May 23, 2012
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Madam Secretary:
I am writing to express my concern about the ongoing efforts on behalf of the United Kingdom to obtain the extremely sensitive documents and recordings pertaining to the Boston College Oral History Archive on the Troubles in Northern Ireland. As the Co-Chairman on the Helsinki Commission and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am deeply concerned about the potential impact the release of this information will have have on the fragile peace that exists in Northern Ireland.
I understand the case continues to be in litigation, and noted with interest that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed an amicus brief in support of the Irish-American community that has steadfastly opposed the U.K. government’s actions. As you know, Maryland has a large, historic Irish-American community and I have on multiple occasions met with them to discuss this particular case.
I know that several of my colleagues have also registered their concern about this case with you. I appreciate the fact that raising such a sensitive topic with an ally like the United Kingdom is difficult given our shared commitment to the principles of our Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you to work with the U.K. authorities to rescind their request.
Thank you in advance for all your efforts to resolve this situation, and all that you do to promote lasting peace in Northern Ireland.
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator