Originally posted by @suzianne to Mchill
"Giving aid and comfort" to our enemies certainly does apply.
Russia's not an official declared enemy in war of the USA.
The US Constitution usually sets a high bar to clear in cases of treason.
But that did not prevent the unjust conviction of Iva Toguri D'Aquino (allegedly 'Tokyo Rose' ),
which apparently was influenced by popular hysteria and racism against a Japanese American woman.
There were demands for her execution. She later received a pardon by President Ford.
(Unfortunately, some Americans remember only her conviction for treason and not the
proof of her innocence, which led to the presidential pardon.)
"After the Japanese defeat, Toguri was detained for a year by the United States military
before being released for lack of evidence. Department of Justice officials agreed that
her broadcasts were "innocuous", but when Toguri tried to return to the US, a popular
uproar ensued, prompting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to renew its investigation
of Toguri's wartime activities. She was subsequently charged by the United States
Attorney's Office with eight counts of treason. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on
one count, making her the seventh American to be convicted on that charge, for which
she spent more than six years out of a ten-year sentence in prison. Journalistic and
governmental investigators years later pieced together the history of irregularities with
the indictment, trial, and conviction, including the allegation that key witnesses had
perjured themselves at the various stages of their testimonies. Toguri received a pardon
in 1977 from U.S. President Gerald Ford. "
"Grand jurors had been skeptical of the government's case. Tom DeWolfe, the Special
Assistant Attorney General, was "a veteran of radio treason prosecutions" who complained
that "it was necessary for me to practically make a fourth of July speech in order to
obtain [an] indictment", leading him to urge the Department of Justice to further investigate
and so "shore up" the case in Japan. The further work, however, "created new problems
for DeWolfe", and soon after D'Aquino was indicted, government witness Hiromu Yagi
"admitted that his grand jury testimony was perjured.
In 1976, an investigation by Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Yates discovered that Kenkichi Oki
and George Mitsushio, who had given the most damaging testimony at Toguri's trial, had
perjured themselves. They stated that FBI and U.S. occupation police had coached them
for over two months about what they were to say on the stand, and had been threatened
with treason trials themselves if they didn't cooperate."
My point is that the US Constitution has failed to protect a US citizen from being wrongly
convicted of treason upon the basis of US government-compelled perjured testimonies.
So I would submit that Americans (though I don't expect them to listen to a historian like me)
should be much more careful about throwing around inflammatory accusations of treason.