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FBI Docs Offer Clues on NICAP President, Right-Wing Extremism

The FBI provided a 1983 letter attributed to then-Director William H. Webster in a Sep. 29 response to a FOIA request for records pertaining to Samisdat, an entity identified by the Bureau as a source of Nazi propaganda. Samisdat was a publishing house in Canada which distributed “Nazi propaganda material, stickers, and emblems,” according to Webster's letter addressed to Senator Jeremiah Denton. The publishing house was owned by Ernst Zundel, an anti-Semite who the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena President Jack Acuff infamously sold access to the UFO org's mailing list in 1978.

In July 2022 this writer obtained some 181 pages of previously declassified FBI records responsive to Ernst Zundel during a research and FOIA collaboration with Erica Lukes. The records, posted for download and viewing, describe a German artist residing in Montreal who “refers to negroes, Jews, and Communists, in one breath as the enemy of the White Race,” according to a 1965 letter quoted in a Justice Department memo. The letter further suggested Zundel “advocates concentration camps for these enemies.” The author of the letter is redacted.

“He appears to be highly intellectual,” the document continued, “he speaks easily and well, and he is persuasive. For these reasons he is extremely dangerous. He has some sort of political movement underway in Montreal. If this man should contact gullible people who's values are completely twisted, he could become a real threat...”

Nazi propaganda began arriving in the mailboxes of NICAP members in 1978 and it was surmised the president of the UFO org, Jack Acuff, sold mailing lists to Zundel. NICAP members were reportedly “barraged by Nazi propaganda, always bearing computer labels saying NICAP and bearing NICAP membership codes,” according to a UFO-themed publication. The trail led to “Christoff Freidrich,” a now-known alias of Ernst Zundel, who acknowledged ownership of Samisdat. Some defended Acuff's actions, or at least argued he did not know how the mailing list would be used by the purchaser, but others were less convinced, apparently including “Freidrich” himself.

“Freidrich told [NICAP representative] Dr. McIntyre that he had bought the NICAP mailing lists from Acuff two times with Acuff's knowledge where they were going,” the publication reported (see pp1-2).

Ronald Reagan speaks for presidential candidate Goldwater in 1964

Sen. Denton, the recipient of FBI Dir. Webster's 1983 letter, was a conservative Alabama Republican who formed the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism. The Subcommittee sought to identify and uncover circumstances of what it alleged were Soviet and KGB infiltration of left-wing activist groups. The circumstances might offer further clues about a passage contained in a 1982 letter written from Jack Acuff to Arizona Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, who joined the NICAP Board of Governors in 1978.

This writer consulted Erica Lukes during research conducted to write the 2021 nonfiction book Wayward Sons: NICAP and the IC. Lukes facilitated interactions with various sources which led to exchanges with archivist Barry Greenwood. This resulted in Greenwood helpfully providing a digital archive of NICAP material. Among the material was the 1982 letter written from Acuff to Goldwater.

Acuff explained in the letter, pictured below, he was leaving NICAP, widely considered nothing more than a shell of its former self by that point in time. A “P.S.” across the bottom of the letter asked Goldwater to have a staff member route an enclosed copy of what Acuff described as “my letter to the post office” to the proper Senate Committee. Acuff added he did not know the name of the chairman, thus the request for Goldwater to see the letter was delivered (see p21).

Given the date and reference to a Senate Committee, it might be a reasonable suspicion Sen. Denton's Subcommittee inquired about Acuff's knowledge of Samisdat and related issues in a similar manner as Denton requested information from FBI Dir. Webster. We might further speculate how familiar Acuff and some of his NICAP colleagues may have become with various political and intelligence agency figures populating the Beltway.

In the FBI Sep. 29 response for records on Samisdat, the Bureau advised additional potentially responsive records were transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration. Expanding Frontiers Research is in the process of obtaining the additional material.

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What a tangled web has been woven. When finding responsive records from NARA it may be helpful to also request the finding aids for the Series of documents in which the documents you were looking for were found. (They usually have these digitized) This one is only a general one for the FBI records - each subseries also has its own finding aid which is unclassified to the point where you can see document titles if they are unclassified.

RG 65 (FBI) their textual records or documents seem to be at their facility in Maryland.

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