FBI ASKS CONGRESS FOR ENVELOPE LAW.
WASHINGTON (Special to the Dispatch).—The Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked Congress to pass legislation that would make it illegal to manufacture or sell envelopes with glue on the flaps, unless the flap could be opened and resealed without evidence of tampering.
“Terrorists and domestic dissidents often communicate through first-class mail,” explained Division Chief Rufus Towhee, head of the FBI’s crack Steam Squad. “Your federal government has hundreds of kettles boiling twenty-four hours a day, but it simply isn’t enough to steam open even a tiny fraction of the personal correspondence that moves through the Post Office.”
Mr. Towhee dismissed privacy concerns raised by some civil-liberties advocates.
“We’re not saying you can’t send private letters,” he told reporters at a press conference. “We’re just saying you have to let the FBI read them.”
Current adhesive technology, Mr. Towhee said, makes it quite practical to manufacture envelopes that can be opened and resealed as neatly as before.
Correspondents need not worry about their privacy, he added, because the proposed legislation would make it illegal for anyone but authorized federal agents or their duly licensed contractors and subcontractors to intercept private letters.
“Privacy is a non-issue, because it will be a crime for anyone else to read your letters,” Mr. Towhee explained. “So you can be assured that the only people who will see your correspondence are federal agents and criminals.”