The FBI files of the rich and famous
The FBI has released its investigative file on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Who else did its agents keep tabs on, and why?
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are perhaps best known for their comedy sketch Who's on First?
But in the 1950s, the duo caught the FBI's attention for other reasons.
"A police informant furnished information to the effect that Bud Abbott, the well-known motion picture and television star, is a collector of pornography, and alleged he has 1,500 reels of obscene motion pictures," an agent wrote in an FBI file.
Of Costello, agents reported: "Information was secured reflecting that two prostitutes put on a lewd performance for Lou Costello," for which they were paid $50 each.
On Thursday, the FBI released a far less salacious file on Steve Jobs, which was compiled in 1991 after President George Bush Sr weighed appointing him to an international trade council.
How to obtain an FBI file
- If the subject is no longer alive, you can obtain a copy through the Freedom of Information Act
- If the bureau has already processed the records, it will hand over that material first, says official FBI historian John Fox
- Other documents may be held by the US National Archives, so you will have to check with them
- If the subject is alive, you must obtain his or her permission in writing
- You can obtain a copy of your own FBI file merely by requesting it - if it exists: "Despite the rumours, we don't have files on everybody and everything," says Mr Fox. "We never have."
The FBI has also compiled, and subsequently released to the public, hundreds of files on movie stars, US and foreign political figures, athletes, writers, musicians and others.