Dallas Walker Smythe (Communication Scholar) (Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Ben Birkinbine filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Multi Request Dallas Walker Smythe (Communication Scholar)


From: Ben Birkinbine

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

I am seeking records relating to Dallas Walker Smythe (1907-1992), who held a number of positions in government agencies before his move to academia where he became an internationally recognized scholar of communication. Smythe worked as an economist for the Department of Agriculture from 1934-1947, for the Central Statistics Board from 1937-1938, for the Department of Labor from 1938-1941, and for the Federal Communications Commission from 1943-1948. In 1948, Smythe joined the newly created Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 1963, he took a position at the University of Saskatchewan where he worked until 1973 when he became Chair of the Communication Department at Simon Fraser University.

Smythe's scholarship focused primarily on mass media and telecommunications, and he is widely viewed as a pioneer of the political economy of communications tradition of communication scholarship. Smythe's scholarship was informed by Marxism, and he remained politically active outside of academia for most of his life. Of particular note is his involvement with the American League Against War and Fascism (also known as the American League for Peace and Democracy). Because of his activism and his scholarship, particularly during the McCarthy era and beyond, Smythe claimed that his activities were being tracked by U.S. intelligence agencies. In fact, during his application to (and eventual hire at) the University of Illinois, reports suggest that J. Edgar Hoover refused to release his FBI files to the university administration. As a result, the attorney general intervened, and Smythe received the job.

Therefore, I am seeking any records related to Dallas Walker Smythe that are held by your agency. I am also requesting any documents relating to Smythe's work (either during his time working for the government or in academia) that may have been consulted, reviewed, assessed, or used by your agency in any capacity.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Ben Birkinbine

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

There are eFOIA files available for you to download.

  • Eebbfe070d76f6f230be8ecb7fd3ec2da3157fd6d_Q91110_D2555250

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

There are eFOIA files available for you to download.

  • Eebbfe070d76f6f230be8ecb7fd3ec2da3157fd6d_Q91110_R360339_D2555777

  • Eebbfe070d76f6f230be8ecb7fd3ec2da3157fd6d_Q91110_R360339_D2555773

  • Eebbfe070d76f6f230be8ecb7fd3ec2da3157fd6d_Q91110_R360339_D2555772



  • 10/27/2020


  • 10/28/2020

    Acknowledgement Letter

  • 10/30/2020


  • 10/30/2020


  • 10/30/2020