FBI records obtained this week by Expanding Frontiers Research (EFR) describe an alleged 1962 plot to kill Sen. Barry Goldwater, later labeled a hoax. The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) alerted the Bureau it was informed by an enlisted Marine of a conversation in which another soldier purportedly offered to pay him to shoot the Senator during a scheduled trip to Los Angeles. The Bureau proceeded to use its resources to take action, including alerting Goldwater's staff and tapping well-positioned confidential informants to assess the threat level. This included obtaining status updates on the American Nazi Party of Chicago, a group allegedly involved in the assassination plot. Within a few months, however, ONI advised FBI it completed an investigation and concluded the whole matter was a hoax, calling the Marine's narrative a “cock and bull story,” according to FBI memos obtained.
The records were among 23 pages of material recently released to EFR as the result of a successful FOIA appeal stemming from a 2022 request on Barry Goldwater. The Bureau initially provided some 430 pages of previously released records, while acknowledging existence of additional material withheld in full under certain cited exemptions. EFR subsequently appealed the withholding of the records to the Department of Justice, ultimately leading to a March 31 FBI letter stating 23 pages were reviewed and released.
All of the records obtained, salient response letters, and the EFR appeal may be downloaded below.
Other material in the recently released 23 pages includes a 1964 FBI memo, Subject: Edward Ellis Smith, Research-Satellite Matter. The memo reflects Bureau interest in Smith, described as campaigning for Goldwater and the former subject of a 1950 investigation as an applicant for CIA employment. He is further described as having served in Moscow as an Assistant Military Attache from 1948 to 1950, and later as a Department of State Security Officer from 1954 to 1956. Smith was compromised as the result of his relationship with a Russian woman, but the Bureau memo indicates it believes no loss of sensitive information occurred and refers to Smith as cooperative during interviews.
The late Barry M. Goldwater was an Air Force major general and five-time Arizona Senator (1953-1965, 1969-1987). He was the Republican nominee for president of the United States in the 1964 election.
Goldwater numbered among the high profile supporters of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), taking a position on the board of the UFO organization in the 1970s. “I and my colleagues on the Board of NICAP think it is high time more independent research on UFO's was undertaken,” the Senator wrote in a published letter of support (see pp4-8). Goldwater went on to chair the Senate Intelligence Committee in the early 1980s.
Goldwater staffer Charles Lombard, heavily implicated as a CIA asset, joined Goldwater on the NICAP Board of Governors, as covered in this writer's book, Wayward Sons: NICAP and the IC. Lombard helped facilitate the acquisition of NICAP into the Center for UFO Studies, assisting in negotiations that took place from approximately 1978 to 1982.
The FBI advised EFR of more responsive records in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). EFR requested the records, leading NARA to reply that about 90 pages pertaining to election law investigations will be processed and released. The processing is projected to be completed in approximately February 2026 at an estimated cost of $72 for a reproduction.
FBI records on Barry Goldwater previously withheld and obtained this week by EFR:
The EFR appeal, resulting affirmative response, and eventual FBI release letter:
Previously released FBI records responsive to Barry Goldwater: