Security and civil rights; Series summary
We think that these programs are necessary but only in the area of sensitive positions which we define as as. Positions where the employee has access to secret top secret information that was the voice of Mr. Dudley Boncelles chairman of a special nonpartizan committee set up by the bar association of the city of New York to evaluate our nation's security loyalty programs. You will hear Mr. Bronson now on the final program in this series. Security and Civil Rights produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUVO and under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. To introduce our special guest authority here is the consultant commentator for security and civil rights professor Munn read policy of the law faculty of Columbia University. Professor Paulson.
In this final program of our series we return once more to Mr. Dudley be Bansal the chairman of the New York Bar Association special committee investigating the security loyalty program of the United States. In our first program. Mr. Bansal presented the problem the necessity for a security loyalty program and a survey of existing security loyalty procedures and programs. In our final program Mr. Bond presents the heart of his committee's report on the future of the security loyalty program. I should like to remind you that Mr. Boncelles New York Bar Association Committee was a nonpartisan committee supported in its work by a $100000 grant from the fund for the republic. The executive worked the day to day job of the committee was directed by Professor Elliot Cheatham of the
Columbia Law School assisted by Professor Jerry Williams of the University of Texas Law School. The findings of the committee were published completely by the dogmeat publishing company and a summary can be found in the United States News and World report for July 13th 1956 beginning at page one hundred eighteen. In that issue. And now here is Mr. Bronson interviewed by Mr. Philip Gallo the producer of our series. The interview took place in New York City. Well what then did the committee think was right and what might be improved in terms of the programs. Well we had a we had a substantial number of recommendations. I'd like to hit on a few of them if I could be the first problem we found with the federal employees program is that some 70 agencies of the government each administering the program more or less in their own way.
We think that a fairer job could be done and perhaps a more effective one for the government if there were. Some centralization not of not of the actual carrying out of the program but the method in which they would be carried out. And so we propose that a direct personnel and information security be established in the office of the president who would exercise general supervision of all of the programs in the federal department would prescribe rules and regulations as to how they should be carried out and would lay down the ground rules to determine what positions were covered by the program's subversive activities control borders that are all just now I'd say that's a totally different totally different board that has a subversive activities control board is designed to. We teach so-called subversive organizations not in the government are taught. I say give them an opportunity for healing as to whether or not they are subversive.
The next recommendation that we had was that the scope of the program which I mentioned to you which stands now to some six million people to be limited to what we call sensitive positions. At the present time the programs are extend to all civilian employees of the federal government. It is true that the Supreme Court in call against young last June held that the law on which the program was based applied only to sensitive positions. But to date the executive order has not been changed. We think folk for reasons somewhat different than the Supreme Court because they were interpreting a statute we were purely examining the pros and cons of public policy. We think that these programs are necessary but only in the area of sensitive positions which we define as positions where the employee has access to secret top secret
information and the interests of national security. I mentioned time in the committee defining that I know this one of the more or the veil of a play to this whole issue as to what it would be a sensitive position. It isn't as difficult as it would seem. We think of a sensitive position as one where the employee has access to secret or top secret information in the interest of national security and I'll come back to that a minute. And secondly employees who have policymaking position having a direct bearing on national security that might be a policymaking position and pardon Bagge culture for instance that has a direct bearing on national security. You know you might never see any classified information. So those would be the two general categories and we would expect as director of personnel information security that I mentioned to you a while ago to lay down standards by which that would be accomplished. This secret and top secret information is fairly easy because that
is all classified by classifying offices. The great trouble there as that we think that information is over classified. It's very easy to put secret on a paper. It's very hard to ever get it off again once it's put on. And we think that the amount of classified information could be reduced if there were if there were an officer in our government who was in charge of seeing that it was done. Now when we say access to classified information we mean access whether authorized or not. So we would believe that an elevator operator in the Pentagon. Or a charwoman who cleans up the papers for the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be a sensitive position should be treated as such. We believe that with this definition the scope of the program would be reduced from over six million employees to a million five hundred thousand employees.
