News & Politics

FBI Spied Uselessly On Norman Mailer for 15 Years

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The Washington Post‘s Freedom of Information Law request finally came through on Voice co-founder Norman Mailer, and their report answers the age-old question: when you’re the FBI and your subject is a guy who stabbed his wife, freely admits to taking illegal drugs, and once challenged National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy to a fistfight, what is there to possibly investigate? Not much, as it turns out: after J. Edgar Hoover put agents on Mailer in 1962, the Feds kept close enough tabs on his Brooklyn Heights home to notice when his “mailbox was overflowing” and filed reports of his seemingly subversive activities, but never so much as questioned the author himself for fear such an encounter would “feed the fires of publicity” — even when Mailer was openly accusing the Bureau of covering up the murder of Marilyn Monroe. Apparently the best way to outfox the FBI is to deeply, truly not give a shit. Your thought for today! (Also: the Feds reported that Mailer’s Miami and the Siege of Chicago was “written in [Mailer’s] usual obscene and bitter style.”)

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