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September 16, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-09-16

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Mc Sfr4it gan BaitI
Eighty-Five Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Filed away for future

reference

Tuesday, September 16, 1975

News Phone: 764-0552

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104
Accepting the challenge

THE MYTH OF post-Watergate
morality continues to disinte-
grate with the disclosure of the Ford
administration's effort to handcuff
the House Intelligence Committee by
reneging on its agreement to furnish
them intelligence information on the
1973 Mideast War.
Democratic principlies cannot sur-
vive, much less thrive, in a govern-
mental system that leaves control of
sensitive information solely to the
discretion of the executive branch.
When any of the information ne-
cessary for well-reasoned evaluation
of a leader's performance is hidden
from that leader's constituency, the
democratic process has been sub-
verted and the term democracy is
left to endure on inertia alone.
Since the end of the Second World
War and the beginning high-risk
Cold War politics, increasing qutnti-
ties of supposedly privileged infor-
mation have been withheld from the
American public. Given the present
context and stakes of international
diplomacy, the philosophy of infor-
mation control can be understood if

not condoned.
LIKE ANY political creature the
president will assert only as
much power as he can get away
with. It's clear that the elitist no-
tion that the masses should be left
in the dark because they don't know
what's good for them has taken hold,
if only mecause the people are too
awed by the aura of high office to re-
ject it.
We have as a people copped out.
The electorate had its best chance
to make a difference three years ago,
but it blew it.
There of are those - most of whom
have been legally declared legally
confused - who believe there is a
last line of defense between strained
democracy and outright autocracy:
Congress. With last week's move, Ford
spotlighted the challenge.
THE INTELLIGENCE Committee
must not hesitate to meet it and
exercise the oversight function re-
quired of it by the constitution. To
meekly defer is to betray its contuti-
ency and invite further abuse of
power by the executive.

By GARY THOMAS
IT IS NOT a government of
the people, but a govern-
ment of the paper; reams and
reams of it, floating through
the hallowed halls of the bu-
reaucracy, only to eventually
find its way to the Great In-
cinerator.
But some of it does not get
destroyed. It is a virture, as
well as a fault, of the bureau-
cracy that it keeps so much
paper around. For with two
new laws now in effect, one
can obtain information from the
government, including one's
very own personal file. Under
the provisions of the Freedom
of Information Act and the Pri-
vacy Act, the government must
turn over to an individual any
information it has gathered and
stored on him or her, and there
are stiff criminal as well as
civil penalties for nincompli-
ance.
The idea that the government
maintains a file on YOU has
become firmly imbedded in our
post - Watergate consciousness,
with the American dream be-
coming an American nightmare
permanently recorded in some
faceless computer.
I KNEW I was in that com-
puter somewhere. I had served
in Army Intelligence for three
years. I held a Top Secret se-
curity clearance and a rather
sensitive job. In addition, my
disenchantment with our adven-
ture in Vietnam led me into
antiwar work upon my release
from Uncle Sam's not-so-tender
arms. It was reasonable to as-
sume that all this information
was kept somewhere, and I be-
gan my quest to get it.
I wrote out a form letter ask-
ing for my file under the pro-
visions of the Freedom of In-
formation Act, and gave my
full name, date of birth, and so-
cial security number in order to
facilitate the search. I passed

quarters across the street from
the old Justice Department
building. Known as the "J. Ed-
gar Hoover Building", this col-
lossal monument to architectur-
al bad taste covers an entire
city block and reflects the per-
sonality of Hoover: it is an im-
pregnable fortress, built to
withstand the sieges of the
most determined unwashed
Communist - Pinko - New Left
revolutionary. This latter-day
castle even has a moat; a large
chasm between the sidewalk
and the building entrance.
There is no water in it, but it
is a moat nonetheless. The stu-
pidity of the architect is sur-
passed only by that of the
building's occupants.
M E A N WH I L E, a large
package arrived from USAIN-
TA, sent by certified mail "in
order to protect your privacy."
Rather amusing, considering
the whole file was an invasion
of my privacy in the first
place.-
Inside was mishmash of the
most asinine hearsay, unsub-
stantiated rumors, and plain
bullshit I have ever seen. There
were also some rather unnerv-
ing bits of information which
would justify a lot of paranoia.
The first documents were all
related to my background in-
vestigation for a security clear-
ance. There were police re-
cords checks of everywhere I
had lived, and interviews with
teachers and acquaintances
about my "loyalty, mental sta-
bility and maturity, honesty and
integrity, character and repu-
tation, and activity in extrem-
1st movements." The end re-
sit of the investigation was
that I obtained the intelligence
job and the security clearance.
(Some agencies are tougher in
this area than others. CIA's is
probably the toughest, with
prospective employees under-
*going a lie detector test. They

