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Copyright 1996-2014, Spybusters, LLC (140209)



James Lawrence Fly,
The FBI,
and
Wiretappings

Winter 1999 — The Historian
by Mickie Edwardson

The use of wiretaps as an investigative tool by government and law enforcement agencies has long been a controversial issue in the United States. According to Birkenstock, wiretapping has been practiced “almost as long as there have been wires to tap.”1 While proponents defend the practice as necessary for effective crime control and intelligence gathering, others associate wiretapping with such Bill of Rights violations as illegal search and seizure, self-incrimination, and denial of fair trail. One way to gain understanding of the arguments used during the 80 year debate is through the writings and testimony of James Lawrence Fly (1898-1966), who campaigned against the practice during his years as Federal Communications Commission Chairman (1939-1944) and later as a practicing attorney and a director of the American Civil Liberties Union. For 16 years Fly waged his war in congressional hearings and courts, magazines, newspapers, and network television.

Aside from providing knowledge of issues, Fly’s campaign enhances understanding of governmental processes in three ways. First, the fight over wiretapping shows how fear in national emergencies can overcome civil libertarians’ arguments and even Supreme Court verdicts to perpetuate a practice that is almost universally regarded with suspicion. Fly’s campaign occurred during two such emergencies, World War II and the Cold War. As the century ends, terrorism is causing similar fear, and lawmakers continues to introduce bills to make wiretapping easier for law enforcers. In addition, new wiretapping techniques have arisen from electronic advances such as telephone digital switching systems, cellular telephone, and encryption computer software. Whereas in Fly’s time most wiretaps were designed to uncover evidence of crime, since then emphasis has shifted, and many taps are designed for foreign surveillance in which crime is less central.2

Examining the wiretapping controversy over the period of Fly’s involvement also shows how legal constraints and social attitudes have changed; even Fly reluctantly came to acknowledge the utility of wiretapping under certain circumstances. Most debates about proposed wiretapping laws centered on four questions: Who should be authorized to approve a tap? How much suspicion justified a tap? What procedures should be followed? And what were the consequences for citizens? Another important issue was whether information from taps could be used as evidence in federal court and under what circumstances. As the nation’s interests became more complex, proponents of wiretapping spent five decades specifying conditions under which taps would be permissible. Fly’s story illustrates how government policy can evolve from a simple prohibition to a complex accommodation of competing concerns.3

Finally, Fly’s campaign illustrates the hazards officials face when they take unpopular stands. He suffered from newspaper columnists questioning his loyalty, from a federal board declaring him a hidden Communist, from congressional committees, and even difficulties with private business affairs. The punishment Fly suffered makes it easier to understand the silence of many public servants when facing controversy.

Fly’s greatest single adversary during the struggle was Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover wrote that Roosevelt as early as 1936 had given the FBI responsibility for gathering intelligence on Fascists and Communists. Fly and Hoover first clashed in September 1940, when Hoover asked the FCC to monitor all long-distance telephone calls passing through New York to or from Germany, France, Italy, and the territories occupied by German and Italian forces. Twice more that fall Hoover asked Fly to intercept and translate cables and coded material. Fly answered that he had given much thought to the requests, but “both legal and administrative difficulties are presented which involve consideration of a number of factors.”4

One legal difficulty Fly doubtless had in mind was the ban on wiretapping in Section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934. In a Washington Post op-ed article, he quoted the meat of the section which was at that time a blunt, unqualified prohibition: “No person not being entitled thereto shall receive ... any interstate...communication by wire or radio and use the same for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto.”5 Another often-violated provision, as Fly condensed it in a letter to president Roosevelt, was that “No person...shall intercept any communication and divulge [it] to any person.”6

An early effort to weaken Section 605 came in 1941 when Congressman Sam Hobbs of Alabama introduced a bill to loosen restrictions on wiretapping. Hobbs was acting at the urging of Alexander Holtzoff, special assistance to the attorney general and “close associate” of J. Edgar Hoover. Holtzoff reportedly called himself “Hobbs’s brain trust.”7 Hobbs’s bill was simple: The head of any executive department of the United States could authorize a wiretap upon suspicion that a federal felony had been committed or was about to be committed. An opponent of the bill, Congressman Thomas Eliot of Massachusetts, wrote President Roosevelt for his views. Roosevelt answered that the Hobbs bill went “entirely too far,” but because the country was facing a possible war, he favored legalizing wiretapping to halt espionage and also would accept it to catch kidnappers. Roosevelt called the use of wiretapping in law enforcement “the most delicate problem in the field of democratic statesmanship.” The New York Times reprinted his letter in full, and the Hobbs bill became associated with the Roosevelt administration.8

Like Hobbs, Attorney General Robert Jackson favored legalizing wiretapping on suspicion of all federal felonies, although he would accept its being limited to espionage, sabotage, kidnapping, extortion, and narcotics violations. After hearings on the Hobbs bill began, Congressman Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania introduced a bill to let U. S. commissioners or federal, district, or state judges authorize wiretaps for information useful in detecting or prosecuting felonies involving national defense. Both bills would make any evidence gained through wiretapping admissible in federal courts. The National Federal for Constitutional Liberties (described at the hearings as a nonprofit combination of church, civic, and labor groups) proposed that the FCC testify on the Hobbs bill to the House Judiciary Committee because the FCC was more closely related to communications than was any other agency. The committee also asked Fly to appear because he was chairman of the Defense Communications Board, and espionage, a prime defense concern, was the chief crime for which wiretapping was sought.9

Jackson testified first in executive session. Following his testimony, reporter Marquis Childs wrote that the wiretapping bill had “almost the unanimous support of the Republicans and of Conservative Southern Democrats” and was likely to pass.10 After Fly’s testimony, however, opinions began to shift; the committee asked Fly to return for a second session, and members “were greatly impressed by Fly’s detailed reasoning against the measure.”11 Joseph Rauh of the FCC legal department accompanied Fly and recalled his testimony with obvious relish. Fly began tentatively, he said, but then, “He blew that goddamn bill up to the ceiling. There wasn’t anything left of the wiretapping bill when he got done with it...We had a ball before the committee.”12

Roosevelt was on a vacation cruise in the presidential yacht accompanied by the attorney general when he was informed of Fly’s testimony. Rauh remembered meeting the next day with Fly, who had received a memo from Roosevelt asking for an immediate full report of Fly’s testimony on the president’s bill. “Perspiration was already on [Fly’s] forehead,” Rauh said; “soon I had exceeded it.”13

