When the N.S.A. Spied on Art Buchwald

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At a time when, thanks to Edward Snowden, government snooping on American citizens is a hot topic, there was an interesting bit of news yesterday that you might have missed. For some reason, the Times ignored it in today’s print edition, and so did many other reputable media outlets. Here it is: the authorities have confirmed that the National Security Agency spied on Art Buchwald.

Yes, that Art Buchwald. The old guy with the glasses who concocted humorous columns for the Washington Post, published more than thirty books, including “I Am Not a Crook” (about you-know-who) and “While Reagan Slept,” and spent his summers palling around Martha’s Vineyard with William Styron.

During his later life, Buchwald, an old-school liberal who died in 2007, at the age of eighty-one, spent a lot of time kvetching about the fact that, unlike Mary McGrory and Daniel Schorr, he didn’t make it onto Richard Nixon’s famous White House enemies list. But his spirit can rest peacefully. In a long blog post on Wednesday, the National Security Archive—that invaluable repository of information on all things spook-related—revealed that, sometime during the late nineteen-sixties or early seventies, the N.S.A. targeted the humorist and other critics of the Vietnam War, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Tom Wicker, the late Times columnist.

Citing recently declassified documents, William Burr and Matthew Aid, two researchers at the Archive, said the N.S.A. even spied on two prominent senators, Frank Church, the..

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2013/09/when-the-nsa-spied-on-art-buchwald.html