02. January 2005 · Comments Off on Professor Sues CIA for Vietnam PDBs · Categories: General

This from GWU’s National Security Archive:

Davis, CA, 23 December 2004 – University of California,
Davis professor Larry Berman today filed
suit against the CIA
under the Freedom of Information
Act, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California,
seeking release of historic President’s Daily Briefs given to
President Johnson during the Vietnam War.

Represented by the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine and by the
National Security Archive of George Washington University, Vietnam
expert Berman is challenging the CIA’s
"blanket policy"
of refusing to release
any PDBs, even historic or innocuous ones that risk no damage
to national security.

"The 9/11 Commission had to fight tooth and nail to get
excerpts from PDBs about the threat from bin Ladin," commented
Professor Berman, the author of three books on the Vietnam War.
"But ten PDBs
from the Johnson era
came out before the CIA imposed
its stonewall policy. Together, these releases prove that the
PDBs should be reviewed and declassified like any other records,
not set aside in a permanently closed vault."

I believe Prof. Berman will prevail. But is this lawsuit really necessary? Certainly, the CIA needs to maintain security. And a blanket ban prevents screw-ups. But a more liberal policy with respect to historical documents is in order.

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