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Friday, March 22, 2024

FBI says it has no file on Robert Shea

A 1977 photo of Robert Shea, right, and Robert Anton Wilson in London. 

On March 8, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking the FBI if it has any files on author Robert Shea. I figured if he was an anarchist active in the antiwar movement, who hung around with dodgy characters such as Paul Krassner, Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary, there might be something in the FBI files.

I've received a letter from the FBI pertaining to my Robert Joseph Shea inquiry, dated March 14. The relevant sentences say, "Based on the information you provided, we conducted a main entity record search of the Central Records System (CRS) per our standard search policy. However, we were unable to identify records subject to the FOIPA [Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts] that are responsive to your request. Therefore, your request is being closed." 

If I had additional information, I could submit a new request. I'll notify Robert Shea's son, Mike, about the response, but unless he or anyone else can think of something, I don't plan to make another request.

Footnote: Based on my experiences submitting Freedom of Information Act requests as a newspaper report, I figured a response would not arrive for months, if I got anything at all. When the FBI letter showed up in the mail yesterday, it did not occur to me it was a response to my request, and my worried wife asked why I was getting a letter from the FBI. Apparently, Ann doesn't realize I'm even more harmless than Robert Shea. 


Spookah said...

Exactly what the FBI would say if they would have a file on someone and didn't want you to know about it.
Trust no one, the truth is out there.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@Spookah, true, but it is the law in the U.S., so simply lying to me would carry a risk. Also, Robert Shea has been dead for 30 years, so it's hard to believe anyone would think he or his friends are a threat.

What I think is more likely is (A) They don't have anything on Robert Shea or (B) their search didn't find anything, perhaps because the search was not thorough enough.

Spookah said...

I was being facetious. Or was I?

I think I've said it before, but I appreciate your dedication to Robert Shea and his work, Tom.
I wonder if Hilaritas would consider reprinting some of his books.