Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

The Einstein Files: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist

StoryJuly 09, 2002
Watch iconWatch Full Show

We have been talking about the FBI’s investigation into US scientists who could have been behind last fall’s anthrax attacks.

Today we are going to look at another scientist the FBI investigated for more than 20 years. The world’s most famous scientist, in fact. This scientist who revolutionized the study of the physical world, rewriting the laws of space, time and gravity. But he was also a pacifist, a Jewish immigrant who supported civil rights, disarmament, internationalism, and socialism. He was a friend of celebrated African-Americans Paul Robeson and W. E. B. Du Bois. And he dared to use his immense prestige to denounce Joseph McCarthy at the height of McCarthy era, and publicly urged witnesses to refuse to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

I am talking about Albert Einstein, the great physicist who gave the world the theory of relativity in 1919. J. Edgar Hoover launched a ruthless, "derogatory information" campaign against Einstein in 1933, the year he emigrated from Germany to the United States. The campaign included illegally opening Einstein’s mail, monitoring his phone, going through his garbage, trying to link him to Soviet spies, and trying to take away his US citizenship.

The investigation turned up nothing, but that did not stop Hoover from amassing an 1800-page file on the physicist. He closed the file a few days after Einstein died in 1955.

A broad history of this story has been known since 1983, when an English professor obtained a censored version of Einstein’s FBI file and wrote about it in The Nation magazine. But a new book provides further shocking details of the FBI campaign against Einstein. The book is called "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist." It was written by Fred Jerome, who sued the government with the help of the Public Citizen Litigation Group to obtain a less censored version of the file. The book was published in May by St. Martin’s Press.

Guest:

  • Fred Jerome, author of "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist"

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation