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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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Iran-Contra, October Surprise and Reagan's Wrongs

A look into the wrongdoings of the Reagan administration and campaign, including the October Surprise, Debategate, MCA Records, the Inslaw and Wedtech scandals and the Iran-Contra scandal, which has been called Reagan's unchecked abuse of Presidential power.

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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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230 Articles

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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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The Vanishing Octopus: Justice Department changes the FBI’s story on Danny Casolaro’s file

The Department of Justice appears to have retroactively declared that 98% of the FBI file on the journalist Danny Casolaro was and still is missing, despite the FBI seeming to say they had found it.

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The FBI can’t decide what it has on the Tor Project

Three MuckRock users filed FOIA requests from 2013 to 2015 for FBI files on The Tor Project, Inc., the developer of Tor. The software enables (in theory) untraceable access to both the regular internet and a network of websites inaccessible through other browsers, commonly called the “dark web.” Each request returned radically different sets of records, most predating the first request, and all linked only by their lack of substantial information.

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Read the FBI’s guide to how Soviet spies recruit American assets

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.”

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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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53 Requests

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2 Questions

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900 ISIS-related FBI inquiries
Are FOIA Appeals published in the Federal Register once they are rejected by the FBI/DOJ ?