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FBI Harasses John Lennon

Summary: FBI harassed and deported John Lennon to prevent a voting engagement tour.

As America entered the 1970s, more and more people became fed up with the failure of the Vietnam War that President Richard Nixon insisted on continuing. Outrage over failing imperialism extended to members of other nations as well. One such dissenter was famous Beatle and British rock legend John Lennon, and he had a plan to do something about it: As Richard Nixon prepared to run for reelection in 1972, Lennon began to plan a U.S. tour that would go beyond music, encouraging young Americans to register to vote against Nixon and the war in Vietnam.

In documents brought to light in 1997 through a case invoking the Freedom of Information Act, after Nixon’s administration learned about Lennon’s plan, officials within the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Service opened a formal deportation case against Lennon, hoping it would keep Lennon out of the country long enough for Nixon to get reelected. Nixon’s administration succeeded, and Lennon’s tour never happened. Instead, the U.S. government temporarily barred him from entering the country while simultaneously antagonizing him and violating his privacy in the process.

Sources & Further Reading

Wiener, Jon. Los Angeles Times. “John Lennon is still bugging the White House.” September 10, 2006. www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-sep-10-op-weiner10-story.html

Written and researched by Jack Gassen. Posted May 2022.