WIlliam Howard Taft feature

Library of Congress: William Howard Taft, three-quarter-length portrait, seated, facing front, smiling while talking on a telephone as he receives news of his nomination as the 1908 Republican presidential candidate from President Theodore Roosevelt

Congress Passes the Defense Secrets Act of 1911

By March 3, 1911

The Defense Secrets Act of 1911 is passed by Congress and is signed into law by President William Howard Taft. This act banned the gathering of information in and around military bases and other property, as well as the dissemination of defense information to those without proper clearance.

While a precursor to the Espionage Act of 1917, this act did not include a provision requiring intent to injure the United States or advantage a foreign nation in order for prosecution, nor did it require the publication of improperly gathered or disseminated information.


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