NBC News Asks Judge to Release Tapes From Boston College’s Belfast Project

The news organization has asked Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District Court in Boston to unseal transcripts, tapes, and other records from the Belfast Project, Boston College’s oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Under court order, some of the interviews from the project were handed over to the police in Northern Ireland, who are investigating a decades-old murder. Researchers had fought in court to keep the records from being released.

Anthony McIntyre, one of the researchers in the project, told the BBC he was “furious that a news agency is trying to expose sources,” adding that he was “extremely hostile” to NBC’s request.

Ed Moloney, a journalist and the project’s director, wrote on his blog that Judge Young no longer had the material and “cannot hand over that which he does not have.”

In the letter to the Boston district court judge, which has been published on Moloney’s website, Thomas Winter of NBC’s news investigations unit says: “This case or any case involving incidents of terrorism and criminality committed by several and various parties representing diverse ideologies both political and religious is a matter of great public interest.”

NBC News said it wanted the documents released as soon as possible. Winter argues that US citizens have the right under a 1978 supreme court judgment to gain access to judicial documents.

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