Civil Liberties: Locking Away The Files

Locking Away The Files

From 1948 until 1976, the FBI conducted a campaign of break-ins and infiltration against the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance, two Trotskyite organizations. Two years ago, a federal judge castigated the bureau for violating the constitutional rights of both groups by illegally assembling nearly 10 million files on their members. Last week, in the final act of a 15-year legal battle, the Justice Department dropped its appeal of a 1987 court order that barred the Government from using the information in those surveillance reports.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management and other agencies had contended that not utilizing...

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