After years of denials, the Central Intelligence Agency has revealed that it did keep a file on Noam Chomsky, an eminent American linguist and anti-war academic, in the 1970s. But the files may have illegally been destroyed, report American media.
The CIA had previously denied that it gathered information on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, well-known for his anti-war activism in the Vietnam era. But now, after a freedom of information request, attorney Kel McClanahan received a memo that confirms the agency gathered records on the American leftist icon, the Foreign Policy reports.
In the document – dated June 1970 – a CIA official asks colleagues from the FBI for information about an upcoming trip of a group of anti-war activists to North Vietnam. The official says in the memo that the trip had “the endorsement of Noam Chomsky.”
The magazine obtained the document and applied for comment to professor Athan Theoharis, an expert on FBI-CIA cooperation and information-gathering.
“The June 1970 CIA communication confirms that the CIA created a file on Chomsky,” he said. “That file, at a minimum, contained a copy of their communication to the FBI and the report on Chomsky that the FBI prepared in response to this request.”
According to the expert, earlier CIA responses to requests about Chomsky files indicate that the records were destroyed “at an unknown time.” Additionally, that might have been done in violation of the law, which requires that all federal agencies get approval from the national Archives before eliminating federal records.
“It is important to learn when the CIA decided to destroy the Chomsky file and why they decided that it should be destroyed,” Theoharis is quoted as saying. He also alleges the Chomsky file was not the only record scrubbed from archives.