back to the premises.
A further precaution was to station an agent at the police radio conosle to make sure the complaints of a burglary in progress were not answered.
The FBI agents who made a specialty of black bag jobs were frequently rewarded by meritorious cash awards, which of course would not be identified as to their reason.
Now getting into the area of the actual technical surveillances, as it is called, and the FBI referred to it as Tesurs, the FBI refers to wiretaps as Tesurs, which is a contraction of technical surveillance. And it refers to microphone or bug surveillance as Misurs.
There are two kinds of telephone taps: the direct and indirect A tap-transmitter in which a phone line is tapped and the conversation strictly limited to the telephone conversation is sent over the air to a receiving point and is, as I say, the tap-transmitter. The advantage of this to the tapper is the tremendous security because, if the device is found, it is not traceable to him. If the wires lead direct to a monitoring post, why the lines are of course traceable.
An additional element of security is afforded by what the telephone company in its construction practice calls the multiple appearacne. Multiple appearances means that your particular telephone line will appear not only in the pole box nearest to your premise, but will appear in another one perhaps in a radius of a mile simply to allow for the two-party subscriber. And usually that other pair is vacant. If the tapper knows where to go to find it, this involves the cooperation of the telephone company cable records, of course, he can tap at that site in relative security.
Again, getting into the problem of control of wiretaps, a few years ago again when the FBI was contending that there were perhaps 100 taps nationwide, Ronald Kessler did a very thorough investigation for the Washington Post. And in that particular investigation he disclosed that the FBI had 450 special service lines feeding into the Washington field office from all over the city.
Obviously perhaps on a kind of multiple phone, a rotary phone, one tap would involve maybe 10 lines if you are tapping one establishment. But I think that the fact of those very many lines indicates again the need for some kind of outside authority to look into
unilateral statements on the part of agents who engage in electronic surveillance.
The question of microphones and bugs, again they fall into two categories: wired and wireless, which is the bug transmitter or the microphone transmitter
The wired simply means that the microphone is connected to that listening post by å run of wire. For example, the installation in Seattle, where we picked the lock to enter the dwelling, in that installation, the technique that was used there was simply to run a very thin wire concealed behind a baseboard from the microphone down into the celler, run it behind rafters in the celler, drill a hole, and the FBI already had furnished me with a telephone company drop wire that was especially built and that had two very fine wires running through it. And they were connected on. The telpehone drop wire then carried it out to the pole box.
I had one problem after we hooked up that because there was a nearby commercial radio station interfering. Apparently the bug wire was acting somewhat like an antenna so it was simply a simple matter to design a low pass filter and filter out that radio frequency.
The wireless type I think at this stage is the most common. It can be planted strategically, and again if it is discovered, it is not traceable to the eavesdropper. He is simply out the $50 or so a decent one costs.
And the wired type again is very vulnerable to detection because of the necessity for wires to run all of the way from the installation to the monitoring point.
I have in my black bag here [indicating] an illustration of a very modestly priced bug. And since the law at the current stage forbids possession, I should point out that this equipment is all disarmed much like an automatic weapon with the barrel plugged.
This one [indicating] very simply is a small pillbox with a pretty good circuit inside. I should point out that every bug in order to operate with any range at all requires an antenna. So again the element of looking for a particular bug would involve, if you suspect one, that there has got to be an antenna somewhere, which adds to the bug's insecurity.
This one [indicating] is just a little 9-volt-battery type with a 9-volt battery that hooks in there. And the way it operates, as you can see, if you found this, it wouldn't be much loss to the tapper.
It can be received simply in a radio this small [indicating], which is an ordinary transistor radio. It is an FM radio. The upper band here [indicating], well the whole band has been slid down a little and the commercial ends right about here [indicating] and then here [indicating] is your bug band, right here [indicating), right at the top.
And this kind [indicating] of a bug is very difficult to trace. These are just standard components that any kid perhaps with a high school electronics shop experience could put together.
Here is one (indicating] that is a little more mass-manufactured. This is an FM wireless microphone. And again, it is the same situation. This one would cost in the neighborhood of $70 and a couple of little 9-volt batteries.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. And the way that operates is that that is placed or situated in, for example, a room and it is live 24 hours a day?
Mr. TURNER. Yes.
The bugs again, as you point out, carry all conversations; pillow talk as well as relevant conversations. And I would place them in a little more insidious category for that reason.
One of the problems of course, is that your batteries will run down. Again, whenever you hide something like this, you have to have some air conduction in order to get a good pickup. So there are technical problems confronting the bugger.
Nonetheless, if I had some room and could install a number of batteries in parallel, if the bugger could do that, he would get very long battery life and this could go on for some time.
There is also the advanced bugger who has a remote switching device where he can turn it on and off simply when he wants to monitor, again conserving battery life. Otherwise, he would have to reenter and replace the batteries.
The other thing that he may do is, if he want to plant a very small device in a wall with say a very limited range, he may have a repeater somewhere nearby; a kind of booster station that will boost his signal along. Then if he is monitoring in a car somewhere, you have the same problem of enforcement that you would have in the case of say narcotics where you have to catch somebody with the narcotics. In other words, how do you catch this man with the bug. He is not connected to it in any other way except the airwaves. And it is a very difficult problem of enforcement.
I have another device here and I think this is very illustrative of what the 1968 law meant. In fact I think the legislative history brings this out. I have a device primarily useful for aural acquisition. It is called a spike-mike and it is employed usually from the room next door or from some outside area. Here it is sindicating].
It simply is a contact microphone. It is a crystal microphone of very good fidelity. And the tapper then takes one of the spikes and screws it in here [indicating). Well, actually first he puts this into the wall and this makes contact with the inner wall. This sindicating] will go through. I have another size here if it is a thinner wall.
And that mike as I say is very sensitive. It then is plugged into an amplifier. And he can either feed into a recorder or he can listen with his earset. And this as I sav is an example of something that I can hardly conceive of being used as a baby-sitter device or something for party fun or the other kinds of reasons that are now given for making these kinds of devices that are not primarily useful. They mav have double or triple purposes.
Then vou have the stethescopelike device, which you can affix to a wall. These are usually very transient types of installations.
Somebody checks into a motel room for instance, this is the ideal kind of piece of equipment to use in that situation. It is not like