Congressman Murphy’s letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Attorney General Holder and Secretary Clinton:

I am writing on behalf of my constituents who relay the same trepidation that I share regarding the ongoing strategy of the United Kingdom to obtain academic materials from Boston College. You are aware that the British Government via our own Department of Justice is invoking the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to force to Boston College to turn over research materials collected many years ago. This tactic orchestrated by the British Government not only violates the sentiment behind the Good Friday Agreement but presents unintended consequences for Boston College academia and the delicate balance in Ireland.

My constituents have shared strong beliefs that the timing and political motivations behind this subpoena are disconcerting to say the least. As a keen observer of the peace efforts being made in Ireland I fear that the invasive request delivered to Boston College will garner little benefit and risk large potential unrest within the peace of Northern Ireland.

My understanding is that the original mutual agreement between the scholars and individuals involved in the Boston College Belfast Project demonstrated an understanding of privacy for all findings. I hope that this agreement will be honored. The subsequent data complied by the researchers was obtained solely with the promise of long term anonymity. The release of these documents, documents currently held in storage under a stay of execution, is hazardous to international academic endeavors of the future and the international peace process taking place today.

The MLAT was designed to bring nations together under a common understanding. We now see that academic achievement is being leveraged to undermine the peace process and impact the state of international relations. I hope that you will review this case closely and convince the British Authorities to rescind this request. I am grateful for your time and attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.


Tim Murphy
Member of Congress