Rauh and Fly spent the next 24 hours preparing a response. Fly wrote that he had stayed away from policy questions and had focused on practical matters. He described the technical difficulties of wiretapping radio or telegraph circuits carrying “thousands of messages of hundreds of persons”; anyone engaging in such wiretapping would be immersed in an avalanche. Fly pointed out that both radio and telegraph companies kept records of their point-to-point messages, and getting those messages by subpoena  - with possible liberalization of the subpoena power - would be more feasible than wiretapping. The Hobbs bill, Fly noted, did not limit wiretapping to the wires of a particular crime suspect. This “dragnet method” would require so many individual taps that agents would be drained away from duties more likely to get results. Finally the bill decreased the penalty for unauthorized use of wiretaps; making wiretaps easier with lesser penalties would harm defense by making military and industry personnel reluctant to use telephones.14

Roosevelt responded that the issues Fly raised were matters for the Department of Justice rather than the FCC and that the legislation should not be hampered by “technicalities.”15 The St. Louis Post-Dispatch urged that Fly’s views be made public and that Congress pay close attention to his warning about “the dangers of breaking down such a fundamental bulwark of American democracy as the individual’s right to privacy in his home” and “the perils of attacking freedom even at the edges.”16 Holtzoff was a rare voice defending Hobbs’s bill among more than 30 hearing witnesses who almost universally opposed it.17

The federal courts already had established several precedents relevant to the bill. First was the case of Olmstead v. United States, in which by a 5-4 decision the court held that wiretapping was not a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution prohibiting unlawful search and seizure and self-incrimination. But the four dissenters were some of the Supreme Court’s most respected justices: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Louis D. Brandeis, Pierce Butler and Harlan Fiske Stone. At the House hearings, Louis F. McCabe of the National Lawyers Guild cited other precedents: Weiss v. United States, in which the Supreme Court prohibited taps of intrastate calls and United States v. Polakoff, which declared evidence unusable when one party tapped a telephone conversation and the other party was unaware of the tap. Further, in Nardone v. United States, a bootlegging case, the court disallowed evidence by wiretapping in a federal court and in a second Nardone case prohibited use even of evidence uncovered through leads gained from taps.18

Labor unions were especially worried. Their witnesses spoke of fears that management and labor might tap phones to get information on each other and that taps might lead employers to discriminate against employees for union activities. Eugene Connolly of the American Labor Party said the Federal Corrupt Practices Act had listed many political party activities as felonies; thus, under the present bill, union election activities could become felonies, and suspicion of a felony could justify wiretapping. Connolly protested that Americans had a right to know of police activity taken against them; unless they were arrested, citizens might never learn they had been tapped and could not seek redress as they could from an improper search when property was confiscated. An attorney for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) said the bill’s provision for examining “other similar messages or communications” could be interpreted to justify tampering with the mails.19

Vagueness about legal procedures bedeviled the proposed bills - as it would bedeviled wiretapping legislation for decades. Several critics pointed out the Hobbs bill’s failure to specify how much information a federal official needed before authorizing a tap. Some congressmen worried that a cabinet official could get permission to wiretap upon slight supposition. Hobbs did not want to require specific evidence before authorizing a wiretap because this would slow the process; speed in installing a tap was essential, he said. The committee also considered whether the current threat of war justified wiretapping. In May, the New York Times reported that the administration was increasing pressure on Congress to pass the Hobs bill because the Department of Justice was handicapped in getting evidence about saboteurs and spies.20

Fly’s testimony, though it was in executive session and not printed, received considerable media attention. In addition to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch articles, the New York Times ran an article on him in May and cited him again that summer. A sizable story also appeared in the Baltimore Sun. Fly’s testimony may have received special weight because Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatton Sumners was, like Fly, a Texan, and the two had worked together during Fly’s days in the thirties as Tennessee Valley Authority General Counsel.21

Only one of the two House bills on wiretapping came to a vote; the Walters bill died along the way. Hobbs rewrote his bill, adding restrictions to tapping that presumably would make it more palatable, but even so in late June the House voted against it 154 to 146. Fly and Hoover entered into more than a decade of disputes that resulted in Fly’s having an extensive FBI file containing accusations that he had handicapped the Bureau’s defense effort. The file contains repeated mentions of Fly’s opposition to the Hobbs bill, his refusal to intercept commercial messages for the FBI, and his efforts to keep radio operators’ fingerprints out of the FBI’s permanent file. In 1950 FBI Assistant Director Mickey Ladd wrote the director: “It appears that Mr. Fly did everything in his power to delay making arrangements for the Bureau to monitor international communications prior to Pearl Harbor.22 As late as 1955 a memorandum placed in Fly’s file referred to his 1941 opposition to the Hobbs bill. Hoover aired their disputes in a book he authorized, The FBI Story, and Fly accused Hoover of furnishing inaccurate information about his stand on wiretapping to radio commentator Walter Winchell.23

During the following decade the FBI and successive attorneys general tried to loosen restrictions on wiretapping. While the national faced the treat of war, Roosevelt pragmatically sought ways to uncover espionage. In fact, in May 1940, long before Fly’s testimony and the bill’s defeat, the President had sent a memorandum to Jackson in which he recognized the possibility of civil rights abuse through wiretapping but said that the Supreme Court surely did not intend to forbid taps in cases involving national defense. Roosevelt said he reluctantly would permit wiretaps provided the attorney general authorized every tap. Jackson, however, ignored this proviso and handed over the authorization task to Hoover. Like many attorneys general under whom Hoover served, Jackson supervised Hoover’s activities only superficially; according to a later attorney general, Edward Levi, much oversight of the FBI had been “sporadic, practically nonexistent, or ineffective.”24 Such behavior increased Hoover’s freedom to wiretap.

