A First-Rate Burglary

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I can't believe I missed this story last weekend:

FBI documents about FBI surveillance of John Kerry in the early 1970s have been stolen, according to their owner, a historian who lives near San Francisco, California.

Gerald Nicosia, who spent more than a decade collecting the information, said three of 14 boxes of documents plus a number of loose folders containing hundreds of pages were stolen from his home Thursday afternoon.

Nicosia reported the theft Friday to the Twin Cities Police Department, which covers Larkspur and Corte Madera in Marin County, where he lives. The police report found no sign of forced entry….

Nicosia, author of "Home At War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement," had obtained about 20,000 pages of FBI documents through Freedom of Information Act requests….

"I hadn't gotten a chance to review them all. I am sure there were some things about John Kerry that weren't known," Nicosia said. "These files would also cast a bad light on the … Republican Party. This surveillance happened under the Nixon White House and Nixon FBI."

Nicosia showed about 50 pages of the documents to CNN last week.

NEXT: Young Goodman Clarke

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  1. The story makes it seem like something irretrievable was lost. I assume that he just had copies of the files and the FBI could just produce another set in response to another FOI request.

    Of course the questions for conspiracy theorist is whether: (1) evil Republicans stole the files to prevent something embarrassing about Nixon coming out or perhaps exculpatory evidence if Kerry is linked to the VVAW assassination plot or (2) evil democrats stole them to hide something embarrassing about Kerry.

    Release the hounds!

  2. According to Nicosia it took him 11 years to get the documents, which makes it sound like it won’t be a matter as simple as asking for duplicates.

    I would think that the competing conspiracy theories would be (a) Democrats stole the files to keep some nasty info about Kerry from getting out, versus (b) Republicans stole the files in hopes of finding the exact same sort of info. Not to mention such dark horses as (c) a reporter stole the file in hopes of finding a scoop, or (d) the historian faked the whole thing, or…

  3. (e) Reupubs stole the documents hoping to frame the Dems and (f) someone nonpolitical stole it hoping for SSNs and Credit Card numbers for identity theft.

  4. Shannon Love,

    Well, given that FOIA requests can take years, and the election is only months away, it is problematic. Furthermore, given that the Bush administration has interpreted FOIA to allow them put a hold on or refuse all FOIA requests in many areas of their purview, this is also problematic. Ignorance is your forte it seems.

  5. Call me cynical, but I’m voting for option D.

  6. Imagine the press reaction had similar unfavorable information about a Republican candidate been stolen. Could the “mainstream” press have LESS interest in this story?

  7. I smell ……..a publicity seeker.

  8. Option E: The Evil Repugnantcans stole them because they tell too much. Future FOIA requests will get even more sanitized copies.

    Option F: It was a competing author.

    Option G: It was someone or some forces aligned with Ralph Nader, Lyndon LaRouche, or Harry Browne.

    Option H: There never has been an Option H. If you thought there was, perhaps you just got confused.

    Option I: It was teenagers.

  9. Jean Bart said “Ignorance is your forte it seems.”

    Why you got to be a little bitch?

  10. It would be an odd thing for the Republicans to steal files that came from the FBI, if they wanted information contained in them.

    It is hard to believe Watergate-era mis-conduct by the Nixon administration could have much import…the story in general is common knowledge, and Kerry derived most of the political benefit from it long ago.

  11. I just read on CNN that the files were not lost but misplaced. He has located them in his garage. He is very embarrassed.

  12. April Fools.

  13. Andrew,

    “It would be an odd thing for the Republicans to steal files that came from the FBI, if they wanted information contained in them.”

    That is an unlikely purpose; as the statements above demonstrate.

    “It is hard to believe Watergate-era mis-conduct by the Nixon administration could have much import…the story in general is common knowledge, and Kerry derived most of the political benefit from it long ago.”

    Of course one wouldn’t actually know this until one saw the contents of the files themselves.

