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Aug 18

Written by: Diana West
Monday, August 18, 2008 8:18 AM 

What is the story on Barack Obama's relationship with former, but unrepetant Weather Man Bill Ayers? 

National Review's Stanley Kurtz wanted to find out examining  the extensive records of The Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a foundation  founded and guided by Ayers where Obama served as board chairman, that are stored in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The apparently close working relationship between the two men, Kurtz writes, makes it more than happenstance that Ayers and his former, unrepetant Weather Man wife, Bernadine Dohrn, hosted Obama's first kick-off political event. Kurtz continues:

This much we know from the public record, but a large cache of documents housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), is likely to flesh out the story. That document cache contains the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The records in question are extensive, consisting of 132 boxes, containing 947 file folders, a total of about 70 linear feet of material. Not only would these files illuminate the working relationship between Obama and Bill Ayers, they would also provide significant insight into a web of ties linking Obama to various radical organizations, including Obama-approved foundation gifts to political allies. Obama’s leadership style and abilities are also sure to be illuminated by the documents in question.

Unfortunately, I don’t yet have access to the documents. The Special Collections section of the Richard J. Daley Library agreed to let me read them, but just before I boarded my flight to Chicago, the top library officials mysteriously intervened to bar access. Circumstances strongly suggest the likelihood that Bill Ayers himself may have played a pivotal role in this denial. Ayers has long taught at UIC, where the Chicago Annenberg Challenge offices were housed, rent-free. Ayers likely arranged for the files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to be housed in the UIC library, and may well have been consulted during my unsuccessful struggle to gain access to the documents. Let me, then, explain in greater detail what the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) records are, and how I have been blocked from seeing them.

Initially, as I said, library officials said that I could examine the CAC records. I received this permission both over the phone and in writing. The subsequent denial of access came with a series of evolving explanations. Is this a politically motivated cover-up? Although at this stage it is impossible to know, it is hard to avoid the suspicion. I also have some concerns for the security of the documents, although I have no specific evidence that their security is endangered. In any case, given the relative dearth of information about Barack Obama’s political past, there is a powerful public interest in the swift release of these documents.

As they say, read it all.



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