Upon their deaths, dozens of famous American writers were revealed to have attracted the interest of the FBI. In their files, the bureau considered Ernest Hemingway an unreliable drunk, Thornton Wilder a Nazi spy, Carl Sandburg a communist sympathizer, Theodore Dreiser a promoter of illicit sex, and Allen Ginsberg a threat to the president.
But apparently, one of the biggest authors of the last half of the 20th century -- J.D. Salinger -- didn't pique the curiosity of the FBI or even its bibliophile agents. The Huffington Post recently received a disappointing reply to a FOIA request for any files or records on Salinger, who died at the end of January. According to the FBI, the bureau was unable to identify "responsive main file records" under the name Jerome David Salinger. (Salinger's name may still pop up in other files kept by the bureau and a request for cross-references is still pending.)
The apparent omission is curious, considering the scandalous nature of his best-known work, "Catcher in the Rye," which at times has been blamed for corrupting America's fragile adolescents, Salinger's reclusiveness, his counter-intelligence work during World War II as well as his Denazification duty in Germany after the war, his legal battles with various authors and his notorious relationship with Joyce Maynard.