  14. Where was G.Gordon Liddy on that day?

  15. Jean Bart,

    ” Ignorance is your forte it seems.”

    Forte, forte…

    …isn’t that some kind of pastry?

    My favorite Will Rogers quote is, “Everybody is ignorant just about different things.”

    I do know two things about FOIA request: (1) Most of the time required to produce the documents comes from finding the specific documents in the first place and (2) Most classified documents are under a 30 years seal so getting a document from 1974 in 1994 would be much more difficult than in 2004.

    Once you’ve done a successful search you can easily reproduce it. Document serial numbers become part of the FOIA filling so it should not be that hard to relocate the originals.

    But what do I know? I’m off to enjoy a freshly baked forte with creamy ignorance filling.

  16. Shannon Love,

    “(2) Most classified documents are under a 30 years seal so getting a document from 1974 in 1994 would be much more difficult than in 2004.”

    “Once you’ve done a successful search you can easily reproduce it.”

    Which ignores my point concerning the current Bush administration policy on resisting any and all FOIA requests.

    A forte is either: (a) that which one excels at; or (2) a part of the blade of a sword (the half nearest the hilt); the other being the foible. It can also refer to a passage of music played forte – that is LOUD (there are other musically related versions of the word as well).

  17. Shannon Love,

    BTW, I think you are referring to a “pastry torte” when you use the term “forte.” *chuckle*

  18. A forte is either: (a) that which one excels at; or (2) a part of the blade of a sword (the half nearest the hilt); the other being the foible. It can also refer to a passage of music played forte – that is LOUD (there are other musically related versions of the word as well).

    Two different words, two different pronunciations, and as a French speaker you should know better. The former is derived from French and pronounced “fort”; the latter is derived from Italian and pronounced “fortay.”

    The former also has “fortay” listed as an acceptable pronunciation, but the French certainly don’t pronounce the root that way, and it’s likely a back-formation born of confusion with the other word.

    Hey, somebody has to correct you from time to time.

  19. Phil,

    “Two different words, two different pronunciations, and as a French speaker you should know better.”

    Well, I never argued that they weren’t two different words; indeed, I wrote nothing about derivation or philology at all. One is French in derivation and the other Italian; and none of them refer to a pastry.

    “Hey, somebody has to correct you from time to time.”

    Well, you would have to correct me first.

  20. Jean Barte,

    What? A “pastry torte”? Isn’t a tort a lawsuit? Who would make a pastry out of a lawsuit? Maybe its a lawsuit about a pastry? I’m so confused!

    I’m going to go hide in my sofa cushion “forte.”

  21. Jean Bart,

    Here I was trapped at home and certain that I would not be able pull a practical joke on anyone this April 1st but then you showed up and took pity on me by pretending to act as if someone who regularly read Reason would not recognize the word “forte.”

    Really, your parody of an arrogant, condescending Frenchman was dead on. Bravo! I was giggling all afternoon!

  22. What?! You guys have been advancing all these “dumb” theories! Where was our good friend Thoreau, pre-empting all that crap so that “intelligent” discussion could begin?

  23. Shannon Love,

    What? A “pastry torte”?

    Yes, a “pastry torte.”

    “…someone who regularly read Reason would not recognize the word ‘forte.'”

    Well, you are idiot; its what I expect from you (especially after your woeful performances in the past – for example, your thoughts on “executive privilege”). And to be blunt, at this point I think that you are just “covering your ass.” Your statement just does not ring true.

    “…an arrogant, condescending Frenchman was dead on.”

    Well, I am an arrogant, condescending person; I’ve earned that right. My nationality (as a Frenchman) has nothing to do with this. Indeed, I believe that you are an ignorant bitch; but that doesn’t make me appreciate negatively Americans (assuming arguendo that you are an American); nor would I bring your nationality into the equation.

