The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 11, 1976 · Page 14
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 14

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 11, 1976
Page 14
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Tom Wicker Palm Beach Post-Times i The Spooks and Joe Zilch Cecil B. Kelley, Jr. General Manager Daniel J. Mahoney, Jr. Publisher Thomas A. Kelly Editor Samuel J. Pepper Managing Editor Clarke B. Ash, Associate Editor SATURDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 11, 1976 Jury Doubletalfc the wiretapping incident. The report said: "No legal proceedings resulted from the (telephone) interceptions, although they may have had the investigations been conducted legally." What the grand jurors did in the illegal wiretapping incident was invoke the principle that the White House Plumbers tried to employ, i.e., anything goes as long as it is well-intended. Other police departments in the county are on notice that they can ignore the law as long as they mean well, or as the grand jury put it, have no "criminal NEW YORK The shadowy powers of the so-called "intelligence community" are attempting to run their first big bluff on President-elect Carter. If he's a government manager half as tough as he's billed himself, he'll crack down on them instead. "Senior intelligence officials" let it be known to the New York Times that their efforts to protect the national security through counterintelligence wiretapping were being thwarted by Attorney General Edward Levi's refusal to authorize the taps. This scare story is clearly aimed at persuading the Carter administration to relax the stiff standards by which Levi properly judges such wiretap requests. Actually, the account of their problems that these senior spooks gave to Nicholas M. Horrock of the Times doesn't even bear out their own contentions. No actual examples of damage were cited, for one thing; only the hypothetical case of Joe Zilch. ' "We believe," said the spooks, "that Ivan Ivanov, a Soviet intelligence officer, has compromised Joe Zilch, an American or resident alien with entree to national security data, and that person (Zilch) is meeting with the Russian and supplying him information." When the FBI sought to wiretap Zilch, Levi refused. Of course he did. In that hypothetical case, counterintelligence has already done its job, since it is known that Zilch is committing a crime supplying national security information to a Russian intelligence officer. If a further wiretap is needed to help catch Zilch, authority to tap him could be sought from a federal judge under existing legislation. But, the spooks objected, they couldn't do that because the law would require them to identify their sources of information. That sim teria that must be met before he will authorize an intelligence tap which is what the big spooks are complaining about and hoping Carter will change. He has no reason whatever for doing so. Why should intelligence officers be routinely permitted to wiretap American citizens without a strong showing to a responsible official of real danger to national security? Where is the evidence save for the likes of Joe Zilch that such a dangerous procedure is really necessary for the spooks to do their job? Carter and his new attorney general ought, in fact, to pick up where Levi will leave off, with a bill to require that intelligence taps be authorized only by federal judges after a showing of evidence that such taps are needed. All other forms of wiretapping must be so authorized. Levi's bill did not reach the floor of the Senate last year, and it was argued in this space and elsewhere that it was deficient in many respects. It provided a start in the right direction, however, and a basis for effective legislation. Its leading Democratic sponsor was Edward M. Kennedy. Walter Mondale, who advocated such legislation while criticizing Levi's bill specifically, is now vice president-elect. The Carter administration is therefore in good position to bring intelligence tapping under firm control in the federal courts. Such legislation might well be part of a whole package of civil liberties legislation for which Congress appears ready at last strict charters for the FBI and the CIA, for instance, and bills dealing with classification abuses, privacy, access to the courts, and the like. That prospect probably evoked the attack on Levi's wiretapping criteria; when they're in trouble, the spooks always bring out the scare stories. ply isn't so; federal judges can and do issue warrants for wiretaps on a showing of "probable cause" that a crime is about to be committed, requiring only that the applicant for the warrant certify its informants as reliable. Not only is the whole spooky charge against Levi cast in these dubious hypothetical terms; the General Accounting Office also reported to Congress last February that it had been refused permission by the FBI to examine and evaluate the results of FBI intelligence investigations presumably including wiretaps. The fact is that no one really knows whether or not these taps are an effective means of intelligence and counter-intelligence. For all too many years, moreover, they were routinely permitted by attorneys general who scarcely took the time to read the justification advanced by the CIA and the FBI. Just last month, in a speech in Los Angeles, Levi told how an FBI agent appeared in his office on his first day as attorney general, and handed him a request for an intelligence wiretap. The agent was surprised when Levi did not approve it immediately but instead retained the application for study. He has since established strict cri In a remarkable demonstration of doubletalk, the Palm Beach County Grand Jury declared that a case of illegal wiretapping by the Town of Palm Beach Police Department was both "deplorable" and "well motivated." The grand jury failed to indict or even identify the officers responsible. Similarly, the grand jury glossed over a blatant attempt to cover up the possession of a slot machine