Looks like the CIA really has been spying on controversial author Noam Chomsky all these years.
The Central Intelligence Agency denied that it had a secret file on the MIT professor for years, but finally copped to keeping tabs on the famous dissident since the 1970’s, at the height of his anti-war activities.
In an exclusive published to The Cable, the CIA’s file on Chomsky was removed from Langley’s archives and destroyed, which raises questions as to when it was destroyed and under whose authority.
The revelation of the CIA’s Chomsky file is actually due to a Freedom of Information Act request from the FBI. This isn’t the first time a FOIA request has been made for the file. Many have been made over the years, but have generally all been denied.
The destruction of the file should prove controversial as well, since the Federal Records Act of 1950 requires requests for the destruction of records to go through the National Archives for approval. They usually say no, because the Archives is tasked with preserving records of “historical value.”
“Clearly, the CIA’s file, or files, on Chomsky fall within these provisions,” said Athan Theoharis, an expert on FBI-CIA cooperation, information gathering, and professor emeritus at Marquette University.
When reached for comment, Chomsky displayed his trademark cynicism.
“Some day it will be realized that systems of power typically try to extend their power in any way they can think of,” he said of evidence that the CIA kept a file on him.
The story will certainly raise red flags for anyone following the various privacy scandals that the federal government has been embroiled in lately. During a presser last Friday, President Obama validated concerns of federal overreach with NSA spying programs, and said that he was planning reforms that would “make the American people more comfortable” with such programs.
But as The Cable points out, may questions still remain about Chomsky’s mystery CIA file. How far back does governmental spying on American citizens go? Who destroyed the file, and why? What else has been destroyed?