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The FBI and the Anti-Defamation League


The following files were obtained by Freedom of Information Act from the FBI.  Since the 1940s, the record reveals the ADL attempting to liaise with the FBI by offering the ADL representative network as an FBI resource.   The details of this attempted collaboration by an organization portraying itself as a nonprofit social welfare organization are surprising.  FBI field offices report that some ADL operatives are inadequate for the job.  Others, such as the head of the Oregon office, become undercover FBI informants for the local FBI field office.  The ADL attempts to simultaneously conceal and leverage FBI relationships, even claiming to train the bureau on the finer points of investigation.  However, the ADL's efforts to obtain routine access to FBI investigation files and undercover informant lists to avoid "duplication of efforts" in investigations are continually rebuffed by the FBI.

The files contain many surprising ADL undercover operations.  In 1941 longtime ADL operative Arnold Forster is caught with an associate infiltrating an America First Party event with stolen press credentials.  The ADL then uses media pressure and offers payoffs to quash a police investigation, according to the FBI.  In 1946 ADL obtained confidential Chase National Bank records of the Institute of Arab-American Affairs.  The ADL was concerned the organization's press activity was "refuting the Jewish point of view on Palestine."

In 1951 the FBI was tasked by the US State Department to investigate ADL allegations of illicit activities by Arab League operatives in New York.  The FBI investigation is cancelled after ADL's undercover operative is found to be compromised and unreliable.

In 1968 FBI Director J Edgar Hoover ordered all FBI field offices to establish liaisons with ADL regional offices, an order repeated by the FBI HQ in 1985.  But some in the bureau had second thoughts.  In 1969 the ADL infiltrated the 18th annual National  Convention of Arab Students. ADL operatives operating under code name pose as reporters and strategize how to gain control of the National headquarters while neutralizing OAS chapters. After receiving the report, an FBI analyst suggests investigating the ADL as an Israeli foreign agent.  But the ADL operation seems to have been a quiet success as OAS chapters became less integrated in following decades and gradually change names and begin serving more as campus clubs with cultural (rather than political) outreach.

In 1993 the ADL was rocked by a national crisis when the collaboration of a long-time undercover investigator, Roy "Cal Bullock" and San Francisco Police Department officer (and on-and-off CIA operative) Tom Gerard were discovered spying on California Arab and anti-Apartheid groups.  The discovery led to search warrants, raids on ADL offices, and large court settlements for victims of ADL privacy right violations.  Files of this episode are located in a separate archive,

During the same period the ADL California offices were being investigated, the ADL asked the FBI to criminally investigate a large number of alleged anonymous phone calls and letters sent to the ADL. The FBI judged many to be "non-threatening" while closing other cases for lack of suspects.

Shortly before 9/11, the ADL won a long-coveted honor: co-hosting and FBI and ADL coordinated "Symposium on Hate Crime and Extremism."

Israel Lobby Archivist note: The Federal Bureau of Investigation at one time possessed up to 10,800 pages of information about the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  However, according to an interim April, 2013 FOIA release letter, some records "were destroyed between the years 1972 through 2007."  Other historic FBI material on the ADL has been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  Also, according to the FBI, "potentially responsive records were not in their expected location and could not be located after a reasonable search."  All files are in PDF format.  OCR versions have been scanned so that text is searchable.


File File Size Excerpt/Description
1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 1.PDF 25 MB

OCR Version
140 MB

On August 8, 1940 the ADL offered a confidential list of 1,600 ADL representatives compiled by Miles Goldbert to the FBI Director.  Some members of the list, such as Abraham Feinberg, are later criminally investigated by the FBI as agents of a foreign government and for quashing arms-smuggling investigations.  But the ADL offers the contact list as a resource for FBI informants and additional undercover agents. Some ADL employees on the list, such as David Robinson who headed the ADL Oregon office, become undercover informants of the FBI.
1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 2.PDF 10 MB

OCR Version
65 MB

On August 22, 1940, an undercover ADL investigator attempts to prevent the FBI from knowing about his activities since, "the Anti-Jewish element has accused the Anti-Defamation League of having private investigators, and the Anti-Defamation League does not wish it to become generally known that they do employ private investigators."

