With nationwide protests calling for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and countercharges alleging that such movements are the work of sinister foreign agents intent on sowing discord, it’s worth revisiting a similar period in American history when the Federal Bureau of Investigation framed opposition to House Un-American Activities Committee as Communist agitation - and faced pushback even within its own ranks.
We’re celebrating the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s birthday with a look at five different ways MuckRock users have used FOIA to bring shed light on the Bureau’s 11 decades of skulking around in America’s shadows.
As we’ve written about before, Ernest Hemingway’s relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation would charitably be described as “strained.” Hemingway would tell anybody who’d listen that he thought the Bureau were a bunch of Nazi mediocrities, and the FBI in turn dismissed Hemingway as a drunken phony. As his file shows, however, all of that changed when Hemingway finally did something the Bureau agreed with: he died.
After a little over two years of processing, the National Archives and Records Administration has released the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on the writer Dorothy Parker - the first time those files have been made public since the FBI removed them from their FOIA reading room over a decade ago.
At the height of the Cold War, an informant’s tips resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation looking into the then newly-formed LGBT organization, the Mattachine Society and their publication ONE Magazine. The FBI was concerned that the organization was pro-Communist and had been publishing articles detailing allegations of unfair government discrimination and entrapment by police departments.