The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81711   Message #1500937
Posted By: JohnInKansas
06-Jun-05 - 03:08 AM
Thread Name: BS: Patriot Act unconstitutional?
Subject: RE: BS: Patriot Act unconstitutional?
re: disfavored political groups

I frankly don't know what current policy is, but ca. 1957 and for at least 25 years thereafter, anyone applying for a security clearance to handle classified or otherwise sensitive material was required to declare whether they had ever been a member of any of a long list of organizations listed on a standard form. A separate question asked if the person had ever attended any meetings, or associated regularly with "persons who might have been members," of essentially the same list of organizations. The list remained pretty much the same for most of that time, although there were some minor changes. I suspect the new list is somewhat different.

A separate questions asked for a list of all organizations the person had ever belonged to just in case they forgot one, or the person knew it by some other name...

If you answered yes to having attended/associated, the form had a short space where you were to "explain the circumstances," and for many purposes that was sufficient unless it was for a special clearance of some sort. There was a similar blank to explain a "membership," and it would depend on the investigating agency whether the explanation would be acceptable or whether a "personal interview" would be required. If a "personal interview" was required, questions would definitely NOT be restricted to explaining the "deviant entry," and could become quite invasive.

Since handling such information is a "position of trust" there is/was some rationale for the questions, but the PA appears to allow prosecution/persecution of anyone based on the suspicion of an unconfirmed "association." Hoover was a master at this, as was McCarthy, but usually even they didn't cross over to completely denying all of a person's civil rights until/unless they at least issued a subpoena. ...or did they?

(Members of Congress were/are NOT REQUIRED to have security clearance to have access to material the rest of us can't - and perhaps shouldn't - see, and generally can't be held criminally liable for blabbing it whenever it suits their personal political ends - no matter how much "aid and comfort" our "enemies" might gain. Their aides and employees though ....???)