Wiretapping again became an issue for Fl in 1943 when Congressman Eugene Cox of Georgia became chairman of a House committee investigating the FCC. Admiral Stanford Hooper gave the committee 13 accusations against Fly, among them that “The Chairman of the Defense Communications Board (Fly) opposed legislation permitting wire-tapping which wold have permitted checking of the telephone to Japan before Pearl Harbor, and might have prevented the disaster.”25 Fly had to wait nine months to refute this charge before the committee. The committee counsel quoted Congressman Emanuel Celler to the effect that Fl probably was the only high government official who still opposed wiretapping. With perhaps more courage than wisdom, Fly answered the Pearl Harbor charge by quoting Senator Alben Barkley: “I have not heard of anybody stupid enough to think that the debacle at Pearl Harbor was caused by the failure of Congress to pass wire-tapping legislation.” Fly added: “Senator Barkley’s circle of acquaintances, apparently, did not extend far enough.” 26

In actuality, as FBI Assistant to the Director Alan Belmont later acknowledged, the attorney general had granted authority to install “a technical surveillance on the telephonic communications between Hawaii and Japan” on 22 October 1941, and operation began on 3 November.27 Four days before the attack the FBI reported to naval intelligence a telephone message from the Japanese consulate saying that the consul general was burning “all of his important papers,” an indication of interrupted diplomatic relations.28 On 5 December a surveillance report described a phone call between Honolulu and Japan involving weather conditions, movement of aircraft, and “types of ships in Hawaii.” The FBI relayed this information to military authorities on the evening of 6 December 1941.29 Fly can hardly be blamed for either a lack of wiretapping or the inability to predict the Pearl Harbor attack.

After the war President Truman accepted Attorney General Tom Clark’s recommendation that Roosevelt’s letter authorizing wiretaps remain in effect. Fly continued his fight against wiretapping after he left the FCC in 1944 and opened a law firm. His friend Joseph Swindler, who replaced Fly as TVA general counsel, said that Fly “missed the limelight he had enjoyed as Chairman of the FCC. This is a post-occupational hazard common to all former commission chairmen.”30 Perhaps that was the reason Fly accepted a position in 1946 as a director of the American Civil Liberties Union. In that capacity he became involved in the case of Judith Coplon.31

On 4 March 1949, FBI agents arrested Coplon, a Justice Department employee who had espoused Communist causes while a student at Barnard. In her purse were short versions of FBI documents from the Justice Department, including some from the FBI. The bureau maintained that she was about to give them to Valentin Gubitchev, a Russian engineer at the United Nations. At the Washington trial the charge was copying,taking, concealing, and removing documents of the Department of Justice. In New York, she was tried jointly with Gubitchev for conspiring to defraud the United States and to deliver defense information to a citizen of a foreign nation. One document in her purse named an agent in a Soviet trading company who supposedly was working for the FBI. She declared her innocence and at first said that she and Gubitchev were in love - a story difficult for the jury to believe when the prosecution presented evidence that she had spent nights in hotels with a Justice Department attorney during the period of her meetings with Gubitchev.32

The month of Coplon’s arrest - when wiretapping was not yet an issue in the case - Fly testified before a special committee of the New York County Criminal Courts Bar Association. Fly called New York Governor Thomas E Dewey the “founding father” of legalized wiretapping in the state and said the ACLU had asked the governor to tell New Yorkers how much wiretapping was occurring in their state.33 That same month Fly (and others, including Joseph Rauh) signed a letter to Senator Pat McCarran, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying that both Americans for Democratic Action ad the ACLU opposed wiretapping in any form. They were responding to pending bills - one of them McCarran’s to loosen restrictions on wiretapping. FBI Assistant Director D. Milton Ladd cited this letter in a lengthy memo to Hoover about Fly’s criticism of the Bureau.34

Two months later - while the Coplon trial was in full swing - Fly, as attorney for the New York County Criminal Courts Bar Association, petitioned the U.S. attorney general to ensure the enforcement in New York of Section 605’s ban on wiretapping. According to a survey cited in the petition, local New York police had engaged in more than 300 instances of authorized wiretapping during 1948, along with uncounted unauthorized taps.35

As the Coplon case continued, wiretapping became only one of the prosecution’s problems and the FBI’s embarrassments. First, the 30 agents pursuing Coplon on the night of her arrest had not waited for her to pass the summaries of documents to Gubitchev; therefore she had not actually committed espionage Second, no one had secured a warrant to arrest her. Third (and most important to Fly), leads against her were based on taps of her home. The FBI continued the taps after her arrest and even recorded conversations between Coplon and her attorney, Archibald Palmer.36

Midway in her trial, Coplon’s attorney demanded that the FBI documents Coplon had copied for Gubitchev be opened in court, thus starting a chain of revelations about FBI wiretaps. FBI agent Robert J. Lamphere, the agent who supervised her arrest, feared that “to release the basic file reports might not only endanger security and compromise informants but also bring to light many unsubstantiated allegations which would do no one any good.” He believed that Palmer expected the government to drop the case rather than reveal the contents of the files.37 But the judge ordered them opened, and Palmer read many of them aloud. The files contained reports by informants that major celebrities were Communist Party members, including actors Fredric March and Edward G. Robinson, singer Paul Robeson, and writer Dorothy Parker. Other screen stars supposedly had helped the Communist cause. One informant noted that actress Helen Hayes had portrayed a Soviet teacher in a skit at a rally for Russian relief. According to the Washington Times Herald, some of the information definitely came from wiretaps. During the trial Fly wrote his grandchildren of the pain caused by FBI allegations:

Yesterday the eminent playwright, Charles MacArthur, was in my office. His wife the charming and talented Helen Hayes, was at home crying. . . . Some FBI reports containing malicious gossip as to her loyalty had been aired in the Washington trial of Judith Coplon. A number of other prominent and loyal people were smeared in like manner.38

Coplon’s attorney early on tried to learn the source of the FBI’s original suspicion of his client. He suspected wiretapping, but FBI agents on the witness stand at first denied this. The bureau then destroyed recordings of the taps before the court could hear then. Fly, for the ACLU, wrote an amicus curiae brief seeking a new trial and citing as a reason “the conduct of government attorneys and FBI representatives who, by a process of concealment and infantile denial, misled the trial court on this vital issue and in the teeth of their knowledge of the true facts.”39

Fly sent a letter to the New York Times accusing the FBI of violating the Criminal Code by destroying recordings of the taps, which were evidence. The violation seemed clear since the bureau’s order for the destruction gave as a reason “the immediacy of her trial.” The order also authorized getting rid of “all administrative records in the New York office” and was signed “OK-H.” Fly noted that the printed form included the words: “To be destroyed after action is taken, and not sent to the files which implied, Fly said, “a routinized scheme and practice of destroying public records.”40

