[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK
Secret McCarthy papers released
Senator Joseph McCarthy holding Senate hearings
By Steve Schifferes
BBC News Online, Washington

Senator Joseph McCarthy at Senate hearings, l953
Senator McCarthy browbeat witnesses he accused of subversion

Fifty years after Senator Joseph McCarthy began a communist witch hunt, the Senate has released transcripts of the secret hearings he held to try to intimidate witnesses before they appeared in public.

More than 500 witnesses were called before Senator McCarthy's permanent investigations subcommittee in the 1950s.

Many had only tenuous connections with communists - through family members, or book clubs where Karl Marx was read, or unions with left-wing leaders.

If somebody told me my mother was a Communist, I would get on the phone
Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1953

Nevertheless, an accusation by McCarthy could cost someone his job, his reputation, and (in one