Security and civil rights; Adam Yarmolinsky
Another member of the board then asked the following question. If you have knowledge of your brother's name belonging to any of these organizations that are listed in the Attorney Generals list would you come forward and give them information or would you try to shield him. The employee answered I don't understand what you mean try to shield and try to shield him from what. That was the actual voice of Mr. Adam Yarmolinsky secretary of the fun for the republic and director of case studies in personnel security published by the Bureau of National Affairs in Washington D.C.. Mr. Yarmolinsky will discuss specific security cases now on the fourth program in this series. Security and Civil Rights produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUNM under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This series is presented in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is Philip Geld producer of security and civil rights. The following is being recorded in the office of Mr. Adam Yarmolinsky the man who directed the collecting of details in numerous security loyalty cases. This collection the first of its
kind in our nation's history was published by the Bureau of national affairs in August one thousand fifty five. Now you've heard a number of generalizations pro and con in this series so far and you will hear more. But today we're going to be particularly specific. Quite frankly I feel that the specific case is the details in these various personnel security programs are about as unusual as anything you may ever hear. We're going to learn what actually happens to a person in a security case with what this person is charged who makes the charges how does one defend oneself in a security loyalty charge. The answers to these questions will be given to you quite simply and authoritatively by Mr. Adam Yarmolinsky and also by Mr. Paul one key a Washington attorney and a member of the advisory board for this collection of case studies and personnel security is that correct Mr. warranty. That is correct Mr. go. Well I'm just going to sit by now and that Paul warrantee and Adam Yarmolinsky two distinguished attorneys discuss their case
studies and personnel security as they see fit as a starting point Mr. Yarmolinsky May I suggest you're telling us how your security vilely case studies were collected. These case histories were collected with the consent of the employees involved in them from the files of the lawyers who advised or represented them. The reports are of necessity incomplete because the government file which was not released to the employee was also not available to our interviewers. While we realize the usefulness of a study of this kind is circumscribed by the limitations on the available material we did feel that it should provide useful and indeed essential material for an understanding of how the security programs operate from day to day. We have tried to eliminate possible bias by implying carefully selected lawyer interviewers by relying in the main on documentary material such as the written charges the employee's written response and the transcript of the hearing. And by identifying any information in the reports that is based on
statements by the employee or by his counsel. Well let's talk first of all about the nature of the charges as them of it as they are revealed in the cases that were analyzed in this study. How would you characterize the judges in general. I think we might try to break down the kinds of charges that we find in these cases in two three or four different classes. The first class and one that. Would offer an example here from one of our cases is the case of the person who was charged with being a. Past our indeed even a present member of the Communist Party. Now let me just read a charge from an industrial security case case number five and I call it an art collection. On that point the statement of charges which is a typical one begins as follows. I shouldn't really call it a statement of charges officially it's called a letter of proposed denial of clearance and when it comes to the employee from the so-called screening
division which is the lowered the first division that deals with the case and the letter reads as follows. The screening division of the Eastern industrial personnel security board has been furnished with information pertaining to the subject coming within the meaning of items 4 7 8 and 15 of the criteria set forth in the basic directive establishing this morning. This information if true reflects adversely on the subject to such an extent that the granting to him of clearance for access to classified security information is not clearly consistent with the interests of national security or security considerations permit the listing of the following items of information. 1. Investigation disclosed that subject acknowledged membership in the Communist Party from 1937 to 1940 that he attended a workers school operated by the Communist Party and that upon instructions of local party leaders subject became a member of various groups which have been cited as communist front
organizations by the attorney general and the various federal state and local investigating committees. To investigation also disclosed that subject was reliably reported to have continued expounding the communist party line is made of one hundred forty seven. Although he claims to have severed his connections and to have ceased contact with the party and its pride organizations as early as 1942. Now as I remember this case Adam that was fairly typical of what we call former communist cases. In other words the employee admitted that he had formerly been associated with the Communist communist front groups and yes he did but claimed that the spike this very day he was in. Completely loyal but he recognized the criminal conspiracy that the Communist Party constituted and had left all connections with the party had severed all connections. But as I also remember this case it ended up with a denial of clearance. In other words the form of membership in the Communist Party was treated as
almost a conclusive presumption of unfitness government service. Apparently it did there was also some difference in the evidence as between the employee's contention that he had not expounded the communist party line and the the evidence apparently offered to the board that the employee had criticised the activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. There was some difference in the testimony here and also some question as to whether criticism of that committee of Congress by itself could be called following or expounding the communist party line. But clearance was denied in this case and I think it's probably fair to say that in most of the cases and certainly the ones we studied in which there was a charge admitted by the employ of former membership in the Communist Party that clearance has been.