Meanwhile, a petition asking for a public investigation of the FBI was sent to the president of the U.S. Senate, the Speaker of the House and chairs of both the House and Senate judiciary committees. Both FBI Assistant Director Louis Nichols and columnist Walter Trohan named Fly as the reputed author, though copies of the petition in both Fly’s papers and his FBI file are unsigned. Fly was definitely the author of a letter to the U.S. solicitor general in which he repeated the charge that FBI agents had by implication and evasion misled the court in Coplon’s Washington trial. Nichols, after talking with Hoover, urged the solicitor general to write a strong letter to Fly rebutting the charge. Nichols repeatedly complained to the FBI’s second-in-command, Clyde Tolson, that the solicitor general’s rebuttal was not strong enough, that it should “tie into Fly and nail his lies once and for all.”41

Coplon was found guilty at both her Washington and New York trials, and both the Washington and New York federal courts of appeal agreed to hear the case. New York Judge Learned Hand’s court set aside the lower court’s verdict, though not simply because evidence came from taps. He stated that although “the guilt is plain,” the lower court judge (at the FBI's urging that the wiretaps might involve national security) had refused to let Coplon see the records of some wiretaps after he read them and decided they were irrelevant. Thus, she had been denied information that might have helped her defense. Further, she had been arrested without a warrant, which made the evidence in her purse inadmissible. Judge Hand left the indictment standing, however, upon the possibility that a way might be found to hold a new trial excluding all evidence and leads resulting from wiretaps.42

In Washington, Judge Wilbur K. Miller, after agreeing that the evidence sustained the jury’s verdict, remanded the case because the wiretaps of telephone conversations between Coplon and her attorney deprived her of the right to counsel under the Bill of Rights. The indictment was not dropped for 16 years.43

During the Coplon case, Fly wrote in the Washington Post that wiretapping both nullified the law and made blackmail easier by fertilizing “the breeding ground of crime itself. . . Even the record of official New York taps shows 95 percent involve gambling, bookmaking, prostitution, the richest field for blackmail and extortion.”44 The next day, Attorney General J. Howard McGrath issued a statement saying that the FBI would continue its wiretaps and that he was planning an “anti-tygoon” conference about techniques for catching subversives and criminals. The Post editorialized that if this was supposed to be a response to Fly’s article, it was a poor one. The Post admitted that methods like wiretapping might make the FBI more efficient in catching saboteurs; so would rifling the mails, unrestrained searches, suspension of habeas corpus, the thumbscrew and the rack, “but every free and civilized society has forbidden its police to use such methods.”45

Fly became involved in another case involving the FBI’s wiretaps when labor leader Harry Bridges asked Fly to represent him in 1949. Fly had met Bridges on a presidential fact-finding commission some years earlier and recalled Bridges as . . . a man of extraordinary competence whom all will admit has done a remarkable job in improving the economic and working conditions of the West Coast Longshoremen. . . .[M]any of his enemies. So forceful have been that the full power of the United States government has been turned loose against this man for fifteen years.46

When Bridges discovered that the FBI was wiretapping his hotel room in 1940, he typed notes, tore them up, and planted them in his wastebasket. He then moved to a nearby hotel and used binoculars to watch the FBI piecing the notes together. The union leader had already undergone six investigations when Fly took his case. Congressman Hobbs, author of the 1941 wiretapping bill that Fly testified against, in 1940 had secured passage of a law that would deport Bridges. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court where the deportation order was canceled. After that decision in 1945 Bridges became a U.S. citizen, but four years later the government filed a civil action to cancel his citizenship and deport him. Bridges was accused of lying at his naturalization hearing in saying he had never been a Communist. At this point Bridges asked Fly to be his attorney.47

William Fitts, one of Fly’s law partners, remembered talking with him about whether the law firm should be associated with the case. Fly said, “I think that this is a civil liberties issue . . .[I] llegal means have probably been used here, and I feel very strongly on this question of individual rights and wire-tapping and I know that this might hurt the business.” Fitts told Fly: “If you feel it’s the right thing to do, go ahead and do it.”48

Fly, as Bridges’s attorney, promised to call FBI agents as witnesses to determine whether evidence had been obtained illegally through taps. He also defended Bridges on the basis that the statute of limitations (three years) had expired. Four years later, in June 1953, the Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against the government, citing expiration of the statute of limitations. Though Fly represented Bridges in only one court appearance, he suffered for it for almost a decade. Bridges was a factor in Fly’s being named a “concealed Communist” by a loyalty board and also in Fly’s effort to get a television station license.49

Meanwhile Fly had continued his campaign against wiretapping in print. He demonstrated to readers of Look magazine how easily and cheaply a tap could be installed. In the New Republic Fly argued that wiretappers “violate every sacred relation established by God and protected by law: husband and wife; parent and child; minister and parishioner; doctor and patient; lawyer and client.”50 He also kept his sense of humor, writing a tongue-in-cheek complaint to the FCC that telephone companies were overcharging many of their customers: subscribers whose lines were being tapped should at least be entitled to party line rates! To prevent destruction of government records, wiretappers should send records of their taps to the FCC; these would be pressed into bricks, generating enough to erect a new FCC building. In a more serious vein, Fly criticized attorneys for their apathy toward tapping in the Harvard Law School Record:

The challenge is to the bar. Has it the courage? If not, the bar may awaken too late to face the fact . . .that our liberties have been permanently scarred . . .What is the bar going to do, or would you rather play golf?51

Fly also discussed wiretapping in two articles for the Saturday Review during the 1950s. In his review of Max Lowenthal’s The Federal Bureau of Investigation, he described “Suppression by Smear,” noting how Hoover discouraged citizens from speaking out by threatening them with unfavorable stories from journalist Walter Winchell and other.52 Six years later, in a review of Don Whitehead’s The FBI Story, he castigated Hoover for wiretapping “in the beguiling name of ‘security.’”53

