The FBI Monitored a Young Christopher Hitchens

The FBI has released some of its files on the late Christopher Hitchens, including records indicating that he was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation in the 1980s.

History Punk has the documents, which the FBI released in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request. They show that when Hitchens entered the U.S. to tour college campuses in 1970, the bureau kept tabs on him. One memo described the well-known former Trotskyite as a "member of the International Socialism (Cliff) Group of Trotskyists and the Oxford Revolutionary Socialist Students" who had been "arrested and fined on two occasions."

The FBI checked Hitchens' name against State Department Visa files and Immigration and Naturalization Service records, the documents show, and took steps "through sources" to "ascertain his itinerary and intended length of stay."

Other records from the 1980s, including a request from the Secret Service to vet Hitchens after he applied for a White House press pass—were assigned a case number beginning with "105," which the bureau reserves for foreign counterintelligence cases. The documents are heavily redacted, so it's difficult to tell whether they indicate a routine name-check or something more involved.

The 19 pages released yesterday were "preprocessed," meaning they had already been requested in the past (most likely, given the FBI's habitual unwillingness to release records on living subjects, by Hitchens himself), and were immediately released in response to requests filed after his death. The bureau is still searching for other record on Hitchens, and may have more to release.
Christopher Hitchens' FBI File

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