Paul Scott, the late syndicated columnist, was so paranoid about the CIA wiretapping his Prince George’s home in the 1960s that he’d make important calls from his neighbor’s house. His teenage son Jim Scott figured his dad was either a shrewd reporter or totally nuts.
Not until nearly 45 years later did the son learn that his father’s worries were justified. The insight came in 2007 when the CIA declassified a trove of documents popularly called “the family jewels.” The papers detailed the agency’s unlawful activities from long ago, including wiretapping the Scott home in District Heights. The operation even had a code name, “Project Mockingbird.”
Jim was floored: the CIA really did eavesdrop on Dad.
Now Jim, 64, a retired Navy public relations officer who lives in Anne Arundel County, is waging his own operation against the agency. For the past five years, he has sought to declassify and make public any documents Langley might still have on his father and why he was wiretapped.
So far, the CIA has released to Jim a handful of intriguing documents. But Jim has been trying to compel the agency to cough up more. A federal declassification review panel is now reviewing Jim’s case and could decide as soon as this month whether to direct the CIA to release more Mockingbird documents.