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.
Mykola Lebed was sentenced to death in Poland in 1934. He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1998.
By various accounts, he was an assassin, a freedom fighter, a terrorist, a hero, a villain, a prisoner, a refugee, a Nazi collaborator, a Nazi target, a writer, and a war criminal. To the Central Intelligence Agency, which bankrolled his activities for close to half a century, he was known as “Uncle Louie.”
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.”
J. Edgar Hoover once lent Ronald Reagan his armored car for travel through Los Angeles’ “ghetto area”
Ronald Reagan’s close relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation is attested to in correspondence between Reagan and Director J. Edgar Hoover. In one letter, dated from March 1971, Reagan alludes to a “recent generosity” on Hoover’s part, but doesn’t explicit state exactly what this favor was. A memo later in the file reveals the most likely candidate for this kindness: Hoover had lent Reagan his 1967 armored Cadillac for a trip through Los Angeles’ “ghetto area.”
A heavily redacted file Federal Bureau of Investigation file documents the Bureau’s lingering suspicion, if not outright hostility, towards the African National Congress, including concerns of communist ties and terrorism.