Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hoover Wanted to Arrest 12,000

The International Herald Tribune reports on a newly released document showing that FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover hatched a plan in 1950 at the outbreak of the Korean War to suspend Habeas Corpus and lock up 12,000 people he considered "disloyal."

Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.

Hoover wanted President Harry Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to "protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage." The FBI would "apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous" to national security, Hoover's proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under "a master warrant attached to a list of names" provided by the bureau.

The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. "The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven percent are citizens of the United States," he wrote. "In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus."

In September 1950, Congress passed and Truman signed a law authorizing the detention of "dangerous radicals" if the president declared a national emergency. But no known evidence suggests any president approved Hoover's proposal.

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