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1669

Destruction of Government Property—Application of Section 1362 to Commercial Radio Stations

When 18 USC 1362 was created in 1961, only 40 percent of commercial radio broadcast stations were participants in military and civil defense notification programs. Congress did not intend to provide protection under this statute to all commercial broadcast stations. See generally, H.R. Rep. No. 965, 87th Cong., 1st Sess., reprinted in 1961 U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News 2997. In 1972, the Federal Communications Commission reorganized, and over 95 percent of broadcast stations became members of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS). Absent an act of domestic or international terrorism or other compelling Federal interest involving a "regular" EBS broadcast station, the policy of the Department of Justice is to effectuate the original intent of Congress by reserving application of § 1362 to those stations actually serving a vital and necessary military and civil defense function. There are approximately 932 broadcast stations which are designated as either a number 1 Common Program Control Station (CPCS-1) or are participants in the EBS Protected Station Program. EBS Protected Stations are considered vital to the EBS inasmuch as they maintain government owned emergency equipment in a fallout protected environment. CPCS-1 stations are the primary stations that disseminate emergency broadcasting material to other cooperating stations in their respective operational area.

Upon receipt of information that a broadcast facility has been the victim of willful or malicious destruction of its property, the victimized station may be in a position to provide initial information regarding their status as a CPCS-1 or Protected Station. Confirmation of status, and procurement of a competent witness, should be obtained from the regional office of the Federal Communications Commission.

[cited in USAM 9-66.500]