Kira Kay reporting for PBS Newshour:
In 2001, a group of academics set out to collect the oral history of Northern Ireland’s combatants, they say to record the truth, before it was too late.
Interviewees like William Smith were promised that their testimony would remain confidential until their deaths. And that’s how it went for years, the tapes hidden away under lock and key on Boston College’s campus.
But in 2010, that all changed, after infamous IRA commander Brendan Hughes died and his interviews were released.
And then, last summer, a bombshell: The U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of United Kingdom law enforcement, subpoenaed the tapes of several interview subjects who were still alive.
This is a hard one. The piece points out that these legal acts can cause (and, in fact, are causing) future informants not to cooperate. But then, how do you balance the desire and need for justice?