The FBI Files: Wendell Ford Pt. 2

In 1976, then-freshman U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, D-Kentucky, entered into a terse exchange via letter with President Nixon’s appointed FBI Director over an alleged warrantless entry involving a minor suspect in Lexington, Kentucky.

Ford chides FBI Director Clarence Kelley in a 1976 letter for the actions of his agents in raiding a home in Lexington, Kentucky. The letter was obtained by Kentucky Fried Politics via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ford learned of the incident from a letter sent to him from an unnamed Kentucky attorney whose faith had been “greatly shaken” by “improper activities of governmental agencies or elected officials.” The letter from the unnamed attorney describes an FBI agent “forcing” his way into a Lexington home without a warrant and attempting to question a minor without advising the minor or his rights of their rights. Further, the attorney describes the agent telling the parents to “shut-up,” when attempting to understand what was happening and the nature of the questioning.

Calling the alleged incident, a “disgrace” and an “abuse of the American system of justice,” Ford demands an answer from Kelley.

FBI Director Kelley, who served as the second director of the bureau, responded via letter, telling Ford he had reviewed the letters sent by him, and the incident which was relayed was exaggerated by the press.

“As you know, reports in the press sometimes are not totally consistent with the facts in a given situation,” Kelley wrote to Ford. “My inquiry into this matter indicates this is a situation wherein individuals quoted in the press now state they were misquoted and that the matter was exaggerated by the press.”

“I have reviewed this matter carefully and have found no reason for an apology in this case,” Kelley continued. “As I have mentioned to [redacted] our efforts led to the victim of this kidnapping being returned unharmed to his family, no ransom money was lost and three subjects are currently in custody and awaiting trial. We can not ask for more than this.”

Read the files below:

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