INTRODUCTION OF THE CIVILIAN ESPIONAGE PENALTIES AMENDMENTS ACT -- H.R. -- (Extension of Remarks - February 22, 1989)
HON. JAMES A TRAFICANT, JR.
in the House of Representatives
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1989
- Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing legislation to extend the death penalty to any American civilian convicted of espionage or treason against the United States.
- Over the past 2 years spy scandals have shocked Americans and caused great damage to our national security. These scandals underscored the sad reality that America remains highly vulnerable to foreign espionage. Although the United States-Soviet relationship is changing, the Soviet Union remains a real threat to America. United States intelligence officials estimate that one out of every three Soviet officials in this country is involved in espionage or intelligence activity.
- In all too many instances, American civilians who have access to top secret and sensitive information dealing with our national security have been tempted by foreign bribes to betray their country. These despicable traitors must be put on notice that if caught, they will face the ultimate penalty.
- The legislation I am introducing today is similar to current statutes dealing with military personnel who are found guilty of espionage against the United States. Under my bill the death penalty would apply for those civilians convicted of: First, another offense involving espionage or treason for which either a life or death sentence was authorized; second, knowingly creating a grave risk of substantial damage to national security; or third, knowingly creating a grave risk of death to another person in the course of engaging in espionage activity.
- Mr. Speaker, perhaps one way to deter treason is to ensure that those who betray America are put to death. The safety and security of our Nation is at stake and the Congress should use every available tool to protect our national secrets from our enemies.
- I urge all my colleagues to strongly support this legislation, the full text of which is as follows:
- Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
- This Act may be cited as the `Civilian Espionage Penalties Amendments Act of 1989'.
- SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF PENALTIES.
- That section 794 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
- (1) by inserting after subsection (c) the following:
- `(d) Except as provided in subsection (e), if the accused is found guilty of an offense under this section that directly concerns--
`(1) nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large scale attack;
`(2) war plans;
`(3) communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or
`(4) any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy;
the accused shall be punished by death or life imprisonment.
`(e)(1) No person may be sentenced to death under subsection (d) unless--
`(A) a jury, in a separate sentencing proceeding, unanimously finds, beyond a reasonable doubt, at least one of the aggravating factors set out in paragraph (4) of this subsection; and
`(B) that jury unanimously determines that any extenuating or mitigating circumstances are substantially outweighed by any aggravating circumstances, including the aggravating factors set out in paragraph (4) of this subsection.
`(2) Findings under this subsection may be based on--
`(A) evidence introduced on the issue of guilt or innocence, if the jury is the same jury for the issue of guilt and the sentencing proceeding;
`(B) evidence introduced during the sentencing proceeding; or
`(C) all such evidence, to the extent properly before the jury.
`(3) The accused shall be given broad latitude to present matters in extenuation and mitigation.
`(4) The aggravating factors referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection are as follows:
`(A) The accused has been convicted of another offense involving espionage or treason for which either a sentence of death or imprisonment for life was authorized by statute.
`(B) In the commission of the offense, the accused knowingly created a grave risk of substantial damage to the national security.
`(C) In the commission of the offense, the accused knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person.
`(5) If the accused waives a jury, the functions of the jury under this subsection shall be performed by the judge.'; and
(2) redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (f).