The years 1953 and 1954 brought arguments over wiretapping to a climax as the previous decade had shown that wiretapping needed more detailed regulation than was anticipated in 1941. The judiciary committees in both House and Senate appointed subcommittees to hold hearings, each subcommittee considering four bills. The Senate hearings showed that law enforcement officials felt such a need for wiretap evidence that could be used in court that they were finding ways to bypass federal court decisions, civil libertarians, and even existing federal law. In the previous 16 years, Congress had considered more that 30 bills involving wiretapping, but only four had passed even one house. But more than 30 states allowed evidence gained by wiretapping. While Hoover had told the attorney general that no more than 200 FBI wiretaps were ever in place at any one time, according to the Lawyers Guild, 58,000 taps were authorized under the New York statute in 1952 alone. New York District Attorney Miles McDonald testified that policemen were buying their own equipment for tapping and using illegal taps to shake down bookmakers. Wiretapping was certainly widespread.54

Congress was exerting pressure to expand the list of crimes for which wiretapping could be used. House Subcommittee Chairman Kenneth B. Keating of New York sponsored a bill to allow federal agencies involved with national security to wiretap when they were checking on treason, sabotage, espionage, “or similar offenses”; the information could be used in court, but the agencies would be required to get approval from a federal judge before tapping and from the attorney general before disclosure. Some proposed bills would permit tapping for crime detection, making it possible to tap wires of people who had not yet committed an offense - a topic much discussed.55

The House hearings included a letter from Attorney General McGrath about the eagerness of lawyers - after the Coplon verdicts - to learn whether their clients had been tapped so they might free them as Coplon was freed. To prevent this, McGrath found it necessary in cases involving wiretaps to hold pretrial hearings to determine that no material evidence came from taps.56

As in 1941, the process of getting approval to institute a tap prompted much debate in the House hearings. Who should be able to authorize taps? Requiring a court order would delay installing the tap and make it easier to leak information about it. In New York, where state law required such authorization, a stenographer with a boyfriend on the police force had leaked information about a wiretap so that it reached the bookmaker who was being tapped. Deputy Attorney General William P. Rogers favored simply letting the attorney general approve wiretaps: “the proper party to trust is the Attorney General of the United States.” Another witness was Joseph L. Rauh, who had attended the earlier wiretapping hearing with Fly in 1941. He submitted a statement from Americans for Democratic Action proposing that only a Supreme Court justice of the chief judge or a circuit court of appeals should authorize taps, and only after approval by the attorney general.57

Which crimes would justify taps? Most bills limited wiretaps to matters concerning national security, but Congressman Emanuel Celler offered a bill permitting taps for crimes involving “the safety of human life” (which presumably would include kidnapping). Keating and Celler both specified that wiretapping could be used in national security were threatened by treason “or in any other manner.” A witness from the American Federation of Labor feared this provision was so broad that it cold be invoked to settle labor disputes.58

Argument arose about whether a wiretap violated the Fifth Amendment by forcing persons to testify against themselves. Would a person’s own words on the tap be a form of confession? Witnesses debated whether the Fourth Amendment was violated when the tap produced evidence of a crime that had not been cited in the authorization for the tap. New York District Attorney Miles McDonald testified that in his state, “as long as the tap is lawful when we make it and we find evidence of other crimes . . . we are entitled to use the evidence.” This raised again the issue of whether leads - not just evidence itself - from wiretaps could be used in federal court.59

After the House hearings, Majority Leader Charles Halleck proposed that the sole authority for granting permission to tap should be the head of the FBI, but this proposal died quickly. In April, 1954, a wiretapping bill requiring a federal judge’s advance approval passed the House by a vote of 378 to 10.60

Fly, meanwhile took his case against wiretapping to television. Between the House and Senate hearings Halleck and Fly reached a national television audience when Edward R. Murrow asked them to discuss wiretapping on See It Now. The two men debated by telephone with a camera on each, and approximately an hour of argument was edited to about 15 minutes. On the videotape Fly smiles often and gives every appearance of enjoying the conflict. He dominates the conversation and reduces Halleck to saying that the FBI had held information about citizens “inviolate - no citizen had been harmed.”61 In a summary of the program, placed in Fly’s FBI file, the Bureau’s M.A. Jones wrote, “Fly was extremely vindictive in his attitude towards the Bureau, and Halleck had trouble interrupting to rebut his statements.”62

After the program, Chairman Keating and Fly spoke, and Fly sent Keating his views. By this time Fly had relaxed his stance against wiretapping somewhat. He still thought “American democracy loses more than it gains” by authorizing wiretapping, but with appropriate safeguards he would accept the ACLU position, which approved wiretapping only in cases of “treason, sabotage, espionage, and kidnapping or threats of kidnapping.”63 The ACLU had prepared an elaborate official position that included safeguards to civil liberties: All requests for taps would come from the attorney general and could be approved by only one federal judge in each district, selected by the Supreme Court (to prevent shopping around for a compliant judge). All copies of taps would be made available to the defendant, and no tap could be authorized for more than 90 days without a petition for extension.64 In his letter to Keating, Fly added a proposal that went beyond the ACLU position. Fly urged that any bill, if passed by Congress, should expire after two years and would need to be reenacted after a study of its effects.65

Fly represented the ACLU before the Senate subcommittee in hearings on four bills to loosen restrictions on wiretapping. His forthright testimony illustrates his ability to ignore personal consequences. Two events had occurred that made his stand on wiretapping both a personal and financial risk. First, in 1951, the Tennessee Valley Authority Loyalty Board issued charges against its general counsel, Joseph Swidler, an attorney who had worked with Fly at TVA during the 1930’s. Two charges against Swidler concerned his association with Fly, who was “reputed to be a concealed Communist.” Fly protested directly to President Truman “in the capacity of a responsible citizen whose most prized possession - his good name, and the public respect of his character and loyalty - is at stake.” He attributed the accusation to the fact that he has “slugged it out with John Edgar Hoover on some of his high-handed methods and especially on his widespread illegal conduct of wire-tapping.”66 Swidler was late fully cleared and became chairman of the Federal Power Commission.67

In testifying, Fly also risked losing a business enterprise. Fly headed a company that had applied to the FCC for a television station license to operate Channel Seven in Miami. The American Legion, it its national publication Firing Line, raised questions about his qualifications because - among other things - he had opposed wiretapping and defended Harry Bridges and Judith Coplon. A Legion post in Miami sent the Firing Line to all FCC commissioners, the Florida congressional delegation, Communist hunter Senator Joseph McCarthy, and chairmen of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Fly said there had been calls for an investigation, and he felt “paralyzed helplessness.”68

