Federal Police Activity

January 12, 1954

Report Outline
Proposed Extensions of Federal Police Powers
Present Scope of Federal Police Activity
Traditional Attitude Toward Law Enforcers
Internal Security and Rights of the Citizen
Special Focus

Proposed Extensions of Federal Police Powers

Call for New Aids to Detection and Prosecution

President Eisenhower gave notice in his State of the Union message, Jan. 7, that the Attorney General would shortly submit recommendations to committees of Congress for “needed additional legal weapons with which to combat subversion in our country and to deal with the question of claimed immunity.” No details were given in that message but at White House consultations, Dec. 17–19, on a legislative program for the 1954 session. Attorney General Brownell made two principal recommendations.

The Attorney General called for (1) a new law to legalize use in federal courts of evidence obtained by wiretapping in eases involving espionage, sedition, sabotage, treason, and certain other criminal offenses, including gambling and racketeering, and (2) a new law to give the government power to grant immunity from prosecution in certain criminal cases and then to compel testimony from witnesses who might otherwise invoke protection of the Fifth Amendment against possible self-incrimination.

The Department of Justice maintains that prompt enactment of the wiretap and immunity measures is necessary to enable it to prosecute old cases on which it has wiretap evidence before expiration of statutory periods of limitation and to gain information which would facilitate apprehension and conviction of both old and new offenders. Neither proposal is new; when advanced in the past both have been opposed as setting aside constitutional guarantees or traditional rights of citizens for the convenience of the government.

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Jan. 12, 1954  Federal Police Activity
Apr. 01, 1932  Proposed Expansions of Federal Police Activity
Crime and Law Enforcement