That's actually a very amazing reduction if it can be done. And I think it answers the common criticism that while a sensitive position can be a stenographer or a janitor as you put it it would depend upon where that person is to not have her and where the janitor what he has access to and that this could be determined by the overall officer or the head of each agency. This would be determined this would be determined in the first instance by this director that I spoke to you about a few minutes ago this director of personnel information security would lay down a movie by which this would be carried out. But it would not interfere with the head of the agency who had some particular reason for wanting to classify some people being able to do it because after all he is he's the one primarily responsible. With the limitation of the program to sensitive positions. And one of the reasons why the figures are so interesting we would eliminate entirely the port security
program. We've eliminated entirely the international employees loyalty program. The reason we do that is that we do not think that the jobs that those people have. Has a clear enough relationship to the national security to justify that their record should be taken and they should be put through this process. Excuse me just if I could come in I think a lot of people may have a reaction well is that so serious the records being kept I think one of the interesting things and the recent outbreak and Hungary is the intense feeling and hatred that the Hungarians had for their fellow Hungarians who are secret police that one of the things that the first one of the first things they destroyed when they had the opportunity were the files in Budapest that were kept in that. And it just sort of dehumanizing the individual and the money is only the set of statistics and and in a file and various labels and secret information. So I think it should be dismissed simply on the
basis of oh well it would be nice not to have files this is something I think which is very basic to our whole concept of individuality and freedom. Well I agree with I agree with that. That is an important factor those smaller you can keep these programs the more they will be accepted by the people and I think the more effective they will be the justification of the port security program has been that semen. American vessels are longshoreman so you in the port of New York can commit sabotage and buy to national security. But it seems to us that so can the passengers on those steamers so can and so can the fellow throws a switch in a power plant. So can so many other people do the same thing and why should you pick out the seamen and long Sharman and question their general loyalty and patriotism to the country when you don't do it to the others. And if you do it to all of them then you're reaching what you're talking
about so reaching a stage where everybody has a dose of where everybody lives in a certain amount of fear of their own government. And our government can only succeed through the confidence of the people and not through the fear of people. Why you say now Mr. Bonsor that a 100 percent absolute proof security program would be impossible and if it were possible probably would be wanted anyhow I think that's I think that's a fair statement. I got fair statement yes I'd agree with that. So we have to take some chances. You've got to do the best that you can. And we feel that you will do a far better job if you limit these programs to the sensitive position. But you're going to do an awful lot better job of. And those positions and if you scatter them with an awful lot of people who aren't important to the national security call it's going to reduce the job of the investigating agencies and the duce the screening and all of this other paraphernalia that you have and you can focus it where you need it. Well then the committee's recommendations so far are this overall director and
one agency which would get better some of the other 70 that you mentioned are in his field of lonely security and limiting the program to sensitive positions and cutting down from about over six million to a million and a half in terms of the number of jobs in specific positions that are involved. Are there other recommendations that the committee came up with Mr. Johnson we have recommendations we would we would have a new standard for the program. At the present time to to pass muster on employee retention of an employee. And in his position must be clearly consistent with the interests of national security. We think that goes too far that the actual wording in the law that are waiting in some of the programs on all of them again they are but that's the wording and the federal employees program. What was that again clearly consistent with the interests of the national security. The individual is supposed to be fairly consistent his employment as an environment is
supposed to be consistent with the interests of national security as well and that doesn't leave much room in case of doubt. Obviously the fall is going to say well the employee has to go out nor does it meet the factor which we discovered in our studies of what we call positive security that in determining whether the interests of national security are on or not so you have to consider the abilities of the particular employee What is he doing. Perhaps he perhaps his position is so important it might be a scientific position. He may be rather an unusual fellow. Maybe you really need him very badly. The present standard doesn't permit you to do much about it. I mean nothing positive about the individual is included in the present program. Well it's included in the program but the standard that I mentioned to you makes it hard to give it much weight. Of course what I meant by nothing positive was that if he said only derogatory
information that's put in if the investigating officers come up with very positive information the person was very active in his community and leader leads that in certain programs would disappear go into the file or just be negative material now or the government and I wouldn't necessarily put it in but the employee himself would get a chance to put in the positive material. But we think the present standard notwithstanding all that is unduly restrictive we would we would make a stand and whether or not in the interests of the United States the employment of attention and employment of the individual is advisable. Maybe this part is that this is limited to sensitive positions. Then we would let the security authorities think cover all of the information derogatory and favorable his usefulness to the government in the position that he's in and all these other factors and come up with a commonsense judgment on the basis of that. As to whether his continuance of his employment is advisable is not advisable. And we think that that would minimize what you mentioned a while ago the stigma
