Document Type

Book Review

Comments

Book Review: The Federal Loyalty-Security Program, 54 Colum. L. Rev. 144 (1954)

Abstract

Miss Bontecou's careful study deals chiefly with President Truman's loyalty program for federal employees; its date of publication precluded an account of events after January 1953. The new administration soon produced a new program. The claims made about its great differences from and superiority over the Truman program might lead one to believe that her book does no more than embalm an oddity of the old regime. Any such notion should be dispelled. In the first place, the new program is not markedly different from the old. Second, though Miss Bontecou discusses the mechanics and motivation of the old program in considerable detail, she is principally concerned with basic issues that must be met in any formal attempt to exclude from employment Communists or Communist sympathizers. For these reasons alone, The Federal Loyalty-Security Program is a book of continuing utility.

The simplest way to create the appearance of novelty, one to which the advertisers have long accustomed us, is to leave the old wine in the old bottle, and put a new label on it. This was done by proclaiming that the old "loyalty" program was dead, long live the "security" program. In fact, however, at least half of all federal employees were already subject to screening under programs of the security type, programs of statutory origin which have existed for some time in all the major agencies where there are activities, information, or material which could be perverted to aid the enemy in any direct way. These channels existed concurrently with the executive loyalty program that applied to all federal employees. In most cases, whether the security or the loyalty channel was followed, the central issue was the same: the political reliability of the employee in the light of alleged Communist connections. If a loyalty board formed a reasonable doubt about the employee's loyalty, that was the only issue.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1954

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