  24. No, you fools, I’m Jean Bart!

  25. I think you pretty clearly did imply that they were the same word:

    No, I don’t; if I had written of word origin that would be a different matter; again, you are trying to create a discussion concerning philological origin that does not exist in my original statement. At best you can criticize my comment for being incomplete.

    Shannon Love,

    (1) The phrase, “Ignorance is your [a type of pastry]” makes no sense. Perhaps I thought it was some sort of French idiom translated into English?

    That was not what you were trying to say; you were attempting to state that I was using the word “forte” incorrectly. Now, you are trying to make a completely different argument.

    (2) I have dictionaries integrated into my writing tools (not to mention that internet thingy) so if I didn’t understand a word or phrase I could have just looked it up in a couple of seconds.

    So? That does not keep you from using a term incorrectly; if you think you understand the meaning of the term that is. In this case, you thought that you were correcting me in my use of the term; confident in the matter, you had no need to use these tools.

    “(3) When I am debating smart people I usually do not admit ignorance as debating tactic.”

    Well, in this case you did not admit ignorance; but you did demonstrate it.

    I am sorry, but neither of these three arguments flush particularly well with your original comment; again, you are just covering your ass.

    As to who is laughing, well the only one really doing that is me – at you.

  26. Jean Bart,

    Except for you, we all knew that Shannon was using irony. Be a man – accept the fact that you fucked up on this one, apologize to Shannon and go lie in wait for Andrew.

    And, yes, we are laughing at YOU.

  27. I think you pretty clearly did imply that they were the same word:

    A forte is either: (a) that which one excels at; or (2) a part of the blade of a sword (the half nearest the hilt); the other being the foible. It can also refer to a passage of music played forte

    “A” means either “X” or “Y,” and also “Z,” is a definite clue that one means to refer to one word for all three cases.

    It’s OK to be wrong sometimes, Jean.

  28. How did Jean Bart “earn” the right to have a defective personality?

  29. I’m going to go hide in my sofa cushion “forte.”

    That’s gotta be the funniest thing all day…

  30. Jean Bart,

    “I am an arrogant, condescending person; I’ve earned that right”

    Please stop… you’re killing me!

    Okay, I confess. I AM just covering my ass. I don’t know why I thought I could fool you. Even a person of my low wattage intellect should have realized that:

    (1) The phrase, “Ignorance is your [a type of pastry]” makes no sense. Perhaps I thought it was some sort of French idiom translated into English?

    (2) I have dictionaries integrated into my writing tools (not to mention that internet thingy) so if I didn’t understand a word or phrase I could have just looked it up in a couple of seconds.

    (3) When I am debating smart people I usually do not admit ignorance as debating tactic.

    Oh, wait, those are things YOU should have thought of before replying,

    I am really sorry. I just intended to tweak you a bit for your ad hominem comment. I never imagined you would take it seriously. Maybe I should break down and start using emoticons. 🙁

    Now I know how the road runner feels when he steps aside and watches the coyote run by over the edge of the cliff. 🙂

  31. Let’s all sing along:

    I love you, you love me,
    Let’s agree to disagree,
    With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you,
    Won’t you say you love me too.

  32. Shannon Love,

    On t’a berc? trop pr?s du mur?

  33. Maybe they’re under Hillary’s bed.

  34. Hell is where the cooks are English, the government Italian, and to judge by JB at least, the manners are French.

  35. Douglas Fletcher,

    And the vice-laws are American. 🙂

  36. Douglas Fletcher,

    Even I laughed at that one, you asshole.

  37. You’re not Jean Bart! I’m Jean Bart!

  38. Apologize for what? Even if I accept your premise, all this means is that she was and continues to ignore the merits of my argument; so either she’s stupid or she’s avoiding the question. I don’t find either something that requires an apology from me.

  39. If my memory serves me correctly, I think that you, Jean Barte’ are no Frenchman. Maybe your family was of French descent, but, sir, you are no Frenchman, but maybe, just a poor, stupid, southern boy!

    Jame

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