by the Palm Beach lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. After learning that police department officers were involved in tossing the slot machine into Lake Worth to avoid "possible criminal sanctions," the grand jurors merely clucked their tongues and indicted the FOP lodge for a misdemeanor. No names, no pinpointing of responsibility. This was the same police department that discovered a group of schoolteachers amusing themselves with a slot machine at a private party last May and made 17 arrests. The arrested school teachers were not favored with the anonymity which the grand jury bestowed on the offending officers. Furthermore, if we interpret correctly the grand jury's cryptic statement, the officers blew the case against the suspect in We aren't suggesting the grand jury should have publicized the details of the investigation or the identity of the innocent parties, some of whom agreed to the taps. We do suggest that the wiretap and slot machine incidents were grossly unprofessional. They deserved more than the wink and nod they got from the grand jury and its adviser, State Atty. David Bludworth. Palm Beach Police Chief Joseph Gaffney was wrong when he said this was an internal matter and therefore, in effect, none of the public's business. The Town Council ought to insist on knowing how all this happened and what is being done to correct it. OOHNlVl Sikes Case, Part 2 ' to 1 1 Htm mmmmmmmm'mmmmmmmmsmmma w- n pi i ' j w in f ill j uniti i 4 ''' ' ' y " 7yy' ',' ?' , , ' w 7 mmP&m 1 the subcommittee chairmanship. "The principle in the Sikes matter is that a chairman who has been reprimanded by his colleagues is on his face unfit to serve," says Common Cause President David Cohen. Rep. Sikes ought to have the grace to leave the post without a contest, but his failure to do so isn't surprising in view of the nature of the matters which resulted in his reprimand. He failed to disclose his financial interest in a bank which he used his position to establish at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Also, he failed to disclose an interest in Fair-child Industries, a major defense contractor in his district, in violation of House rules. For the Democratic caucus to permit Rep. Sikes to continue in his immensely powerful post after such clearly improper conduct would be proof positive that cronyism still reigns supreme in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives didn't do much last summer when it voted, 381-3, to reprimand Rep. Robert L. F. Sikes for blatant conflicts of interest. The reprimand carried no penalty, and Rep. Sikes was re-elected over token opposition in his Northwest Florida district. But the time is fast approaching when the House Democratic caucus must decide whether it really intends to enforce a higher standard of ethical conduct among its members. Rep. Sikes is seeking re-election by the caucus as chairman of the important military construction subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee when the House reconvenes in January. Common Cause, the citizens' lobby which successfully pressed for action against Rep. Sikes earlier this year despite studied indifference on the part of the House leadership, has announced it will oppose him on retaining 1 armit , "'AW, y't, , ' cj) 1976 m SPECIAL FEATURES ifHTfr- -or- w-v W W--: &W -Letters to the Editor- Bible Shouldn't Be Banned Economic Appointments credits and the like, businesses are postponing plans that might otherwise stimulate the Atlantic. The writer claims that it can be done. Whether it would be profitable to do it is questionable. It sank in 12,000 feet of water, which was quite cold. It would be much easier to raise the Andrea Doria, which sank in only 125 feet of water and where the water is not so cold. This can be accomplished by attaching rubber bags inside and out to the ship by divers and also with cables and winches. It would be much less costly to experiment on this ship, if someone would pay the cost. It depends on the "treasure" contained on the ship. As to the rubber bags, after attaching they would be pumped full of air. The idea of compressed air is that it is used to keep out the water, as was done in tunnelling under water as in jobs such as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Can it be done? The idea seems feasible. Silas Levey Lake Worth Jimmy Carter isn't president yet but he could act now to relieve the growing anxiety over the future course of the economy. The chairman of a large financial institution was on the right track when he urged recently, in a letter to the New York Times, that Mr. Carter immediately announce the appointment of people to key economic posts in his administration who were sympathetic to the problems of industry. Most business people can cope with virtually anything but uncertainty. Because they do not know what Mr. Carter's policy will be regarding wage and price controls, taxes, investment I must protest your editorial, "The First Amendment." You seem all in favor of freedom, any kind, of the press, but are against the rest of this first article in the Bill of Rights. You have misinterpreted. Studying the Bible in school is certainly not "establishing a religion" and any law against it would be "prohibiting the free exercise thereof," if the Bible can be called a religion. Our founding fathers had no inclination that the Bible would ever be banned any place. It was the book that was taught in the schools at that time, before and after the Bill of Rights was written. Each session of Congress was opened with a prayer; there was no intention to ban this either. The Bible was always in the hall of Congress and used continually when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written. In 1779 Congress even met for a time in a "church." In 1939 a Gallup poll revealed that the people of America rated the Bible as "the most interesting" book they had ever read. The Bible is the only book (I believe) that was recommended by the Congress of the United States. "Resolved, that the