Obscenity: True and false

OAKLAND COUNTY Prosecutor
Brooks Patterson apparently does
not like "dirty" movies - that's
why he is carrying out a vendetta
against a Ferndale theatre showing
Naked Came the Stranger.
In busting the theatre's manage-
ment four times in the past two
weeks, Patterson has deliberately
twisted some of the law and conven-
iently ignored the rest of it.
While few people would argue that
Stranger is much of a movie - the
book on which it is based was orig-
inally written as a joke - the own-
ers of the Studio North Theater have
a right to book the flick, and the
public has a right to shell out money
to watch it. No matter what Brooks
Patterson thinks.
Patterson's Ahabesque crusade
against the movie and the theater
showing it seems to violate rights of
free speech and free press as safe-
guarded in the Bill of Rights.
Thankfully, a U.S. District Court
judge agrees and has signed a re-
straining order prohibiting the Oak-
land County Prosecutor's office from
seizing the film or arresting the man-
agers until a hearing on the matter
can be held.
TODAY'S STAFF:
News: Jay Levin, Pauline Lubens, Jo
Marcotty, Cheryl Pilate, Cathy
Reutter, Stephen Selbst, Jim Tobin,
Bill Turque

THEN PATTERSON first attacked
the movie, he found an Oakland
County judge who ruled The Strang-
er obscene. Then he carried out his
sorties.
Subsequently a higher court over-
ruled the county judge. But Patter-
son was not to be stopped.
Last Friday, he went to seven
judges before he found one who
would authorize him to enter the
theater and again confiscate the
movie and the projection equipment.
Patterson also swooped out of the
night on Saturday, grabbing another
print and more equipment.
The Studio North owners have
vowed to stay open, a move undoubt-
edly motivated by economics rather
than concern' over violation of their
rights-but a move that must be ap-
plauded in any case.
Hopefully, the hearing in federal
court will reaffirm those rights.
Banning Naked Came the Stranger
would be pure and simply censorship
which has no place in a free, open
society.
THAT BROOKS PATTERSON, a
man officially charged with up-
holding the law, should himself be
subverting the law is the only truly
obscene aspect of this whole thing.
Photography Staff
KEN FINK STEVE KAGAN
chief Photographer Picture Editor
PAULINE LUBENS ..........Staff Photographer
KAREN KASMAUSKI........:Staff Photographer
E. SUSANASHEINER.........Staff Photographer
STUART HOLLANDER ......taff Photographer

Former UPI reporter Gary Thomas, now an
LSA sophomore, spent the summer as an in-
vestigative journalist probing government in-
telligence activities.

during a widely publicized drug
suppression drive in MR 4
(Military Region 4). He fur-
nished marijuana to an individ-
ual who was attempting to
break a hard drug habit. He
should not be trusted with clas-
sified defense information at
any time."
THEN THERE IS NOTHING
until 1973, two years after I left
the army. At this time I wvas
working in the Washington bu-
reau of United Press Interna-
tional. It is an intriguing mem-
orandum, especially as it is the
last document in the file.
Dated April 12, 1973, the
memo is to the Security Offic-
er of the Army Reserve Rein-
forcement Control Group from
the "Military and Civilian Loy-
alty Division, US Army Person-
nel Security Group."
Paragraph 2 of the memo:
"Your attention is invited to
the information concerning sub-
ject's association with the Viet-
nam Veterans Against the War,
Philadelphia Resistance, and
National Peace Action Coali-
tion, organizations which fall
within the purview of A(rmy)
R(egulation) 604-10, Recom-
mend Limited Investigation be
initiated through the Special

