Saturday, April 29, 2006

Not enough going on in the world

So let's investigate anyone for any reason. Why does this sound so familiar?
A Chilling FBI Fishing Expedition: "'Violations of the Espionage Act,' was the response. The Espionage Act dates to 1917 and was used to imprison dissidents who opposed World War I.

Evidently the Justice Department has decided that it wants to prosecute people who whispered national security secrets decades ago to a reporter now dead. The FBI agents asked me if I had seen any classified government documents in the nearly 200 boxes of materials the Anderson family has donated to my university. I replied that I had seen some government documents -- reports, audits, memos -- but didn't know what their classification status was.

'Just because the documents aren't marked 'classified' doesn't mean they're not,' Agent Leslie Martell suggested helpfully. But I was unable to give her the answer that she wanted: that our collection housed classified records.

Later, after I thought about it, I could recall seeing only one set of papers that might once have been classified: the FBI's own documents on Jack Anderson. But our version of those papers was heavily censored, unlike the original FBI file already in their own office.

Ironically, for the past five years the FBI and other federal agencies have refused to turn over such documents to me under the Freedom of Information Act, even though almost all the people named in them are now dead. The government claims it would violate their privacy, jeopardize national security or -- in the most absurd argument of all -- compromise 'ongoing law enforcement investigations.'

I told the FBI that the Anderson papers in our collection were 'ancient history,' literally covered in dust. That didn't matter, the agents replied. They were looking for documents going back to the early 1980s. The agents admitted that the statute of limitations had expired on any possible crimes committed that long ago, but they still wanted to root through our archives because even such old documents might demonstrate a 'pattern and practice' of leaking."
Oh yeah, that would have stopped 9/11. Forward thinking is not a big facet of this administration, but blaming the past and other people for not understanding seems to be the way to go.

And they call themselves grownups. They live in the past and pretend like the future will be rapturous.

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