A recently surfaced memo between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reveals that the two government agencies did, despite years of denial, have a file on MIT professor and contemporary political thinker, Noam Chomsky. This revelation is the result of a public records request made by Freedom of Information Act attorney Kel McClanahan.
Information activists who tried to obtain such information received the same denial statement that “We did not locate any records responsive to your request.” Despite this lie, Chomsky’s heavy involvement with anti-war activism during the Vietnam War got him the attention of the CIA.
In 1970, Chomsky, along with fellow activists,allegedly planned a trip to North Vietnam. This raised the eyebrows of the United States government and the CIA created a correspondence with the FBI, requesting more information about the planned trip. The CIA memo indicated Chomsky’s apparent “endorsement” of the trip, which prompted the request for further information.
Soon after the document leaked, it was obtained by Marquette University professor emeritus Athan Theoharis, an expert on government intelligence gathering. He studied the document and noted that the Chomsky file created by the CIA “at a minimum, contained a copy of their communication to the FBI and the report on Chomsky that the FBI prepared to this request.” He further noted evidence that the CIA tampered with the file, in that the CIA’s denial of the file’s existence confirms its destroying.
Destroying the documents is illegal under the Federal Records Act of 1950. The act dictates that “all federal agencies are required to obtain advance approval from the national Archives for any proposed record disposition plans.” Theoharis said Chomsky’s file “fall within these provisions.”
It’s very troubling, despite set laws stating otherwise, that the CIA can just destroy records and dossiers at the drop of a hat. It basically gives them unlimited power and self-governance as information and knowledge is the driving force behind effective oversight.
In light of his discoveries, Theoharis said “Undeniably, Chomsky’s was not the sole CIA file destroyed. How many other files were destroyed?”
Along with the CIA, Chomsky’s staunch opposition to the Vietnam War and the U.S. government got him placed on President Nixon’s Enemies List and the Unabomber’s kill list. He wrote for the politically-leftist magazine “Ramparts,” whose staff was illegally investigated by the CIA.