The CIA has long maintained that it did not keep a file on Noam Chomsky, the linguist and prominent left-wing advocate. But now, new evidence has emerged apparently contradicting the agency, showing that officials did in fact collect information on the anti-war academic in the 1970s.
Previously, in response to a freedom of information request, the CIA had said that thorough searches of its records had not turned up any files on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor. But a new request by a lawyer to the FBI has led to the discovery of a June 1970 memo in which a CIA official asked the FBI for information about a trip to Vietnam planned by a group of American anti-war activists. The official says the trip has been endorsed by Mr Chomsky.
The memo was obtained by Foreign Policy magazine, which sought the advice of Athan Theoharis, an expert on FBI-CIA cooperation. “The June 1970 CIA communication confirms that the CIA created a file on Chomsky,” he told the magazine. “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.”
Furthermore, he added, the memo and the CIA’s past response to requests about records on Mr Chomsky suggest that the file has been destroyed.
“The CIA’s response... that it has no file on Chomsky confirms that its Chomsky file was destroyed at an unknown time,” he said.