J. Edgar Hoover had plan for mass arrests
Report: Hoover had plan for mass arrests
Sat Dec 22, 3:02 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a
plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention
and arrest up to 12,000 Americans he suspected of
being disloyal, according to a newly declassified
Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7,
1950, less than two weeks after the Korean War began.
But there is no evidence to suggest that President
Truman or any subsequent president approved any part
of Hoover's proposal to house suspect Americans in
military and federal prisons.
Hoover had wanted Truman to declare the mass arrests
necessary to "protect the country against treason,
espionage and sabotage," The New York Times reported
Saturday in a story posted on its Web site.
The plan called for the FBI to apprehend all
potentially dangerous individuals whose names were on
a list 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," Hoover
wrote in the now-declassified document. "In order to
make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation
suspends the writ of habeas corpus."
Habeas corpus is the right to seek relief from illegal
detention, and is a bedrock legal principle.
All apprehended individuals eventually would have had
the right to a hearing under Hoover's plan, but
hearing boards comprised of one judge and two citizens
would not have been bound by the rules of evidence.
The details of Hoover's plan was among a collection of
Cold War-era documents related to intelligence issues
from 1950-1955. The State Department declassified the
documents on Friday.