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Records: FBI Spied on Numerous African American Authors, Scholars for Decades

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and its notoriously paranoid director J. Edgar Hoover spied on prominent African American writers for decades, monitoring their activities and critiquing their work.

The Guardian reports that newly declassified documents from the FBI show extensive surveillance of black writers and scholars, including Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Claude McKay.

The records were obtained by William Maxwell, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who was shocked when the FBI turned over 1,884 pages of documents on 51 well-known black writers. His request included 106 black writers, which means nearly half were monitored by the feds.

“I suspected there would be more than a few,” said Maxwell. “I knew Hoover was especially impressed and worried by the busy crossroads of black protest, leftwing politics, and literary potential. But I was surprised to learn that the FBI had read, monitored, and ‘filed’ nearly half of the nationally prominent African American authors working from 1919 (Hoover’s first year at the Bureau, and the first year of the Harlem Renaissance) to 1972 (the year of Hoover’s death and the peak of the nationalist Black Arts movement). In this, I realised, the FBI had outdone most every other major institution of US literary study, only fitfully concerned with black writing.”

Maxwell is revealing the findings in a book entitled, “FB Eyes: How J Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature.” The book hits the shelves on Feb. 18.

The book says the surveillance was prompted by Hoover’s “personal fascination with black culture.”

What was Hoover afraid of?

“Hoover was exercised by what he saw as an emerging alliance between black literacy and black radicalism,” Maxwell said.

“Then there’s the fact that many later African American writers were allied, at one time or another, with socialist and communist politics in the U.S.”

 

Homeland Security Chief Warns of 30,000 Furloughs If Congress Doesn’t Reach Funding Pact

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If Congress fails to reach a funding agreement by the end of February, Homeland Security will furlough at least 30,000 workers in what could have far-reaching ramifications, the department’s head, Jeh Johnson, said.

The Huffington Post reports that Johnson is stepping up his rhetoric in the face of a potential DHS shutdown.

“This is not a situation to make light of,” Johnson told CNN. “In these challenging times we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security.”

Johnson said FEMA would furlough about 80% of its employees.

“I am on Capitol Hill now virtually every working day talking to Democrats and Republicans about the importance of a fully funded Department of Homeland Security in these times in particular,” said Johnson. “Let’s not forget that the Department of Homeland Security interfaces with the American public more than any other department in our government at airports and at ports.”

Other Stories of Interest

Woman Who Says She Was a ‘Sex Slave’ for Prince Andrew, Others Says Videos Exist

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The woman at the center of the Prince Andrew “sex slave” scandal said she believes the FBI has video of her having sex with billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein and “some of his powerful friends,” the Independent reports.

Virginia Roberts, now 31, said in sworn statements in court last week that she believes  “maintained videos in some rooms where I had sex with other powerful people” and that “some kind of major cover-up is going on to protect.”

Roberts claims she was only 17 when Epstein and his friends turned her into a “sex slave.”

One of the friends of Epstein that Roberts said she had sex with is Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew has denied the allegations.

Man Drives Pickup Through Coast Guard Station Gate, Assaults Personnel in Michigan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are baffled after a 34-year-old man drove his pickup truck through a Coast Guard station gate Sunday morning in Michigan and assaulted personnel after saying he had packed his vehicle with explosives, WZZM-TV reports. 

The man, whose identity has not yet been released, was subdued and arrested at the Grand Haven station.

“The suspect is not from Grand Haven,” Hawke told reporters. “We’re unsure, unclear on whether he is acting alone or not. The investigation is rapidly expanding into other areas of Michigan. No indication of a motive at this time. That part of the investigation is still ongoing.”

Authorities found no explosives.

No one was serious injured.

FBI Combats Computer Hackers with Cyber Crimes Task Force in Louisville

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The alarming increase in computer attacks has prompted the FBI to create a cyber crimes task force in Louisville, WDRB.com reports.

To combat the sophistication, the FBI is recruiting computer-savvy people.

“There’s a changing in the F.B.I. for sure,” said Michael Russo Jr., a Supervisory Special Agent with the F.B.I.

Russo said cyber attacks are a big threat and can result in people having their identities stolen within seconds.

“We are hiring special agents, computer scientists and I.T. forensic examiners,” Russo said.

It’s not easy. The FBI received more than 20,000 applications for traditional investigator positions but far fewer people expressed interest in FBI tech jobs.

 

Former Baseball Star Chipper Jones Claimed Sandy Hook Shooting Was a Hoax

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The horrific Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 20 children and six staff members was a hoax?

So claimed former Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones in an odd tweet that suggested the FBI confirmed the shooting was not real, Huffington Post reports.

The next day, on Saturday, Jones apologized, saying he misunderstood what happened.

“My apologies for my Sandy Hook tweet yest. I had heard something from someone which I thought to be credible and tweeted w/out researching.

He added: “It was irresponsible of me to do that and will not happen again. Please accept my heartfelt apology to those who were hurt or offended.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mobster Frank Lucas, an Organized Crime Heroin Dealer

httpv://youtu.be/j1l2DBExXsk

Illinois Issues Medical Marijuana Licenses without FBI Background Check

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner surprised many people this week when he issued licenses to 70 medical marijuana businesses before they would have to undergo criminal background checks as required by state law, The Associated Press reports.

Rauner said he began issuing the licenses because patients shouldn’t have to wait any longer following the mishandling of the licensing process under former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Once the FBI authorizes the use of its criminal history checks, Rauner said the businesses that have been issued licenses would still be subjected to the background checks.

Illinois’ medical marijuana law excludes anyone with a violent crime or drug felony.