The FBI is under scrutiny with its recent search on the Trump estate, with right-wing extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene calling to defund them.  This inspired us to take a look back on the times the FBI investigated other notable public figures.

The FBI has a public record of declassified files. Some of the FBI files of public figures, like Elvis or Betty White, include primarily attempts to steal from or extort them, meaning the FBI saw them as the victims. But some files, are truly strange. The most shocking ones are from under J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO, which was only exposed to the public after activists broke in and stole documents. The illegal program targeted feminist, anti-Vietnam, independence, Indigenous, environmental, and civil rights organizations and even armed a right-wing militia against Anti-War activists.

From using a photo that wasn't even John Lennon in Lennon's file to confusing KISS with The Who, we don’t have much faith that the FBI could be capable of what so many conspiracy theorists dream of. (Not to mention, the institution has an undeniable conservative bias, tracing back to its inception.) But, hey, they almost managed to pull off COINTELPRO without the mainstream media realizing it, and this is only the redacted, declassified information.

John Lennon

CRACKED.COM THE FBI HAD FILES ON... JOHN LENNON The FBI started a file in 1971 when the former Beatle traveled to New York on a visa to meet up with anti-war activists. The FBI proposed that Lennon should be arrested, if at all possible, on possession of narcotics charges which would make him more immediately deportable. The file includes a wanted poster for Lennon, but, despite having one of the most famous faces, they used a photo of another guy who had similar glasses.

Source: NPR

KISS

GRAGKED.COM THE FBI KEPT FILES ON... KISS The FBI report from 1980 includes a request of more information on the civil unrest caused by the band, especially over an instance in Texas that included attacks on police. A follow-up response assures that no such thing ever happened. Except maybe in Ohio, during a stampede...for a concert for The Who.

Source:  FBI Vault

The Monkees

GRAGKED.COM THE FBI KEPT FILES ON... THE MONKEES The FBI started a file on the made-for-TV pop group in 1967 after they showed pictures and messages protesting Vietnam during a concert. There's a second document that's fully redacted that the last living member of the group is filing a lawsuit in order to see.

Source: CNN

The Insane Clown Posse

CRACKED.COM THE FBI KEPT FILES ON... THE INSANE CLOWN POSSE MGM GRAND on FOX GM GRAND CITY or ENTERTAINMENT INTERNAMENT awards Billboard Billbo FOX MGM GR MGM GRAND music MUSIC or THE CITY CITY OF ENTERTAINMENT ds MGM RITY OX The FBI tried to classify ICP as a gang, but the ACLU helped them shoot it down. Their FBI file is surprisingly catty, including Insane Clown Posse can't get its music on the radio but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who ... sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns.

Source: FBI Vault

Aretha Franklin

CRACKED.COM THE FBI KEPT FILES ON... ARETHA FRANKLIN The FBI spent years surveilling Franklin's involvement in the civil rights movement. The Queen of Soul performed and attended events organized by the NAACP and SCLC. Her father C.L. Franklin, a close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., was also closely monitored.

Source: NPR

Charlie Chapman

GRAGKED.COM THE FBI KEPT FILES ON... CHARLIE CHAPLIN The FBI had 1,900 pages on the silent film star's supposed Communist ties. The report followed Chaplin from when he attended a 1922 party of a labor leader to after his death in 1977. The FBI investigated his sex life, going so far as to bug his hotel rooms. The FBI even fed information to gossip columnists.

Source: New York Times

Get the Cracked Daily Newsletter!

We've got your morning reading covered.

Tags

Forgot Password?