Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Harvey Said

From The Boston Globe

FARAH STOCKMAN’S enlightening report on the uncovering, pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch, of an FBI report on Edward Kennedy’s alleged South American activities in 1961 raises more questions than perhaps the self-styled conservative group intends (“FBI memo tied Kennedy to brothel, leftists in ’61,’’ Page A1, March 1).

Why was the FBI spying on the personal and political activities of the president’s brother, who was a year away from launching his own campaign for the Senate? Is the FBI still spying on the president’s relatives and on prospective candidates for legislative office? Of what concern are any citizen’s political or sexual proclivities to the FBI or any other executive branch snoops? Why did it take so long for the FBI to confess to this unseemly and legally dubious invasion of privacy, and is anyone being held to account? Would Judicial Watch be this exhilarated if it were to learn that government snoops were maintaining files on, say, conservatives? Would Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton’s extolling of greater government transparency apply to the activities of a group such as WikiLeaks?

The next time I have a problem (as I did this past summer) at the passport control desk when I’m trying to reenter the United States from a foreign airport, I’ll be sure to ask Judicial Watch to help me learn what the feds believe about my personal or political life that is causing the holdup.

Harvey A. Silverglate
The writer is a lawyer and the author, most recently, of “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.’’

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