The CIA Admits To Spying On Noam Chomsky, Destroying Records


For years, the Central Intelligence Agency denied that it kept a file on linguist, polemicist and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky related to his decades of brazen political activism. But in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Foreign Policy, the agency included documents proving that it kept an eye on Chomsky throughout at least the 1970’s, before quietly destroying the evidence.

Of course, Chomsky likely never had any doubt that the government was keeping an eye on him. To this day, he remains politically active in criticizing the world’s powerbrokers and even acting as a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit Chris Hedges vs. President Obama, which challenges the government’s ability to indefinitely detain individuals per the National Defense Authorization Act.

Via Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog:

For years, FOIA requests to the CIA garnered the same denial: “We did not locate any records responsive to your request.” The denials were never entirely credible, given Chomsky’s brazen anti-war activism in the 60s and 70s — and the CIA’s well-documented track record of domestic espionage in the Vietnam era. But the CIA kept denying, and many took the agency at its word.

Now, a public records request by FOIA attorney Kel McClanahan reveals a memo between the CIA and the FBI that confirms the existence of a CIA file on Chomsky.

Dated June 8, 1970, the memo discusses Chomsky’s anti-war activities and asks the FBI for more information about an upcoming trip by anti-war activists to North Vietnam. The memo’s author, a CIA official, says the trip has the “ENDORSEMENT OF NOAM CHOMSKY” and requests “ANY INFORMATION” about the people associated with the trip.

After receiving the document, The Cable sent it to Athan Theoharis, a professor emeritus at Marquette University and an expert on FBI-CIA cooperation and information-gathering.

“The June 1970 CIA communication confirms that the CIA created a file on Chomsky,” said Theoharis. “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.”

The evidence also substantiates the fact that Chomsky’s file was tampered with, says Theoharis. “The CIA’s response to the FOIA requests that it has no file on Chomsky confirms that its Chomsky file was destroyed at an unknown time,” he said.

The publication also notes that per the Federal Records Act of 1950, intelligence documents on an outspoken public figure like Chomsky may have had “historical value,” which could have made the destruction of the files a crime. Though there is no way to know what justification and protocols the CIA might have used to avoid having to preserve the files on Chomsky for the national Archives.

If Chomsky’s files simply disappeared from Langley’s archives, Foreign Policy posits, there is no way of knowing if files on other Americans have simply disappeared or what documents detailing dark chapters in the CIA’s history may have vanished.

“It is important to learn when the CIA decided to destroy the Chomsky file and why they decided that it should be destroyed,” Theoharis said in an interview with the publication. “Undeniably, Chomsky’s was not the sole CIA file destroyed. How many other files were destroyed?”

Asked what he thought of the CIA’s delayed acknowledgment, Chomsky really didn’t need to say much. After all, his body of work includes books, essays, and interviews and lectures likely numbering in the thousands, which warn of the corruption of power and the danger it poses the unconcerned, often oblivious, populace.

“Some day it will be realized that systems of power typically try to extend their power in any way they can think of,” he said.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • tesmith47

    ok folks lets hear from all of the anti-government / libertarian types

  • Robbie

    Noam Chomsky met with the leader of and celebrated the cause of Hezbollah which is a well known terror organization.

  • Luisa

    So what?! He’s a freaking communist bent on the total destruction of the USA. You see…here’s the difference: He prefers the ‘glamor’ of terrorists who like to murder Americans. Whereas we — we who have a camera at the end of every street, and a black box in every car — we are just normal, law-abiding tax-payers who are too stupid to realize we are the sole support of jerks like him.
    Those who engage in conspiracy to commit murder have ALWAYS been subject to scrutiny.

    • just_reality

      Sorry, but to be honest, this reminds me of a dog barking at a jet flying overhead.

  • RonWillison

    Mr. Chomsky’s biggest crime was having the nads to be critical of Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinian Jews, Christian’s, Arab’s Bedouin’s and others whose lands were taken from them and given to the Rothschild Zionist’s and other banker types that had been plotting and drooling over those territories for decades prior to the 1948 UN Resolution to partition those lands. Which was and is the reason and cause of 90 percent of the worlds woes today.

    • Vigilant

      Ultra-leftist anarchist Noam Chomsky is against everything the US Constitution stands for. If he was “spied on” by the CIA, he certainly deserved it.

      Anything the CIA may have done of a “criminal” nature with regard to Chomsky pales when compared with his crimes against human decency.

      • just_reality

        Could you provide some evidence, maybe a quote from one of his books, that supports your opinion that Noam Chomsky opposes the US Constitution. Thanks.

      • Robert Messmer

        No it doesn’t because the CIA was not supposed to be spying on any US citizen living in the USA. The problem is that the CIA was spying on him and many more. That is and was the job of the FBI, not the CIA. Of course now that’s been taken over by the NSA. While the quote you provided does come from Noam Chomsky it is from an interview in 1997, not from one of his books as you were asked to provide. Be that as it may however, if one reads the whole interview as presented by the link the out of context quote reads quite differently. Perhaps you are attacking him because he was the one that suggested Obamacare or as he put it “…meaningful health care program…” I don’t think it turned out the way he thought it would.

        No criminal behaviour on the part of a citizen ever excuses criminal behaviour by the government. Which is why a warrant is required for a search, why the accused is entitled to a quick trial, etc, etc,etc. Was he ever tried and convicted for his “crimes”?

    • Gimmesumadat Whatyougot



      Also, watch the U.N. It is the “wild Beast of Revelation”. It received the death-stroke (as League of Nations) and got healed to become the beast that “performs great signs, so that it should even make fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the sight of mankind.” Rev. 13:13

      The UN is as a sovereign nation unto itself, that will be used to bring about a ‘New World Order”

    • billybob

      Incidently where are the Rothechilds now days?? I read a book many years ago called the Fabulous Rothchilds. It was history of the family both in England and France. Wealth beyond belief.

  • ibn insha

    I disagree with this man’s philosophy but I can’t believe that so many of the commentators agree on government spying on him. Whatever happened to the constitution which all of us claim to believe to be sacred like scriptures? You cannot allow a person’s constitutional rights to be violated just because you don’t agree with his philosophy. Thought police? Remember, what goes around comes around.