FBI special agent warns FBI director of an ADL investigator who is judged "mentally unbalanced by agents of this office who have contacted him."

All FBI field offices are offered ADL contact lists as a force multiplier by the Chicago FBI field office.  "Mr. Goldberg has advised that the persons named in the lists will cooperate and will make available any files in their possession; also if requested would endeavor to secure information on individuals in whom a particular field office is interested."

1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 3.PDF

32 MB

OCR Version
447 MB

ADL Newsletters sent to the FBI.  "Nazified White Russians Sabotaging Democracy" - 11/6/1940

"Protocol Lie Revived Again" 10/30/1940

"American Nazis and White Russians Speed Up Fascist Mobilization - 10/23/1940

"Axis Aided by Japa-Nazi Auxiliaries in U.S." 10/9/1940

Disagreements between the FBI and ADL.

1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 4.PDF

20 MB


On April 8, 1942 the ADL forwards to the FBI director a copy of pamphlet "The Hidden Hand" being circulated by Col. E. N. Sanctuary.  On April 17, 1942 the ADL forwards three copies of its newsletter.

May 7, 1942, FBI director objects to William I Boxerman of the ADL's characterization of FBI agents and investigations, warns of rift with ADL, which announces it fired Boxerman on May 25.

May 19, 1942, Assistant Director P.E. Foxworth warns FBI director that informants for the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League and ADL were engaging in "shake-downs" of individuals who were possibly "loyal and innocent."  J.L. Pearcy advises that the Anti-Nazi League and ADL were "interested only in their own material benefit and their work is directed more in the line of persecution and of framing their enemies than the exposing of Nazism and Facism..."

November 4, 1942, the FBI reports contacts with ADL after reports "that the Anti-Defamation League was circulating a report which showed that during the year that organization conducted 373 investigations for the FBI....the Director had been forced to take the position long before the emergency that private investigative agencies had no excuse for existence, that they only created hysteria and contributed to vigilantism and a mob spirit...the FBI had never asked the ADL to conduct an investigation..."  On November 26, 1942, The FBI reveals the person responsible was Jacob Spolansky, of the American Jewish Committee.  The ADL offers to disband after the FBI reports on the activities of undercover ADL investigator Frank Prince, who had announced he would soon be replacing the FBI director...

On June 30, 1943, Luigi S. Crisculo reports being baited by Anti-Nazi and Anti-Defamation League agents claiming to be "unofficial auxiliaries of the Department of Justice."

Special Agent in Charge Sears opinion that some ADL reports of anti-Semitism and undercover investigations "not worth anything....(rumor) for political purposes.  "Sears glad-hands them and personally reviews their complaints and is not worried about their indirect complaint—that's the way they keep themselves important."

1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 5.PDF

19 MB

On November 15, 1943 SAC Drayton complains to the FBI director about insistent requests his FBI field office participate in an ADL meeting.  "I am writing to the Bureau because I cannot understand the reason for the insistence of the Anti Defamation League that a representative of this Bureau address this group.  However, I feel that there is some ulterior motive which influences them to be so insistent.  In any event, no representative of this office will address this meeting."

February 9, 1944 FBI report that Jack Holmes of Warner Brothers Studio claimed the ADL had received $3 million in 1943 "most of which was contributed by the major motion picture studios and by prominent Jewish motion picture actors, directors and others prominent in the industry.  He stated that Warner Brothers Studio alone contributed $60,000 to the fund..."  ADL reported to try to spotlight activities of Japanese Americans through "secret fund."

