Letter: President Bush and the Clinton file

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The Independent Online
Sir: The files inspected by the Home Office concerning President-elect Bill Clinton during his stay in Britain in the Sixties, (report, 7 December) were those prepared jointly by GCHQ (aided by MI5), and the National Security Agency (NSA) during their illegal surveillance operation, called 'Shamrock', which began in 1969 in the UK. This had been secretly authorised by President Nixon against anti-Vietnam war demonstrators in foreign countries, while a similar CIA/NSA operation called 'Minaret' targeted people in the United States.

Both operations involved the unauthorised tapping of domestic and international communications, and opening the mail of those openly critical of US involvement in Vietnam. The two projects came to an abrupt end when their existence was exposed on 7 June 1973 and, in order to save Nixon, the CIA, and the NSA public embarrassment, the US government forced the Justice Department to abandon its investigation.

One person who knew all about this unauthorised operation was President Bush, previously a director of the CIA, so it is not surprising his campaign's request for smear information about Mr Clinton was readily processed by a pro-Bush British government.

Yours faithfully,

JAMES RUSBRIDGER

Bodmin, Cornwall

7 December

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