The career of Hunter S. Thompson, chronicler of America’s counterculture movement, was closely followed by the FBI.
MuckRock user Cody Winchester requested Thompson’s FBI file in January. After nine months, during which the FBI said it destroyed relevant files and turned the request over to the National Archives, 58 pages of responsive documents were returned.
Thompson first came across the Bureau’s radar around the time of the 1967 publication of his book about riding along with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.
Scattered among numerous clippings of his work, the file contains:
- Memos stating Thompson was a subscriber of the San Francisco-based People’s World, an organ of the U.S. Communist Party. He later unsubscribed.
- A report from an agent who interviewed a liquor store clerk about Thompson’s home in Woody Creek, CO.
- Driver’s license copies of both Thompson and his wife, Sandra Thompson, along with the plate number of his 1957 two-door sedan.
- A memo about Thompson’s Aspen Wall Poster, a bi-monthly newsletter Thompson published …
noting that it read “Impeach Nixon” with a swastika replacing the x when held up to the light.
- A hand-written note from J. Edgar Hoover, asking that a security investigation be opened
- And finally, a rather adorable anonymous letter from someone claiming to know Thompson from his childhood
The FBI also kept tabs on Thompson’s unsuccessful campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County as Winchester notes on his blog.
Read the file embedded below, or on the request page.