Fly showed no “paralyzed helplessness” in his no-holds-barred Senate testimony, however. After describing the ACLU position, he said that although the ACLU - and he himself - generally opposed wiretapping, if it was to be adopted, the most important safeguard was the requirement for a court order. Letting the attorney general or other prosecutor along approve a wiretap granted too much power, and “power is a very heady medicine.” To the objection that it was too difficult to reach federal judges to get their approval, Fly replied that it customarily would take no more time to reach a judge than to install a tap. Fly also objected to a change in the law to make it possible to try Judith Coplon again; he called it an “ex post facto effect” and “very serious business.”69

Fly challenged the attorney general’s contention that Section 605 permitted wiretaps so long as information from them was not “divulged” outside the FBI; Fly held that Section 605’s ban against divulging “to any person” should be taken literally. As he had written in 1949, the attorney general’s interpretation of “divulging” and “using” was “wishful thinking,” a “dangerous pastime for attorneys general.”70 In 1968 the law was amended to permit law enforcers to divulge legally acquired information from taps among themselves.71

Responding to a statement that an innocent person need not worry about being tapped, Fly answered: "By that pseudo line of logic you could dispose of the whole Bill of Rights. I don’t expect to be on trial in a criminal court tomorrow, what do I care about trial by jury, due process of law, and that sort of thing? If I take that attitude, the whole Bill of Rights can be swept out of the window.72

The Senate Judiciary Committee in August voted 7-7 on sending the bill forward, which killed it for the time being, but in November Attorney General Herbert Brownell vowed to continue fighting for more freedom to tap.73
Since Fly’s day, wiretapping has become more accepted, and laws regulating it have become more complex. Some provisions that Fly championed became policy. Taps require a court order from specified judges except for surveillance of foreign agents and some emergencies. The length of time a tap can continue without renewal of the court order is even shorter than the ACLU advocated: 3 days rather than 90. Rules limit the destruction of wiretap records. The number of crimes for which wiretaps can be used and the types of judges who can authorize taps have been expanded, however.74

It is hard to measure Fly’s influence. Certainly he kept the issue before the American people, and both times when he testified against expanding wiretapping, Congress took the course he favored. He paid a personal price for his success, however. Fly’s daughter said he never received a cancellation of charges made by the TVA Loyalty Board. The struggle for the license to operate the Miami television station lasted into the 1960’s, long after Fly had withdrawn as an applicant for multiple reasons - some not related to his political views. His campaign against wiretaps offers the too rare spectacle of an individual willing to endure personal risks to fight for his beliefs.75

Fly apparently enjoyed a good fight. In the middle of the Cox hearings in 1943, he told a reporter, “If I weren’t lashed at every week or so, life would be dull.”76 And in notes for an autobiography addressed to his grandchildren, he wrote: “Don’t think I’ve been a professional worrier except in the sense that I’ve enjoyed worrying some powerful guys who are doing things that may affect you.” As he told his grandchildren, one aspect of his life he deplored was his “failure in teaching John Edgar Hoover the Bill of Rights.”77



James Lawrence Fly, The FBI, and Wiretapping
by Mickie Edwardson

(Mickie Edwardson is a professor emerita of journalism and communications from the University of Florida.)


Footnotes Glossary

1 Gregory E. Birkenstock, “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Standards of Probable Cause: An Alternative Analysis,” Georgetown Law Journal 80 (1992): 843.

2 Dan Carney, “Broad Anti-Terrorism Measures Stall in Task Force,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 3 August 1996, 2202-2; Juliana Gurewald, “Bill on Encryption Exports Gets Panel Approval,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 28 June 1997, 1520; Mike Mills, “Privacy Groups Assail FBI’s Wiretapping Plan,” Washington Post, 3 November 1995, sec. D, p.1.

3 United States Code Service (Lawyers Edition), title 18, secs. 2510-21, title 47, sec. 605, title 50, sec. 1801-11 (Rochester, 1993-1996).

4 J. Edgar Hoover, confidential memorandum, 24 August 1936, in From Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover, ed. Athan Theoharis (Chicago 1991) 18081; Hoover to Fly, 7 September 1940, 11 October 1940, 22 November 1940; Fly to Hoover 7 December 1940, all in Fly Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York City.

5 James Lawrence Fly, “Threat to Liberty, Defiance of Law Seen in FBI Wire-Tapping,” Washington Post, 7 January 1950, sec. A, p. 9.

6 Fly to Roosevelt, 27 March 1941, personal Collection of James Lawrence Fly Jr. (hereafter Fly Collection), 2 (emphasis in Fly’s original).

7 Nathan Robertson, “Undercover Pressure Exerted to Legalize Wire Tapping,” PM, 27 March 1941, 10.

8 U.S. House Subcommittee no. 1 of the Committee on the Judiciary, To Authorize Wire Tapping. Hearings on H.R. 2266, H.R. 3099, 77th Cong., 1st sess., 1941, 1, 257; “President Advocates Limited Wire Tapping in Defense Sabotage and Kidnapping Cases,” New York Times, 26 February 1941, p.1.

9 U.S. House, To Authorize Wire Tapping, 17, 1-2-202; “Undercover Pressure,” PM, 27 March 1941, 10; Fly to Roosevelt 27 March 1941, 2.

10 Marquis W. Childs, “House Committee Approval Likely on Wire-Tapping,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 March 1941, sec. A, p.3.

11 Marquis W. Childs, “Head of U.S. Communications Board Vigorously Opposes Wire Tapping,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26 March 1941, sec. A, p.10.

12 Joseph Rauh, interview by author, tape recording, Washington, DC., 28 December 1989.

13 ”Roosevelt Puts to Sea on Short Vacation Cruise,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 22 March 1941, sec. A, p.2; Rauh interview.

14 Fly to Roosevelt, 27 March 1941.

15 Roosevelt to Fly, memorandum, 1 April 1941, Fly Papers.

16 ”A Warning on Wire-Tapping,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 27 March 1941, sec. C, p.2.

17 U.S. House, To Authorize Wire Tapping, 5-14.

18 Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 438 (1927); Weiss V. United States, 308 US 321 (1939); United States v. Polakoff, 112 F. (2d) 888 (C.C.A. 2d, 1940); Nardone v. United States, 302 US 379 (1937); Nardone v. United States, 308 US 338 (1939); U.S. House, To Authorize Wire Tapping, 42, 79, 166.

