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  » Chapter 8
  » Appendix I
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  » Appendix IV
  » Appendix V
  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
  » Appendix VIII
  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
  » Appendix XII
  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 462« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VIII - The Protection of the President)

or whose past conduct indicates tendencies toward violence, and (d) whose prior acts or statements depict propensity for violence and hatred against organized government.239

Alan II. Belmont, Assistant to the Director of the FBI, testified that this revision was initiated by the FBI itself.240 The volume of references to the Secret Service has increased substantially since the new instructions went into effect; more than 5,000 names were referred to the Secret Service in the first 4 months of 1964.241 According to Chief Rowley, by mid-June 1964, the Secret Service had received from the FBI some 9,000 reports on members of the Communist Party.242 The FBI now transmits information on all defectors, 243 a category which would, of course, have included Oswald.

Both Director Hoover and Belmont expressed to the Commission the great concern of the FBI, which is shared by the Secret Service, that referrals to the Secret Service under the new criteria might, if not properly handled, result in some degree of interference with the personal liberty of those involved.244 They emphasized the necessity that the information now being furnished be handled with judgment and care. The Commission shares this concern. The problem is aggravated by the necessity that the Service obtain the assistance of local law enforcement officials in evaluating the information which it receives and in taking preventive steps.

In June 1964, the Secret Service sent to a number of Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies guidelines for an experimental program to develop more detailed criteria. 245 The suggestions of Federal agencies for revision of these guidelines were solicited. The new tentative criteria are useful in making clear that the interest of the Secret Service goes beyond information on individuals or groups threatening to cause harm or embarrassment to the President.246 Information is requested also concerning individuals or groups who have demonstrated an interest in the President or "other high government officials in the nature of a complaint coupled with an expressed or implied determination to use a means, other than legal or peaceful, to satisfy any grievance, real or imagined. 247 Under these criteria, whether the case should be referred to the Secret Service depends on the existence of a previous history of mental instability, propensity toward violent action, or some similar characteristic, coupled with some evaluation of the capability of the individual or group to further the intention to satisfy a grievance by unlawful means.248

While these tentative criteria are a step in the right direction, they seem unduly restrictive in continuing to require some manifestation of animus against a Government official. It is questionable whether such criteria would have resulted in the referral of Oswald to the Secret Service. Chief Rowley believed that they would, because of Oswald's demonstrated hostility toward the Secretary of the Navy in his letter of January 30, 1962.249

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