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The FBI somehow tweeted out an infamously anti-Semitic text that’s been used as Nazi propaganda, and then offered a half-assed apology.
A pair of FBI Twitter accounts on Wednesday posted links to a page on the bureau’s website where you can download “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fabricated text that outlines a purported Jewish conspiracy for global domination.
The links contained no context about the book or its history of being used to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Adolf Hitler cited the text in “Mein Kampf,” and it was published nearly two dozen times by the Nazi Party as part of its anti-Semitic propaganda efforts, according to the New York Times. Businessman Henry Ford, through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent, was also responsible for spreading the hoax in the United States.
The file on the FBI site includes the book — which was first published in Russian in 1903 — as well as findings from a 1964 Senate committee report that called the book "a fabricated historic document" which is "crude and vicious nonsense.” Also included are letters from members of the public to the FBI asking if the book’s information is real.
The release was condemned by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League. “We have already received reports from many in the American Jewish community who are hurt by the irresponsible way this document was released,” the group said. “We call on the FBI to correct this mistake now, and do better in the future.”
Nearly five hours after its initial tweet, the FBI issued a pair of tweets explaining that the files were posted “via an automated process without further outlining the context of the documents.” Rather than apologizing, however, the agency said simply that it regrets “that this release may have inadvertently caused distress among the communities we serve.”
As of Thursday morning, however, the original tweet still hadn’t been deleted, angering some Twitter users including former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. In a tweet, Williamson called the text “the most vicious anti-Semitic propaganda ever created, which has caused persecution and murder on a vast scale at times and in places throughout the world.”
She added: “TAKE IT DOWN!!!!”
Cover: The FBI insignia at the US embassy in Berlin in 2005. Photo by: Tim Brakemeier/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images