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GPO Provides Public Access to McCarthy Hearings
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has announced that it is providing public access to the transcripts of closed-door hearings conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy from 1953 to 1954. Paper copies of the transcripts are available for sale from GPO's sales program. Copies are also being distributed to federal depository libraries around the nation for free use by the public. Transcripts may be viewed online free of charge via GPO Access, GPO's online information service (http://www.gpoaccess.gov).
The printed transcripts comprise more than 4,300 pages of hearings in five volumes. They are the proceedings of executive sessions of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, during which subcommittee chairman McCarthy and others questioned nearly 400 individuals about their alleged involvement in communist activities.
Under the rules of the Senate, the transcripts were deposited in the National Archives and sealed for 50 years, in part to protect the privacy of the many witnesses who testified in closed executive sessions. The seal expired recently and the transcripts were ordered released by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs following preparation by the Senate Historical Office.
More than 175 pages in volume 2 of the transcripts reveal testimony provided during the subcommittee's investigation of the GPO during August 1953. The subcommittee alleged that Edward Rothschild, an employee in the binding division, had communist ties and that he had stolen classified documents from the GPO, in spite of testimony from Public Printer Raymond Blattenberger that the GPO's security was not lax and that little classified work was processed there. Rothschild invoked the Fifth Amendment. He was suspended from his job and later discharged from government service but never prosecuted. Other GPO employees who were identified as under security investigation were transferred to the Library of Congress but were not prosecuted. The hearings failed to disclose any criminal breaches of security in the handling of government documents at the GPO.
The formal title of the transcripts is Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, Eighty-Third Congress, First Session, Made Public January 2003, S. Prt. 107-84 (GPO stock number 052-070-07385-3).
The McCarthy transcripts are available online at http://www.gpo.gov/congress/senate. To locate the federal depository library nearest you, go to http://www.gpoaccess.gov/libraries.html.
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