Documents obtained by MuckRock reveal both what triggered the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s espionage investigation of The Village Voice, and what caused it to expand to include the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.
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.
In a recent response to a FOIA request on Rudolf Abel and the Hollow Nickel case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation included a 13 page section describing the FBI’s assistance to an author writing a series of articles about the Bureau. At least some of the articles appear to have been based on the film “The FBI Story,” which FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover reportedly had a strong hand in the production of, including prompting reshoots.
A pamphlet written by the FBI’s Intelligence Division in 1983 and signed by then-FBI Director William Webster addressed “the unseen conflict” of Soviet espionage operations against the United States. The pamphlet argued, quite reasonably, that the only way the Bureau could defend against threats like these was if people who were approached by Russian agents remembered that “the FBI is as close as your nearest telephone.”