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Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan • Page 4
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Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan • Page 4

Battle Creek, Michigan
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Opinion and commentary BATTLE CREFK. MICHIGAN Wiretapping: two differing views A-4 Seventy-third Year May 23, 1973 "Let Us Be Thankful for What We Have; Not Regretful for What We Haven't" George The same feeling fostered The case for 'clean taps and bonded eavesdroppers both wiretaps and Watergate ENQUIRER and NEWS Givan by tha Enquire? and Ntws lor Significant Community Sarvica Tom Wicker The Enquirer's view Jo Lost idea, lost hope It may have been "legal" at the time it was started, but it was a dirty and indefensible busiess, nevertheless, for President Nixon and Henry Kissinger to eavesdrop and spy on Kissinger's associates on the National Security Council staff. At that, it was so dubiously "legal" that the Supreme Court, with Nixon appointees Burger, Blackmun, Rehnquistand Powell sitting, has since struck down the claim of the Nixon administration to have the unchecked right to tap and bug anyone or any group it suspected of threatening whatever it considered to be the national security. That the court did so (in 1972. in U.S.

vs. U.S. District Court) raises particularly distasteful questions about the tapping of Helmut Sonnenfeldt. one of Kissinger's most trusted associates and one of the most respected men in Washington through several administrations. The Sonnenfeldt tap was not authorized by any federal court.

But when the Supreme Court ruled out tapping without a court order in cases of suspected domestic threats to national security, the only unauthorized taping thereafter permitted to the executive branch was in cases where there was a suspected foreign intelligence link. Therefore, either it was suspected that Sonnenfeldt was not just leaking to the press but informing foreign powers, or else the tap on his phone was illegal and an evasion of the Supreme Court ruling. Either way, it was obscene. There is no acceptable explanation even of the beginnings of this sordid White House practice of spying on its own employes and on reputable news reporters (which is not being denied but defended, except that Kissinger has denied ordering any wiretaps). Amply confirmed reports say that when news stories told of the bombing of Cambodia in 1969, a concentrated White House effort was begun to stop such with the full knowledge of the President and Kissinger.

The implications of that take awhile to sink in. In the first place, it suggests that at such high levels it was believed possible to keep secret something as important and as visible and as dangerous as the lethal bombing of a country with which this na- The acting director of the FBI. William Kuckelshaus, stepped forward to announce that a dozen or so telephones belonging to reporters and White House employes had been tapped beginning in 1969. We are up against a paradox. No one who has deplored the techniques used by the White House to detect misconduct has suggested what techniques should have been used.

On the one hand President Nixon was negligent in overseeing his staff they say; on the other hand Nixon's White House was given to inexcusable interference in the privacy of the staff they say. What should Nixon have done under the concrete circumtances? The concrete circumstances remember? were that the White House had, starting in 1969, begun to leak like a sieve. The National Security Council meeeting at which Henry Kissinger relayed the general inclinations of the President, publicized intimate administration commitments, compulsions, and velleities (inclinations), all of them transcribed and published, with idiomatic fidelity, in the columns of Jack Anderson. For his pains, Anderson received great notoriety; American relations with India were set back for an un-specif table period; and Anderson received a Pulitzer Prize. I should think it normal, under such circumstances, for the President to call in the head of the FBI, and a few security specialists, in order to say to them: "Find the man." It is the plot of a Solzhenitsyn novel that Stalin once expressed such a command to his own security people instructing them to develop a technology for identifying a voice print, so that a conversation overheard on a public telephone could be tracked back to the speaker, wherever, whoever, he was.

Unlike Stalin, the President of the United States is expected to observe certain restraints. What restraints? And whatlicense has he? The telephone tap appears to have emerged, in the past two decades, as the democratic instrument in a technological age for fighting back. What do the critics of these taps mean to say, exactly? Suppose that there were 10 people at the secret The idea of merging school districts in cities and suburbs to produce metropolitanwide desegregation was dealt a probably fatal blow this week by the U.S. Supreme Court in its split decision on a district court-ordered consolidation plan in the Richmond, area. The 4-4 decision upheld an appellate court ruling that lower federal courts have no authority to order the redrawing of school district lines to bring about desegra-tion unless it can be demonstrated' that present boundaries were drawn with the intent of segregating an area's schools.

