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fbi files

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Subjects Matter: FBI Files

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From Abbie Hoffman to Malcolm X, Ol' Dirty Bastard to the Insane Clown Posse, FBI files read like a veritable Who's Who of the 20th Century. This project aims to sift through the hundreds of thousands of agency archival material we've managed to get released, so we can better understand why the Bureau had an eye on these people - and through that, better understand who they're keeping tabs on today.

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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.

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27 Articles

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Jim Garrison’s incendiary JFK probe protected him from fraud charges

While popular media has often portrayed Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney behind the infamous Clay Shaw trial, as having been targeted by the federal government for retribution, a look at his FBI file reveals the exact opposite - according to the documents, Garrison’s investigation was considered so toxic and aggressive that Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered no agents have any contact with him. When third parties began providing the FBI with evidence that Garrison had engaged in fraud against the government, the Bureau cautioned against investigating him, precisely because of how Garrison would inevitably frame it.

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Persistent FBI surveillance put no damper on I.F. Stone’s incisive pen

With a career spanning the early decades of the Bureau’s existence and a list of acquaintances that could have passed as an FBI radicals watchlist, I.F. Stone was a well-established person of interest to the federal government.

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Ernest Hemingway, the FBI, and the aborted duel

FBI files on Ernest Hemingway document the author’s late-life feud with a New Zealand journalist in Cuba that apparently came close to causing an international incident - and led to the 55-year old Hemingway being challenged to a duel.

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Help MuckRock track down Hunter S. Thompson’s full criminal record

The antics of hell raiser Hunter S. Thompson occupy a permanent place in the culture of anti-authoritarian American angst. In honor of the birthday HST certainly never expected to reach, MuckRock wants your help in tracking down what’s left of the paperwork the rebel king forced the bureaucrats to fill out.

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Russell Means’ FBI file offers a day-by-day account of the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee

Russell Means was a seminal figure in Indigenous politics for decades, rising to the rank of National Director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1970. His 178 page FBI file, however, only includes records regarding one incident Means was involved in - the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, a months-long standoff between AIM activists carrying small arms, and local and federal law enforcement packing 133,000 rounds of ammunition, armored personnel carriers, and .50 caliber machine guns.

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10 Requests

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1 Question

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Is there a good FBI FOIA request sample letter?