Robbins/Watt Meeting

"National Security," has been called "the last refuge of scoundrels," and, historically, has been used as a pretext for reducing the freedoms of a populace.

In a civil case,

"In support of their claim that the regulations are not the product of any genuine security concerns, plaintiffs point to the following facts:

"1. The preamble to the regulations begins by stating that "[r]ecent events in the Memorial Core Parks, as well as terrorist activities elsewhere, have highlighted security concerns for the White House and the President." It cites the incident in which Norman Mayer threatened to blow up the Washington Monument, the bombing Of the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, and a bombing at Fort McNair. The government witnesses also contended that these incidents prompted the development of the challenged regulations. Robbins, Tr. at 7; Parr, Tr. at 91. But they agree that there is no connection between these incidents and these regulations, other than generally to increase concern for the Safety of the President.

"2. The photographs contained in the administrative record depict the activities of certain long-term demonstrators on the White House sidewalk, chiefly plaintiffs Concepcion Picciotto and Robert Dorrough; and when the government witnesses testified about the conditions on the sidewalk that prompted these regulations, they referred specifically to these same long-tern demonstrators.

"3. Many of the exhibits offered by the government appear to be unrelated to these regulations. For example the government. introduced into evidence numerous Park Police reports concerning demonstrators "camping" on the White House sidewalk, which is not a subject addressed in the regulations. In addition, the "camping" problem was cited as prompting discussions on these regulations. In fact, other, regulations, not in issue, address the camping problem

"4. Vehicles of various types regularly stood at the south curb of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of tie White House for substantial periods of time--with no driver or passengers in sight--a most obvious hazard in terms of explosives.

"5. Hollow tubing in bicycles, baby carriages, canes, and dollies(carts) which are frequently on the sidewalk could contain explosives.

"6. No restrictions on size or composition of signs or dimensions of sign supports, or the Presence of Parcels or any other property apply to the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue (Lafayette Park)--a mere 80 feet more away from the fence--and front door of the White House.

"7. More than a little evidence indicates that the regulations have not been enforced from time to time under the very noses of policemen charged with the duty of enforcement. For example, on September 7, 1993 an organization known as the Collegiate Association for Research Principles (CARP) demonstrated on the sidewalk to protest the Soviet Union's downing of the ill- fated Korean airlines Flight 007. The demonstration lasted for 45 minutes, during which time the participants violated: the center zone regulation the prohibition against unattended signs, prohibition against signs leaned against the fence and signs within 3 feet of the fence the sign size limitations, and the parcels regulations. All these occurred under the gaze of Park Police officers, including supervisory personnel, who did nothing to enforce any provision of the regulations in issue, The testimony offered by way of explaining the police conduct is absolutely unworthy of belief, and the government's effort to ascribe it to some confusion and lack of communication about this Court's September 2, 1983 order which dissolved the injunction then in effect is not supported by the record of proceedings in this case. Most of the regulations which were violated by CARP had been in full force and effect since this court's order of August 23, 1983 1483, issued pursuant to our Court of Appeals direction to modify this court's July 19, 1983 order. And prior to September 7, 1983 some of the provisions had actually been enforced by Park policemen. In addition to the disparity in enforcement policy among demonstrators there is substantial evidence indicating that demonstrators and non-demonstrators are treated differently under the parcel regulation.

"8. Perhaps the most important indication that the "security concern" had little if anything to do with these regulations is reflected in the pattern of surveillance accorded the sidewalk by the Park Police. Lindsey, Tr. at 126-132 (Dec. 14, 1983). It has been constantly emphasized that without the regulations on signs and parcels effective observation of what was going on an the sidewalk was hampered, and also it was not easy to keep up With the presence Or absence of abandoned parcels. Allegedly, the regulations were specifically directed to these problems.

"However, except on the occasion of special planned events, for nearly two years prior to August 23, 1983 the Park Police surveillance of the sidewalk was entrusted to one officer on a scooter who patrolled a beat consisting of Lafayette Park, the Ellipse, and the White House sidewalk. This type of almost casual surveillance over an area which allegedly was the focal point of high level anxiety about the security of the President and the White House is incredible. And this court indicated as much in some the earlier proceedings. Lindsey, Tr. at 75-78 (May 3, 1983). Thereafter, on August 23, 1983, the Park Police assigned a foot patrolman for the purpose of surveilling the White House sidewalk and Lafayette Park. The explanation as to why no close surveillance was instituted up to that date is that the court's modified injunction issued on August 23, 1983 indicated that the police "now had some specific tools [regulations] to meet our obligations there that were going to be in effect"; and that there was 'no need to assign an officer until that time that we had some clarification from the courts to indicate that we would have some tools that would be in force for a period of time." Lindsey, Tr. at 127-132 (Dec. 14, 1983)

"It seems clear that anyone genuinely concerned about the security of the White House and the President and apprehensive about the potential of the conditions on the sidewalk would keep close watch on the-sidewalk. The nonexistence of regulations which are satisfactory to the Park Police is hardly a justification for virtually ignoring what may occur on the sidewalk. It would appear that the situation would call for more manpower rather than almost none.

"In light of these facts, plaintiffs claim that a memo from Secretary Watt, and subsequent contacts between Assistant Solicitor Robbins, a principal drafter of the regulations, and Secretary and the White House take on added significance. On January 13, 1983, a memo from Secretary of Interior James G. Watt requested a 'briefing on the regulations that allow demonstrations and protesters in Lafayette Park and in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. My intention is to prohibit such activities and require that they take place on the Ellipse. Plaintiff's exhibit 140. When Assistant Solicitor Robbins spoketo Secretary Watt about the development of the regulations in March 1983, the Secretary told Mr. Robbins to "keep up the good work." Robbins, Tr. at 112. "There was also contact with the White House to inform White House counsel of the status of the regulations. Additionally, plaintiffs urge that the key fact that both versions of the regulations just happened to proscribe all of the plaintiffs' then current activities on the sidewalk cannot be regarded as mere coincidence.

"In the circumstances it would appear that plaintiffs' claim in this regard in no wise can be characterized as frivolous however in light of this court's disposition of this case, it need not resolve this particular issue."

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