All that your normally on-time cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (June 12) now worries about, re: telephone tapping, allegedly already happened 43 years ago in Baltimore in a collusive effort between the local telephone company and President Richard Nixon's administration.
In 1970, as a college student, I worked full-time as a Mastercard telephone authorizer for Maryland National Bank's night operations center downtown. A Hopkins student friend of mine also worked a night phone job, except with this major difference, as he told me then: "Don't say anything over the phone that you wouldn't want played back to you or read in a transcript. We're routinely tapping all known and suspected residents who live on all streets near the Homewood Campus running south to north: Calvert, Charles, Maryland, and Greenmount Avenue-York Road," as well as several others running parallel to them.
My friend, personally, was actively engaged as one of the wiretappers, tapping some of his own friends.
This had been authorized, he said, by federal authorities working hand-in-glove with the phone company. Why was this being done? I asked. He said that the government feared that Hopkins and other student radicals were planning to violently overthrow and seize control of the Federal government in Washington.
Later, many of us also heard rumors that the Nixon administration was seriously considering its own military takeover of the same via a declaration of martial law, and the cancellation of the 1972 Presidential election.
Allegedly, this plan was only halted when it became certain that the Democrats were going to nominate their weakest candidate of the 20th century-the late South Dakota U.S. Sen. George S. McGovern, whom I both covered and met in 1972 as a reporter.
When that happened, the Nixonians allowed the election to occur, winning in a landslide.
Do I believe the tapping happened then? Yes. Do I believe the government now? No. What I fear now at home is our second civil war, at a time when gun purchases in Baltimore and Maryland are at an all-time high! We have reason, therefore, to be concerned on all fronts. I am.