United States in Congress assembled; recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner in which he shall think prop-er. This is the book which you wish to deprive our children of. Jack C. McKay Lantana Editor's Note: The editorial in question did not oppose any use of the Bible in public schools, but rather the use of it or any other material in a religious program which students are required to attend. Mr. Carter certainly owes very little to big business in the selection of his top aides. In picking his treasury secretary and economic advisers he will look for people who can see beyond the narrow interests of big business and to the needs of the total economy. But whatever his plans in that respect, he ought to make them known quickly. Even if his appointees are not especially pleasing to the business community, the mere selection of them will clear the air. Failu re stead you try to blame it on the schools, which are already bending over backwards to help the minorities. As usual you treat your readers as if they cannot see what is in front of their eyes as long as you tell them what they are supposed to be seeing. Keith Fox West Palm Beach Pigeon Thieves What punishment is there for pigeon thieves? A few weeks ago they came at night and stole about eight, now they came again and took the balance of them, 18, and left two disabled ones. We would have shared them with the thieves had they asked, but no, they had to sneak and rob us of one of the few pleasures we have. Maybe one day, someone will come and play the same trick on them, that they played on us. I hope so. Rose Klosz Lake Worth Taxes I should like to compliment you on your excellent and thought provoking editorial "Giving to Ma Bell". It did start out rather theatrical but it contains some very thoughtful and worthwhile considerations. We tend to hear so much today from politicians who are supposedly deeply concerned over our high cost of utility service and who never seem to run out of schemes to help the poor, the aged, the working man, etc., to lower and hold down the costs of utilities who are exploiting us poor people. These so-called defenders of humanity are the same phoney bunch who have passed law after law and ordinance after ordinance to tax these utilities to the hilt. These utilities are the largest taxpayers to the government. Every dollar of these taxes is added to the bills for service paid by all the users of these services, and today over one-third of all utilities bills are direct taxes paid by the user. It's time to realize that if these politicians really have to help us, as they claim, that they remove the taxes they have on these utility bills and on us. After all, the only money a utility company has or gets comes from the charges it makes to us for its service. John D. Weber I lobe Sound Letters must bear the full name and address of writer, be no longer than 200 words and be written legibly. All letters are subject to condensation. A letter will not be considered for publication If the writer has had a letter published within the previous 30 days. In your articles on education you keep saying that "minority groups" are receiving a poorer education than whites, that there is a vast discrepancy in the quality of education being given to blacks and whites. You talk as if blacks and whites are sitting in different schools using different books and listening to different teachers, when they are actually all receiving the same education. Why don't you admit that the black students have failed and that they have not responded to their educational opportunities? In- In Brief . . . ill i' Ma Bell's request to charge for information calls in excess of three per month may not be so costly after all - at least not as long as it remains so difficult to get an information operator. One West Palm Beach caller recently had to dial the long-distance information number (1-555-1212) in order to get a local number not in the directory, after several futile attempts to get an answer on "411." tained, vacant commercial buildings become a threat to public safety and to the value of adjacent property. Wiring becomes exposed, shutters loosen, trash attracts rodents, and so on. In order to keep abandoned stores from turning parts of West Palm Beach into commercial slums the Downtown Business and Professional Association is pushing for "exit inspections" by city health, fire and zoning officials. The City Commission ought to require such inspections as a matter of course. What Proof? In your Nov. 17 issue you published a letter by Murray April. He attributes the Rev. Clen-non King's appearance at Jimmy Carter's Plains church as a political ploy inspired by the Ford campaign committee. What proof has he that this is true? Might it not have been an opportunity for the Rev. King to get a little publicity for himself? And secondly, let us wait and see how Carter carries out all of his promises to us, before we give a 21-gun salute. Edward Shober West Palm Beach Raising a Ship I have just read with interest your article by a writer that suggests the raising of the Titanic that hit an iceberg on the first crossing of You probably promised yourself, as we did, to send a check to the Empty Stocking Fund a couple of weeks ago, but you haven't gotten around to it. Well, with Christmas barely two weeks off, the time is now. The address is The Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 789, West Palm Beach, Fla., 33402. Those election signs along Military Trail between West Palm Beach and Lalfe Worth escaped the recent clean- up campaigns for an obvious reason: They are so close to the tops of the utility poles that they must have bef?n posted by sky hooks. If the utility companies have to use special equipment to remove these eyesores, they ought to bill the candidates for the extra expense. 'Shoot, Billy-Boyl Forget about not being elected mayor of Plains. How about making me your press secretary anyway?' Unless they are properly main- t - ,

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