After John Lennon's murder on December 8, 1980, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested any files the FBI had kept on Lennon. The FBI issued some documents in May that were hidden mostly under three different FOIA exemptions: protection of the privacy of others named in a document, protection of the identities of confidential sources, and “national security.” American politics was generating a shift of historic proportions toward the right when these documents began arriving in the spring of 1981. Ronald Reagan had been elected in November 1980, bringing to power the Republican right wing that had failed to elect Barry Goldwater sixteen years earlier. The “Reagan Revolution” restored an ideological commitment to “law and order,” which Lennon had challenged, and a passionate hostility to “the sixties,” which Lennon embodied. The fight for the Lennon files would be a battle with the Regan administration.
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