On the plus side, the decision should defuse the explosive busing issue. Once the tie-breaking vote of Justice Lewis Powell is added he disqualified himself from the Richmond case because he is a former member of the city school board there it seems likely that other metropolitan busing plans will be thrown out by the high court. This should doom unwise proposals to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit school busing for purposes of integration. And it will make life a lot easier for politi A fair get-together tion was not at war.

In the second place, it was thought at the same levels proper to keep such a vital matter secret, although its possible ramifications a much wider and more costly conflict, for example are obvious. Nothing could more certainly demonstrate the imperial mentality which had come to dominate and not just in this administration what was supposed to be an office responsible to the American people. So it was decided against common decency to eavesdrop on reporters doing their jobs and on men who thought themselves trusted associates. A few points about that ought to be noted: Those eavesdropped upon could have been anvone who for whatever frivolous reason might have been suspected; no high official had to produce probable cause in court or justify his suspicion in any way. White House apologists are quoted as saying that while no disloyalty to the country was discovered, some of those tapped were found to be "disloyal" to Henry Kissinger.

Will they please i ame the statutes that give authorization for wiretapping to determine if any employe is disloyal to Henry Kissinger? White House apologists also say that some of these taps were intended primarily to clear men like Sonnenfeldt of suspicion. But if done with his knowledge, such a tap could have proved nothing; and if without his knowledge, it was still a rank invasion of his privacy (possibly touching upon all his family and personal relations), branding him as an object of suspicion. There were said to be 17 separate "installations" of these wiretaps. That may sound like a small matter; but if only one conversation was overheard via each instllation, already 34 individuals were necessairly eavesdropped upon more if one conversation happened to be a conference call, which is common enough in government. If only five conversations a day were intercepted by each of the 17 installations, a possible 170 people could have been overheard (assuming different callers each time); and, at that rate, if each tap lasted only 30 days, the possible total would be 5.100 people overheard.

Cut that figure in half to allow for repeat callers, and 2.550 people most of them totally innocent of anything conceivably threatening to national security, but possibly discussing the most intimate or private matters would have been overheard. In all probability, the total was much higher; and whatever logs of these conversations may ultimately be produced in court or in the Senate hearings, it is a certainty that their duplicates still will reside in some dank file or in the whirling innards of some bureaucrat's computer. This dirty business tells much perhaps more than any witness so far about how the chain of "Watergate" events could have happened. In the atmosphere of arrogance and suspicion so plainly suggested by the wiretap story, burglary and forgery and perjury "in the national interest" could flourish like malodorous weeds. (C) New York Times now," he said a few days ago.

"I run two miles every day, I'm relaxed and my health is good." The school busing issue which plagued him all during the 1972 campaign still bugs him, however. But he concedes that Griffin was shrewd enough to stake out a clearcut position first on that question. That left Kelley in an awkward role of urging an antibusing court decision in the Detroit case at the risk of alienating the voter support he needed among black Democrats and pro-busing whites. William Buckleyjr. White House meeting on Bangladesh.

Suppose that each of them had three assistants back in his office, and each assistant had a clerical aide. Suppose that it were deduced that necessarily one of those 50 people had leaked the secret minutes. Would a court-on presentation of that deduction authorize the tapping of 50 telephones? Or would the court say that 50 suspects were simply too many? How does a security office began to maneuver in such circumstances? The hideousness of the wire tap a base resource, but useful, even indispensable, like the enema lies in the conversations it picks up which are irrelevant to the licensed concerns of the eavesdropper. How to focus only on the ma-f ioso's designs on City Hall without passing along serendipitous reports on his romantic life or details of his tax strategy. Here are practical problems, not to be dismissed by categorical condemnations of wiretaps like categorical condemnations of napalm.

What is needed is an equivalent of the bonded eavesdropper the man who picks up the tape authorized by the attorney general and the courts without knowing whose voice he is listening to. His instructions should be to abstract from the tape only such information as relates to whatever it is that the Justice Department has been authorized to look into in the case of the Bangladesh leak, the passing along of secret information. One might call what I have in mind a "clean tap." Only by such protections can a government simultaneously look after the requirements of order and acknowledge the presumptive rights of individuals whose privacy is being rudely interrupted. On this subject it would be good to have the views of such absolutists as Tom Wicker. (C) Washington Star Syndicate after defeat, Thomas M.