Investigations Branch, US Ar-
my Intelligence Command, to
determine the extent of sub-
ject's association with these or-
ganizations and whether he is
sympathetic to their aims."
THE INFORMATION CON-
CERNING my association is
not to be found in my file copy,
however. This is the FBI in-
formation that was deleted be-
fore they sent me the file. The
most interesting thing, however,

is that there is no record of
the reply to the recommenda-
tion for an investigation, nor
any record of the investigation
itself, if indeed it was conduct-
ed. The army says they have
no record of such an investiga-
tion and they have given me
every document they have on
me.
Well, there's one consola-
tion: my FBI file will be com-
ing next month. I justtcan't wait
to see what's in that.

Editorial Page: Gordon Atcheson,I
Haskins, Debra Hurwitz, TomI
ter, Linda Kloote, Doc Kralik,
Lambert, Tom Stevens

Paul
Ket-
Ted

Arts Page: Chris Kochmanski
Photo Technician: E. Susan Sheiner

it to a friend of mine who
worked for the Pentagon's large
spy and detective force, the De-
fense Investigative Service.
DIS has a number of record-
keeping systems, but the larg-
est is the Defense Central In-
dex of Investigations (DCII).
This super - computer, located
at Fort Holabird in Baltimore,
is like a large card file. It re-
ferences all files on peopletheld
by the military. If you have a
file at the Army, Navy, Air
Force or Marines, DCII will
tell you who has it and where
it is.
SURE ENOUGH, a check of
my name turned up the fact
that the Army did indeed have
a file on me. It was held by the
Army's chief spy outfit, the
U.S. Army Intelligence Agency,
known by the unbelievable ac-
ronym of USAINTA. The help-
ful folks at DIS said they would
pass my request on to USAI-
NTA.
A week late, I received a
letter from the "Freedom of
Information Section, U.S. Army
Intelligence Agency." The let-
ter said that they did indeed
have my file and ,as provided
for in the FOI Act, they would
gladly furnish me a reproduced
copy at five cents a page. So I
forwarded a check, made out
to the Treasurer of the United
States, for $7.50.
But there was a hitch, as the
letter showed:
"You are further advised that
while processing your request
investigative records which or-
iginated with the Federal Bu-
reau of Investigation were dis-
closed- This office has no au-
thority to release these records
and referral action is being
"But . my security
clearance was revoked,
my intelligence job
taken away, and I was
sent to Saigon to paint
fences for my last hun-
dred days in the Army.
I was considered thor-
oughly despicable."
taken." It was then suggested
I write the FBI.
THE FBI'S REPLY was even
more interesting. It stated that
the bureau had "numerous ref-
erences to Gary Paul Thomas
which are identifiable with you.
In addition, there are other ref-
erences to Gary Thomas which
mqv ornmay not he identifiable

have to periodically go "on the
box" even after they are taken
onby the agency. My investi-
gation was probably as exten-
sive, but I never at any time
had to take a polygraph test.)
THEN A 1970 DOCUMENT
that shocked me: a friend of
mine had told the army about
my "anti-military and anti-
Vietnamsentiments" and stat-
ed that I had showed him a
bag "which source believed to
contain marijuana." Before
this time. I had no idea this
fellow had provided the army
with "derogatory information."
Marijuana is a subject that
makes the military shudder
with fear. The prevailing feel-
ing is that this dreaded killer
weed lowers morale, destroys
the will to fight, and generous-
ly makes an individual anti-so-
cial enough to not want to kill.
This is actually the feeling
among many senior army offic-
ers, and is used as a ration-
ale to explain the collapse of
the military in Vietnam. The
idea that many GIs were ada-
mantly opposed to our involve-
ment there in the first place is
a concept alien to our military
elite. Actually, marijuana was
the best morale builder one had
in Vietnam; without it, you
would go crazy trying to stay
sane.
THE MILITARY ESPECIAL-
LY frowns upon marijuana use
by those who hold sensitive
jobs, such as intelligence. I was
not surprised to get busted for
marijuana in those last days in
Vietnam. The file was illuminat-
ing on just how it came about.
Evidently my so - called
friend's information found its
way to the powers that be in
the intelligence hierarchy, and
a policy decision was made to
bust me. So they promised a
young heroin user named Crist-
man immunity from prosecution
if he would tell who was using
drugs. He gave a mammoth
three-page statement on every
one of us who ever lit up a joint
-and my name was at the top
of the list. He even gave the
names of those he heard had
smoked dope. It was the old
story of someone finking to
save his own neck.
So I was busted, but only re-
ceived administrative punish-
ment. But my security clear-
ance was revoked, my intelli-
gence job taken away, and I
was sent to Saigon to paint
fences for my last hundred days
in the Army. I was considered
thoroughly despicable. A letter
from my commanding officer in
Can Tho to the headquarters
commander in Saigon states:

