FOIA The Dead

Ben H. Bagdikian

Before reporter Ben Bagdikian covered the Pentagon Papers for the Washington Post, he was the author of a series of critical articles about official secrecy and "loyalty checks" in federal law enforcement. These writings landed him on the bad side of J. Edgar Hoover, which resulted in decades of scrutiny.

The Bureau subsequently collected and summarized his major writing, including a series of 12 articles on news magazines and their effect on politics. (Those summaries, and the articles they address, are included in this file.)

But it was his 1961 article about the 37th anniversary of J. Edgar Hoover's appointment as chief that most rankled. Hoover annotated a copy of the article, asking that Bagdikian be removed from all Bureau mailings. He reportedly called the article "utter bunk."

Bagdikian was likely aware of his reputation within the Bureau, but would have had it confirmed when, in 1975, he filed a Freedom of Information Act request for his own file. That request, and the follow-up communications (including his check for $8.50 and a notarized signature) are also included in this file.

New York Times obit: Ben H. Bagdikian, Reporter of Broad Range and Conscience, Dies at 96