Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Rerun: Bring me the files on Sonny Bono!

I wondered what the purpose of the FBI is, so, with J Edgar Hoover being unavailable to ask, I Googled "Why do we have a Federal Bureau of Investigation?" 

Here's what I was told...

The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.
And then, when you go to the FBI website, you find this link to the online FBI files  - at least, the ones that they want you to see. (A photo of J Edgar in a slinky kimono is not online.)  They call this "the reading room," and that's supposed to make you feel as if you're in a nice leather easy chair with nice soft lighting overhead, sipping a cup of Mocha Java and idly glancing through the documents that document our documented fight against international terrorist threats, and those who would dare to break the criminal laws of the United States, and so forth, on and on.

You won't see much about the government's efforts to curb narcotics addiction in these files.  The FBI was too busy running surveillance on Dr Martin Luther King to fret about drug kingpins importing tons of heroin destined for the street of urban America. And here is another way they spent their time.

In 1964, responding to hand-wringing complaints from some mom or dad in New York's suburbs, the full attention of the USFBI was turned to finding out whether the lyrics to the rock standard "Louie Louie" were obscene. 

This is a real picture of
the real J. Edgar Hoover
This is what Hoover and his pals were doing while you thought they were fighting real crime.  So, while you got clocked and mugged for your wallet so that a junkie could score enough to settle his jones, at least you knew, while you sat in the ER waiting for stitches, that you wouldn't hear any dirty lyrics in a song on the radio...a song that was as innocuous as a nursery rhyme.  Read the lyrics as they were reported to the FBI (page 14 of the documents) by a student at Sarasota Junior High School, hear the record here, andread the real lyrics here. 

Take some time to read some of the other files.  From Biggie Smalls to Eleanor Roosevelt, whoever you are, the FBI has a file on you, you terrorist, you.

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