Inventorying the FBI

An project to take inventory of the FBI's files on different subjects in order to identify what the FBI has worked on and to help requesters know what files they can request.

An project to take inventory of the FBI’s files on different subjects in order to identify what the FBI has worked on and to help requesters know what files they can request. This project takes advantage of the FBI’s numerical filing system to query files and identify the subject of a file without having to pay for the complete duplication cost.

The project will begin and initially focus on 161 files, which are Special Inquiries for White House, Congressional Committees and Other Government Agencies and 190 files, which are files relating to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.

That doesn’t mean you can’t contribute by helping ID files of other subjects. For a fairly complete list of the FBI’s file types, see here.

6 Articles

While investigating a DOJ leak to the mafia, the FBI appear to have overlooked a known mafia mole at the telephone company

While investigating a DOJ leak to the mafia, the FBI appear to have overlooked a known mafia mole at the telephone company

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file on telephone security measures appears to show the Bureau overlooking an obvious line of inquiry while investigating a leak to the mafia and possible tapped phone lines. While the file indicates that the Bureau checked both the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service’s phones for taps, it indicates they may have overlooked the most obvious possibility: that the culprit was the phone company employee who’d been giving the mafia access to the phone lines.

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The Atomic Space Bug: FBI files show a wiretapped phone was found at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's predecessor

The Atomic Space Bug: FBI files show a wiretapped phone was found at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s predecessor

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation files, a few months before it was abolished, a bug was discovered in the Honolulu offices of the Atomic Energy Commission. The device would not only let someone listen in on phone calls, but any conversations held around the phone - even when it wasn’t in use.

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LBJ’s “hullabaloo” made the FBI decide to avoid doing security checks for Congress

LBJ’s “hullabaloo” made the FBI decide to avoid doing security checks for Congress

In June 1956, Lyndon B. Johnson caused a “hullabaloo” over the search search of a Senator’s office conducted by Department of Defense security officers who were looking for a potential listening device. Johnson caused such a stink that the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided to avoid helping the Senate with security issues lest they be subject to unnecessary scandal the way the DOD security officers were.

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FBI file indicates the Bureau had better information sharing with phone companies than with the White House

FBI file indicates the Bureau had better information sharing with phone companies than with the White House

A FOIA release of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file on counter-surveillance includes an entry describing the White House’s 1954 report that their phones had been tapped. According to the file, the FBI and the phone companies shared more information with each other than with the White House - and they wanted to keep it that way in order to protect the phone company’s reputation and the FBI’s methods.

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FBI file shows just how easy it was for governments to listen in each other's phone calls in the '50s

FBI file shows just how easy it was for governments to listen in each other’s phone calls in the ‘50s

A heavily redacted section of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file on Technical Security Surveys shows just how easy it was for embassies to tap government phones in the mid-’50s. After discovering that the French were listening in on the White House, the FBI to uncovered dozens of phone lines belonging to the governments of American allies that were vulnerable to Communist governments. While securing these lines, a phone tap on the Soviet United Nations delegation had to be pulled - leaving the Bureau with no choice but to go through the Italian embassy.

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FBI appears to have investigated - and considered prosecuting - FOIA requesters

FBI appears to have investigated - and considered prosecuting - FOIA requesters

A recent FOIA release shows the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Director’s Office responded to FOIA requests for known files on deceased FBI officials by presenting options that seemingly included a law enforcement investigation/proceeding against the requesters, with one email calling the requests “SUSPICIOUS.”

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15 Requests

Awaiting Appeal

4 files

161s 1986

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

4 files

161s 1996

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

3 files

161s 2002

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

7 files

FBI Forms

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

9 files

FBI Preprocessed List

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America