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September 1967

October 1967

Calendar
New Members - August 1967
September is Going to Be Interesting, Informative...
Rejection Is Urged for Isle Water Plan
Units / Notices
Discussion Meetings - September 6-14
Citizenship Day - September 17
Looking Ahead - Preview of October Unit Meetings
Continuing Responsibilities - District of Columbia

Discussion Meetings - September 6-14

JOIN YOUR UNIT FOR THE FIRST DISCUSSION OF THE NEW LEAGUE YEAR. WE'LL START OFF RIGHT WITH A MODEL MEETING AND HAVE FUN DISCUSSING A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT, "YOUR RIGHT TO PRIVACY VS. THE GOVERNMENT'S NEED TO KNOW."

It all began when LEAGUE began! Freedom of the individual is very basic to the Program of the League of Women Voters. Can you imagine a LWV without freedom of SPEECH??? or the right to assemble? or a free press?

But our liberties are in a constant state of change and interpretation and are continually being challenged and even endangered. In times of fear and unrest there is particular danger that our liberties will be unreasonably restricted.

To make yourself more aware of these challenges and modifications of our freedoms, start tonight clipping articles from your newspapers that involve any of our liberties. Bring them with you to our first unit discussion meetings. If you've read carefully, you'll be amazed at the quantity you've amassed.

Through the years the LWV has carried program items that reflect our member's concern for individual liberties:

1941 (World War II) - Program item: "the preservation of the greatest degree of civil liberty consistent with national safety in war."

1948-1950 - National Convention delegates expressed concern over "grave problems that have arisen affecting our system of individual Constitutional liberties."

1951-1954 - Under Voters Service, vigorous discussions on individual liberties were held.

1954 - Adopted program item "development of understanding of the relationship between individual liberty and the public interest." Participated in "Freedom Agenda" program with other civic organizations, discussing various aspects of the Bill of Rights and individual liberties. Studied and discussed Congressional investigations, federal loyalty programs, freedom of speech, problems of sedition.

1956 - Focused on one area, adopted Current Agenda item "Evaluation of the Federal loyalty-security programs with recognition of the needs for safeguarding National security and protecting individual liberties."

1958 - transferred Loyalty-Security from Current Agenda to Continuing Responsibilities.

1964-1966 - National Convention delegates reaffirmed item as a CR, although National Board recommended dropping.

Present Position - The study begun in 1956 covered five Federal loyalty-security programs-- Government Employees, Atomic Energy, Industrial Security, Port Security, Military Personnel, involving an estimated 10 million people. Among many, many questions, the study asked: Did super-secrecy retard scientific and technological advancement? Was it possible to determine which jobs afford genuine threats to national security? Should all State Department jobs be classified as sensitive? Was there violation of the US legal traditions of separation of powers, due process, presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Did the loyalty-security programs fail to distinguish between dissent and disloyalty? Or infringe unnecessarily on the right of privacy? Or because of the nature of Communism, must we accept changes in our traditional practices? The result was the following statement of position:

Limited Scope: The League believes that national security and individual liberty would both befit by limiting the coverage of the loyalty-security programs to sensitive positions. In order to assure that the number of sensitive positions be kept to a minimum, there should be regular review of job sensitivity as well as of classified information with objectives of declassification wherever possible.

The League also opposes any extension of the programs, such as proposals to cover employees of the legislative or judicial branches of the government or to private employees in defense-related industries.

More Uniformity and Coordination: The League believes there is need for greater uniformity and consistency in interpreting and administering policies in clearance and screening practices of agencies, and in the classification of material.

Common Sense Standard: The League believes that a "common sense" judgment should be made in determining whether an individual is a loyalty or security risk. Rather than adhering to hard and fast rules, a balanced judgment should be reached only after due weight has been given to all evidence, to the nature of the position, and to the value of the individual to the government or industry.

Procedures: The League believes that the programs should give greater protection to the individual, whether an employee or an applicant for employment. These protections should include the right to confront one's accuser, with the exception of regularly established confidential informants; the right to subpoena witnesses; the right to counsel; the right to know the exact nature of the charges, the right of appeal. Pending resolution of his case, the accused should be shifted to a non-sensitive position during the investigation or else suspended with pay.

Attorney General's List: The League believes that the Attorney General's list should not be used unless extensive revisions are made, such as including in the list the origins of each organization, its history and aims, as well as the period and general nature of its subversive activity. Also, the list should be revised periodically and kept up to date.

Two Supreme Court decisions have pertained directly to the League's position:

Cole v. Young, 1956, involved the discharge of a food inspector for the Food and Drug administration. The Court ruled that summary suspension and removal of employees on security grounds applied only to those in "sensitive positions," those designated by the head of any department or agency in which the employee "could bring about, by virtue of the nature of the position, a material adverse effect on the national security."

Greene v. McElroy, 1959, involved an aeronautical engineer who was denied security clearance and hence discharged without hearing because his job dealt exclusively with research projects requiring access to classified information. The Court ruled that neither Congress nor the President had authorized an industrial security program under which a person cou1d be deprived of his job without the traditional safeguards of confrontation and cross-examination.

Recent Developments - In May 1966, the national League sent a letter to the director of Community Action Programs of the Office of Economic Opportunity to protest a policy statement in its employment and recruitment practices: "Manifestation of disloyalty to the United States, membership in subversive organizations ... are inconsistent with employment in a community action program." The extension of security precautions to a governmental program which could not be construed as "sensitive" relative to national security is in opposition to our League position.

During the 89th Congress, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights was instructed to make a survey on how the loyalty-security programs were being administered by various departments and agencies. The survey and hearings concerned themselves primarily with invasion of privacy through the use of psychological tests and wiretapping.

Do know of pending legislation concerning these two invasions of our privacy? What should the government be allowed to ask when an applicant seeks employment? seeks security clearance? on census forms? What infringements on our "privacy" should law enforcing officers be permitted? Wiretapping? Checking premises for evidence? Suspect questioning? Are we promoting a rising crime rate by restricting our law enforcement officials? Is that preferable to a loss of individual rights? Do you know that an Automated Data Processing center is contemplated in Washington, D.C., to correlate all information that any government Agency (except criminal) has about YOU? Could this have ramifications regarding your right to privacy? Does greater governmental efficiency justify possible invasion?

* LET'S POOL OUR INFORMATION AND OPINIONS AT OUR FIRST UNIT DISCUSSION MEETINGS OF THE YEAR *

* LOOK ON THE FIRST PAGE FOR THE ONE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD *

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