The FBI file of Pulitzer-winning columnist and Nixon White House speechwriter, the late William Safire, has become public. The Associated Press’s Jessica Gresko describes the contents:
Some of the earliest material dates from 1969, when investigators did a background check on Safire, who was joining the Nixon White House as a speech writer. The FBI’s investigators learned that Safire, then 39, had been an “honor senior” at the Bronx High School of Science and served as circulation manager of the newspaper. As a student at Syracuse University between 1947 and 1949, he had an average “just short of a B” before quitting the school. Later, while running his own public relations firm, he had clients such as The Good Humor Corporation and Ex-Lax Inc. in Brooklyn.
The bulk of the file is only partly related to Safire, however, and includes an investigation into the wiretapping, which lasted from 1969 into 1971 and was apparently started because of leaks surrounding Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. The talks between the U.S. and Soviet Union were on the subject of arms control. The documents show Safire was among more than a dozen people, including some at the White House and four journalists, whose phones were tapped. The wiretap on Safire lasted four months and found nothing.
“I have a thing about wiretapping,” Safire said on “Meet The Press” in 2006, describing what had happened to him and referencing wiretapping during the Bush administration. “I didn’t like that … it told me how easy it was to just take somebody who was not really suspected of anything for any good reason and listen to every conversation in his home.”