National Affairs: THE HANDOUT

Throughout its eight weeks of hearings and deliberations on the case of Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Atomic Energy Commission's security board tried to hold a tight cloak of secrecy around its proceedings. The board's purpose, to conduct an orderly hearing with no taint of Mc-Carthyism, was laudable. But there was an unfortunate result: a widely distorted public picture of the case.

From the first, the reporting on the Oppenheimer case suffered seriously from a basic shortcoming of Washington newsgathering: dependence on the handout. Naturally, the security board had no pressagent to predigest the news. On the other hand, Oppenheimer's attorneys were...

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