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Supreme Court Informers

The most recent (#39) issue of Covert Action Information Bulletin contains an interesting article by Alexander Charns titled "FBI Involvement in the Supreme Court." Mr. Charns is a lawyer who has written a book concerning the FBI and the American judiciary. In this article Charns notes that in the recent Thomas confirmation hearings the FBI apparently missed the allegations by Anita Hill of sexual harassment when they investigated Thomas. Charns notes the conflict of interest in having one executive branch agency charged with conducting "impartial" investigations for the senate when the president is their client:

In response to Freedom of Information Act requests by Charns, the FBI produced nearly 4,000 pages of documents on the Supreme Court and federal judiciary. They reveal that the FBI has used Supreme Court employees and Justice Fred Black as informants. The FBI also kept close tabs on those justices and judges perceived as being liberal, this included wiretaps and mail interceptions.

Apparently the separation between branches of the government is not too strong as Charns received "confidential" memos from J. Edgar Hoover's files which show that Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas was involved in leaking and discussing confidential court conferences involving pending cases (namely warrantless FBI wiretaps) with President Johnson and the FBI. Later in Senate testimony Fortas denied the conversations took place.

The FBI also tried to influence the judicial nomination process by composing a list of "outstanding" judges, selected for their pro-FBI and pro-law enforcement and anti communist views and rulings. Some of these included federal judges acting as FBl informants. In other cases federal judges wrote to the FBI to request that information be made available to them so they could rule on pending cases. Charns notes that during the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (accused of giving atomic secrets to the USSR) that the Clerk, Marshall and Captain of the Supreme Court were all FBI informants. The Rosenbergs were executed.

The article is heavily footnoted and has a lot of interesting information. This issue of "CAIB" also has articles on Western Intervention in the USSR, on the BCCI, and CIA and government intervention all around the world. It is an excellent publication that is published quarterly for $17.00 a year. Write: CAIB, 1500 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., R, 732, Washington DC 20005.

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