37 Deleted FBI Files


The FBI has been posting PDFs of some of its files since at least January 1998 – first in the FOIA section of its site, then in the Vault. But over the years, curiously, some of those files have disappeared. By going through almost 20 years of mirrors in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and comparing them to the current site, I’ve found 37 files that have been quietly pulled offline.

Almost 5,000 pages on American POWs/MIAs in Vietnam are gone. Same with 2,000 pages on the communist infiltration of Hollywood 1942-1958, and around 1,600 pages on Nelson Rockefeller. Why pull down the files on certain violent far-right groups, when others are still on the site? Or civil rights organizations? Or gangsters and Mafiosi?

Why delete the files on old-school actors like Gracie Allen, Bud Abbot, and Errol Flynn? Or the files of writers William Faulkner, George Orwell, and Thomas Mann?

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One impossible explanation I hear proffered in situations like this: “Well, maybe it’s a matter of server space.” As if the FBI can’t afford to house these 37 files when their Vault already contains 6,700. Plus, in July 2016, the FBI posted over 100 gigabytes of video to the Vault. They can handle some Acrobat files.

Technical notes: Almost all of these files were released as multiple PDFs (many were 20+), so I’ve consolidated them into larger PDFs, which include bookmarks in case you want to see the original divisions.  All descriptions below were taken from the FBI’s website.


Bud Abbot

[PDF] (11 pages)

“Abbott was a part of the Abbott and Costello comedy team. They made movies and performed on television. This release is references on Abbott only. It contains correspondence between Abbott and Director Hoover, Espionage and Interstate Transportation of Obscene Material matters.”

 

Gracie Allen

[PDF] (69 pages)

“Gracie Allen, her husband, George Burns, Mary Livingston (wife of Jack Benny) and Jack Benny were investigated in 1939 for bringing jewelry and clothing into the country from Europe and not paying the duty tax on it. The investigation by the New York City authorities resulted in Jack Benny and George Burns paying fines. It is alleged that the real smugglers were Gracie Allen and Mary Livingston.”

 

American Deserters Committee

[PDF] (160 pages)

“The American Deserters Committee of Montreal, Canada concerns members of American Armed Forces who deserted their posts and went to Canada. The deserters were aided in their efforts by groups such as Students for a Democratic Society, The Black Panthers, The Revolutionary Union, The Resistance, American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League and The Committee for Peace and Freedom.”

 

American GI Forum

[PDF] (287 pages)

“The American GI Forum of Texas was organized in Dallas, TX on September 29, 1954, and is primarily made up of Mexican-American Veterans who banded together to stamp out discrimination against Mexican-Americans and to seek justice and equality for everyone. The group expanded to other cities and states. This group sponsored back to school groups for the Mexican-American and handicapped children. They provided the elementary children with school lunches, provided scholarships to worthy students and tried to make improvements in the educational facilities. The file consists of letters and bulletins concerning the organization. It is not an investigative file on the organization.”

 

American Negro Labor Congress

[PDF] (90 pages)

“The American Negro Labor Congress held a meeting in Chicago, in October 1925. The aim of the Congress was to mobilize and coordinate African American workers as a class of workers to abolish lynching, industrial discrimination, political disfranchisement, and segregation of the races. They did not want a Jim Crow Union, but wanted to be members of the same unions as the white workers. The investigative case was closed in February of 1926.”

 

Ananda Marga

[PDF] (1,510 pages)

“Ananda Marga, aka Anand Marga and Ananda Marga Yoga Society was founded in India in 1955 by Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar, aka Anadmurti (Bliss Incarnate) and Baba (father). The organization is described as an international socio-political movement propagating spiritual philosophy and practices based on ancient Indian meditation and yoga techniques. The group established itself in the United States in 1971. The FBI conducted inquiries relating to Ananda Marga from 1972 to 1984 on a foreign police cooperation bases or under the Protection of Foreign Officials Statute.”

