News today that John Lennon's final FBI files have been released and posted online has made headlines around the world.
The "big" revelation?
Lennon promised to help "finance the establishment of a left wing bookshop and reading room in London."
Yeah, definitely a rationale for surveillance, that. Among all the hype, it's my favorite, bed-wetting, pinko-commie, tree-hugging magazine, The Nation, which gets it most right when it comes to the long-haired leftie Lennon.
Frequent The Nation Lennonologist Jon Wiener observes:
"Why did four administrations fight in court to prevent the release of information that was already public? Why did it take twenty-three years of litigation by the ACLU of Southern California (and attorney Dan Marmalefsky of Morrison & Foerster, working pro bono) to get the government to concede that these weren't national security secrets, and that releasing them would not cause "foreign military retaliation"?
The answer, I think, has nothing to do with John Lennon. It has everything to do with the FBI and the Justice Department, and what they see as the principle they are defending: that they alone should define what constitutes a national security secret. They argued repeatedly in this case that the courts should defer to the FBI, which supposedly has expertise on national security that judges lack. The FBI and the Justice Department don't want the courts telling them they are wrong about what constitutes a national security secret -- and they certainly don't want the ACLU telling them."