19 U.S. House, To Authorize Wire Tapping, 102, 117, 125, 85.

20 Ibid., 24-28, 50; “Asks Uniformity on Sabotage Guilt,: New York Times, 9 May 1941, 15.

21 ”Fly of FCC Opposes Wiretapping Power,” New York Times, 20 May 1941, p. 17; James B. Reston, “Congress Finishes Fund Bills to Set 33 Billion Record,: New York Times, 1 July 1941, p. 1; Paul W. Ward, “Tangle Develops over Wire Tapping,” Baltimore Sun, 22 March 1941, clipping, Fly Papers; Fly to John Lord O’Brian, 14 July 1953, Fly papers.

22 Legislative Reference Service, Library of Congress, Digest of Public General Bills with Index, No. 4, 77th Cong., 1st sess (3 January to 30 June 1941), 172, 259; Reston, “Congress Finishes Fund Bills,” 1; see also Federal Bureau of Investigation, File on James Lawrence Fly, No. 62-73756 (hereafter Fly File), including V.P. Keay to H.B. Fletcher, memorandum, 16 November 1949; and Mr. Ladd to the Director, memorandum, 11 January 1950.

23 Fly File (deleted) to A.M. Belmont, memorandum, 10 January 1951; D.M. Ladd to the Director, memorandum, 28 August 1951; A.J. Belmont to L.V. Boardman, memorandum, 18 November 1955; Don Whitehead, The FBI Story: A Report to the People (New York, 1956), 187-88; James Lawrence Fly, “A Wholesome Thing,” Saturday Review of Literature, 23 December 1950, 15, 37.

24 Roosevelt to Jackson, memorandum, 2 May 1940, quoted in D.M. Ladd, “Memorandum for the Director, Re: Analysis of Criticisms of Bureau by James L. Fly,” 28 November 1949, 2, Fly File; Francis Biddle, In Brief Authority (Garden City, 1962), 167; Congress, Senate, Intelligence Activities Hearings Before the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, 94th Cong., 1st sess., vol. 6, 1975, 315.

25 I.F. Stone, “Mr. Biddle is Afraid,” Nation, 22 May 1943, 735-736; Congress, House, Select Committee to Investigate the Federal Communications Commission, untitled press release, 78th Cong., 2d sess., 11 July 1943, Fly Collection.

26 U.S. House, Select Committee to Investigate the Federal Communications Commission, Hearings on Study and Investigation of the Federal Communications Committee Acting Under H. Res. 21, 78th Cong., 2d sess., 1943-1944, part 3, 2600, 26667-68.

27 A.H. Belmont to L.V. Boardman, “Memorandum Concerning James Lawrence Fly,” 3 November 1955, Fly File, 11.

28 U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Pearl Harbor Attack, “Report of Army Pearl Harbor Board,” 79th Cong., 1st. sess., 1946, vol. 39, 277.

29 Belmont to Boardman, 11.

30 George Elsey to President Truman, memorandum, 2 February 1950, in Athan G. Theoharis, The Truman Presidency: The Origins of the Imperial Presidency and the National Security State (Stanfordville, N.Y., 1979), 293-94; Sally Fly Connell, typewritten notes for a biography of James lawrence Fly, Fly Papers.

31 “James Lawrence Fly, 1898-1966,” obituary, Civil Liberties, March 1966 unpaged clipping Fly Papers.

32 Robert J. Lamphere and Tom Shachtman, The FBI-KGB War: A Special Agent’s Story (New York, 1986), 96-125; United States v. Coplon, 185 F. (2d) 629 (2 Cir 1950); Coplon V. United States, 191 F. (2d) 749 (D.C. Cir 1951; Robert K. Welch, “FBI Seizes U.S. Clark and Russian as Spies [Washington] Evening Star, 5 March 1949, sec. A, p.1; “Baby Face,” Time, 14 March 1949, 28; “It was Love,” Time, 27 June 1949, 19; Bill Brinkley, “Miss Coplon Admits Sharing Hotel Rooms with Federal Lawyer,” Washington Post, 22 June 1949, sec, A, p.1.

33 “Wiretap Genesis Inputed to Dewey,” New York Times, 29 March 1949, p.19.

34 Ladd to the Director, memorandum, 28 August 1951, Fly File, 14.

35 James Lawrence Fly, Petition of New York County Criminal Courts Bar Association to the Honorable The Attorney General of the United States, June 1949, Fly Papers.

36 Lamphere and Shactman, 108-10; Joseph Paull, “Coplon Appeal is Taken Under Advisement After Judge Questions Wire-Tap Evidence,” Washington Post, 1 December 1950, sec. B, p.4.

37 Bill Brinkley, “Russia Got Atom Equipment, Court Told; FBI Bares Secrets Rather Than Drop Coplon Case,” Washington Post, 8 June 1949, sec. A, p.1; Lamphere and Shactman, 114-15.

38 Bill Brinkley, ‘Names of Film Stars Figure in FBI Papers Read to Coplon Jurors,” Washington Post, 9 June 1949, sec. A, p. 1; “FBI Agent Says Coplon Wire Not Tapped at Beginning,” Washington Post, 11 January 1950, sec. A, p.2; United States v. Coplon, 185 F. 2d 639 (2nd Cir 1950); Edward K. Nellor, “FBI Memo Lists Top D.C. Reds,” [Washington] Times Herald, 10 June 1949, p.1; James Lawrence Fly, Untitled Notes for an Autobiography (c. 1950), handwritten, Fly Collection, 5.

39 “What the FBI Heard,” Time, 9 January 1950, 12; Carles Grutzner, “Judge Presses U.S. On Coplon records,” New York Times, 6 January 1950, p. 6; James Lawrence Fly, Counsel to American Civil Liberties Union, Amicus Curiae Brief for U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, United States of America v. Judith Coplon, Fly Papers, 2.

40 James Lawrence Fly, “FBI’s Wiretap Activities,” New York Times, 17 January 1950, p. 26.

41 Unsigned and undated petition asking for investigation of the FBI, Fly File and Fly Papers; L.B. Nichols to Mr. Tolson, memorandum, 17 February 1950, Fly File; Walter Trohan, “Fly, Foe of FBI, called Shield for Disloyalty,” Chicago Tribune, 9 February 1950, part 2, p.1; L.B. Nichols to Mr. Tolson, memoranda, 9 May 1950, 12 May 1950, 6 July 1950, Fly File.

