FBI Hired Press to Monitor Noam Chomsky Vietnam Draft Demonstration


Files on Howard Zinn show the Bureau hiring a freelance photographer to capture Selective Service protest on Boston Common

A memo from Howard Zinn’s FBI file shows how the Bureau relied on third-party contractors and press coverage to avoid scrutiny of its surveillance of Vietnam protestors.

Near the end of the first section of Zinn’s file, released after a FOIA request by Chris Caesar, is an April 1968 memo from the FBI’s Boston office regarding a coordinated nationwide protest against the draft.

Howard Zinn FBI file.

Locally, the New England Resistance was planning a demonstration on the Boston Common with an estimated 10,000 people to attend – including Professor Zinn and a relatively youthful Noam Chomsky.

Howard Zinn unclassified FBI files

To gather the “best possible evidence” regarding anti-draft rallies, the Boston office was requesting funds to hire the independent photographer ██████.

Independent photographer, Howard Zinn FBI file

The Boston office had used ██████’s equipment and services before, they’d been quite satisfied …

and, all things considered, ██████ worked pretty cheap.

Most importantly, because this would all take place in a public space and draw considerable press attention, there was no chance of any “possible embarrassment” to the Bureau.
Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky unclassified FBI files
With all that going for it, the memo suggested the Bureau pull the trigger ASAP.
FBI hired press to monitor Noam Chomsky rally, Howard Zinn rally
See the full documents below. Sadly, as is custom with unclassified FBI documents, they contain multiple redactions.

Leak of Nations | FBI


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Rory Wood

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