And I believe that's true Paul on the other hand I think it's well worth pointing out that in a recent report issued by the Industrial Security Program Review Board there is at least one case of a former communist whose clearance was not revoked because there was sufficient showing that he was no longer connected with the communist party or sympathetic with it. And also I should suppose because he's worked as a technician or a scientist was making a vital contribution to national security. And this is perhaps the simplest type of charge. In other words a direct charge of communist affiliation. A number of the other cases in the collection illustrate a specific and readily recognizable thought it chimes for example charges of habitual drunkenness. As in the case number six and charge of criminal convictions as in our case number seven. The indications are that as the programs have gone along and have become more mature
are in the people administering them have become more sophisticated in the field. But the charges do indicate more specificity and a greater degree of relevance to the issue of fitness of the employee from the standpoint of national security. I believe that's correct and I'm a natural as are those who operate the programs become more professional. There were however some of the cases in the collection that indicate charges that are considerably more abstract is considerably harder for somebody to analyze and possibly not even directly relevant Yes I think so. I think perhaps the extreme example of that and I do cite it as an extreme example was a charge in the military personnel security one of the military personnel security program cases cases involving people in the armed forces which read as follows. The subject quote exhibited a hyper critical attitude toward society that appeared to reflect home indoctrination.
And then as I remember it Case Number one hundred twelve. Illustrates a kind of charge that sounds extremely grave and is pretty specific in some instances. The evidence that was revealed at the hearing does not appear due to back up the charge in this case number one 12 which involved a Russian born and probably clerical employee of a government agency where one of the charges was that quote you made the statement I am a communist. To one of one of these employees this was a reference to one of his fellow employees. The evidence that came out of the hearing concerning that charge is reported in the case as follows. The wife. The employee stated that during her 30 years of marriage she had never heard her husband utter one word sympathetic to communism. She said he repeatedly stressed to his family the best D.A. of the Bolsheviks and stressed to his children their good fortune to be
living in America. She said because of his Russian birth and foreign accent he was the butt of a good deal of jovial jovial ribbing at the office. She continued if he made any statement that he was a communist It must have been only in a jocular vein on occasion somewhere to the one which he made reference to in his notes. As I remember it the wife was testifying on the basis of her husband's notes because he had become disabled and actually I think you've been put in a sanitarium hadn't he. Yes he had had a mental breakdown as a result of this charge. So she was quoting from his notes then in preparation for the case when the notes apparently I read as follows mr mr as a great kid are said to me you were Shadrack. So I am Shadrack you are a communist. I replied I am everything Shadrack communist. Been a go. The wife's agent stated at the hearing. Certainly this kind of raillery constitutes no admission by one who was always invariably been opposed to communism
that he was a communist. So that this case I think illustrates an instance in which the charge probably would never have been brought if there had been any sort of an eclectic review initially. If there had been if there had been a far more examination of the witnesses the sources of information I should certainly suppose that this is the kind of charge that might well have been dropped at the outset. What was the result of that result in this case. Was it the dropping of the matter without a final decision because the husband resigned as a result of his nervous breakdown. However the husband was granted retirement. The wife who had also been employed and who was also suspended. It was not was not re-employed apparently. But even in that example there was certainly nothing UN specific about
the charge. It was just a question of whether or not the evidence properly interpreted would provide any foundation for the charge. That's right we do have some illustrations in which the charges themselves seem to be a little farfetched wouldn't you say that there are a couple such that. Yes I think that there are some examples again without suggesting that these are typical I do indicate some of the problems confronting the lawyer for the employee in this kind of case in a typical charge of this kind is appears in case number 23 and reads as follows. See. Particular individual requested your release from the U.S. Coast Guard and stated that you would be employed in the government agency with which he was then connected if you would be released from active duty in the US Coast Guard. Information indicates he was the author of the title of a book which was
