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NOW OPEN I-ILF PRICE RE CCRDSLMAGAZINES I 5 I 4 LAVACA AUSTIN; TOO 111.01 SINXIC IN DALLAS 4535 vocuouzi . 5211 14 LOVILE LAW 205 Ant O X curr ALSO 610 wASHING4-014 IN WA. C 0 Intelligence in Houston “Ever since Watergate, people treat intelligence work as if it were a no-no. Which must be good news for the bad boys around the world who are waiting for the U.S. to crack.” Col. Wilson Speir, director of the DPS, quoting comic strip character Steve Canyon to a state Senate subcommittee last December. By Torn Curtis Houston It was like Watergate and the enemies list. Like the Texas Department of Public Safety’s admission last September that it had “boxed, sealed, and committed to an incinerator” uncounted non-criminal intelligence files. And like the news which had not yet broken then of CIA and FBI files on U.S. citizens and politicians. The slowly-seeping rumors about the “political” files kept by the Houston Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence .came a flood tide early in January. And the assertions of Houston Mayor Fred Hofheinz and his police chief, Carrol Lynn, about what was in the files, how many there were, and on whom they were kept were more staggering than anyone but the most paranoid-nightmareridden radic-lib would have dreamed. HOFHEINZ uncorked the bottle off-handedly enough. In response to a question at an especially formless edition of his weekly news conference, he said he knew that the CID had maintained a file on him and, moreover, that one had been kept on U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan of Houston. Hofheinz later said he learned of the existence of a number of “non-criminal” Curtis lives in Houston and writes for The Washington Post. 6 The Texas Observer files shortly after taking office in January, 1974, but delayed asking his police chief to purge them until he was sure he had “administrative control” of the police department. Chief Lynn said the files were accumulated before he was appointed to office at the start of Hofheinz’s term, and he said those of a non-criminal nature numbered more than 1,000. He said “thousands of police hours were wasted” by keeping politicians, federal and state judges, businessmen, at least one editor of a daily newspaper, and others under surveillance and recording their activities. Lynn said the files reflect that in one case six plainclothes officers were assigned to cover a women’s liberation meeting. He said equally heavy surveillance was imposed on a speaker before the Harris County Democrats, the local liberal organization. The chief’s estimate of the number of files appears particularly startling because he said he believed a number of files were destroyed in the waning days of the administration of former Mayor Louie Welch and former Police Chief Herman Short. Early on, Lynn said the remaining files would be destroyed after being delivered to the U.S. attorney for possible use as evidence before a federal grand jury investigating illegal police wiretapping, corruption in the department’s Narcotics Division, and other matters. That was enough for the Greater Houston Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. It filed suit on Jan. 10 on behalf of itself, former liberal Houston school board member and political activist Gertrude Barnstone, and attorney Larry Sauer, and “all others similarly situated” to block destruction of the files and seek $55 million in damages from defendants Welch, Singleton, and their successors, Hofheinz, ACLU, Barnstone, and Sauer all had been mentioned in the local media as having had CID files kept on them. Attorney Carol Nelkin’s brief contended that the named plantiffs and the class they represented were ” ‘chilled’ in the exercise of their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights” including the freedoms of speech, association, assembly, freedom from unwarranted search and seizure, right to privacy, and right to be free from arbitrary state action exceeding legitimate police powers. The Nelkin brief alleged that “defendants Welch, Short, and Singleton did conspire among themselves and with others unknown to plantiffs at this time to collect information through covert means including illegal wiretapping . . . although plaintiffs were suspected of no illegal activity whatsoever.” It continued that “persons including elected officials, federal judges, and many prominent citizens were made the object of investigation by police informers, infiltrators, wiretappers, covert photographers, and other surreptitious domestic spies on the subjective whim of the defendants.” The probers kept track of everything from the plantiffs’ “political and social associations to their sexual habits and inclinations,” the suit charged. City Attorney Jonathan Day responded lamely, it seemed with a brief arguing essentially that no federal question had been raised. ON JAN. 17, U.S. Dist. Judge John V. Singleton no bleeding heart preliminarily enjoined the defendants from destroying any files or any material in them and from “disseminating any information whatsoever” concerning the files, including the names of persons or organizations listed in them. Judge Singleton also commandeered a blue-ribbon panel Hofheinz had appointed after the ACLU suit was filed to take charge of the files and review them. The judge made the panel \(consisting of former Appeals Court Chief Justice Spurgeon Bell, former UH law school dean A. A. White, and Texas Southern University law school effectively putting the files in his custody through them. There things stood until early March, when Judge Singleton wrote to attorneys in the case that he had decided that “an in-court factual hearing should be held” on April 4 concerning the files. He said it would be limited to inquiry into: The necessity for the CID to maintain such files; When and by what authority such files were begun; How the information in the files was gathered; The system employed in indexing and cross-indexing the files; What person or persons were responsible for supervising the gathering and indexing of the collected information; In what manner and to what other