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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


March 30, 2004

Kerry FBI Files Stolen From Author's Home in 'Very Professional Job'

Historian: Kerry FBI files stolen (3/28/2004 -

From CNN: FBI documents about FBI surveillance of John Kerry in the early 1970s have been stolen, according to their owner, a historian who lives near San Francisco, California.

Gerald Nicosia, who spent more than a decade collecting the information, said three of 14 boxes of documents plus a number of loose folders containing hundreds of pages were stolen from his home Thursday afternoon.

Nicosia reported the theft Friday to the Twin Cities Police Department, which covers Larkspur and Corte Madera in Marin County, where he lives. The police report found no sign of forced entry.

"It was a very clean burglary. They didn't break any glass. They didn't take anything like cameras sitting by. It was a very professional job," Nicosia said.

"Was it a thrill-seeker who wanted a piece of history? It could be," Nicosia said. "You'd think there was a very strong political motivation for taking those files. The odds are in favor of that."

Nicosia, author of "Home At War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement," had obtained about 20,000 pages of FBI documents through Freedom of Information Act requests.

The documents center on FBI surveillance of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), which Kerry represented as national spokesman. In April 1971, the decorated veteran testified in televised hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and led a large protest of veterans in the capital.

Nicosia estimated that 20 percent of his documents are missing.

"It's heartbreaking, after 11 years trying to get them," he said.

Kerry's antiwar efforts drew the attention of President Nixon, as revealed in recordings of White House conversations obtained by CNN from the National Archives, and of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, as the documents revealed.

"I hadn't gotten a chance to review them all. I am sure there were some things about John Kerry that weren't known," Nicosia said. "These files would also cast a bad light on the ... Republican Party. This surveillance happened under the Nixon White House and Nixon FBI."

Nicosia showed about 50 pages of the documents to CNN last week.

The FBI followed Kerry as he traveled the country, speaking out against the war and raising money for the cause. Kerry, a Navy lieutenant, was honorably discharged upon his return from Vietnam with three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.

Kerry, who obtained his personal FBI files years ago, knew of the surveillance, but the VVAW files obtained by Nicosia detail more extensive surveillance than the senator from Massachusetts might have realized.

"It is almost surreal to learn the extent to which I was followed by the FBI," Kerry said in a written statement earlier this week. "The experience of having been spied on for the act of engaging in peaceful patriotic protest makes you respect civil rights and the Constitution even more."

Kerry was seen as a tactical "conservative" among the antiwar veterans, the FBI documents say. The 27-year-old typically opposed demonstrations that would lead to arrests.

"A review of the subject's file reveals nothing whatsoever to link the subject with any violent type activity," said a May 1972 FBI memo about Kerry provided by his campaign.

The memo recommended that the surveillance end because Kerry had quit VVAW and was launching a political career.

[Read the source...]

Also, from the Associated Press:

FBI Files on John Kerry Stolen From Author's Home By Ron Harris The Associated Press

Saturday 27 March 2004

The man who uncovered evidence the FBI tailed presidential candidate John Kerry for months in 1971 said some of those files were stolen this week.

Author Gerald Nicosia reported to police Friday that three of the 14 boxes of once-secret FBI files he obtained under the Freedom of Information Act were taken from his Corte Madera [California] home Thursday.

Particular files from the remaining 11 boxes were also taken, Nicosia said, including files containing documents about Kerry that hadn't been reviewed yet by others.

"The three files folders about John Kerry were taken," Nicosia said. "Those revelations are lost now, at least to me."

Nicosia, author of "Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac" and "Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement," says he doesn't know who took his files, or why, but he's got some ideas.

"There's a range of possibilities. You could have your thrill seeker, like someone who wants a piece of the history," Nicosia told The Associated Press Friday in a phone interview.

It was the Los Angeles Times that first reviewed some of Nicosia's documents and reported in its March 23 edition that Kerry's post-war activism and speeches were closely monitored by the FBI.

Acting Twin Cities Police Department Sgt. Chuck Lovenguth confirms his office is investigating the reported theft and trying to get more details on exactly what was taken.

Lovenguth said he would likely forward the report to the investigations department once Nicosia provides authorities with more details about what is missing.

Related Stories:


Why go to prison for breaking and entering when you can go to

and get the files

Posted by: John Spencer at June 8, 2004 03:29 PM

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Posted by: Editor at July 5, 2004 03:26 PM

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