 

Klaus Barbie

[PDF] (76 pages)

“The FBI records regarding Klaus Barbie indicate that in 1983 he was expelled from Bolivia to France where he was under indictment for crimes allegedly committed during World War II while he was chief of the Gestapo in Lyon, France. The Criminal Division of the Department of Justice conducted an investigation into the relationship between Barbie and the U.S. Government following the end of World War II. The report concluded that the United States Government had no relationship of any kind with Mr. Barbie since he departed from Europe in 1951.”

 

Black Legion

[PDF] (964 pages)

“This cult-type organization operated in the midwest in the 1930’s supposedly to protect the country from various forms of “isms”. Members wore black costumes with skull and crossbones insignia and were allegedly responsible for numerous murders.”

 

Communist Infiltration- Motion Picture Industry (COMPIC)

[PDF1] [PDF2] (2,008 pages)

“The FBI investigated the Communist Party’s infiltration of the motion picture industry from 1942 to 1958. Ten motion picture personalities, who were subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, were convicted of contempt of Congress for refusal to answer whether or not they belonged to the Communist Party.”

 

Morris “Moe” Dalitz

[PDF] (2,729 pages)

“The FBI investigated Moe Dalitz for racketeering, bank fraud, and numerous other criminal activities. During the Prohibition era, he was active in the Detroit, Akron, and Cleveland areas. He eventually settled in Cleveland where he became the leader of the powerful criminal mob called the Mayfield Road Gang. From the early 1930s to 1968, Dalitz maintained associations and/or contacts with notorious hoodlums throughout the country. Throughout the 1940s he expanded his interests in gambling operations in Ohio, Kentucky and Florida. Dalitz later moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, acquiring interests in hotel properties. He was indicted on federal tax evasion charges in 1968; however, the charges against him ultimately were dismissed.”

 

Duke and Duchess of Windsor

[PDF] (234 pages)

“This file contains reports of visits of the Windsors to the United States, and in particular the Duke’s visit to the FBI and the FBI Training Academy in Virginia.”

 

Atlanta FBI Field Office–Hostage Situation

[PDF] (269 pages)

“On June 28, 1981, Morris Edwin Roberts, Jr. gained access to FBI space at the Federal Office Building in Atlanta, Georgia, by threatening a General Services Administration (GSA) guard with a 9mm submachine gun. Roberts, heavily armed, held nine FBI support employees and one GSA guard hostage for three hours before he was shot and killed by members of the FBI Swat Team and the Atlanta Police Department. Only two hostages received superficial wounds as a result of this incident. No motive was ever established.”

 

William Faulkner

[PDF] (18 pages)

“The FBI investigated a possible extortion violation in 1957 when the wife of the famous author received several phone calls asking for $500 for certain information about her husband.”

 

Errol Flynn

[PDF] (391 pages)

“In the 1940’s Flynn was the subject of a White Slave Traffic Act investigation and victim of two extortion cases.”

 

FOIPA Annual Statistical Reports

[PDF] (245 pages)

“These records contain a statistical accounting of the FBI’s implementation of the Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts for the years 1978-1998.”

 

Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts Reference Manual

[PDF] (846 pages)

“This manual is used by FBI personnel as a reference guide when processing FBI files under the Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts. It contains copies of the Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts and various other regulations, as well as policy memoranda.”

 

Henry Ford

[PDF] (376 pages)

“These records consist of seven files involving Henry Ford on various subjects, such as his being the victim of an extortion attempt, kidnapping plots, jury tampering, and a State Department investigation.”

 

Sam Giancana

[PDF] (186 pages)

“1960 report from the anti-racketeering investigation of Sam Giancana, Chicago organized crime boss.”

 

Armand Hammer/Occidental Petroleum

[PDF] (658 pages)

“Noted entrepreneur and art collector Armand Hammer had extensive import-export dealings with the Soviet Union and personally negotiated with Premier Lenin during the 1920’s. He later went into the oil business and became head of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation.”

 

Ernst Franz Sedwick (Putzi) Hanfstangl

[PDF] (122 pages)

“Ernst Franz Sedwick Hanfstangl was an author and intimate friend of Adolph Hitler who served as Hitler’s Nazi Press Chief. In 1938, the FBI noted that Hanfstangl possibly had been connected with the Black Tom and Kingsland explosions. The FBI never interviewed Hanfstangl.”

