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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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Even being J. Edgar Hoover’s bestie couldn’t save Ethel Merman’s jewelry

Actress Ethel Merman and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a friendship spanning from 1938 until Hoover death in 1972. But personal insights aside, was there any benefits to being among the Bureau’s BFFs? According to the singer’s personal FBI file, to be rich in friends isn’t always enough to keep you in riches.

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Dissent and Disloyalty: The FBI’s obsessive inquiry into Edward R. Murrow

In the white heat of the Red Scare, journalists were often at the center of the unceasing national probe over patriotism. Over 700 pages of files on Edward R. Murrow detail the FBI’s intricate special inquiry into the legendary American newsman.

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J. Edgar Hoover’s gambit to force his enemies into retirement came close to ending his career

When J. Edgar Hoover forced William “Bill” Sullivan, the Bureau’s domestic intelligence chief, into retirement he set into motion a chain reaction which nearly forced him into retirement as well.

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Ceci n’est pas une FBI Director

J. Edgar Hoover received a slew of accolades over his long career, but not all elicited the FBI Director’s enthusiastic response.

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J. Edgar Hoover worked to end the career of a government clerk who had suggested he was gay

An incident from the height of J. Edgar Hoover’s reign as FBI Director illustrate the lengths the Bureau would go to squash rumors surrounding Hoover’s sexuality - and the dire consequences for those found spreading those rumors.

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