Skip to comments.FBI Wants Access to Dead Writer's Papers - Jack Anderson
Posted on 04/18/2006 8:34:50 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Not long after columnist Jack Anderson's funeral, FBI agents called his widow to say they wanted to search his papers. They were looking for confidential government information he might have acquired in a half-century of investigative reporting.
The agents expressed interest in documents that would aid the government's case against two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, who have been charged with disclosing classified information, said Kevin Anderson, the columnist's son.
In addition, the agents told the family they planned to remove from the columnist's archive which has yet to be catalogued any document they came across that was stamped "secret" or "confidential," or was otherwise classified.
"He would be rolling over in his grave to think that the FBI was going to go crawling through his papers willy-nilly," the younger Anderson told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
His account is similar to conversations described by Mark Feldstein, a George Washington University journalism professor and Anderson biographer. Feldstein said he was visited by two agents at his Washington-area home in March.
"They flashed their badges and said they needed access to the papers," said Feldstein, a former investigative reporter. Anderson donated his papers to the university, but the family has not yet formally signed them over.
FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko, a spokesman in Washington, confirmed that the bureau wants to search the Anderson archive and remove classified materials before they are made available to the public. "It has been determined that, among the papers, there are a number of U.S. government documents containing classified information," Kolko said, declining to say how the FBI knows.
The documents contain information about sources and methods used by U.S. intelligence agencies, he said.
"Under the law, no private person may possess classified documents that were illegally provided to them. There is no legal basis under which a third party could retain them as part of an estate. The documents remain the property of the U.S. government," Kolko said.
Anderson died in December at age 83 after a career in which he broke several big scandals and earned a place on President Nixon's "enemies list." Authorities on several occasions tried to find the source of leaked information that became a staple of his syndicated column.
Given his history, Anderson's family might already have been skeptical when the FBI came calling.
The timing only deepened suspicion. The AIPAC investigation dates back at least five years.
"And right after he dies, they contact his widow," Kevin Anderson said.
Still, when the FBI first called Olivia Anderson and said it was a matter of national security, the family was willing to consider the request. Jack Anderson himself cooperated with the FBI from time to time, his son said.
The more the Andersons learned, however, the less willing they were to help. Lawyers for the family are preparing a letter to the FBI declining to cooperate, Kevin Anderson said. The story was first reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
"We don't think there's anything related to the current investigation there, based on the time frame and dad's poor health," he said. "They made it clear they want to look at everything and by the way, if we find anything classified, we'll have to remove it. I suspect that's their real intention, to get through these papers before they become public."
Feldstein, who is writing a book about Anderson's relationship with Nixon, said the attempt is part of the "greatest assault on the news media since the Nixon administration."
The AIPAC case itself has raised questions about press freedoms because the former lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, are accused of sharing information with reporters, among others.
At the same time, journalists have been questioned or subpoenaed in the investigation of who in the Bush administration leaked a CIA officer's identity and the Justice Department is probing who revealed the existence of the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program.
The agents who went to Feldstein's home asked if he had seen any classified documents, wanted the names of all graduate students who had looked through the papers and questioned him about where the documents are housed and who controls access to them.
"On the one hand, I think it's really disturbing to have the FBI come knocking at your door, demanding to look at things you've been reading. It smacks of a Gestapo state. On the other hand, it's so heavy handed to be almost ludicrous," Feldstein said.
Well obviously Feldstein is controlling SOME of the access to the documents by preventing the FBI from looking at the ones in his posession.
Just a fishing expedition.
I guess the FBI is going to dig Jack up and charge him.
I thought so.
He should tell the agents to take a hike. Unless the FBI has a warrant keep out. Even if they do, a lawsuit could be in order.
This more "stuck on stupid" from incompetent bureacrats. Hey FBI! How about fighting crimes and national security risks THAT ARE ACTUALLY OCCURRING RIGHT NOW, LIKE BORDER INVASION, YOU ASSHOLES!
We're going to need to have a look around, citizen. If you're dead and have nothing to hide...
They are afraid that there may be TRUTH that the nation isn't ready for tucked away in his papers.
So get a warrant and remove them. No big deal.
Good. It is illegal to possess classifed documents, especially if they are linked to a criminal prosecution of people who alledgedly disclosed classified information.
I agree with you that our government is failing to protect our borders, but that has nothing to do with this situation. First of all the FBI is not responsible for border security. Customs, INS, and border patrol are the agencies responsible for that task. I will also note that those agencies do not deserve much blame because the elected officials in the Federal Government do not want these agencies to do secure the borders and prevent them from doing so.
Actually, I believe it was Aldrich Ames who exposed Plame - and caused her to be recalled to Washington. She was a covert operative at one time. But when she was recalled - her status changed .. it was just lousy recordkeeping that her classification never got changed on paper.
they couldn't resist getting these bits of proven lies and mis-naming in, could they
I remember this guy. He printed a lot of extremely sensitive information in the WAPO including code words. He used to chum around with a few of the congressional staff and got his information after working out at a Karate studio.
What is the diffence between the FBI and the NAZIs?
Response to COP when he asks to search your house.
Get a Warrant.
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