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Criminal Liability for Newspaper Publication of Naval Secrets

A reporter who kept or copied a Navy dispatch containing a list of Japanese ships expected to take part in an upcoming naval battle, and later submitted for publication a newspaper article with information from the dispatch, appears to have violated sections 1(b) and 1(d) of the Espionage Act, but it is doubtful he violated sections 1(a) and 2.

Whether the managing editor and publisher of the newspaper that published the article might also be criminally liable under the Espionage Act depends on their intent and knowledge of the facts.

Trials of Newspaper Personnel Accused of Disclosing Naval Secrets

It is probable that the newspaper personnel accused of violating the Espionage Act by disclosing naval secrets can each be tried in any district in which the newspaper containing the secrets was received by a subscriber or newsstand.

The newspaper personnel would be entitled to separate trials unless a conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act can be shown.

Senatorial Courtesy

The custom known as “senatorial courtesy,” whereby certain nominations to federal office have been objected to by an individual senator on the ground that the person nominated is not acceptable to him, appears recently to have been limited to local offices of the federal government.

Removal of Japanese Aliens and Citizens From Hawaii to the United States

Japanese who are aliens can be brought to the continental United States from Hawaii and interned under the provisions of 50 U.S.C. § 21. This statute, however, is probably not applicable to the Japanese who are American citizens.

Although not free from doubt, an argument can be made for removing Japanese who are American citizens from Hawaii to a restricted zone in the United States on grounds of military necessity.

In view of the changed conditions of modern warfare, the Supreme Court would likely follow the views of the dissenting justices in Ex parte Milligan, sustaining a declaration of martial law in places outside the zone of active military operations upon a showing of military necessity for such action. From the nature and purpose of martial law, it would seem to be properly applicable to particular areas rather than to particular persons.

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