While Timothy Leary’s 1970 escape from a minimum security prison in California with the aid of The Weathermen is the stuff of countercultural legend, recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation files reveal a lesser-known detail of the incident: Leary’s ruthless trolling of then Governor Ronald Reagan.
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.”
Part of an ongoing investigation into John Lennon, FBI files show informants infiltrated antiwar groups and documented in detail their nefarious activities - even if that activity was training a parrot to swear.
John Lennon’s sizable FBI file begins in the midst of his 1972 deportation battle with INS. While Lennon argued in court that the motive behind the deportation was political, the Bureau worked to secure a narcotics charge that would get him out of the country before the Republican National Convention that year.