42 United States v. Coplon, 185 F. 2d 629, 635, 637, 640 (2d Cir 1950).

43 Coplon v. United States, 191 F. 2d 749 (D.C. Cir 1951); Sidney E. Zion, “U.S. Drops Charges in Coplon Spy Case,” New York Times, 7 January 1967, p.1.

44 James Lawrence Fly, “Threat to Liberty, Defiance of Law See in FBI Wire-Tapping,” Washington Post, 7 January 1950, sec. A, p. 9.

45 FBI Wiretapping to Continue, McGrath Says After Interview,” Washington Post, 9 January 1950, sec. A, p. 1; Chalmers M. Roberts, “Anit-Tygoon Conference Here Lauded,” Washington Post, 9 January 950, sec. A, . 1; “Dirty Business,” Washington Post, 11 January 1950, sec. A, p. 10.

46 Fly, Notes for autobiography, 24-25.

47 “Harry’s Day in Court,” Time, 27 February 1950, 23; D. M. Ladd to the Director, memorandum, 28 November 1949, Fly File; U.S. House, Deliberation on bill that would deport certain aliens, H.R. 5138, 76th Cong. 3d sess., Congressional Record (22 June 1940) 86 pt. 8:9031-36; James Lawrence Fly to Messrs. Hays and Fraenkel memorandum RE: United States v. Harry Bridges, 10 October 1949, Fly Papers.

48 William Fitts, interview with Sally Fly Connell, 14 August 1967, Oral History Collection, Columbia University, New York City, 38-39.

49 Lawrence E. Davies, “Court Room Fight for Bridges Opens,” New York Times, 5 October 1949, p. 26; Luther A. Huston, “Supreme Court Frees Bridges Under Statue of Limitations,” New York Times, 16 June 1953, p. 1; Edward Brecher, interview by Sally Fly Connell, 11 September 1967, Oral History Collection, Columbia University, 34; James Lawrence Fly to President Harry Truman, RE: Charge by TVA Loyalty Board 19 July 1951, Fly Papers; “Fly Assails Effort “to Destroy My Character,” Miami Herald, 8 March 1954, sec. A, p. 18.

50 James Lawrence Fly, “The Case Against Wire Tapping,” Look, 27 September 1949, 35 et seq; James Lawrence Fly, “The Wire-Tapping Outrage,” New Republic, 6 February 1950, 14-15.

51 James Lawrence Fly, Petition to the Federal Communications Commission re: Wiretapping, February 1950, Fly papers; James Lawrence Fly, “Fly Scores Legal profession For Its Apathy Toward F.B.I. Wire Tapping,” Harvard Law School Record, 26 April 1950, 4.

52 James Lawrence Fly, “A Wholesome Thing,” Saturday Review of Literature, 23 December 1950, 15.

53 James Lawrence Fly, “Halo for Mr. Hoover?” Saturday Review of Literature, 29 December 1956,11-12.

54 U.S. Senate, Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, Wiretapping for National Security: Hearings on S. 832, S. 2753, S. 3229, H.R. 8649, 83rd Cong., 2d sess., 1954, 230, 250, 15, 118; U.S. House, Subcommittee no. 3, Committee on the Judiciary, Wiretapping for National Security: Hearings on H.R. 408, H.R. 477, H.R. 3552, H.R. 5149, 83rd Cong., 1st sess., 1953, 4, 86.

55 Ibid., 1-5.

56 McGrath to Emanuel Celler, 2 February 1951, in US. House, Wiretapping for National Security, 20; Hoover to McGrath, “Personal and Confidential Memo,” 6 October 1951, in From the Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover, 136.

57 U.S. House, Wiretapping for National Security, passim, 36, 56, 75.

58 Ibid., 66.

59 Ibid., 78-79, 83.

60 C.P. Trussell, “Wiretapping Bill Is Voted By House,” New York Times, 9 April 1954, p. 1.

61 Edward R. Murrow, See It Now, television program on CBS network, 1 December 1953, videotape copy at Museum of Television and Radio, New York City.

62 Jones to Nichols, memorandum, 2 December 1953, Fly File, 3.

63 Fly to Keating, 4 December 1953, Fly Papers.

64 American Civil Liberties Union, “Statement on Wiretapping,” April 1951, Fly Papers.

65 Fly to Keating, 2.

66 Fly to President Truman, 19 July 1951, Fly Papers.

67 Who’s Who in America, 49th ed. (New Providence, N.J., 1995), 3620.

68 “Seeds Post Asks FCC to Probe James Fly,” Miami Herald, 7 March 1954, sec. A, p. 18; Fly to O’Brian, 16 March 1954, Fly Papers.

69 U.S. Senate, Wiretapping for National Security, 191, 196.

70 Ibid., 189; James Lawrence Fly, “Mr. Fly on Wire Tapping: Former FCC Member Expounds His Views of ‘Dirty Business’ In Reply to Star Editorial,” [Washington] Evening Star, 13 June 1949, sec. A, p. 10.

71 United States Code Annotated, title 18, sec. 2517 (St. Paul, 1998), 229.

72 U.S. Senate, Wiretapping for National Security, 192.

73 C.P. Trussell, “Senators Tie Up Wiretapping Bill,” New York Times, 10 August 1954, p. 11; “Wire-Tap Approval Sought,” New York Times, 18 November 1954, p. 17.

74 William F. Brown and Americo R. Cinquegrana, “Warrantless Physical Searches for Foreign Intelligence Purposes: Executive Order 12,333 and the Fourth Amendment,” Catholic University Law Review 35 (1985): 97-128; United States Code Annotated, chapter 36, title 50, secs. 1801-11, chapter 119, title 18, secs. 2510-22 (St. Paul, 1998).

75 Sally Fly Connell, Notes for a biography of James Lawrence Fly, Fly Papers; “Stern Decision on Ch. 7 Miami,” Broadcasting, 19 September 1960, 71.

76 Jane Eads, “Fly of Texas Thinks Life Would be Dull Without Weekly Lashings,” Houston Post, 12 December 1943, Sunday magazine, p. 2.

77 Fly, Notes for autobiography, c, 1.


More information about James Lawrence Fly:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/oral/guides/fly.html
http://www.free-4u.com/james_lawrence_fly_scholarship.htm
http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/television5.html
http://www.ntsc-tv.com/ntsc-main-01.htm




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