 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

[PDF] (4 pages)

“This file contains information about coordinating security for a planned trip to Ireland in 1967 by the former First Lady and her children.”

Jack London

[PDF] (47 pages)

“The American author was never the focus of an FBI investigation, but he is mentioned in FBI files as co-founder of the Inter-Collegiate Socialist Society. This society was of interest to the FBI because of its views on socialism.”

 

Huey Long

[PDF1] [PDF2] (1,818 pages)

“These files contain information concerning the activities and associates of Louisiana State Senator Huey “Kingfish” Long who was assassinated in 1935.”

 

Thomas Mann

[PDF] (95 pages)

“Thomas Mann, German author, Nobel prize winner in literature, and naturalized American citizen, was investigated from 1927 through 1955. The security investigation gathered information showing Mann’s affiliation with communist causes and associates.”

 

National Alliance

[PDF1] [PDF2] (1,785 pages)

“This subsidiary group of the National Youth Alliance began from a nucleus of “Youth for Wallace” supporters for the purpose of combating the Students for a Democratic Society on college campuses. The FBI followed this anti-communist group’s activities because of its violent tendencies but it was never the subject of an investigation.”

 

George Orwell

[PDF] (79 pages)

“The English political satirist was never investigated by the FBI; however, FBI records contain correspondence in 1949 between Orwell’s publisher and J. Edgar Hoover, as well as miscellaneous information regarding him and his published works.”

 

John Parsons

[PDF] (130 pages)

“John Parsons, an employee of the Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City, California, removed classified documents concerning jet propulsion motors and rocket propellants without authorization. The FBI conducted an espionage investigation which developed no indication that he was acting on behalf of another country.”

 

Pablo Picasso (Summary)

[PDF] (188 pages)

“This file contains miscellaneous references to Picasso’s activities in connection with various subversive groups that were of interest to the FBI.”

 

Posse Comitatus

[PDF1] [PDF2] (2,147 pages)

“Posse Comitatus, also known as Sheriff’s Posse Comitatus, is a loose knit, nationwide organization established in 1973. The group’s objectives include resisting statutory authority related to federal, state, and local taxing authorities; limiting the capability of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers; and limiting access of all law enforcement representatives in trespassing on individual property. The FBI conducted an extremist matter/white hate investigation concerning the Posse Comitatus from 1972 through 1977. The organization was also investigated in 1980 through 1986 on possible domestic security/terrorism activities.”

 

American POWs/MIAs in Southeast Asia

[PDF1] [PDF2] [PDF3] [PDF4] (4,888 pages)

“From 1970-1973 the FBI investigated the Committee of Liaison with Families of Servicemen Detained in North Vietnam (COLIFAM) — a U.S. antiwar group acting as “liaison” between POWs and their families. The group was alleged to be a vehicle of North Vietnamese propaganda whose activities were believed to be detrimental to the health and welfare of the prisoners held in North Vietnam. No information was developed warranting prosecution of COLIFAM for solicitation under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. In 1982, the FBI compiled information concerning American prisoners of war or American citizens in Vietnam. In 1992, the FBI provided assistance to the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs by furnishing information and/or performing investigations on behalf of the Committee on all facets of POW issues.”

 

Wilhelm Reich

[PDF] (789 pages)

“This German immigrant described himself as the Associate Professor of Medical Psychology, Director of the Orgone Institute, President and research physician of the Wilhelm Reich Foundation, and discoverer of biological or life energy. A 1940 security investigation was begun to determine the extent of Reich’s communist commitments. In 1947, a security investigation concluded that neither the Orgone Project nor any of its staff were engaged in subversive activities or were in violation of any statue within the jurisdiction of the FBI. In 1954 the U.S. Attorney General filed a complaint seeking permanent injunction to prevent interstate shipment of devices and literature put out by Dr. Reich’s group. That same year, Dr. Reich was arrested for contempt of court for violation of the Attorney General’s injunction.”