Kavanagh and Associate Justice Thomas E. Brennan, both of them powerful name candidates and demonstrated vote getters on the nonpartisan ballot. Kavanagh at 63 and Brennan at 43 are both age-eligible for reelection next year, but niether has yet announced what he intends to do. Kelley isn't uncomfortable in his present post, which he has held twice as long as any of his predecessors in the attorney general's office. Moreover, from a purely partisan standpoint, he regards hanging on to the attorney general's office as desirable a prize for Democrats as electing a governor a view not universally shared either in his own party or among Republicans.

While the novelty of his job is long gone, he gives the impression he could easily be persauded to ask for another four-year term in that spot. Private practice, with the prospect of making more than his current state salary of $35,000, is also appealing, but Kelley has some reservations about going in that direction. It disturbs him to think that prospective clients in trouble with state agencies might expect a former attorney' general and chief state. law enforcer to plead for special favors in their behalf. So, Kelley is biding his time for a while, talking to long-time party associates and others on whom he has relied for political support and counsel during his years in Lansing, but in no rush to decide.

In casual conversation, it's noticeable that the sting of last fall's shattering defeat in his battle with U.S. Sen. Robert P. Griffin is now easing, although by no means forgotten. For a few weeks after the November election, Kelley like others who have fought long and hard but lost endured the torture of sleepless nights, reliving an ex 'GOLD! AND I CAN'T AFFORD IT Michigan Today PQy cians on both sides of the issue, none but the most unprincipled of whom enjoy encouraging or feeling the ire of citizens passionately opposed to busing.

But the decision has its negative side as well. It leaves crippled the effort to insure an equal education for all the nation's children. It would appear to leave without further hope the many black and other children forced to attend inner-city schools which often seem to grow worse, not better, year by year. It seems to us, therefore, that officials who have advocated a busing ban now have the responsibility to do more than gloat over their apparent victory in the courts. If their claim to concern about providing a quality education tor all American children is to be believed, they must now seek and obtain approval for programs designed to upgrade education in inner-city schools.

Otherwise, both public officials and private citizens who have pressed so strongly for an end to busing will be guilty of denying a great number of Americans the equality of opportunity which is the foundation of our society and system of government. that agreement on such a plan can be reached in time to permit CCAIS operation of this year's fair. At present, the issue of transfer of responsibility for the fair is complicated by the need for extensive and costly fairground improvements. And this may make necessary, a brief continuing county role in running the fair. But we remain in strong support of any measures which would relieve county commissioners of responsibility for the fair.

Details of planning, financing and operation can be handled as well by the CCAIS. And commissioners could then devote more of their time to other pressing county business. telephones not only to maintain his reputation for being totally clean of leaks to the press, bnt also to keep his enemies in the White House on the defensive, since the people who were bugging and tapping Kissinger naturally overheard Kissinger receiving his own bugging-tapping reports on rival White House giants. Nobody, obviously, could risk saying anything anytime except what was conventional and orthodox. And yet, somehow, certain people still managed to leak.

Harsh measures were justified and, indeed, taken. The papers do not know and what a to-do about it they would make if they did! that President Nixon had the FBI put taps on Mrs. Nixon. Regrettably, it was a sloppy piece of tapmanship, wires became crossed, Mrs. Nixon's phone began performing oddly.

It rang at 12:30 in the morning on one occasion, and she found herself listening to Henry Kissinger's teeth being brushed. Once she dialed Tricia's number only to find herself listening to three prominent congressmen in a Capitol Hill hideout arguing about the best place in town to get a shoeshine. One night at bedtime Mrs. Nixon complained. The President had to confess.

He had ordered her tapped. Mrs. Nixon was distraught until the President explained that he had done it only to let the police find out for themselves that she was clean and had never leaked secrets to the press. Mrs. Nixon saw that it was a deed done out of love.

This made her feel so splendid that she suggested that the President have a bottle of champagne sent up from the White House celler. The President picked up his phone and dialed the wine cellar. The surprise on his face startled Mrs. Nixon. "Dick," she cried, "What is it?" "It's Kissinger," he said.