advertised in a Louis Demick publication. But we have Demick has been listed as an official of the progressive party in Philadelphia in 1948 which has been cited as a communist front organization by the California Tenney legislative committee. See the list of those references are pretty sure where one lot of more and Blank who have been identified as members of communist front groups. I think that this is the kind of charge them that you have characterized as being almost subject to a motion to dismiss. If they were ever presented in a true legal proceeding in other words a kind of a charge that the employee could had met and still ask that the charge be stricken on the grounds that it adds up to nothing. That's right and one of the points that we've noticed in these proceedings is that the lawyer does not have an opportunity to lawyer for the employer he does not have an opportunity to use what is known as a motion to dismiss in a court proceeding in other words there is no way in which the liar can come
in at this point without presenting evidence and in effect say so what. The only course of action open to the lawyer. At this stage in the proceedings or the employee if as in many of these cases he's appearing by himself is to file a written response in which he attempts to explain the charges against him and indeed to present as full a picture as possible of the kind of person he is in order to impress the board with enough of a picture of his own character and reputation and background so that they will be able to understand the kind of person he is and therefore will be able to make this kind of necessarily subjective and difficult judgment as to how he is likely to behave in some hypothetical situation where the security of the United States the secrets of the United States may be endangered. Now at this point it's awfully important seems to
seems to me from these cases for the employee to have a lawyer and one who is both competent and experienced in this field. Well let's go into actual conduct of the hearings themselves. A hearing of course follows the submission of the written response by the employer. What impression did you gather of the boards. It's certainly been my impression from these cases that the boards are typically very conscientious usually quite courteous and anxious to get a complete picture of the situation and of the man himself. This is a difficult thing for them to do they're confronted in many if not most instances with charges which are not documented because they can't be even under the system and which these programs operate the so-called faceless in formerly identity of the confidential informant is kept confidential from the board as much as it is or substantially as much as it is from the employee
himself. So that in a live sense the board has the problem of examining the employee informing their impressions of the employee as a human being. Not only do they have the problem of dealing with charges that necessarily are not as fully documented as they would be in a court. But they also have the problem of dealing with events or occurrences in the life of the employee which took place a five or ten or twenty years ago at a time when the whole political climate in the United States was rather different from what it is today. An example of this problem which we might begin with here in the hearings appears in case number 53 which charges in essence that the employee had been active in the Communist Party during 1931 in 1932. One of the sub charges referred specifically to the fact that Communist Party literature
had been found in the employee's home during the early period of the covered by the charges. At the one of the hearings incidentally in this case there were several hearings but this was a hearing conducted in 1054. The board members were curious to know why the employee had Communist literature in his home. And the questioning ran as follows. Did they find some Communist literature in your locker at one time. No. In your home in my home yes. How did that get there. I brought some of it and the Daily Worker that you asked me about if I had bought was given to me as a free subscription for raising money to defend the Scottsboro boys. They looked through all the books and literature. Incidentally I think it was brought out in the hearing that we had before this one that Mr So-and-so was the investigating officer stated that he found other literature very very much more than Communist literature. I had a few communist pamphlets there. That was a time when you couldn't get away from it if you lived in the. And he referred to a certain neighborhood because there was always something delivered every day and that is how the literature
was there. I remember specifically I had two copies of the Communist that is a magazine and I had a book entitled ethics and materialistic conception of conception of Christianity and dialectical materialism and I had a book called Marxist Kappa Tau. I had that too but that is all I had. What was your purpose in buying these books. I was interested to know what communism was I don't know if you remember back during the Depression. QUESTION The questionnaire into interrupting I remember very well the answer continuing. Everyone was trying to find out this and that. When you live in a community where all of the people are working people why the impact of something like that is greater than in say the upper middle class community. And at that time mind you I hadnt even graduated from grade school and not only was I reading that I was reading books as Albert Edward Williams through the family tree behaviorism by Watson and later on semantics. I didn't see anything wrong in doing it at the time so I absolutely nothing wrong in it as a matter of fact it was all right to talk about it anywhere and nobody criticized you for saying that you would read the Daily Worker or
