Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A number of bloggers are puzzling over this story, which appeared in a small newspaper in Washington State yesterday:

Five federal government officials, including three from the CIA, have removed several documents from the archival papers of the late Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson housed at the University of Washington.

Last week the federal document security team spent three days in the special collections division of the UW Suzzallo-Allen library. The officials, which also included people from the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, combed through 1,200 boxes of material using a five-binder index to find the targeted papers.

Carla Rickerson, head of special collections, said the team removed up to 10 documents....

Daria G at the Daily Kos and Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News have various theories, mostly having to do with Jackson's proteges (Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams) or with the possibility that this concerns the case of Larry Franklin, a policy analyst who worked under Feith and Wolfowitz and is under investigation as a possible Israeli spy.

Laura Rozen of War and Piece, by contrast, reproduces an e-mail suggesting that this was a routine bit of mop-up -- "It happens every few years, either with donated papers or depository government documents, that they send something they didn't mean to send and need to take it back."

Well, if it's not just tidying up, I'd guess the officials' visit has something to do with matters discussed by the historian Roger Morris in this 2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article:

It was then, 40 years ago, that Jackson began to be linked directly, if furtively, to some of the uglier and little-known origins of the war on Iraq in 2003. Overseeing the CIA's "black budget" for covert operations and interventions from a subcommittee of Armed Services, he was one of a handful of senators who gave a nod to two U.S.-backed coups in Iraq, one in 1963 and again in 1968. Those plots brought Saddam Hussein to power amid bloodbaths in which the CIA, exacting the price for its support, handed Saddam and his Baath Party cohorts lists of supposed anti-U.S. Iraqis to be killed.

The result was the systematic murder of several hundred and as many as several thousand people, in which Saddam himself participated. Whatever the toll, accounts agree that CIA killing lists comprised much of Iraq's young educated elite -- doctors, teachers, technicians, lawyers and other professionals as well as military officers and political figures -- Iraqis who would not be there to oppose Saddam's growing tyranny over ensuing years or to help rebuild or govern Iraq, as the United States now hopes to do, after the current war.

Hmmm -- when is Saddam's trial supposed to start?

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