that attaches to people who get caught in the security net who are not disloyal but because of some other some other reason the government feels it imperative that they do not continue in their jobs. Well let's see how this takes us to a certain respect a broader or easier to work with definition of what is a security loyalty problem and of course one that I did not mention in my little summary a few minutes ago I was trying to cut down on the amount of classified and top secret information and to make certain that it really belonged in those categories. There was one other thing that you mention Mr. Bonsor which I was wondering if the New York Bar Association's committee had any reaction to it. And they spent a lot of time in analyzing and studying these things and that was the Attorney-General's list which you mentioned just in passing. Yes we did. We considered that we considered in considerable
detail. As you know the attorney general's list covers some 400 organizations present time Communist communist front organizations of people who are believed to be interested in the overthrow the government. A great many of the observations on that list of been defunct for 15 years or more. The list is not quite up to date as it should be. It does not describe in any detail why these are limitations are believed to be subversive or even in which they were subversive. There were many other stations which were perfectly innocent and allergen and had to be pillars of the community as members who were taken over at a later stage by the Communists. But the list makes no such distinction. And also as you know the attorney generals list is used as sort of a Bible. By state
governments by private employers as a matter of fact. Want to know about the trustworthiness of their employees. And with the result that we think a great deal of injustice has been done. And the reason it is so used of course is because it has the signature of the attorney general and therefore that gives it great dignity and probity. It was all caught at the attorney general's list should be abolished unless it were made to be a meaningful list so that people reading it are people using it could know whether applying it to a particular case that had any bearing on not. This of course is a little outside of the general programs of the federal security except that the attorney general's list is used in those programs. And it was our thought that the agencies involved in these programs would continue to use any information that the attorney general might have regarding any association of an employee in
connection with a pending proceeding. You mentioned something here Mr Bond so that I don't think we've talked about before and that is that people who are not in the government people who are not in any way involved in the whole security loyalty program can pick up parts of it and use it in relation to their neighbors in relation to their community. Now what does this represent a problem. I think it represents a very great problem I think about a serious problem I think that. For instance a good many in a good many communities in the United States. If you want to serve on a jury you're asked to serve on a jury. The clerk will present you with a copy of the attorney general's list make you swear you didn't belong to any organization on it. Well it seems to me that's not the use for which that list to suddenly intended. And I think all it does is to create suspicion and confusion and in effect
go into a man's life in a way you shouldn't do. It gets around a lot of our fundamental constitutional guarantees too. Now this of course is one of the reasons why the series is being presented to find out if there is a conflict between individual rights in some cases and national security. And I think you've already suggested that the answer lies within a kind of balance. Would you explain first of all if you think that there is a conflict and what this balance might be. Well. I think on this question of the attorney general's list. The attorney general's race should not be used for anything except for what it was intended. Which was to wood vies offices in our government who had the loyalty and suitability of employees. Give them something to work with. That's what it was really intended I think that you should be so confined. And
if it's going to be used for anything else which I personally would not like to see too much it has got to be such a complete statement that nobody can use it improperly. Nobody can use it to merely create a case against an individual because of an alleged association that he might have had with some organization on the Attorney-General's list. This I think represents an example of the possible conflict here between individual rights and an element of the security program in general and would be over the over are feeling out of your committee the the idea that at the same time we needed some security measures that our rights needed to be protected too and that was such a balance possible. Yes I know the matter the matter of fact the rest of our recommendations which I just touch on very briefly I might touch on two or three of them are designed just for that purpose designed to work hard play the employees who come under the programs.
For instance we would suggest a central screening for all agencies. Because we feel that if if the knowledge and expertness of a group of able people could be focused on the problem you'd have far fewer needless charges made to develop a body of precedent and understanding throughout the government as to what they were looking for and what was to what was trivia and what should be cast aside. We think that would do a great deal in making the program fairer. We would also give the employee every procedural protection we could we think they should continue to be paid if they've got to fight the case for a security bond and title of their compensation so they can hire a lawyer they should have a LIAR there. We would recommend improvement in the personnel of these boards to do this kind of a jar.
