Jack Anderson Files - FBI Needs To Back OffFBI thugs are trying to get access to the late journalist Jack Anderson's file so they can steal documents they don't want public.
FBI agents waited until Jack Anderson was dead before trying to tamper with his files. They had good reason to be wary; the muckraking journalist had gotten the best of government bureaucracies many times during his career.
Now itâ€™s up to Andersonâ€™s family to carry on his fight against government arrogance and secrecy. His wife and children have support from librarians, historians and journalists. A dose of public outrage would be helpful, too, and very appropriate.
Anderson collected about 200 boxes of documents while breaking news about Watergate, CIA assassination plots and other Washington scandals.
Anderson spent the last 15 years fighting Parkinsonâ€™s disease, however, and did little reporting during that time. He died in December at age 83, and his family intends to give his files to George Washington University.
But FBI agents demanded access to the documents and said they would withdraw any confidential or classified material.
The FBI claims that Andersonâ€™s files might contain information about a case involving two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. They are charged with receiving classified information in recent years.
Andersonâ€™s family, his biographer and reporters who worked for him have said the journalist never gathered material about that case. The attempted raid on Andersonâ€™s files looks like a poorly veiled effort to remove material that could be embarrassing to federal agencies and perhaps enable them to punish people who once shared information with Anderson.
It is one of the more outrageous steps in a campaign by the Bush administration to hide information from the public. Officials have stepped up the classification of documents, reduced declassification, and even reclassified material in historical collections that has been open for years.
Anderson believed the American public generally had the right to know what was going on inside government agencies. Itâ€™s an insult to his legacy that government officials should attempt to rifle through his archives in search of material to hide or use against his sources.
The files should be indexed by an experienced librarian and opened up to historians, journalists, students and others. The FBI can get in line with everyone else.