Court overlooked key arguments in its BC decision

I agree that the decision by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, regarding taped interviews with combatants in the Irish conflict that are held by Boston College, will require rethinking of how best to conduct such important projects (“BC decision should lead others to amend oral-history pacts,” July 11).

Unfortunately, there were other more important arguments made by the authors of the history project, which the court chose to ignore or dismiss.


This was doubly significant because, as the court acknowledged, this was the first challenge in this circuit to the mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Objections to the British government’s misuse of the treaty were alluded to by Judge Juan Torruella. He noted that the British request could be denied for two reasons: requests involving political offenses (indeed in 1972 British law provided for such offenses) and requests that, if honored, would undermine important public policy, such as the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

Get Arguable with Jeff Jacoby in your inbox:
Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

At the time of the offense in question, the British Army was crushing the civil rights protests in Northern Ireland. Resistance to their brutality was considered patriotic.

American support for the 1998 peace pact was based in part on the release of prisoners and many accused of murder — loyalists as well as those in the Irish Republican Army.

Thus I view the decision and Torruella’s language as underscoring the argument that BC should not be compelled to disclose the information it holds.

Michael J. Cummings

Albany, N.Y.

The writer is a member of the national board of the Irish American Unity Conference. His views here are his own.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com