Nissan Gross, of the ADL requests on March 21, 1944 if he can periodically check with the FBI to see whether a "duplication of investigation" is occurring and if he could "under such circumstances, he could check with this office to ascertain the information that we had on file in regard to the individual or whether we were in fact conducting an investigation of the individual."  Gross rebuffed by SAC Drayton - report on March 24, 1944. "As the Bureau can see, under the procedure suggested by Gross, the Anti Defamation League would have an opportunity to learn of the informants being utilized by the Bureau and would also be in a position to learn of those under investigation."

U.S. Senator Rufus Holman asks for an FBI and DOJ investigation claiming the ADL was orchestrating a boycott of his business and reelection campaign, April 10, 1944.  "Senator Holman stated he understood that the purpose of the organization was to uncover anti-Jewish statements and that the Jews would then boycott people who were reported to make such remarks without a hearing or chance to be heard...He further remarked that there was no check upon the activities of the Anti Defamation League..." Portland FBI office confirms it carries attorney David Robinson, head of the ADL Oregon office, as Confidential Informant #7 "on the Bureau's records..." and that "Robinson is endeavoring to line up the Jewish vote behind Morse [Homan's opponent]."  Special Agent David A. Silver reports "Jack Barde of the Barde Steel Company and Abe Gilbert of the Gilbert Hardware Company, both of Portland, and both Jews, gave a dinner for Senator Holman.  Silver said he was heard that Robinson chided them for doing so."

Holman asks that the Attorney General "answer the following questions:

1. Is the Anti-Defamation League recognized officially by the Government and the United States?
2. How do they determine who is Anti-Semitic?
3. What is their weapon?
4. Who finances it? Who contributes to it and in what amounts?"

Editor's note: The AG refused to investigate.  Holman was defeated by Wayne Morse.

March 22, 1944 that ADL is planting "Sinarquist Movement" material in the St. Louis Dispatch.

Paul Richmond complains ADL "does not have a good name and in some quarters is referred to a the 'Jewish Gestapo.'"  Assistant FBI Director notes, "Hear they bring on suspicion of their outfit by their own conduct..."

Arnold Forster requests FBI files on the Ku Klux Klan and Talmadge Vigilantes."  Referred to ADL Washington representative Paul Richmond.

Copy of a 1945 American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League joint fundraising letter to raise $4 million.  Text: "Out of Every 100 Americans, 25 are infected with Anti-Semitism! 25 are Opposed to Anti-Semitism! 50 Have no fixed opinions and can be swung to either the group opposed to anti-Semitism or the group definitely anti-Semitic...This war on the home front requires men highly trained and skilled in the techniques of combating religious and racial bigotry...In the field of radio we have averaged more than 65,000 individual station broadcasts this year...Every publication day throughout the year the general press...receives and uses some material from this division...333,000 copies of important books carrying our message...9,000,000 pamphlets...40,000,000 comic books!"

ADL's Paul Richman asks the FBI whether it should take any individuals with unknown but unsavory backgrounds off their official speakers list, February 6, 1947.  The FBI refuses to cooperate.

1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 6.PDF

9 MB

June, 1946 ADL Newsletter called The Facts, Reported monthly by the National Fact-Finding Department of the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE of B'nai B'rith.. "This issue of The Facts is devoted to two widely different examples of clandestine propaganda-peddling inimical to Jewish community welfare; the organized Arab pressure groups in the United States and Merwin K. Hart's National Economic Council. Neither group engages in frontal assaults, typified by vulgar vilification of the Jews.  They are not immediately recognized as our enemies, because they avoid invective and the brazen lie..."

ADL report on the Institute of Arab- American Affairs.  "Members of the Institute for Arab-American Affairs, as well as members of its Executive Committee and its Advisory Board, have frequently sent letters to the American press, particularly the New York Times and The Herald-Tribune, refuting the Jewish point of view on Palestine, and on the 100,000 displaced persons awaiting admission to Palestine. 

The Institute, which maintains a checking account at the Chase National Bank, is apparently supplied with substantial funds.  The bank sources revealed that his organization solicits only membership dues of $10.00 from their mailing list of about 3,500, of which they receive only a small fraction of paying dues.  As of last week, their bank balance was $9,000..."