We would suggest that director whom I spoke to you a while ago should give courses to our security personnel not only on the questions of the communist menace and the problems that face our government but on the rights of the employees wear. What are the constitutional liberties as understood in this country. It should also give some courses on the rules of evidence. What kind of evidence is good evidence in a court what kind is hearsay. That kind of thing so that they'll be more expert in the job in which they are engaged and more understanding of the problems both of the government and of the employee. Well do you feel that some of the type of testimony and witnesses and such then have not been in our ordinary legal and constitutional standards and I don't think that anybody in the government would claim that they had. Now these hearings under these programs are not conducted atol I caught hearings these Bards have no right of subpoena. We would urge that the boys be given the right of subpoena
in some ways the end formality of the proceedings is helpful to the employee because he's allowed to produce anything he wants in the way of affidavit letters other things which will need the information against him or will show him to be a reputable person we don't make him bring everybody to testify at all and some of the. It is good because it can't be like a court proceeding it's got to be more flexible and you can't have the same rules of evidence but when it comes to drug Atari information there you should've caught em just as much protection as you can. And as nearly as possible the same protection he would get in the car. Does that mean that any charges against him would have to be given under oath. Well I think there certainly were any charges against him should be under oath but where raises a real problem is in the question of confrontation. The in a court proceeding as you know even under a Smith Act of seating the defendant has a right to be confronted by his accuser and to cross-examine
or cross-examine the cues and how that proceeding is not safeguard is not in these programs. We would like to see if these programs are on the way. But there are practical difficulties and certainly in the case of the undercover agent of the FBI because once he has produced one of these hearings his usefulness is at an end because he's known you might have a case where the employee is is a communist. He wants to know who that fellow is that's gotten information on him. And once you disclose you know FBI agent where he was or discard him. I've talked to a lot of security people on that and they're very very clear about it. You must protect the undercover agent counter-espionage is one of our great weapons to meet the communist menace and security people will tell you that if you expose the
undercover agent then it ceases to be a weapon for you but becomes a tool for the enemy. And they know they know all about you. Now we we've respected to this extent and our recommendations that the professional government undercover agent who's not far been disclosed would not be disclosed in these proceedings. Providing the head of his department certified that he was such and also indicated whether the evidence that he gave where he was he did it first hand whether he was present Communist meeting where this fellow was or whether it was some something that somebody else had told him so that you can you get to the rules of evidence and play. In all other cases we would want informants produced before the screening before the hearing Boyd's there might be some cases and we would give the latitude to the investigative agencies but to the boards themselves
to determine whether they can be required to appear in front on not if the interests of national security is involved. Mr Bhansali I think one of the really wonderful by products if you can call it that of this whole problem certainly of this excellent report by The New York Bar Association Committee is that it's call attention to what some of our specific rights like confrontation right to counsel and other things are that we perhaps didn't even know even though these are in our Constitution that we had these very specific and essential rights and I think that on that basis alone your committee's report is something well worth reading now has it been put out in any form where it is available to the public. Yes we had we this report is published by god me and is available to anybody. At the price of $5 copy at any bookshop We also of course made great efforts to affect the distribution of the part in government circles and in universities
and in leading libraries because we thought the subject matter was of sufficient national interest that everybody should have a chance whether they wanted to buy the book or not to to find it. And what is the name of the book the book name of the book it's got a long and ponderous name that it's called the part of the Special Committee on the federal army security program of the Association of the bar of the city of New York. I think it would be sufficient if you remember the name of the publisher Dodd mead and federal security program and it was published last July. Our final program today featured Mr. Dudley be Boncelles chairman of a special security loyalty Committee of the Association of the bar of the city of New York. Security and civil rights was produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUVO m under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This series was distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters.
- Security and civil rights
- Series summary
- Producing Organization
- University of Minnesota
- KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- A summary of this series, presented by Dudley B. Bonsal, New York State Bar Association; and Professor Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
- Interviews on balancing national security interests with personal liberty. The series is moderated by Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
- Media type
Guest: Bonsal, Dudley B.
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: 57-50-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- APA: Security and civil rights; Series summary. 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-mk658c9x