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Rebecca West & the FBI
On Rebecca West's FBI file & what it tells us
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On October 19, 1992, I wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigation requesting under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to see Rebecca West’s file. I had made a similar request for Lillian Hellman’s file, and after several months—with help from my congressman—I received hundreds of pages of reports on Hellman’s activities. She had belonged to several Communist Front organizations. She had been involved in labor union drives in California. She was an outspoken leftist and was often called a Stalinist. Most dramatically, she had had an affair with John Melby, a foreign service officer she had met in the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Even after names had been blacked out, the file was a fund of information. It contained accounts from informants and interviews with Hellman’s friends and associates. This was ra ...
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 16 February 1998, on page 12
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