CIA admits it spied on father of modern linguistics Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

WASHINGTON: The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has admitted to having amassed data on MIT linguistics professor and government critic Noam Chomsky during the 1970s, Foreign Policy magazine’s The Cable blog said on Tuesday.

For years, the CIA responded to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about Chomsky by claiming it had no records relevant to the query, The Cable noted.

Attorney Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, decided to direct an FOIA request to the FBI, which produced a memo from the CIA asking the bureau for any information on a planned trip to North Vietnam by anti-war activists.

Dated June 8, 1970, the CIA document said the journey to Hanoi had the “endorsement of Noam Chomsky”.

An expert on information gathering consulted by The Cable said the memo confirms the CIA kept a file on Chomsky and that the agency likely destroyed the dossier, possibly breaking the law in the process.

Chomsky, the 84-year-old father of modern linguistics, was voted the “world’s top public intellectual” in a 2005 poll.