The always excellent David Folkenflik took a look on All Things Considered last night at the Jack Anderson papers controversy. “The discussion in the public front, particularly among journalists, has become a little shrill,” says FBI Assistant Director of Public Affairs John Miller, a former ABCer, pictured left interviewing Osama Bin Laden*. “I think a number of them want to make this a showdown at high noon between the big, bad FBI and the first amendment and a free press. It has very little to do with that.”
The NPR story says that the FBI fully intends to inspect the documents and, it appears, might actually have the right to do so. “If the documents from Mr. Anderson were given to the university in order to write papers and do studies that would become public and possibly to display or create a book on some of these documents, then those documents are no longer intended to be protected by a privilege,” Jim Martin, the former U.S. attorney for St. Louis, tells Folkenflik.
That said, there appears to be some possible dirty tricks involved: Did the FBI agents misrepresent themselves as family relative to Anderson’s widow or did she simply confuse herself?
* Yes, we realize that this photo is sort of a non-sequiter, but it’s also a reminder that maybe the FBI has better things to be doing than hassling the Anderson family.