Ever wanted to delve deeper into the enigmatic world of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)? Here are ten outlandishly intriguing facts about the FBI you might not be aware of:
1. In an era when women were largely excluded from many roles, the FBI fell in line. From 1928 to 1972, there were no female special agents in the Bureau. This came to be after J. Edgar Hoover put a ban on the recruitment of women in 1924 and subtly ousted the three serving female agents.
2. The FBI isn’t immune to missteps. A whistle-blower from within the Bureau shed light on several inconsistencies in forensic cases. Years later, after enduring attempts by the FBI to discredit him, an investigation revealed that forensic hair analysis was in error or inaccurate over 90% of the time.
3. Famed writer Ernest Hemingway frequently voiced his concerns about being tracked by the FBI. While many dismissed his fears as paranoia during his lifetime, it was discovered posthumously that Hemingway had indeed been under intense FBI surveillance, including wiretapping and tracking, for nearly two decades before his demise.
4. The establishment of the Bureau of Investigation (now known as the FBI) has a connection to French royalty. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, the grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was the one who created the Bureau.
5. The FBI has had difficulties in recruiting hackers due to a particular hiring stipulation. This rule requires that applicants must not have consumed marijuana in the past three years.
6. Talk about irony – Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent, was assigned the task of unearthing a mole within the Bureau after several FBI informants within the KGB were discovered. As it turned out, Hanssen was the mole who had been covertly working with the KGB since 1979. His treason caused severe damage to the U.S, making him the most harmful spy in U.S history.
7. Sometimes, simplicity is key. In 1971, burglars gained entry into an FBI office by leaving a note on the front door that read “Please don’t lock this door tonight.” They managed to steal several files.
8. Ethics came under the scanner in 1980 when the FBI created a bogus company and offered bribes to congress members. Shockingly, around 25% of those tested accepted the bribe and were subsequently convicted.
9. In an odd twist, the FBI issued a memo in 1947 stating that the beloved film “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a ploy by communists to smear bankers’ reputations. This came about because the antagonist of the movie, Mr. Potter, was a banker.
10. The FBI isn’t impervious to hoaxes. They spent over two years investigating the ‘Church of the Hammer’ and their Yahoo group ‘GodHatesGoths’, which was supposedly an anti-goth cult. The lengthy investigation concluded when they realized the entire thing was a fabrication, intended as a prank.