The only surprise here is that the New York Times is covering it. The NLG Chicago member who called this morning to make sure I would buy the paper agreed with my theory: The Times wants to atone for Judith Miller and swallowing the Bush regime's lies before the war.
Anyway, the story:
In 1977, the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild sued the FBI, seeking relief from the persistent surveillance, infiltration, and disruption.
The case moved speedily along, as these sorts of suits always do, and twelve years later the government settled with the Guild. As part of the settlement, the FBI turned over 400,000 pages (you read that right) of surveillance logs, typed reports and handwritten notes by infiltrators, and dossiers on provocateurs.
(Oops, wrong pic! The NYT refers to the surveillance in the past tense.)
Now comes the interesting part. Under the settlement, the documents were to have been under seal until 2025.
The lawyers representing the Guild donated copies of the documents to the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives and New York University in 1997. Now, ten years later, a Times reporter managed to get into the archive and peruse the files.
Who was spied on? I.F. Stone. Who was smeared in a poison-pen campaign? George Crockett. What else? "Thousands of people were drawn into the inquiry's orbit, whether as targets or peripheral figures, and the files provide an unusually revealing window into efforts that often focused on law-abiding citizens," per the Times.