Confirming what many people have suspected, Foreign Policy reports Tuesday that the CIA at one point kept a file on scholar and political activist Noam Chomsky.
According to Foreign Policy, the CIA has denied this claim for years. A series of Freedom of Information Act requests to the CIA turned up the same response: “We did not locate any records responsive to your request.”
However, a FOIA request sent to the FBI from Foreign Policy through attorney Kel McClanahan has returned with a memo between the FBI and the CIA that experts say confirms the existence of a CIA file on Chomsky.
Foreign Policy reports:
Dated June 8, 1970, the memo discusses Chomsky’s anti-war activities and asks the FBI for more information about an upcoming trip by anti-war activists to North Vietnam. The memo’s author, a CIA official, says the trip has the “ENDORSEMENT OF NOAM CHOMSKY” and requests “ANY INFORMATION” about the people associated with the trip.
“The June 1970 CIA communication confirms that the CIA created a file on Chomsky,” Athan Theoharis, a professor emeritus at Marquette University and an expert on FBI-CIA cooperation and information-gathering, told Foreign Policy. “That file, at a minimum, contained a copy of their communication to the FBI and the report on Chomsky that the FBI prepared in response to this request.”
What’s more is the fact that the CIA has not provided a copy of Chomsky’s file through the legally binding Freedom of Information Act requests. According to Theoharis, this means that the file was likely illegally destroyed at one point.
Foreign Policy writes:
It’s worth noting that the destruction of records is a legally treacherous activity. Under the Federal Records Act of 1950, all federal agencies are required to obtain advance approval from the national Archives for any proposed record disposition plans. The Archives is tasked with preserving records with ‘historical value.’
‘Clearly, the CIA’s file, or files, on Chomsky fall within these provisions,’ said Theoharis.
In response to the information, Chomsky told Foreign Policy: “Someday it will be realized that systems of power typically try to extend their power in any way they can think of.”
“It is important to learn when the CIA decided to destroy the Chomsky file and why they decided that it should be destroyed,” said Theoharis. “Undeniably, Chomsky’s was not the sole CIA file destroyed. How many other files were destroyed?”
Check out the document here.
This article originally was published at Common Dreams.
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