 

Nelson Rockefeller

[PDF] (1,592 pages)

“Nelson Rockefeller, Medal of Freedom winner, 1977; Vice President to President Gerald Ford, 1974-1977; and Governor of New York State 1959-1973, was investigated in 1950 and 1969 for suitability to fill presidential appointments and again in 1974 to perform the duties of Vice-President. The FBI investigated numerous threats against the life of Rockefeller as Governor, Presidential Candidate, and Vice-President. Records also include personal correspondence between Rockefeller and the FBI demonstrating his affable relationship with the FBI, newspaper articles chronicling various aspects of Rockefeller’s life, and documents in which his name was merely mentioned.”

 

Sacco/Vanzetti Case

[PDF1] [PDF2] (2,189 pages)

“Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were convicted of murdering two men during a robbery attempt in South Braintree, MA, on April 15, 1920. The two were sentenced to death. Many people believed these men were wrongly convicted and demonstrations were staged protesting their convictions. The FBI became involved with this case when it came to its attention that these groups were making plans to take action against U.S. government officials in order to influence state officials to overturn the conviction of Sacco and Vanzetti.”

 

Nathan Silvermaster Group

[PDF1] [PDF2] (1,951 pages)

“Nathan Silvermaster was a leader of a Soviet espionage ring. This espionage investigation from 1945 to 1959 uncovered Soviet placed agents working within the U.S. Government. The case exposed twenty-seven individuals in the Silvermaster ring who gathered information from at least six federal agencies to turn over to the Soviets. No indictments for espionage were returned against any subjects in the case by any Grand Jury.”

 

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

[PDF1] [PDF2] (2,887 pages)

“The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was created in 1960 as a nonviolent civil rights movement primarily devoted to direct-action, voter-registration campaigns in the South. An investigation was opened in 1964 to establish the extent of communist infiltration in the SNCC.”

 

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Carlo Tresca

[PDF] (1,358 pages)

“Carlo Tresca, Italian political refugee, agitator, author, and editor, organized labor strikes across the U.S. through the International Workers of the World beginning in 1912. Tresca published an Italian American newspaper, “Il Martillo” (The Hammer) in which he criticized both communists and fascists. In 1922, an investigation of Tresca was initiated to determine the status of his U.S. citizenship, as well as his publication of an alleged obscene article in his newspaper. A security investigation was initiated in 1941 for violation of the Neutrality and Registration Acts.”

 

Wernher Von Braun

[PDF] (482 pages)

“In 1948 Wernher Von Braun was described as the most important of the German scientists employed by the Department of the Army at Fort Bliss. He was the subject of generally favorable background investigations in 1948 and 1961 in connection with his work in the rocket science field for the United States Government.”

 


 

I also found six files that were pulled off the FBI’s site for several years but eventually were reposted. It would be interesting to compare these original versions to the PDFs that are currently online to see if further redactions or other changes were made.

 

Adolf Hitler

[PDF] (734 pages)

“Reports were received in 1933 that persons in New York City were involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Hitler. Following World War II, unconfirmed information was received for years from various sources about the possible whereabouts of Hitler.”

 

Kent State University

[PDF1] [PDF2] (1,146 pages)

“The FBI investigated the violent events at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.”

 

Baby Face Nelson

[PDF] (224 pages)

“Records concerning a 1934 robbery of the Peoples Savings Bank, Grand Haven, Michigan, containing only limited information about Baby Face Nelson.”

 

Jackie Robinson

[PDF] (131 pages)

“Jackie Robinson made history as the first African American to play baseball in the Major Leagues when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. Mr. Robinson was never the subject of an FBI investigation; however, his name came to the attention of the FBI as a result of activities with various groups, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1949 he testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities at hearings regarding Communist Infiltration of Minority Groups.”

 

Leon Trotsky

[PDF] (909 pages)

“Records relating to the 1940 murder of Trotsky in Mexico by an assassin wielding a pick-axe.”

 

Weather Underground Organization (Weatherman)

[PDF] (420 pages)

“The Chicago Office of the FBI prepared a summary in 1976 discussing the main activities of the Weather Underground Organization, also known as Weatherman. This group described itself as a revolutionary organization of communist men and women. The FBI’s analysis of its motivations, beliefs, and international travels are outlined in this summary.”

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