Thursday, December 2, 2010

American Nazi-hunters

Before he died in May 2009, my friend Mark Richard worked hard to get the Department of Justice to release a detailed history of its Office of Special Investigations (OSI), the office set up in 1979 to pursue Nazi war criminals. The Justice Department had repeatedly blocked publication of the report; a private group, the National Security Archive, in November 2009 submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the report that was denied.

The Archive then filed a lawsuit in May 2010. In response to that request, according to the its website: "The Department of Justice censored dozens of pages of a candid history of Nazi-hunting (and Nazi-protecting) by the U.S. government to such a self-defeating extent that former officials leaked the entire document to the New York Times this week, instead of fulfilling the Freedom of Information request and lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive and its counsel David Sobel."

This is an incredible story, in and of itself quite shameful. The good news, however, is that Mark's report is now in the public domain. It's over 600 pages, so I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I look forward to doing so. (You can access it through either of the above links.)

Mark, who pushed so hard to get the report compiled and served as its editor, was an individual of great integrity and, as a result, his 'warts and all' approach seems to have irritated Justice potentates. Many, many thanks to Sheila for telling me about this latest turn of events.

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