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Saturday, September 16, 2006

John Lennon: Still A Security Threat

WE ALL know that a key to preventing future terrorist attacks is sharing intelligence with foreign governments. When Justice Department attorneys urge courts not to release national security information provided by a foreign government under a Freedom of Information Act suit, they argue that the courts should defer to the experts in the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

But what if such intelligence isn't about today's terrorist threats? What if it's about the antiwar activities of a British rock star during the Vietnam War?

That's precisely what's at issue in a Freedom of Information Act suit pending before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case of John Lennon's FBI files illustrates the federal government's obsession with secrecy, which it justifies with appeals to national security.

Lennon's story, told in the documentary "The U.S. vs. John Lennon," opening this week in Los Angeles, revolves around his plans to help register young people to vote in the 1972 presidential election, when President Nixon was running for reelection and the war in Vietnam was the issue of the day. Lennon wanted to organize a national concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar protests and voter registration. Nixon found out about the plan, and the White House began deportation proceedings against Lennon.

It worked: Lennon never did the tour, and Nixon was reelected.

Found on Antiwar.com

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