Lamont, Corliss, Freedom is as freedom does

(New York :  Horizon Press,  1956.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 142  


It is a sinister paradox that the United States Department of
Justice, the function of which is to enforce the law, has so often
taken the lead in flouting the law. This is particularly tiue of the
Department's Federal Bureau of Investigation and its unauthor¬
ized tapping of telephone conversations. In recent tiials judges
have repeatedly thrown out evidence brought forward by Govern¬
ment attorneys when the defendant showed that it was secured by
means of illegal wire-tapping. Yet everyone knows that the FBI
continues to carry on this contemptible form of eavesdropping
and spying. In 1954 Attorney General Brownell pressed Congress
to make the lawless behavior of his Department legal by passing
a bill to authorize wire-tapping. The measure did not go through.

In opposition to this bill, James Lawrence Fly, a former chair¬
man of the FCC, stated that wire-tapping is destructive of per¬
sonal liberty and "necessarily invades the most private relations
of the many innocent in the hope of finding one guflty person.
In the tapping of one private phone, the dragnet would involve
the privacy of all persons using the phone, all persons called and
all calling in to anyone. ... As a matter of physical necessity the
wire-tapper reaches all the confidential relations protected by our
democratic system, e.g., husband and wife, parent and child, min¬
ister and parishioner, lawyer and client, doctor and patient." ^^^

FBI snooping in general has gone to extieme and outiageous
lengths and frequentiy has had the effect of intimidation. A fav-
  Page 142