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Ronald Reagan’s decades-long association with the Federal Bureau of Investigation - from his early days as an anti-Communist informant in Hollywood to the law and order governor of California to President of the United States during Iran-Contra - is attested to in his 30,000-page file, recently released to Emma Best. Due to the size and scope of the historical material contained in these pages, we’re using our new Assignments tool to start a crowdsourced project to hone in on the most interesting finds buried in the Bureau’s margins.
Last week, we took our first look into Ronald Reagan’s recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation file and how it documented the close personal friendship between Reagan and Director J. Edgar Hoover. However, a section of the file from a decade earlier reveals a much less auspicious first encounter between the Gipper and the G-Man, with Hoover repeatedly turning down a starstruck Reagan’s offer to guest star on General Electric Theater.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation files on James Baldwin, Ernest Hemingway, and Susan Sontag, and a dozen famous writers have a lot of stories to tell, and over the past eight years the MuckRock team has been digging through them. Today, we’re excited to tell those stories in a new format: a 400-page volume that brings the most funny, frightening, poignant, and provocative tales about the intersection of surveillance and freedom to life, as told through those primary source documents.
Back in August, MuckRock user Paul Galante requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on its wartime “Postal Censorship” program. This week, the Bureau responded, having located approximately 83,000 pages. Despite the fact that the files will be released electronically through the FBI’s supposedly cost-saving portal, the Bureau is insisting Galante pay $2,485 in duplication fees. Due to the important historical nature of these records, Galante has opened the request to crowdfunding.
Files recently released to MuckRock shed light on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of the radical Ramparts magazine. Originally classified SECRET, the investigation described in the FBI files was an “internal security” matter relating to the magazine’s registration status. Paralleling and seemingly predicting some of the later investigations of WikiLeaks, the Bureau suspected that Ramparts “may currently be engaged in acts of distribution of propaganda, acting as a political agent, collecting information, forwarding information, et cetera, while acting as the agent of a foreign principal.”
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