The stories of people like Anne Hale, who were caught up in the Red Scare that swept the United States from 1947-1957, are not easy to tell. Many records were destroyed. Those who faced investigation are often still unwilling to talk about it. The Globe pieced Hale’s story together from declassified FBI files, diaries and letters, news reports, and interviews.
Many of the names that appear in FBI files have been declassified. But the majority of informants in Hale’s file remain redacted. Names are used frequently here to show how broadly Americans participated and how far culpability stretches beyond the junior Wisconsin senator whose name will be forever affixed to the phenomenon.
In March 1980, the Rev. Ken Sawyer of Wayland’s First Parish Church requested Hale’s files from the Boston office of the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. They released a collection of about 150 pages, which were redacted in black.
In 2014, the FBI in Washington, responding to a new FOIA request from a Globe reporter, declassified an additional 323 pages. Those files were redacted in white.
Numerous documents in the two collections were the same, but they were redacted at different times by different declassifying authorities. As a result, some information that was redacted in 1980 was not redacted in 2014 and vice versa.
For more details, click on the highlighted sections of the three documents below, which are shown first as they appeared when released by the FBI in the 1980s and then second as they looked when they were released again to a Globe reporter in 2014.