It was a long fight-- a generational struggle, as President Bush might say-- but UCI Professor Jon Wiener has finally prevailed: the government agreed yesterday to release the last of the classified FBI surveillance files on John Lennon. For 25 years, Wiener, a historian who has written two books on Lennon, has been denied those FBI files on national security grounds. Or the government was trying to hide material that might prove embarrassing to the reputation of the FBI behind a phony claim of national security. You decide: the official reason the government gave for the past quarter century for not releasing Lennon's FBI files was that their release might provoke "military retaliation against the United States."
Yep, declassifying the documents that showed the U.S. government spying on John Lennon's antiwar activities during the Nixon years might bring on military retaliation against the United States. Military retaliation by whom? Sgt. Pepper?
Well, it seems whoever it was that was ready to attack the U.S. when the public learned how much time and effort was wasted spying on a musician devoted to peace has hung up his guns.
The threat of war is over. Happy Xmas.
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Update: In comments, Matt provides a link to Wiener's own account of prying loose the files (and since it's the season of goodwill, I won't point out that Matt's Beatle metaphor uses a McCartney song, instead of one of Lennon's).