August 14, 2013
For years, the Central Intelligence Agency denied it had a secret
file on MIT professor and famed dissident Noam Chomsky. But a new
government disclosure obtained by The Cable reveals for the first time
that the agency did in fact gather records on the anti-war iconoclast
during his heyday in the 1970s.
The disclosure also reveals that Chomsky’s entire CIA file was
scrubbed from Langley’s archives, raising questions as to when the file
was destroyed and under what authority.
The breakthrough in the search for Chomsky’s CIA file comes in the
form of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation. For years, FOIA requests to the CIA garnered
the same denial: “We did not locate any records responsive to your
request.” The denials were never entirely credible, given Chomsky’s
brazen anti-war activism in the 60s and 70s — and the CIA’s
well-documented track record of domestic espionage in the Vietnam era.
But the CIA kept denying, and many took the agency at its word.
Now, a public records request by Chomsky biographer Frederic Maxwell
reveals a memo between the CIA and the FBI that confirms the existence
of a CIA file on Chomsky.
Dated June 8, 1970, the memo discusses Chomsky’s anti-war activities
and asks the FBI for more information about an upcoming trip by anti-war
activists to North Vietnam. The memo’s author, a CIA official, says the
trip has the “ENDORSEMENT OF NOAM CHOMSKY” and requests “ANY
INFORMATION” about the people associated with the trip.
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