A California grand jury is investigating whether an anticommunist foundation based in Alexandria has received secret files from the Los Angeles Police Department on suspected political subversives.
The Los Angeles grand jury issued a subpoena earlier this month for the executive director of Western Goals, a private foundation formed in 1979 by Rep. Larry McDonald (D-Ga.) with plans to develop a computer file on "those who would seek to bring revoluntary change to America."
The subpoena, which the lawyers for the director are seeking to block, demands that Western Goals director Linda Guell bring to Los Angeles next month any records the foundation may have been furnished by a member of that city's police department.
The grand jury began an investigation in January into how surveillance data compiled by a now-disbanded Public Disorder Intelligence Division got out of the police department's custody. The division monitored possible terrorists in the Los Angeles area and also maintained files on City Council members, judges and members of the city Police Commission.
Investigators said yesterday that the grand jury probe is centering on Detective Jay S. Paul, who was in the division, and his dealings with the foundation. "We are aware that he gave them information," said Cmdr. William Booth. "We have the need to know what kind of information he gave them."
Police asked Western Goals to turn over any information Paul gave the organization, but it has refused, Booth said.
J. Curtis Herge, a McLean lawyer who represents Western Goals, said yesterday he knew nothing of the police request. "All this comes as a surprise and we're trying to get to the bottom of it and be as cooperative as we can with authorities," he said in an interview.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Paul worked on city time for the foundation, helping it develop a computerized data bank on suspected Communists and left-wing organizations. The paper said investigators are trying to obtain computer tapes they believe that Paul prepared on a computer terminal at his wife's office in Long Beach, Calif.
The subpoena calls for Guell to produce 30 computer floppy discs and their printouts and storage tape and printouts, which the foundation allegedly received from Paul March 11.
Lawyers for Guell have won a delay in execution of the Aug. 9 subpoena from Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Albert H. Grenadier. He has set a hearing on the issue for Sept. 13.
Paul also is being investigated by the department for allegedly storing intelligence files at home, investigators said. A 1943 California law prevents the removal or secreting of official documents, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney.
The investigation is the latest development in a decade-old controversy over the intelligence division and its secret investigations. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the police department on behalf of 130 groups and citizens who claim they were illegally spied on.
Western Goals, which operates out of a town house in Old Town, states in promotional literature that its computerized data is "just a push of a button away from our veteran analysts, who will continue to work closely with the official agencies in charge of our protection."