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FBI Tracked Halberstam for Over Two Decades

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Posted on Nov 8, 2008

This is spooky: A group of journalism students from City University of New York filed a Freedom of Information request and discovered that the FBI tracked the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam for more than two decades.

AP via Google News:

The FBI monitored Halberstam’s reporting, and at times his personal life, from at least the mid-1960s until at least the late ‘80s, the documents show. The agency released only 62 pages of a 98-page dossier on the writer, citing security, privacy and other reasons.

Halberstam won a Pulitzer in 1964 for his coverage of the Vietnam War while working as a reporter for The New York Times. In 1972, he wrote “The Best and the Brightest,” a best-selling book critical of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia.

It’s unclear when the FBI began monitoring Halberstam, though the first documents made public date from 1965, when he was a Times correspondent in Poland during the Cold War.

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By cyrena, November 9, 2008 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

By We must remember, November 9 at 10:50 am #
(Unregistered commenter)
How will we know when we are being manipulated and propagandized, and how will we know if someone exposing an iniquity is a nut or a truthteller?  Through vastly expanded wiretapping and who knows what else, the Bush administration put a chill, perhaps a deathly chill in some cases, on truthseeking and dissent.
Task number one for President Obama: Debushification.

Well, on the first part of this question…we don’t know, making this the ultimate $50000 gazillion dollar question which will continued to be studied through infinity.

But, there is NO denying the very serious damage the Dick Bush administration has done to our society by destroying the constitution and the rule of law. In fact, someone else mentions here, (or references) the work of Hannah Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” and it is right on spot for this, and so much else that has been so destructive to us, collectively and individually, because of the Dick Bush administration.

That said, I think nearly all of us probably agree that task number on for President Obama should be Debushcheneyification. AND…lucky for us, President Obama seems to have the same idea; As we now see from his apparently long ago decision to reverse all of the unconstitutional Executive Orders that the Thug regime has created over the past 8 years.

(too bad he can’t undo the damage caused by them).

But, to quote Maya Angelou:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
- Maya Angelou

Now of course just as any other self-respecting scholar of Law & Society must be to hear this news, I’m delighted. smile

And yes JohnT, the FBI has been monitoring people in the public eye for longer than I’ve been around, and I’m no spring chicken.

I don’t honestly know, (and I’m not sure who would) how today’s surveillance compares to the cointellpro operations of the 60’s and 70’s, when Hoover was at the peak of his dastardly deeds. That might be an interesting project..just to do a compare and contrast.

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By Xntrk, November 9, 2008 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We must remember said: How will we know when we are being manipulated and propagandized, and how will we know if someone exposing an iniquity is a nut or a truthteller?

It shouldn’t matter, IMO. Just assume someone is listening, and recording and be thankful that at the rate we are burning AvGas the ‘no-fly list’ will be obsolete and we’ll all be riding horses before they get round to your name…

Seriously, I think these guys are present whenever I use an electronic device, whether it be a cell phone or computer.

I just hope they don’t all expire from boredom over the sounds of Cuban Jazz and popcorn being munched as I read the morning news to my dogs. I like to visualize a small hard-core group of dedicated neo-cons trying to decide if I am talking about Bush or a cockroach when I tell my kid,friend,neighbor “Just Kill him for god’s sake!”

I send an e-mail message and receive uncounted ads about what ever google thought I was talking about. No wonder the country is bankrupt, if this is the intelligence we depend on.

They used to worry about an artificial intelligence that would allow a computer to think just like the human mind. The truly scary thing is that I think they already have it - based on my meanderings thru the internet.  That is enough to give any sane person nightmares.

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By Jeanine Molloff, November 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As the granddaughter of Russian immigrants who fled form the Czar to escape certain death—just because of religion—I have found the rather RETARDED escapades of our ‘counter-intelligence’ personnel rather entertaining.  I, of course am perfectly happy to share my knowledge OF FOUR LETTER WORDS WHICH ALL DESCRIBE THE ACT OF FORNICATION OR OF FEMALE DOGS—to these fascist idiots.  Their weapon is fear; don’t fall for it.  If you see some of these idiots—give them the middle finger salute as a tribute to their ‘servicing’ of the POTUS.  After all, every whore has their JOHN.  As for myself; I intend to continue writing and fighting for a true democratic republic and a return to full constitutional rule.  So, to all you retarded ‘intelligence’ goons spying on your fellow citizens; I send you the middle finger salute.

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By Folktruther, November 9, 2008 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Yes, John, the intelligence and police agencies routinely spied on public figures during the Cold War, including John Gailbraith, John Lennon, and Albert Einstein.  Obama just voted for expanding and continuing it.

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By We must remember, November 9, 2008 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The issue is that we will never know the stories that did not get written, the interviews that were not given, nor the problems that could have been solved and lives saved were it not for the FBI’s interference with Mr. Halberstem’s life.

Now that the Bush government has ramped up a minor harassment enterprise to take in the whole country, we’ll all be subject to second-guessing ourselves, and, of course, others. 

How will we know when we are being manipulated and propagandized, and how will we know if someone exposing an iniquity is a nut or a truthteller?  Through vastly expanded wiretapping and who knows what else, the Bush administration put a chill, perhaps a deathly chill in some cases, on truthseeking and dissent.

Task number one for President Obama: Debushification.

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By JohnT, November 9, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Isn’t FBI monitoring of anybody in the public eye commonly done?

Hannah Arendt describes the rise of the modern secret police in The Origins of Totalitarianism. She used Joseph Fouché, Napoleon’s secret police chief as the proto-type. In Stanford library I found a dissertation on Fouché that was based on secret police reports compiled by the Ancien Régime. Apparently, Fouché was unaware of those reports.

The FBI’s files on Chertoff will be a boon to future historians, eh?

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By cyrena, November 8, 2008 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

Why these dirty bastards. Will we EVER see the end of the dastardly deeds of Hoover and his ilk? It doesn’t seem like it. Dick Bush just revved it up about a jillion notches during the past 8 years, and now we’ve got a whole new infection on top of the earlier “America’s Worst Public Servant” that was Hoover. He’s been outvoted at this point, but he’s still a nightmare that won’t go away.

Here’s the part, (from his wife) that I can really relate to:

“..She called the agency’s monitoring of the writer “a terrible waste” of time and taxpayer money.

“David’s life was very much an open book,” she said. “He did not much care about what people who disagreed with him thought about him.”“

That’s what I don’t get with these people, and now it’s not only the FBI. That’s the horror. Because if it was ONLY the FBI, (instead of private sector corporate ‘security people’) they wouldn’t HAVE the resources. But know, they co-opt the corporate entity treating it as a part of the government, because that’s the marriage that has become our so-called Democracy.

So now we’ve got everybody spying on everybody else, even though there’s no reason for it. I despise these people.

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