WANT TO WRITE for your file? It's a
simple matter; all you have to do is write
to the appropriate government agency (FBI,
CIA, etc.) that you think has your file, using
the following form letter.
Your address
Your phone number
date
Mr. Clarence Kelley, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
10th and Pen~nsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20535
Dear Sir:
This is a request under the Freedom of In-
formation Act as amended (5 U.S.C. 552).
I write to r equest a copy of all files in the
Federal Bureau of Investigation indexed or
maintained under my name and all documents
returnable by a search for documents con-
taining my name. To assist you in your
search, I have indicated my social security
number and date and place of birth below my
signature.
AS YOU KNOW, the amended Act provides
that if some parts of a file are exempt from
release that "reasonably segregable" portions
be provided. I therefore request that, if you
determine that some portions of the requested
information are exempt, you provide me
immediately with a copy of the remainder of
the file. 1, of course, reserve my right to ap-
peal any such decisions,
If vou determine that some or all of the re-
quested information is exempt from release,
I would appreciate your advising me as to
which exemption(s) you believe cover the
information you are not releasing.
I am prepared to pay costs specified in your
regulations for locating the requested files
and reproducing them.
As you know ,the amended Act permits you
to reduce or waive the fees if that "is in the

Sincerely yours,
Name
Social Security
Date of Birth
Place of Birth

IAlf
AQt tif .f

Contact your reps-
Sen. Phillip Hart (Dem), Rm 253, Old Senate Bldg., Capitol
lill, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Robert Griffin (Rep), Rm 353, Old Senate Bldg., Capitol
Hill, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Rep. Marvin Esch (Rep), Rm. 412, Cannon Bldg., Capitol
Hill, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Gilbert Bursley (Rep), Senate, State Capitol Bldg.,
Lansing, Mi. 48933.
Rep. Perry Bullard (Dem), House of Representatives, State
Capitol Bldg., Lansing, Mi. 48933.

For your information
By GARY THOMAS pect to receive a reply within ten working
days.

Number

ON THE OUTSIDE of the envelope, write
"Attention: Freedom of Information Act
Unit." This will route your request to the ap-
propriate department more quickly.
The letter is only a format, of course, and
there are a couple of things you should know
before you write.
First of all, the agency can legally charge
you for search and reproduction fees. Unless
you can specifically show that the requested
information will benefit the public at large,
such as using the information to write for
public consumption as a journalist, you will be
charged fees. The reproduction costs vary
from agency to agency; the FBI charges 10
cents a page, while the Defense Department
b-ra ain basement only charges five cents
nor rnge.
Second. most agencies will give you a reply
within 10 days to request an extension of
time. The FBI, CIA, and other agencies are
so swamned with requests that they need the
extra time to get to your letter. This is nor-
mal, and there's nothing you can do about it,
so sit back, fantasize conspiratorial visions,
and wait. They'll get to you sooner or later.
THIRD, YOUR RIGHT of appeal can go all
the way to court. The threat of legal action
itself is sometimes enough to jar the informa-
tion loose. If you are denied your request,
either in part or entirety, appeal to the next
higher level of authority. For instance, -you
can appeal to the attorney general if the FBI
denies your request. Should that not work,
then get legal help - the ACLU has handled
FBI cases before - and prepare to go to
court-
Finally, don't give up. Persistence is usual-
ly the key in FOI actions. Pester the hell out
of whomever your requesting the information
from. You'll get the information you seek.
If you need further help, write the Center
for National Security Studies, 122 Maryland

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