FBI Archive Tweets Protocols of the Elders of Zion PDF, Sparking Anger and Confusion

The FBI Records Vault later apologized that automated publication of forged anti-Semitic documents 'inadvertently caused distress'

Emily Burack
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FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. at night.
FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. at night.Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Emily Burack

An official FBI Twitter account drew criticism for tweeting a link to a 139-page selection of the bureau’s files on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the infamously antisemitic early 20th century text that accuses Jews of world domination. The tweet was followed by an apology explaining that the document was published "via an automated process." 

The FBI Records Vault sent the tweet on Wednesday afternoon without context, and some Twitter users took it as a promotion of the message in the “Protocols.” However, the Twitter account regularly tweets declassified archival FBI documents.

"Earlier today FOIA materials were posted to the FBI’s Vault and FOIA Twitter account via an automated process without further outlining the context of the documents. We regret that this release may have inadvertently caused distress among the communities we serve," the account later tweeted, concluding that the FBI "must process historical files that were collected in the past, some of which may be considered offensive."

The files in the link include different copies of the “Protocols” text, which claims it is “Proof that Communism is a Jewish world plot to enslave the gentiles and to seize power during the resulting chaos,” as well as letters to former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover about it. 

There is also a 1964 report by the Senate Judiciary Committee calling the text “fabricated” and “crude and vicious nonsense.”

The tweet spurred thousands of responses: Some Twitter users cheered it, while others condemned it.

Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish advocacy group, wrote on Twitter: “The @FBI is tweeting out the most famous, fabricated antisemitic text with absolutely zero context. This is the same anti-Jewish lie that inspired Hitler and the Nazi regime. Now it’s coming directly from a white nationalist administration.”

Others echoed the concern: "An agency of the United States federal government just posted a copy of one of the most infamous pieces of antisemitic literature of all time, responsible for the persecution and murder of thousands, even millions," wrote Noah Arbit.

"An official US government account disseminating the worlds most notorious antisemitic forgery," tweeted Molly Crabapple. 

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