Federal workers filling out security appraisal forms in most agencies now may skip over questions as to whether they are - or have been - members of the Communist or Nazi party.
Those two items have been scrapped from the standard government security form because federal lawyers believe them to be either too vague or unconstitutional - in light of recent court rulings.
The Civil Service Commission formally scrapped the are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been questions last week when they dropped the automatic during hiring ban against applicants who have smoked marijuana or used heroin. That action, reported here Saturday was also taken because of recent court decisions.
The two questions that have been eliminated from the standard federal security apraisal forms are:
Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party U.S.A., or any communist or fascist organization? and.
Are you now or have you ever been a member of any foreign or domestic organization association, movement group or combination of persons which is totalitarian; fascist, communist, or subversive or which has adopted or shows a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny other persons their rights under the constitution of the U.S. or which seeks to alter the form of government of the U.S. by unconstitutional means?
In the past, persons filling out security appraisal forms had to pay particular attention to those questions. Individuals answering "yes" to either one stood a good chance of being blocked for security clearances, and also of losing their jobs.
People who lied about past associations mentioned in those two questions who were later discovered faced even stiffer criminal penalties and, generally, loss of their jobs.
Federal officials say they hope to come up with questions that are less vague and that are deemed by the courts to be constitutional, that will permit the government to find out if candidates for security appraisals have past or present associations that are considered potentially dangerous to the government. For now the two questions are gone from the forms and officials say that old stocks of the security form tha contain them will be sued but that the questions are supposed to be crossed up.