The Playgoer: Arthur Miller, target

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Arthur Miller, target

Here's a story I missed in the American press: Arthur Miller's FBI file has been now been opened up. Read about it here, courtesy of Canada's CBC.

Apparently despite lack of evidence, the FBI was convinced Miller was an active Communist Party member.

His FBI file, stretching from 1944 to 1956, showed he was under close surveillance through press clippings and informants. The FBI studied his plays to detect Communist sympathy and noted who in the cast had left-wing connections.

The FBI kept records of Miller's political statements and his affiliation with organizations such as the American Labor Party ("a communist front") and the "communist-infiltrated" American Civil Liberties Union.

As for Marilyn, she must have been in on it, too, of course:
When he married screen idol Marilyn Monroe in 1956, the FBI had an informant at the scene.The report at the time says "an anonymous telephone call" disclosed that the Jewish wedding was an obvious "coverup" for Miller, who "had been and still was a member of the CP (Communist party), and was their cultural front man."

Just think what the new post-Patriot Act FBI might be getting up to with artists who dare to express doubts about the "War on Terror" or sympathy with Arabs--or, worse, the French!


Scott Walters said...

Your final paragraph is exactly right -- to all those who shrug off the Patriot Act by saying "I've got nothing to hide," this should remind them that it doesn't matter if you've got nothing to hide.

PeonInChief said...

Young people don't remember that it doesn't matter whether or not you've done anything. Informants are perfectly willing to make stuff up to keep getting paid. A friend of mine filed a FOIA demand for his FBI file. It arrived--in a set of crates. Had someone catalogued every moment of his life, he felt, there couldn't be that much.

And there wasn't. There were reports of organizations that had never existed, meetings he'd never attended, girlfriends he'd never had, parties he'd never given and on and on and on. Long after he'd given up any active political work, he was still an income source for informants, and it was more than 20 years before the FBI concluded that the subject was "no longer worthy of surveillance."