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FBI trying to "clean up" journalist's papers before they are opened to historians.

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FBI trying to "clean up" journalist's papers before they are opened to historians.

Old 04-20-06, 06:59 PM
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FBI trying to "clean up" journalist's papers before they are opened to historians.

I find this rather appalling. I'm sick of the historical community and public at large being told what they can and can not know. these are a man's personal archive that he's accumulated. he wants it open to scholars and to be made part of an archive. The FBI can go fuck itself.

FBI SEEKS TO REVIEW AND CULL JACK ANDERSON PAPERS
According to a 18 April report in the Chronicle of Higher Education,

George Washington University is about to receive nearly 200 boxes of papers
documenting the life and career of investigative journalist Jack Anderson, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants access first to scan and pull documents prior to their public release.

It is well known that Anderson, who died last December at age 83, cultivated secret sources throughout the halls of government. He had scores of sources inside government and used their information to document the contents of his "Washington Merry-go-Round" column. His insider sources passed on information that enabled Anderson to investigate and write about Watergate, CIA assassination schemes, and countless other secret operations, many of which have turned into political and institutional scandals for the FBI, CIA, and other national security agencies as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle.

The collection is expected to be a treasure trove of information for journalists and historians. But according to the Chronicle, "the government wants to see the documents before anyone else. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have told university officials and members of the Anderson family that they want to go through the archive, and that agents will remove any item they deem confidential or top secret."

The Chronicle reports that the trustees of the Anderson estate have yet to transfer ownership of the archive to George Washington University but they are outraged and plan to fight the FBI's request. According to Anderson's son Kevin N. Anderson, if Jack Anderson were alive today, he "would probably come out of his skin at the thought of the FBI going through his papers." Furthermore, "If papers were taken -- even if some were stamped "declassified" and returned -- that would "destroy any academic, scholarly, and historic value" of the archive stated Kevin Anderson.

Some libraries and researchers see the FBI's request as part of a renewed emphasis on secrecy in government. According to Duane Webster, executive director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) the FBI's interest in the Anderson archive is "deeply disturbing and deeply in conflict with the academy's interests in freedom of inquiry, research, and scholarship." Others believe that while the archive may contain some classified information, most of it is likely decades old and have no implications for present day criminal investigations or national security. The FBI, however, asserts that under current law, if there are classified papers in the Anderson archive, those papers remain the property of the United States. Furthermore, officials claim it is a crime for anyone to unlawfully possess still classified documents and that the government is well within statutory mandates to review the collection for such materials.

Although the FBI has yet to detail its plans, sources close to this story report that the FBI is in contact with Justice Department officials and may well seek to subpoena the papers if an agreement cannot be reached with Anderson's family and the university. Then the FBI would have free access to the collection that has yet to be organized and cataloged by George Washington University. In essence, the FBI would have to pick through the entire collection and pull any documents it wished (probably those marked "Confidential" or "Secret") consistent with national security directives.
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Old 04-20-06, 07:00 PM
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Yep, complete and utter bullshit.

Their personal documents. The FBI has no jurisdiction to censor what can be released.
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Old 04-20-06, 07:12 PM
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I would hope that their request is denied. This seems like the type of thing that could go all the way to the SCOTUS. It bothers me that they don't even know what he knew, so they want to make sure he didn't know the good stuff.
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Old 04-20-06, 07:19 PM
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I would hope all documents are put online for several months, then given to the FBI.

Makes you wonder to what lengths the government controls its society. If many of you knew, you'd hardly call this country a "free" country.

And yes, the FBI can fuck itself. Then corpse-fuck Hoover's remains.
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Old 04-20-06, 08:01 PM
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I don't like the idea of the FBI going through someone's private documents one bit, even after they're dead.
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Old 04-20-06, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
I would hope all documents are put online for several months, then given to the FBI.
Unfortunately, such an undertaking would be expensive and time-consuming. I doubt the library has any floating money they could earmark for such a project.
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Old 04-20-06, 11:07 PM
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It's pretty sad that I'd have to suggest this, but maybe the family should consider smuggling the papers outside of the U.S. and donating them to a library in another country?
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Old 04-20-06, 11:21 PM
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Kudos to the family for standing up for freedom of information. I hope this gets appropriate attention in the press to help build public sentiment.
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Old 04-20-06, 11:56 PM
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Given that government documents concerning the same subjects are probably still classified I don't see how donating Anderson's documents should be allowed to circumvent that.

I don't disagree that many of those old government documents should be declassified, and maybe all of Anderson's papers are innocuous at this point, but just having someone die while holding information that is currently labeled classified doesn't mean the information is suddenly unclassified.

