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Of all the US intelligence agencies, the FBI has the longest-running relationship with Hollywood. From spying on A-listers as to helping blacklist screenwriters, through to manipulating scripts for PR and propaganda purposes, the Bureau’s influence on…
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The FBI's file on James Marshall Hendrix aka Jimi Hendrix is a brief but entertaining example of the Bureau having too much time on their hands and not enough to do. After Hendrix was arrested in Toronto in 1969 'after a quantity of marijuana was found in…
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Author and the creator of gonzo journalism Hunter S Thompson could be expected to have an FBI file, and he does. When it was released the FBI admitted that they had destroyed parts of it during the 1990s, and what remains is a smattering of amusing…
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Graham Greene was one of the most important novelists of the 20th century, and one of the greatest spy novelists of all time. He also holds the dubious honour of having worked for MI6 during WW2 but being spied on by the FBI as a suspected Communist. Few…
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Jack Valenti was present at the JFK assassination and became a close aide to Lyndon Johnson before being made head of the Motion Picture Association of America.  Valenti’s lengthy FBI file – which I will be writing on in several parts – details his White House career, investigations into both his mob ties and allegations of sexual perversion, some hints towards his CIA connections as well as some of his nearly 40 years at the MPAA.  It also includes an investigation into items going missing from his luggage in an LA airport and a rumour that he arranged for a young woman to have an abortion of LBJ’s lovechild.
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What connects the Black Panther Party, the Masonic Temple in San Francisco and Jack Valenti? The answer is the award-winning 1969 movie Z, about the assassination of the Greek leftist pacifist politician Grigoris Lambrakis and the military takeover of Greece’s government.  A copy of Z went missing from the San Francisco film festival in 1969 and another copy that was loaned to the Black Panther Party that summer was only returned after a delay.  Valenti, by this time head of the MPAA, knew about this and had heard about copies of Z being available on the black market, and asked the FBI to investigate.
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Jack Valenti’s career as head of the MPAA spanned nearly 40 years and saw the end of the production code and the establishment of the movie ratings system, the failure of the Vietnam War, the arrival of home cinema followed by the internet, and culminated in the post-9/11 propaganda push.  New details provided by the FBI files on Valenti show that throughout this period (1966-2004) he remained close to the establishment.  The Pentagon and Jack Valenti maintained good relationships as the Entertainment Liaison Offices grew in importance, and other institutions including the Institute for Creative Technologies were formed which further connect the military to the entertainment industry.
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There have been a lot of stories in the news this week about the release of FBI documents on Ian Fleming.  The documents are not a file on Fleming – he was never the subject of Bureau investigations – but are instead a response to a request from the makers of Goldfinger.  One of the producers (and former member of the Psychological Warfare Bureau) Harry Saltzman had reached out to the DOD for permission to use military aircraft in the movie, presumably for the Fort Knox sequence.
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Tom Clancy was one of the best selling spy authors of all time, known not only for his technical accuracy – gleaned through extensive government contacts – but also for an uncanny ability to predict the future.  Part of his FBI file was released in 2014 but in recent weeks another section has been made available.  It sheds light on just how deep his government contacts must have run, on both sides of the Atlantic.
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Shortly after the death of author Tom Clancy I filed a series of requests with numerous US agencies.  Most of these requests have been refused or ignored, including my request to the FBI.  Nonetheless, two other websites who filed almost identical requests have recently received documents from the Bureau.  I have followed up and filed a new request asking for further FBI material on Clancy but I thought it best to post the documents that have recently become available.
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