Where is Bush's FBI file?
By Michael Petrelis
2215-R Market Street, #413
SF, CA 94114
When it comes to the issue of FBI files on President George W. Bush and
Senator John Kerry, the so-called liberal media have shown unquestionable bias in
only scrutinizing Kerry's dossier and ignoring the possibility of a file on
An Associated Press story on May 5 detailed how the wire service got the FBI
to hand over more than 9,000 pages on Kerry's role in Vietnam Veterans Against
the War, by demanding their release under provisions of the Freedom of
"The FBI considered John Kerry a 'glib, cool' spokesman for Vietnam war
protesters," the AP reported.
Kerry's response was succinct and laudable.
"I think it's great [the FBI pages were released]. I'm very proud of my
efforts to end the war. I welcome anybody's perusal of them. I'm proud that I stood
up to Richard Nixon. And you know, I personally have also requested those
documents. So I'm happy to have them out there. It's terrific," Kerry said.
Using the FOIA clause for expediting processing, I requested Bush's FBI file,
assuming there is one. I'd be shocked if there isn't.
I took this action because not only the AP but also every other news report
on Kerry and the veterans' dossiers didn't broach the matter of a Bush file.
The FBI denied fast-tracking my request, placing it in the regular processing
queue. If I'm lucky, this means the agency will likely release Bush's FBI
file at the end of 2005.
There are at least three angles through which the media should look at the
issue of FBI files and the two leading contenders for the White House.
First, if press organizations and their lawyers are going to request and
examine one candidate's FBI files, and I think they should, the same request must
be made for other contender's file, if only to treat the candidates fairly and
Second, given the context of the AP's filing FOIA requests for Bush's
National Guard records and Kerry's FBI dossier, the question must be raised as to why
the AP, along with other media, have made no apparent effort to use FOIA to
obtain the Bush FBI record.
Third, Bush and his administration could themselves make his FBI file
available to the press and public, generating extensive coverage. Should that occur,
Bush, like Kerry, should "welcome anybody's perusal of" his FBI files.
I've taken an interest in this issue because I'm a gay male voter and news
consumer with a blog in which I have researched political donations from
journalists and media executives to both the Democratic and Republican presidential
candidates and their PACs.
What I've discovered is that among media personalities who have donated, the
money has flowed overwhelmingly to Kerry and the Democratic National
Committee. The contributions from journalists to Kerry lend credence to the
oft-repeated charge the media are biased toward liberals.
But if this bias were genuine, then I would expect the "liberal" media to
jump through high hoops to acquire the FBI file on Bush; however, this has not
Although the election is little more than a month away, there is still time
enough for the FBI to release Bush's file before America votes, if the
following provision of FOIA is invoked, allowing for expedited processing and release
"[There is a] matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which
there exist possible questions about the government's integrity which effect
It wouldn't take much effort to create the exceptional interest necessary,
forcing release of the Bush FBI file, if reporters understood the democratic and
journalistic importance of obtaining the file.
So c'mon, liberal media. Live up to your reputation and ask this question of
the White House: Where's Bush's FBI file?
- - -
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC 20535-0001
Mr. Michael Petrelis
2215-R Market Street, #413
San Francisco, CA 94114
July 28, 2004
Dear Mr. Petrelis:
This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act request concerning
President George W. Bush, FOIA number 1001866, and Vice President Dick Cheney,
FOIA number 1001868. This response is being made on behalf of the Office of the
Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and Associate Attorney General.
You have requested expedited processing of your requests pursuant to the
Department's standard permitting expedition for requests involving "[a] matter of
widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible
questions about the government's integrity which affect public confidence," 28
C.F.R. Section 16.5 (d)(1)(iv).
Based on information you have provided, I have determined you have not
demonstrated any particular urgency to inform the public about the subject matter of
your requests beyond the public's right to know about government activity
generally. Accordingly, your request has been placed in our regular processing
You may administratively appeal the denial of your request for expedited
processing by writing to the Co-Director, Office of Information and Privacy,
United States Department of Justice, Flag Building, Suite 750, Washington, DC
20503-0001, within sixty days from the date of this letter.
Both letter and the envelope should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information
Your request has been assigned the numbers above. Please use these numbers in
all correspondence with us.
David M. Hardy
Record/Information Dissemination Section
Records Management Division
- - -
May 5, 2004
FBI file focused on Kerry's anti-war group
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI considered John Kerry a "glib, cool" spokesman for
Vietnam war protesters when he was attached to an anti-war veterans group, but
the bureau focused on more radical elements of the organization during an
investigation spanning four years, documents show.
In more than 9,000 pages from the early 1970s, the FBI is seen tracking the
protests, manifestos and myriad activities of Vietnam Veterans Against the War,
and concluding that the group took a more extreme turn in the years after
Kerry, now the Democratic presidential candidate, quit it.
FBI files on the organization were released Wednesday in response to a
Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press and other news
Kerry is accused in the file of little more than charisma.
An FBI summary of the anti-war protests he helped organize in April 1971 says
Kerry, a decorated war hero, "overshadowed" many of the organization's other
leaders and was "a more popular and eloquent figure" than the rest.
"Kerry was glib, cool, and displayed just what the moderate elements wanted
to reflect," the summary says.
Although the FBI was watching Kerry and the other protesters earlier in 1971,
it placed the group under active investigation in August of that year
following reports from many field offices that members were "engaging in illegal and
subversive activities," an FBI memo says. Kerry left the group before the end
of 1971 and was not implicated in violent activities or conspiracies
attributed to other members in the file.
That memo, which does not mention Kerry, says that in 1972, the group "moved
toward increased militant and revolutionary-type activities in addition to
continued cooperation with communist-dominated groups and foreign elements
hostile to the U.S."
By then, Kerry had moved on to an ill-fated run for a seat in Congress.
The FBI memo — the names of the sender and recipient are blacked out —
asserts that the investigation of the group was never directed or influenced by the
Nixon White House. This, despite known efforts by Nixon's aides to discredit
Campaigning Wednesday in Los Angeles, Kerry welcomed the release of the
"I think it's great," he said. "I'm very proud of my efforts to end the war.
I welcome anybody's perusal of them. I'm proud that I stood up to Richard
Nixon. And you know, I personally have also requested those documents. So I'm
happy to have them out there. It's terrific."
Kerry is mentioned only sporadically in the file, most of which covers the
group's activities from 1972 to 1975.
In one document, the FBI field office in Pittsburgh notes that Kerry spoke at
the University of Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, 1971. "The essence of Kerry's speech
was to condemn those who did not get involved in social change," the FBI memo
says. "He urged those present to make a conscientious commitment to end the
An April 12, 1971, FBI memo from Baltimore quotes a confidential source as
saying that Kerry had been telling members of the group that "Congress is
prepared to listen" to their anti-war agenda but cautioned that it was critical that
the coming demonstrations remain nonviolent. Kerry was on the group's
national steering committee at the time.
Another FBI memo describes in detail the medals Kerry won as a Navy
lieutenant in Vietnam and noted he was a Yale graduate who was named class orator in
In contrast, others members of the group were accused of conspiracy to riot
during the 1972 Republican National Convention, of passing classified
information to a Japanese communist leader, and various acts of violence. A Connecticut
member was arrested with an explosive device en route to a speech given by
Vice President Spiro Agnew.