Jewish Congress Testifies at Congressional Hearing on Security Program

The American Jewish Congress today urged the House Civil Service Committee to oppose efforts to create a permanent statutory Federal employees security program, the principal recommendation of the Commission on Government Security. The AJC position was advanced in testimony before the House Committee by Will Maslow, general counsel of the organization. The Commission on Government Security was established by the U. S. Congress to investigate the nation’s security program.

“Despite the expenditure of some $730,000 during a two-year period, “Mr. Maslow charged, “The Commission on Government Security has failed to carry out the directive of Congress to study the ‘actual manner’ in which the various statutes and executive orders are being administered. Instead, the Commission — without holding public hearings or reporting on the actual administration of the security program — now proposes a permanent statutory program that will freeze existing evils, facilitate new abuses and saddle us permanently with a vast, expensive and wasteful apparatus, “he said.

“Although the Commission has suggested a few procedural improvements, its chief proposals would be a tragic backward step, “Mr. Maslow stated. “It would expand the present operation of the program, now applicable to sensitive positions only, to cover every single position in the Federal establishment; it would for the first time include employees of the legislative and judicial branches; it would give statutory sanction to the Attorney General’s list of subversive organizations; it would legalize wiretapping; punish newspapermen for disclosing classified material; restrict the use of the parole provision under which 30,000 Hungarian refugees were admitted to this country; and allow the Attorney General to imprison indefinitely any alien ordered deported if the Attorney General believed it necessary to protect national security.”

Emphasizing that the American Jewish Congress “opposes the establishment of new, permanent, gigantic programs affecting every civilian employee, “Mr. Maslow said: “The Commission has itself pointed out that by now, every Federal civil service employee has been investigated. Yet the Commission would establish a gigantic apparatus to investigate new employees added each month to the Federal payroll, although 80% of these positions, according to the Commission itself, are not sensitive, Moreover, the Civil Service Commission already employs 1,000 persons to carry out such investigations. The Commission on Government Security has failed to demonstrate that there is any real risk to our security arising from these new employees that cannot adequately be handled by our existing laws that forbid the employment of Communists and punish sabotage and espionage.”

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