It would be preferable if some neutral organization could prune them though. But who is neutral in these matters?
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Old 04-21-06, 12:08 AM
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Right, it's classified, but unfortunatley it's in private hands, now. Oops, the goveernment fucked up, too damn bad. No one has the right to rummage through and censor (YES, CENSOR!) someone's personal documents, regardless of where he got the information.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:10 AM
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Reporters, especially Jack Anderson, have sources that give them classified information because they trust them not to reveal it. I would think they deservedly expected that even after death.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:14 AM
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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:17 AM
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Tell that to Sandy Berger.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:20 AM
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Right, he stole classified documents. Anderson was given the information. Not the same thing.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:28 AM
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Just the notes Berger took on his own documents, ones he had access to, were illegal.

So you can tell it to John Deutch who didn't even steal or copy classified documents.

If I had classifed information and I gave it to you, you could not release it without committing a crime. If you were clueless that they were classified you might get away with it. Anderson and his family aren't clueless.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I don't like the idea of the FBI going through someone's private documents one bit, even after they're dead.
Hey, when did you become Moderator.

Big Brother is expanding people! Beware!


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Old 04-21-06, 12:56 AM
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Maybe I misunderstood what was there. I didn't know he had actual classified documents that he shouldn't have....I just assumed he probably said or wrote things that he had knowledge of that he learned from stuff. Seems to me that if he has actual classified documents, they ought to be able to have a lawyer from each side set those aside and let a lawsuit go forward about those and release all of his actual personal stuff right away.
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Old 04-21-06, 01:04 AM
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Whether or not he has the actual documents, say somebody told him about Valerie Plame. Yeah, I know, big deal. You don't think all sorts of people would be making a big stink about that? Make it any classified secret of the government, UFO in Roswell, I don't care.

Information is leaked by all sorts of people on background in order to show the big picture. There are reporters who have reputations of never releasing the classified parts of that information.

So he wrote it down and then he died. All of a sudden this classified information becomes unclassified? Maybe the person who gave it to him should be taken out and shot, but it doesn't excuse releasing the information.
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Old 04-21-06, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by X
Whether or not he has the actual documents, say somebody told him about Valerie Plame. Yeah, I know, big deal. You don't think all sorts of people would be making a big stink about that? Make it any classified secret of the government, UFO in Roswell, I don't care.

Information is leaked by all sorts of people on background in order to show the big picture. There are reporters who have reputations of never releasing the classified parts of that information.

So he wrote it down and then he died. All of a sudden this classified information becomes unclassified? Maybe the person who gave it to him should be taken out and shot, but it doesn't excuse releasing the information.
But, see, the government really has no say here. These are private papers. By your logic, the FBI should be able to go up to any reporter and demand to see if their notes and files contain classified information. Further, the federal government should be able to make newspapers edit their copy, or make authors rewrite their books, since any and all of these could contain "classified" information.

But that's hogwash. That's not what our democracy is about. Once information is in the hands of the press, it is no longer secret information -- and it is up to the private citizens to vett their own work to avoid breaking the law.
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Old 04-21-06, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by X
Reporters, especially Jack Anderson, have sources that give them classified information because they trust them not to reveal it. I would think they deservedly expected that even after death.
How can you say that? Were you one of his sources? Why do you think they expected what they told him would never be revealed, ever? Seems to me, just speculating, that the kind of person who would leak to a reporter might understand that eventually, information has a way of getting free.
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Old 04-21-06, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by shaun3000
Right, it's classified, but unfortunatley it's in private hands, now. Oops, the goveernment fucked up, too damn bad. No one has the right to rummage through and censor (YES, CENSOR!) someone's personal documents, regardless of where he got the information.
So, it matters not at all, as to the contents of the documents? What if it includes a master list of all SSN's? Or a list of all foreign agents in the pay of the CIA? Would you still be defending it's publication?
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Old 04-21-06, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
Yep, complete and utter bullshit.

Their personal documents. The FBI has no jurisdiction to censor what can be released.
If those personal documents contain classified material that was not authorized for release or declassified, they damn sure have jurisdiction.

Last edited by classicman2; 04-21-06 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 04-21-06, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Nazgul
So, it matters not at all, as to the contents of the documents? What if it includes a master list of all SSN's? Or a list of all foreign agents in the pay of the CIA? Would you still be defending it's publication?
Do you really think that a librarian would be uncaring or undiscrimiating enough to authorize the publication of a huge list of SSNs?

I think the library should take the papers as soon as possible and catalog them all. It's a lot harder to seize materials from a library than from a private citizen.

Last edited by TracerBullet; 04-21-06 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 04-21-06, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Nazgul
So, it matters not at all, as to the contents of the documents? What if it includes a master list of all SSN's? Or a list of all foreign agents in the pay of the CIA? Would you still be defending it's publication?
Don't confuse the morality or consequences of publication with the right to do so.
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Old 04-21-06, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TracerBullet
Do you really think that a librarian would be uncaring or undiscrimiating enough to authorize the publication of a huge list of SSNs?
My point is, that type of sensitive material should never make it to the librarian.
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