Sartre, Camus and the CIA
The two most famous post-war French writers were closely watched by the CIA over several decades.
The american secret services were interested to know if existentialism and the philosophy the absurd were off shoots of communism. Ironically, the agents in charge of their surveillance had to study philosophy in order to decipher the hacked phone calls, the stolen documents, as well as the works of the two thinkers.
Andy Martin (professor of French at Cambridge, and author of The Boxer and the Goalkeeper) is currently researching the extensive files of the FBI on French philosophers. To know more, read his recent essay on the topic…