WASHINGTON (Jul. 7)
State Department officials told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that it played no role in deciding to wiretap the Jewish Defense League on the basis of what the Justice Department in its brief on the case, called foreign policy considerations. The officials said that although “the Jewish Defense League constitutes a danger to our pursuit of our foreign policy objectives” the Department did not recommend wiretapping the group. In its brief, the Justice Department said that the surveillance “was deemed necessary to protect the nation and its citizens against the hostile acts of a foreign power and to obtain information against foreign intelligence activities deemed essential to the security of the United States.” A Justice Department spokesman refused to explain why the language was used but said that the Department had consulted “with all the relevant agencies.” State Department officials said that it was possible that the White House and the Attorney General negotiated the authorization for the wiretap without State Department advice. This was characterized as an “unusual but possible” procedure.