• How Bob Dylan Ran Afoul of the FBI

    by Aaron J. Leonard

    The combination of alcohol and unconsidered remarks about Lee Harvey Oswald in the wake of the Kennedy assassination helped ensure that the FBI opened a file on the singer. 

  • FBI Releases Bill Russell's File, Which Includes Allegation of Betting Against Own Team

    The Bureau's file on the late NBA star demonstrates their suspicion of the civil rights movement and disdain for politically engaged Black athletes. It also contains a memo alleging Russell placed a significant wager against the Celtics as player-coach, although many known facts and lack of follow-up make that allegation doubtful. 

  • LBJ was Hoover's Co-Conspirator in the FBI's War on King and Civil Rights

    by Jonathan Eig and Jeanne Theoharis

    Americans have been taught to think of J. Edgar Hoover's efforts to discredit and destroy Dr. King as the work of a singular, personal animus. Recently declassified documents show that President Lyndon Johnson was well aware and supportive of Hoover's efforts, demonstrating the wide resistance of the establishment to challenge. 

  • Michael Kazin on J. Edgar Hoover, and Beverly Gage's Acclaimed Biography

    by Michael Kazin

    The signal contribution of Gage's book is not to examine Hoover's ideology or the details of his personal life, but to show how the FBI director built power and broad support, among even liberal Americans, for intrusive surveillance and repression of activists. 

  • Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover—Enemy of Democracy

    Beverly Gage's book explains the FBI director's longevity not to dark arts of blackmail and secret-keeping, but to a more straightforward and disturbing explanation: many Americans shared Hoover's reactionary views and liked how he cracked down on dissenters. 

  • Ernie Lazar, Who Amassed Archive of FBI Documents, Dies at 77

    "Through sheer perseverance and patience, Mr. Lazar became a kind of Zen master of the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, a provision enacted in 1967 that allowed the public a centralized way to request unclassified government material."

  • Trump is Attacking the Most Conservative Agency of the Government

    by Garrett M. Graff

    The embedded conservatism of the FBI is so severe that Democratic presidents have never felt politically entitled to name a fellow Democrat to lead the Bureau. Trump's attacks on the FBI as part of a liberal "deep state" are ludicrous.

  • The Islamophobia of Domestic Security and the Capitol Insurrection

    by Juan Cole

    Perhaps if the FBI hadn't been spending the last 20 years spying on American Muslims the organizing of white Christian nationalists leading to to the January 6 assault on the Capitol would't have been an apparent surprise to the authorities. 

  • What the FBI Had on Grandpa

    by Molly Jong-Fast

    "I never considered my grandfather to be a danger to the republic, but J. Edgar Hoover disagreed." The FBI surveilled writer Howard Fast extensively, though, as he wrote in his autobiography, "the eleven hundred pages detailed every—or almost every—decent act I had performed in my life."