The FBI Vault

November 15, 2013

Okay, it's Friday. Get a cup of coffee and a few donuts. Don't let anyone in the office know that  you're about to waste some time. Make it look like you're really, really immersed in some important business.  You know how to pull it off, right?  After all, in a week or so you're going to be spending a lot of time online buying holiday gifts.

Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had maintained files on such a diverse group of folks as dancer/actor Gene Kelly, NYC mayor Ed Koch, rock 'n roll impresario Dick Clark, Bee Gee Robin Gibb, and sci-fi author Ray Bradbury? 

Ominously, the FBI maintains a webpage titled: The Vault, which contains 6,700 documents and other media that have been scanned from paper into digital copies. And just what, exactly is buried in the data?  In 2012 and 2013, the FBI released, among others, the following intriguing files (full-text reprint of FBI descriptions):


Eugene "Gene" Curran Kelly

Eugene "Gene" Curran Kelly (1912-1996) was a well known dancer, actor, and film executive. This release of the main FBI file on Kelly spans the years 1947 through 1975; the active part of the investigation spanned the years 1947 to 1951. The investigation concerned Kelly's ties to various left-wing groups.

Michael Hastings

Michael M. Hastings (1980-2013), was a journalist and author. This release of a 6/11/2012 FBI document and its attachments (21 pages total) consists of the only material found in FBI records mentioning Hastings. No FBI records indicate an investigative interest in Hastings.

Daniel Inouye

Daniel K. Inouye (1924-2012) was a long serving U.S. Senator from the state of Hawaii. This newly released material consists of FBI files ranging from 1959 to 2006. The bulk of the material concerns investigations of threats made against Senator Inouye and others, but also includes FBI correspondence/contacts with the Senator and several other investigations related to him.

Spiro Agnew

Spiro Theodore Agnew (1918-1996) was a Maryland politician and U.S. vice president from 1968 to 1973. He resigned as vice president and later pleaded no contest to tax evasion charges pursued by the IRS; the FBI investigated him for bribery, but he was not prosecuted on that charge. This release consists of FBI records concerning the bribery investigation as well as threats made against Agnew. It ranges between 1969 and 1986 (mostly between 1969 and 1973). This more comprehensive release replaces the more limited one made in the 1990s that had been previously posted here on the Vault.

Edward Irving "Ed" Koch

Edward Irving "Ed" Koch (1924-2013) was a former congressman and mayor of New York City. This release consists of several files related to Koch. The bulk of the release consists of a 1977 investigation into extortion threats made against Koch that included the forgery of a letter using the then congressman's letterhead and signature. There are parts of two other files also. The first concerns a 1973 extortion matter and the second a foreign counterintelligence matter that mentions Uruguayan military officials' "irritation" with Koch; part of this file has been referred to another agency for release as it contains that agency's information.

Rodney King

Rodney Glen King (1965-2012) was the victim of an abusive arrest by Los Angeles police officers on March 3, 1991. Two officers involved in the arrest were found guilty of depriving King of his civil rights.

Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes Macias (1928-2012), aka Carlos Fuentes, was a noted Mexican writer. The material in this file concerns his proposed travel and subsequent visa issues with the U.S. State Department between 1962 and 1983.

Muammar Qadhafi

Muammar Qadhafi* (1942-2011) was the dictatorial ruler of Libya from 1969 to 2011. This release consists of FBI material related to Qadhafi ranging from 1976 to 1989. Investigations include security matters related to Qadhafi's travel to the United States in 1987, threats by Libyan dissidents against Qadhafi, and Qadhafi's possible involvement in threats to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Material has been withheld to protect personal privacy, the identities of FBI sources, and classified material. * Name variations include Khadafi, Khaddafy, Gaddafi, and Qadhafi.

Art Modell

Arthur Bertram Modell (1925-2012) was a businessman best known for his ownership of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens football teams. This release consists of a 1975 investigation of an extortion threat against Modell and a 2000 investigation of a threatening letter sent to him. Neither case resulted in a prosecution.

Neil Armstrong

Neil Alden Armstrong (1930-2012) was a naval aviator and U.S. astronaut. This release consists of 18 pages of FBI file references to Armstrong ranging from 1969 to 1985 relating primarily to requests for FBI name checks in consideration of executive appointment; no derogatory personnel information was found. Redactions were made primarily to protect the privacy of living persons

Whitney Houston

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (1963-2012) was a well-known American recording artist and actress. This release consists of several FBI investigations into threats made against Houston between 1988 and 1999.

Myron Leon "Mike" Wallace

Myron Leon "Mike" Wallace (1918-2012) was a well-known American journalist. This release consists of two parts. The first concerns a foreign counterintelligence file opened about Wallace's 1970 trip to Cuba (pp.1-5) and the second an investigation into a threatening letter sent to Wallace (pp.6-50).

Richard Wagstaff "Dick" Clark

Richard "Dick" W. Clark (1929-2012) was an entertainer and businessman best known for his long tenure as host of American Bandstand. These materials consist of investigations made in 1962 and 1985 into threats of violence against Clark and others

Charles "Chuck" Wendell Colson

Charles "Chuck" W. Colson (1931-2012) served as an official in the Nixon Administration and later was a well known Christian speaker and founder of a non-profit organization called the Prison Fellowship. He pled guilty to Watergate related charges in 1974 and served a brief federal prison sentence. This FOIA release covers the FBI's background investigation into Colson's appointment for a position in the White House. There is no connection in this material to Watergate or Colson's later career.

Robin H. Gibb

Robin H. Gibb (1949-2012) was a well-known singer/songwriter with the Bee Gees music group. Between 1980 and 1981, the FBI assisted a foreign police service in investigating a potentially threatening telegram sent to the London law firm representing Gibb's then wife in divorce proceedings; the telegram was signed "Robin Gibb." The investigation did not go beyond the initial stages as the law firm did not wish to pursue the matter.

Ray Douglas Bradbury

Ray Douglas Bradbury (1920-2012) was an award-winning science fiction author. In 1968, the FBI briefly investigated him for possible travel to Cuba, which had been banned by U.S. law. The investigation was very limited and was closed when the Bureau determined that Bradbury did not plan to travel Cuba.

U. S. Senator Robert Byrd

Robert Carlyle Byrd (1917-2010) served as a U.S. Senator for the state of West Virginia from 1958 until his death. This release consists of a large file of FBI correspondence with the Senator and his office over a long period of time and numerous smaller files dealing with threats and other criminal acts directed against the Senator. The material in these files ranges in date from 1955-2003.

Charlie Wilson

Charles "Charlie" Nesbitt Wilson (1933-2010) served 12-terms as Democratic United States Representative from Texas's 2nd congressional district. He became widely known for his support for funding the Afghan Mujahedeen resistance to USSR occupation. This release consists of more than 3500 pages of FBI investigative records from 1972 to 1999 joint US government investigation into foreign corrupt practices. The material here relates to a side issue developed in the case concerning whether or not Wilson received a substantial kickback from a foreign government for his role in securing a sizable appropriation to arm the Afghan resistance; in 1999, the Department of Justice declined to prosecute, but Wilson did pay a sizable penalty for making loans to himself from his campaign accounts. Other material released includes investigative material related to a possible election law violation by an opponent of Wilson in 1972, the investigation of several threats made against Wilson, the Bureau's investigation into his possible role in the late 1980s/early 1990s House banking scandal, and some other small matters.