Secrecy News

FBI Seeks Access to Jack Anderson Files

The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to review the files of the late muckraking journalist Jack Anderson and confiscate any documents it believes are classified before they are opened to the public.

This amazing story was first reported yesterday by the Chronicle of Higher Education (see Update below).

There has long been an unwritten agreement the government may do what it must to deter unauthorized disclosures of classified information and to punish leakers but that, once disclosed, the government does not pursue those who receive or publish the information.

Yet the Bush Administration and some on the political right seem intent on disrupting that longstanding convention through subpoenas of reporters, prosecution of recipients of leaks (as in the AIPAC case), threats of prosecution against the press for reporting classified information, and now the FBI pursuit of the Anderson files.

A series of email messages on the FBI matter from Jack Anderson’s son Kevin were posted yesterday by Don Goldberg on his blog here.

Among the abundant news reports of the story are these:

“FBI Rebuffed on Reporter’s Files” by Spencer Hsu, Washington Post, April 19.

“Late Journalist’s Family Resists FBI Request for His Documents” by Nick Timiraos, Los Angeles Times, April 19.

“Dead Journalist’s Archives Sought In U.S. Spy Case” by Eli Lake, New York Sun, April 19.

Update: Progressive Review was actually the first to report this story, on Monday April 17, here.

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