July, August, October 1946 editions of The Facts.  Warning label on the October edition - "A word of caution: this report is confidential, and we do not have permission to distribute it beyond our professional group.  Thus, we ask that you do not exhibit its contents to any information-dissemination individual or agency.  It is exclusively for your own personal information."

1199215-000 --- 100-HQ-530 --- Section 7.PDF

13 MB

1947 editions of ADL's "The Facts" received by the FBI.

May 6, 1947 ADL Arnold Forster letter to Secretary of State George C. Marshall asking that Canadian Norman Jaques no longer be allowed into the United States.

October 8, 1947 ADL "The Facts" - FBI handwritten notation that "Previously we have not ack [acknowledged] these letters from Richman.  I talked with [Louis B.] Nichols [Assistant Director] on one occasion and he said it wasn't necessary! I just check with Maguire and he said not necessary."

On October 17, 1947 writing on B'Nai B'Rith letterhead, Paul Richman alerts the FBI that during the visit of the Danish Gym Team to Cuba, a band played "The Watch on the Rhine."

On May 18, 1948 Irving Kaufman asks if the FBI knows anything about Communist infiltration of the ADL as he "intends to go on the Board of Directors unless he is told of some reason why he should not go...."

On July 8, 1948 Arnold Forster submits the ADL report "Anti-Semitism in the United States in 1947"   The FBI summarizes the report's conclusions about "Unorganized Anti-Semitism," "Organized Anti-Semitism" including how "Arab propaganda agencies in the United States and their native allies beclouded the Palestine issue with careful anti-Jewish campaigns."

October 1949 correspondence over JTA story that FBI had approved "Jewish" as a designator on crime report forms.

October 13, 1949 J. Edgar Hoover letter to the ADL, "A recent news story stated that the FBI approved the use of the word Jewish as descriptive of apparent nationality in connection with a form utilized by the St. Louis Police Department.  The FBI had nothing to do with the formulation, approval or endorsement of this form.  As a matter of fact, the FBI does not approve of such phraseology..."


4.1 MB

Congressional Hearings of the Subcommittee of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments of the House of Representatives, Eightieth Congress, October 3, 6 and 7 of 1947.  Hearing explores damage to reputations caused by secret files "made up in cooperation with the American -Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League."  "It is all hearsay..."  Chairman: "I will tell you they are smear artists."


1199215 --- 62-NY-10686 --- Section 2 44.3 MB In 1951 the FBI responds to allegations against Saudi Arabia and Egypt in an ADL report titled "Workers for the Arab League in the US" by interviewing an undercover ADL operative paid to cover Arab activities at the UN while posing as a foreign correspondent.

FBI Director John Edgar Hoover writes on November 23, 1951, "material which the Anti-Defamation League has been channeling to this Bureau in the past is now believed by the officials of the League to be absolutely unreliable...the B'nai B'rith organization had been fraudulently duped by the informant."

1957, a man paid to burn ADL papers accuses the organization of being a communist front and offers to work for the FBI.

FBI reviews 1957 press releases sent by ADL, noting the campaign to free Soviet spy Morton Sobell.  SAC Arnold Forster writes ADL content, "mainly restatements of the committee's claims, reprints of book reviews of books sponsored by the committee, quotations from briefs being submitted to the courts by attorneys sired by the committee in support of their petition for a new trial, press releases announcing plans for new court actions...plans for meetings or dinners organized to raise funds."

1941 investigation of ADL undercover operatives infiltrating the America First Committee rally at Madison Square Garden using stolen media credentials.  An offer is made to someone with influence with the New York Police to "make it worth their while" to drop investigation of the stolen media credentials.  "The whole incident is typical of some of the objectionable methods—and also of the influence—of the Anti Defamation League..."

