Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
November 11, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 15, 1998
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
May 9, 1965
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP75-00149R000600040155-4.pdf87.1 KB
aMAGO TRIBUNE Sanitized - Approvedk' Rqlfgff : Cl FOIAb3b CPYRGHT Even the Weariest River The Senate internal security subcommit- tee is finally approaching the end of the road, in the long, slow investigation of the state department's firing of Otto Otepka, chief of the evaluations division of the department's office of security. The sub- committee has invited Secretary of State Rusk to appear if he has anything to say, but Sen. Eastland, the chairman, says that anything Rusk volunteers won't inter- fere with prompt publication of the sub- committee's voluminous record. The Otepka affair-a' major scandal of the Kennedy-Johnson administration-has been developing since ,Otepka in 1963 co- operated fully and frankly with the sub- committee, recounting sloppy security practices in the department. His superiors promptly charged him with "conduct un- becoming a state department officer"- namely, we assume, telling the truth. That the investigation of Otepka's treat- ment has dragged on so unconscionably is not altogether the fault of the subcommit- tee. Department witnesses were not only evasive but lied and then, when found out, recanted their falsehoods. When the sub- committee had its material fairly well in hand last summer, the White House exer- cised pressure to keep the facts bottled up until the Presidential campaign was over. The department's behavior toward Otep- ka and his associates and supporters was u,ibelievably harsh. His office telephone as bugged, his wastebasket of material to he burned for security reasons was sifted, his secretary was taken from him, his office and files were closed to him, his mail denied him, he was ostracized in the department, and was reduced to useless, duties equivalent to cutting up paper dolls. His associates were transferred to distant and obscure places where their security experience was stultified. When the record finally sops the light of day, it is expected to show'!,that Otepka's troubles began building up when he ran into practices originally instituted by Al- ger Hiss in 1945'. hiss, a New Deal state department official, was trapped in a web of lies and convicted of perjury after the late Whittaker Chambers fingered him as a soviet espionage agent. Hiss, who had much to do with the establishment of the United Nations, cre- ated a committee and a procedure for placing American citizens in U. N. posts. Many of those selected by the Hiss ma- chinery turned out to be subversives. When the Kennedy administration came' along, Harlan Cleveland, assistant secre- tary of state for international organiza- tion affairs, began making quickie ap- pointments under procedures which by- passed security regulations. Otepka pro-' tested to his superior, John Reilly, that, some of the persons appointed were of a! character he could not approve on securi-' ty grounds. Reilly responded by tapping Otepka's telephone. Even more strange is the report that Cleveland asked Otepka if' there were some way that Hiss could be brought back into government., Otepka coldly replied that persons convicted of felonies were not qualified. The matter was dropped, but Cleveland did not appoint a panel to. pass on potential U. N. employes, and. some members were former associates and defenders of Hiss. All of this Otepka frankly disclosed to the Senate subcommittee when it called him as a vitncss. Senate regulations state that no federal employe is to be penalized: for giving evidence to an authorized com- mittee, but by now the state department' was doing a burn because of the embar rassing evidence that it had given jobs to security risks. From then on the department's inter, tion was to destroy Otepka. When he was fired, and demanded a review, as was his right, the department was afraid to allow him a public hearing on the merits of its ruling, but kept him on, the payroll, assigned to menial duties, in the apparent hope of breaking his spirit and inducing, him to leave in disgust. The story is sor- did and shameful, and soon the American people will know the full facts of the ven- detta. We hope that it will move them to demand a wholesale housecleaning in the state department. FOIAb3b Sanitized - Approved For Release : CIA-RDP75-00149R000600040155-4