The Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) — The FBI has released thousands of documents from its file on U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, some of which show the late Japanese-American lawmaker was the target of racially and politically motivated threats of violence.
The documents also mention unsubstantiated allegations of bribery.
Inouye, who died last December at age 88, was the first Japanese-American elected to both houses of Congress and the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history, at 50 years. Celebrated as an American war hero, Inouye volunteered for a special U.S. Army unit of Japanese-Americans during World War II and lost his right arm in a battle with Germans in Italy.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and other news media requested the FBI’s files on Inouye shortly after the senator died. The FBI publicly posted the documents Sept. 23 in The Vault, the bureau’s online reading room, which also contains once-private files on other prominent politicians, celebrities, gangsters and fugitives.
During the August 1973 hearings on the Watergate scandal that would bring down President Richard M. Nixon, a telephone caller told the Baltimore Morning Sun he was going to kill Inouye, the Star-Advertiser reported.
“I fought those people in WW II and simply don’t like them,” said the caller, who finished with obscenities and a claim that Inouye would be shot, according to the FBI’s report.
In July 1987, during the Iran-Contra hearings, an anonymous caller left a message on the answering machine in Inouye’s Hilo office: “If you hurt North, we’re going to kill you.” Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who was celebrated by conservatives as a hero, was at the center of the scandal.
Jennifer Goto Sabas, who was Inouye’s chief of staff in Honolulu, says Inouye declined extra security and did not publicize the threats because he did not want to further politicize the Iran-Contra hearings.
“He was concerned that it would just heighten all of the national tension and divisiveness over the issue,” she said Monday.
The FBI files showed federal agents investigated claims of bribery, including allegations made anonymously, but found nothing to substantiate the charges. (end)