"The ADL had brought 'tremendous pressure to bear on Commissioner Seery and the Mayor's Committee on Press Cards to drop the Forster incident the preceding night." Encouraged by Forster, reporter Walter Winchel writes a story that the Alien Squad will undergo a "Shakeup."

1969 ADL infiltration reports against 18th annual National Convention of Arab Students. 

ADL operatives operating under code name pose as reporters and strategize how to gain control of the National headquarters while neutralizing OAS chapters.

After receiving the report, the FBI proposes investigating the ADL as an Israeli foreign agent.  "Apart from the biased approach evident in this memorandum, it is believed it very possibly represents a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as amended.  This report shows investigation conducted by ADL, using code name sources, pretexts such as local news reporters, etc.  Also, on page 5 under recommendations, future investigation is proposed, such as recruiting of Jewish refugees from organizations such as HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aide Society) to infiltrate the OAS in NYC.  Of course, there is no evidence to indicate this information is compiled on behalf of a foreign principal, however, it is felt incredible to assume it is not furnished to an official of the Government of Israel..."

1199215-000 --- 100-IP-16164 --- Section 1 216 KB 1/17/1968 FBI Director Airtel to all FBI field offices ordering them to establish liaisons with ADL regional offices.  "The ADL...maintains regional offices throughout the United States.  As you know, this organization, like the Bureau, is opposed to groups and individuals espousing bigotry, prejudice and extremism.  It seeks to bring the true facts concerning such groups and individuals to light..."

"In furtherance of these worthy objectives, the ADL receives consideration information of interest to this Bureau and has been very cooperative in the past in referring such data to us.  You are to immediately make certain that you have established liaison with the head of the ADL regional office in your territory and explain the jurisdiction and interests of this Bureau.  For your information, there is attached a list of ADL regional offices.."

You should, of course, review your office indices prior to making contact.  Advise Bureau if contact is not deemed advisable..."

1199215-000 --- 62-BS-4986 --- Section 1 7.4 MB 1968 FBI check on an ADL Massachusetts, Liaison.

On May 30, 1979, Leonard Zakim contacts the FBI's Boston field office on behalf of the ADL New England requesting a meeting about terrorism threats.  On June 29, the FBI reports it met with ADL officials who wanted a point of contact to refer information.  Special Agent in Charge James J. Dunn informs the ADL of its national priorities, "Organized Crime, White Collar Crime and FCI [Foreign Counterintelligence work"

The ADL sends its "Special Report" on the "P.L.O. and Arab Terrorism; a Decade of Violence."

On July 2, 1979 Leonard Zakim thanks his FBI liaison for the meeting and "a positive relationship in the future."

On February 4, 1985 the FBI national transmits to field offices (via Airtel) the ADL's 1984 status report on the Ku Klux Klan and Neo Nazi groups, as well as lists of ADL regional office contacts.

FBI offices are ordered to review the material.  They are advised that "On 1/18/1985 the New York Division initiated contact with Irwin J. Suall, Director, Fact Fining Department, ADL...these individuals were advised of the primary jurisdiction of the FBI in civil rights matters.  Further, they were advised that any legitimate civil rights allegation should be immediately brought to the attention of the appropriate FBI Office.  Mr. Suall expressed his desire to cooperate and stated he would notify all regional ADL offices of the FBI's responsibilities.  It was also established that each FBI office contact each Regional Office to establish a liaison and line of communication to promptly receive any allegations of civil rights violations."

1199215-000 --- 80-JN-625 --- Section 1 123 KB 1973 ADL press release announcing the appointment of Justin J. Finger to the newly created post of "assistant director of the Civil Rights Division."
1199215-000 --- 95-HQ-219344 --- Section 1

1.33 MB

1977 latent fingerprint investigation of a threatening letter sent to an ADL office in Missouri.
1199215-000 --- 62-HQ-118203 --- Section 1 3.8 MB In 1979 the US Labor Party demands a meeting with FBI director William Webster, alleging the ADL division in Minnesota confirmed a joint effort with the FBI to exchange files and investigate the USLP.

