From today's Boston Globe:
''I feel as if I was lied to, and I have no idea why," said Williams, an associate professor of Islamic history. He said the possibility the government was scrutinizing books borrowed by his students ''disturbed me tremendously."
The story stems from an incident in the fall in a history seminar on totalitarianism and fascism taught by a colleague of Williams, Robert Pontbriand. The student, who was in the seminar, told Pontbriand he had requested an unabridged copy of ''Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse—Tung" through the UMass interlibrary loan system for a research paper.
Days later, he told Pontbriand, he was stunned to get a visit by Homeland Security agents who told him the book was on a ''watch list" and asked why he wanted it. Pontbriand was appalled. ''A university is a place for the open inquiry for the truth," he said.
The story quickly made its way around the history department, and it might have stayed on campus if The New York Times had not broken a story about President Bush's approval of a controversial domestic spying program.
After that story, a Standard—Times reporter called Williams, who has traveled to Afghanistan for research, to ask whether he was concerned about government surveillance, Williams said.
As an afterthought, Williams said, he told the reporter about the alleged visit by the Homeland Security agents, and that became the lead of the Dec. 17 Standard—Times story.
I don't think this passes any laugh test.
Clarice Feldman 12 24 05