F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter
WASHINGTON, April 18 — The F.B.I. is seeking to go through the files of the late newspaper columnist Jack Anderson to remove classified material he may have accumulated in four decades of muckraking Washington journalism.
Mr. Anderson's family has refused to allow a search of 188 boxes, the files of a well-known reporter who had long feuded with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had exposed plans by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Fidel Castro, the machinations of the Iran-contra affair and the misdemeanors of generations of congressmen.
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But the F.B.I.'s quest for secret material leaked years ago to a now-dead journalist, first reported Tuesday in the Chronicle of Higher Education, seems unprecedented, said several people with long experience in First Amendment law.
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Kevin Anderson said said F.B.I. agents first approached his mother, Olivia, early this year.
"They talked about the Aipac case and that they thought Dad had some classified documents and they wanted to take fingerprints from them" to identify possible sources, he recalled. "But they said they wanted to look at all 200 boxes and if they found anything classified they'd be duty-bound to take them."
Both Kevin Anderson and Mr. Feldstein, the journalism professor, said they did not think the columnist ever wrote about Aipac.
Mr. Anderson said he thought the Aipac case was a pretext for a broader search, a conclusion shared by others, including Thomas S. Blanton, who oversees the National Security Archive, a collection of historic documents at George Washington.
"Recovery of leaked C.I.A. and White House documents that Jack Anderson got back in the 70's has been on the F.B.I.'s wanted list for decades," Mr. Blanton said.
Mr. Carter of the F.B.I. declined to comment on any connection to the Aipac case or to say how the bureau learned that classified documents were in the Anderson files.
I can't even think of a way to comment on this. It's just chilling. The horse is out of the barn, boys. You have bigger things to worry about today.