November 17, 1988 David A. Brody ADL letter to FBI Director Williams Sessions.  "I thought you'd like to see the statement which we issued on the film "Betrayed" as being "unfair" to the FBI..."

August 24, 1990 FBI Academy thank you letter to Irwin J. Suall, ADL "Fact Finding" department director for "your participation in our training seminar at the FBI academy in Quantico, VA."

1199215-000 --- 174C-DE-1129 --- Section 1 853 KB 1987 FBI bomb threat investigation coinciding with a visit of Rabbi Meir Kahane.
1199215-000 --- 9A-DE-4300 --- Section 1 191 KB 1987 report of threatening letters sent to the ADL Detroit office.
1199215-000 --- 44-HQ-110022 --- Section 1 7.5 MB The FBI is asked to investigate anti-Semitic vandalism of the Ahavat Torah Congregation synagogue in Scottsdale, AZ. After installing a machine to trace calls, they interview a suspect to admits to placing harassing phone calls.

In 1992, the ADL sends copies of its "Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents" to the FBI.

 1199215-000 --- 44B-LA-145408 --- Section 1 1.63 MB In 1992 the ADL forwards letters complaining about its report "Anti-Semitism of Black Demagogues and Extremists." (PDF) The FBI opens a case in September, 1992 based on the "threatening letters" the ADL believes are from African Americans or "sympathizers of the Nation of Islam."

Although the ADL claimed "ADL employees' lives are being threatened," the FBI determines the "threats were not of an immediate or serious nature" and advises the ADL on September 30, 1992. The ADL responds by sending three more letters.

Archive   FBI investigates ADL operations in California
1199215-000 --- 44A-SD-51739 1A --- Section 1 113 KB 1993-1994 unusual letters received by ADL in California
1199215-000 --- 44A-SD-51739 --- Section 1 11.9 MB 1993 investigation of letters sent to the ADL by the "Lemon Grove, California Ku Klux Klan."
1199215-000 --- 44A-SD-51739 (HQ) --- Section 1 398 KB 1995 Lemon Grove Ku Klux Klan investigated as case of racial violence, but closes the case.
1199215-000 --- 44E-WF-212740 --- Section 1 1.1MB The ADL asks the FBI to open a civil rights case after receiving confusing letters and faxes accusing it of operating as a "mafia." The FBI closes the case on September 2, 1998 after determining the letters were non-threatening and failing to obtain suspect's permission for an interview.
1199215-000 --- 300A-CG-115066 --- Section 1 2.2 MB FBI file on coordinating a 2001 FBI-ADL Symposium on Hate Crime and Extremism.
1199215 --- 44-DN-39187 --- Section 1 40.1 MB May 23, 1989 memo to expand intelligence on civil rights violations in Denver field office.  Transcript of FBI Director William Webster speech to the ADL on June 15, 1989, "Young and Violent: The Growing Menace of America's Neo-Nazi Skinheads".
101993_ADL_Diversity_Training.pdf 642 KB New ADL proposes to continue diversity training to the FBI under regular $2500/per day or Government Agency $1200/per day fee schedule.  Proprietary prospectus to the FBI "No subsequent redistribution or disclosure of the ideas or descriptions contained herein is authorized."
1199215-000 --- 44B-HO-62453 --- Section 1 3.36 MB In 2003 the Jewish Federation League, the ADL and a City Council candidate receive threatening letters allegedly sent by "Pakistanis Against Zionist Interests (PAZI).  Candidate M.J. Khan denies supporting PAZI. The PAZI flyer urges violence and support for M.J. Khan.  Speculation that Pakistani opponents of M.J. Khan circulated the flyer. FBI feels case "does not warrant further investigation."  Khan wins City Council seat for District F.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is presented without profit for research and educational purposes, most importantly understanding how government functions during law enforcement actions involving Israel and its lobbyists. The Israel Lobby Archive has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of the content nor is it endorsed or sponsored by the originator.

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