dialectical materialism or behaviorism by wants and nobody paid any attention to what everybody was reading something. And since I didn't have any guided program of reading when I read everything that came along I'm afraid to read anything I'm telling you. You never know what's going to happen 20 years from now. You read The Wall Street Journal don't you. I think one thing that that colloquy illustrates illustrates Adam is the fact that the questions and answers in these hearings don't resemble at all the formalized questioning in any law case. That's right. In other words it's pretty free exchange the board is doing its best to form an impression. Yes that is what the character of this man is. I recall that in one case the board chairman was so struck by this that he remarked frequently. This is not a legal proceeding. Apparently he made that remark several times in the course of the case and that of course is shown by the fact that the odd unary rules of evidence and hearsay.
Any of the other limitations on admissibility and apply not applied in these proceedings. No one almost necessarily can't be. Yeah and of course there also had this fact is also dramatically demonstrated by the fact that the employee does in a very real sense I think have the burden of proof. Yes he does because the finding has to be based on a conclusion by the board that the employment is clearly consistent with the national interest whether national security is very very high standard indeed. In case number one I was 7 I think we discussed as being a case that illustrates the extent to which they go and yes cases later in this case have a charge that was somewhat somewhat publicized at the time the report came out. The charge was that in 1950 Communist literature was observed on the bookshelves in a communist art was seen on the walls of your residence. And then if we look at the questioning on this subject I think we can see how this how this child
went in the hearing itself. The report reads as follows. The chairman then ran charge number six in which it was alleged that communist of the literature was observed in the employee's bookshelves at home and communists were seen on the walls of his residence in 1950 immediately following reading of this charge the chairman stated that the broad is at a loss just to what Communist communist literature they are referring to. I mean temple right to say that they here is presumably the investigative agency which furnished the report to the board and which report was not identified as a source or in any any way. More specifically then it was to the employee Council for the employee then questioned him concerning his courses in college and the books which he was there required to read for those courses. In this connection counsel for the employee asked where the books had been recommended as part of study courses by instructors and whether one of these books had been does copy town by Karl Marx and whether the employee had bought desk of a towel following such a recommendation the employer
responded that certain books had been recommended by his instructors. The dust competition was one and that he had bought the modern library giant edition of desktop a town council for the employee then stated that he did not know whether the US capital was considered to be communist lifter or not and that it had been written prior to the creation of the Communist Party. Counsel stated finally there is no other book on inquiring from Mr Blank the employee that I can possibly conceive that would be a foundation for that accusation. Counsel then asked the employee whether in 1050 he had reproductions of paintings by great painters hanging on the walls of his home and following the employees answer in the affirmative. Counsel asked him to name some of the artists whose reproductions were hanging upon the walls of the employee's home. The employee name because I saw my piece Renoir and my day. This was the way it was reported in the transcript. Presumably mighty Johnny was met. Counsel then asked the employee whether pictures by those artists were hanging in museums including the largest museum in the city in which the employee resides. And following the employees answer in
the affirmative counsel asked whether there was any relation ship between the art and the Communist Party. The employee responded that he had no idea what any relationship there might be that exists there at all. Thereafter in response to counsel's question the employee testified that he had not read thus competent in its entirety that he had been required to read a chapter or two for class work and that he had found it a little darling tedious. I think that reading through the cases and reading the number of case reports that we have you end up with a feeling of almost as much sympathy for these boys as you do for the employees of the very difficult task and the application of really what are almost psychoanalytic techniques to determine whether or not the employee's continued employment by the government is consistent with the vague concept of the national security. So that it's quite understandable I think that the questioning does go as far afield as it does.
