Ernie Lazar, "Journey"

John Haynes's picture

Editor's comment: Many researchers in our field have benefited from and are grateful for the diligence of Ernie Lazar's work in requesting and making available FOIA archival documents from the FBI, information totaling many, many thousands of pages of documents.  Recently we received a statement from him that we reprint below in sincere gratitude for his many years of selfless service to historical research. Vaya con dios, Ernie.    


Hi everyone:
I’ve always been a very private person but I am sharing this with you to answer many of the questions I have received in recent months.
1. I have been in home hospice care for the past 2+ years because I am in “end-stage renal disease”. Well, the “end” will be coming sooner rather than later.

2. The last 2 years have been very eventful ones for me. For the first time in my 77 years, I learned the identity of my biological mother. Unfortunately, nobody knows the identity of my biological father. So just a mystery to the end.

3. Despite being told my entire life that I was born in Chicago, it turns out I actually was born in Minneapolis.

4. Not many of you know that I worked in the music industry for over 12 years – including a multi-year stint working for a record promotion company in Los Angeles. Even fewer of you know that I received a Gold Record because of the promotion company’s work on “Born to Be Alive” by Patrick Hernandez. For those of you who don’t recall it, I attach a video link to one of the more exuberant performances. Also attaching a photo of my Gold Record. I also compiled a comprehensive discography of 12” disco promotional records which was published by Talent and Booking Company during the period when disco music was predominant in our culture. (Photo of the cover is included in the attached photo of my Gold Record.)

5. I also worked for over 22 years for the State of California – at Board of Registered Nursing and at one of our state income tax agencies plus short periods at Dept of Motor Vehicles and the Calif Secretary of State Office.

6. A few weeks ago, going through some boxes, I discovered something I had totally forgotten about. Although I was never able to finish college (history major), I did make the Dean’s List one semester for my straight-A average. Newspaper article attached.

7. Most of you probably know that I spent 40+ years making FOIA requests and, at one point, I was the FBI’s largest single requester. I had submitted over 8900 requests which, at that time, represented 5% of all requests which the FBI received. In the aggregate, I received about 600,000 pages of FBI records mostly as paper files. Later, when the FBI offered requesters the option of receiving FOIA releases as PDF files on CD or DVD instead of just paper docs, I re-submitted hundreds of
requests so that I could share them online with everyone on Internet Archive. Links to my two Archive webpages may be seen here: Over 3 million people have accessed my files on Internet Archive or on other websites (like Wikipedia) which have put links to my files into their own articles. Of course, not everyone is happy about all this historical information. One neo-nazi created an entire webpage devoted just to discrediting me!

8. At one point, I had a “GoFundMe” page for donations so that a student at the Center for Right Wing Studies at UC-Berkeley could convert my paper FBI files into PDF files. However, that has now been closed but if you would like to support this project of digitizing the hundreds of my remaining paper files – then please use the “Donate” button in the link above OR you can send your donation to the Archive, attention of Jason Scott, but please indicate that you would like your donation applied to digitizing my remaining paper FBI files. They are stored in an Internet Archive northern California warehouse.

9. One of the things I am most proud about is that many dozens of prominent and respected PhD historians, political scientists, sociologists, along with investigative journalists and other researchers have used material from my FBI files collection in their own books, academic journal articles, conference papers, websites, and master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. And I very much appreciate the kindness and assistance which many of those folks have given me during my 40+ year FOIA research project.

10. Although my journey is coming to an end, please be sure that you and your friends and family members are encouraged to vote in November. The stakes for our democracy are very high.

11. If you need any sort of reminder of what we face, be sure to read the new books by David Corn (Mother Jones magazine Washington DC Bureau Chief) entitled “American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy” AND and the forthcoming book by Dr. Matt Dallek being published in March 2023 entitled... “BIRCHERS: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right”
Most of all, please keep up the fight to make our country live up to its ideals!
Ernie Lazar