"He is snor-uig. (C) New York Times Russell vJrlS Baker an uncertain future hausting campaign, and utilely wondering whether anything he could have done differently might have changed the outcome. Gradually he has reconciled himself to the first setback of his political career, acknowledging he had indeed faced a formidable opponent no choir and convinced himself that with McGovern at the top of the ticket it just wasn't Kelley's year to be elected to the U.S. Senate. "I'm sleeping well again, and I feel fine We are extremely pleased to note that Calhoun County officials and rural interests are finally getting together to study means whereby responsibility for the annual county fair can be assumed by the Calhoun County Agricultural and Industrial Society, a private (as opposed to governmental) group.

The apparent means of transfer to be discussed is the leasing of the fairgrounds by the CCAIS from the county. This seems a most reasonable course to follow, if the details can be worked out so as to protect county interests deriving from ownership of the land. And we share the hope of society officials Of trust and The papers have made a big fuss about the wiretapping that Henry Kissinger and the President had the FBI do on some of their top foreign-policy people. It is typical of ihe way the press is blowing things all (nit of proportion these days. The fact is there was every reason to wiretap those men.

National security was involved. Somebody had just leaked a military secret to the newspapers. Publication of; that secret that the United States was bombing Cambodia could have alerted people all over Cambodia to what was going on. Previously, somebody on the inside could not be trusted. In fact, nobody on the inside could be trusted, as we now know.

It must have been a little like the Kremlin in the late Stalin epoch. What more natural than.that Henry Kissinger should have sat down with J. Edgar Hoover and discussed thene-cessity for catching unloyal gabblers? One of Kissinger closest advisers, the papers announce with scandalous prominence, was singled out for special FBI eavesdropping attention so the police apparatus could assure itself that he was clean, that he could be trusted. It is hard to see why the papers make so much of this. In the atmosphere of distrust that suffused the White House, men were begging the FBI to tap their phones and bug their bedrooms so they could prove thjemselves clean.

At that time, if you were a Washington reporter, is not not uncommon to pick up a ringing phone and find yourself talking to some White House man so eminent that humanity scarce dared breathe his name. Typically, these conversations went something like this: "Hello. Stanley of the Times speaking." 1 "Oh. it's you. is it Stanley, you Fink! This is Preston Partridge of the National Secrets Conservation Cabal at the White House.

That's spelled P-A-R-T-R-I-D-G-E. Only rats leak!" I Followed by a noisy hanging up. Partridge was not talking to Stanley, of course, but to the bug and wiretap police. It is no secret that Kissinger himself gladly sumitted to total wiretapping and always had FBI bugs in his necktie knot, toothbrush and pa jama-pants cord. Under round-the-clock surveillance, he was able TRICE LEVEL Kelley: By WILL ARD AIRD Our Capitol Bureau Chief Rebounding from his defeat in last fall's senatorial race.

Attv. Gen. Frank J. Kelley must soon chart his course for 1974, facing a choice he doesn't seem eager to make. As they appearnow, he has four options to run for another term as attorney general, or try for the Surpeme Court, or seek the Democratic nomination for governor, or withdraw from public office and enter private law practice.

Of the four, running for governor tempts him the least. Kelley might easily have had his party's nomination for that office in 1970 just for the asking. He didn't want it then, and there's little reason to suspect he wants it now. But it remains a possibility that can't be entirely dismissed. Conceivably, the high pressure points within the party, searching for an electable candidate to oppose Gov.

Milliken, may demand that Kelley forego his personal preference as a gesture of loyalty. Only two names are heard these days when Democrats talk about a governor candidate former State Sen. Sander Levin, who lost to Milliken by 44,000 votes in 1970, and former Detroit Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh. Kelley reveals his misgivings about either of them as a likely winner when he says the party needs a new face to lead the state ticket next year.

After more than 11 years, Kelley's face doesn't fit that prescription. He says he doesn't yet have anyone else in mind. As for the Supreme Court, a sure way to get there isn'tat all clear for Kelley. Neither is he convinced he wants to try. At 48, he's hesitant about leaving the everyday excitement and challenges of his present office to retreat into the chambered isolation of a Supreme Court justice.

He suspects it might be dreadfully dull for someone who enjoys daily encounters with others on the firing line of public affairs. Aside from that, there's the question of whether he could win a place on the court next year if he does decide to go that route. The two seats to be filled in the 1974 election are now occupied by Chief Justice SSTEP CAREFULLY,.

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