I think it's interesting to observe however that in the cases where the employee is in fact employed on a job that under the narrow under the strict definition as approved by the Supreme Court is really a job that involves access to security information. The boards are likely to be a little less far ranging in their interests. And for instance if they are dealing with the case of an employee who works let's say for the Veterans Administration where there isn't any security information there for the Fish and Wildlife Service because in a situation like that the board finds it difficult to imagine what these specific security risk involved may be and therefore they're pretty much at large to consider. The employee's political view is whether the employee is a dissenter or a non-conformist erratic or what have you rather than the specific issue of whether he's likely to hand out copies of classified blueprints. Well it's a little harder I think for them to find out just exactly what they're supposed to be looking for.
That's right there are a number of cases here where we see indications that the board will say well there must be some reason you were brought up on charges we can't figure it out but can't you help us. So they put the employees sort of in the position of making the charge and then answering the Chines Yes they do. Thinking about this study as a whole it's fair to say I think that if you didn't go into the study with the idea of finding out whether or not this should be a loyalty program and of course none of these cases would indicate whether or not a program is necessary. Certainly not. The objective was to find out whether this is the kind of a program that given the existence of the danger. Is this the kind of program that we need and well I think the objective was to develop as much as we could in the way of facts about the actual operation of the program which had not been but made available to the public I think it's significant that since the publication of these
cases the department apartment of defense has brought out a collection of 25 cases in its first report on the industrial security program which seem to follow the same pattern as these cases found and provided extremely useful information to the public in making judgments about the efficiency of the existing programs which are necessary for consideration of how they can be improved. This consideration is important I think is evidence both by the report of the Committee of the Association of the by the city of New York and also by the work currently going on. Under a bipartisan commission set up by a joint resolution of both houses of Congress the so-called allied Right Commission which is looking into the whole question of security programs. That was Mr. Adam Yarmolinsky secretary of the fun for the Republic and author of case studies in personnel security published by the Bureau of National Affairs in Washington D.C. next week. This series will present a pro and con discussion of one of the most controversial subjects in the area of security and civil rights.
The Fifth Amendment. Be sure to hear both sides of the story of the Fifth Amendment and national security. Next week on security and civil rights a series produced by the radio station KUNM of the University of Minnesota under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center for distribution by the National Association of educational broadcasters security and civil rights is edited and produced by Philip geld a consultant commentator professor of law a man mad Paulson. Your announcer Charles Britton. The preceding tape recorded program or the presentation of the E.B. Radio Network.
- Security and civil rights
- Adam Yarmolinsky
- Producing Organization
- University of Minnesota
- KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Adam Yarmolinsky, secretary of the Fund for the Republic, reports on specific security cases and how they affect those involved. He directed the collection of case studies in personnel security.
- Series Description
- Interviews on balancing national security interests with personal liberty. The series is moderated by Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
- Broadcast Date
- Legislation--United States.
- Media type
Guest: Yarmolinsky, Adam
Moderator: Paulsen, Monrad G.
Producer: Gelb, Philip
Producing Organization: University of Minnesota
Producing Organization: KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-50-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- MLA: “Security and civil rights; Adam Yarmolinsky.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-2b8vfg2n>.
- APA: Security and civil rights; Adam Yarmolinsky. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-2b8vfg2n