[Vision2020] FBI Shaking Down Dead Man (Molly Ivins)

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Fri Apr 28 06:25:50 PDT 2006

>From today's (April 28, 2006) Spokesman review -


FBI shaking down dead man 
By Molly Ivins

April 28, 2006

It's nice to know that the investigative reporter Jack Anderson is still
under investigation, although seriously dead.

Anderson died last year, and for 19 years before his death he suffered from
Parkinson's disease and was increasingly less active as a reporter. Now that
he's safely deceased, the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to go
through nearly 200 boxes of his files to see if there are any classified
documents in there. If it's classified, they want it back - even though
Anderson was in the habit of printing anything he ever got that was of any
This is apparently part of the Great Bush Reclassification Project, in which
government information that has previously been declassified and offered for
public consumption is now being reclassified as secret so nobody can find
out about it. Those who saw government documents between declassification
and reclassification are just going to have to forget what they saw. That,
or some Man in Black will be sent around to zap your memory with a little

For some reason, the FBI thinks Jack Anderson, despite Parkinson's disease,
had some papers involving two employees of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee who have been criminally charged with receiving classified
information. That case is a crock in itself, and to use it to dig through
Anderson's archived stuff is just ludicrous. 

Among Anderson's targets of old was the Federal Bureau of Investigation
itself - gee, still worried he might have photos of J. Edgar Hoover in a
dress after all these years? 

Anderson was a hardworking investigative reporter. Among his scoops was
exposing the CIA's plots to kill Fidel Castro and breaking details of the
Iran-Contra affair. I always liked him because he was so un-Establishment, a
Mormon with nine kids. Anderson never had time for the Washington dinner
party circuit and never gave a damn about it.

Even some other journalists looked down on him - he was never part of D.C.'s
"cool" in group. But the proof was in the work, and although he made a few
memorable mistakes, he was consistently so far ahead of the pack he made his
detractors look like the lazy snobs they were.

Anderson's son Kevin said family members are willing to go to jail rather
than let Anderson's papers be confiscated. "It's my father's legacy," he
told the New York Times. "The government has always, and continues to this
day, to abuse the secrecy stamp. My father's view was that the public is the
employer of these government employees and has the right to know what
they're up to."

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is so hopelessly confounded by the
problems of secrecy, it has now fired a CIA agent for allegedly leaking the
truth concerning a gulag of "black site" prisons we keep in Eastern Europe.
(Remember when only the Soviets did that?) And of course Bush claims he has
the right to instantly declassify anything in order to back up a phony
charge against a political opponent. How lovely.

I listened to that pompous, self-righteous blowhard Bill Bennett saying the
other day that several reporters who won Pulitzers this year should be in
jail. I guess the responsibility of being the Virtue Czar has finally driven
Bennett daffy. If he can't see that the problem is an administration that
runs torture programs, gulags and illegal domestic spying programs, rather
than reporters who find out about these programs and print the truth, then I
say it's time for a new Virtue Czar. 

Jack Anderson was right: The people in government work for us. What they do
is our responsibility because they do it in our name and with our money -
that's why we have a right to know about it. 

The other day I heard a young man say, "I have an issue with torture." Turns
out he was offended by some scenes in a movie he'd been to. I have an issue
with torture, too. I get upset when it's real and it's my country doing it.
I guess I wouldn't make a good Virtue Czar.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"I love my country but fear my government."

- Author Unknown

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