The Senate Watergate Committee (from left): Howard Baker (Tennessee), Herman Talmadge (Georgia), Joseph Montoya (New Mexico), Sam Dash (majority counsel), Sam Ervin (North Carolina), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Fred Thompson (minority counsel), Lowell Weicker (Connecticut). Not pictured: Edward Gurney (Florida).

Rafu Staff Report

WASHINGTON — The FBI has released its records on Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died last December at the age of 88 after representing Hawaii in Congress since statehood.

The material consists of FBI files ranging from 1959 to 2006. They mainly concern investigations of threats — some racial in nature — made against Inouye, but also include FBI correspondence/contacts with the senator and several other investigations related to him.

The threats were connected with Inouye’s high-profile investigations of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s and the Iran/Contra scandal in the 1980s.


• In July 1973, an Oahu field representative to Inouye said that the following message was recorded at the senator’s office in Honolulu: “At exactly 12 o’clock tomorrow afternoon your house will be in flames. A bomb will explode.” Inouye’s Washington office, the Secret Service and the Honolulu Police Department were notified. The threat was not carried out.

• In August 1973, an editorial assistant at The Baltimore Morning Sun quoted an anonymous caller as saying, “I’ve got a story for you. We’re going to kill that Jap.” When asked who he meant, the caller replied, “Sen. Inouye,” and added, “I fought those people in WWII and simply don’t like them.” The caller then made several references to the senator in obscene language, concluding by saying that Inouye would be shot.

• An anonymous call was received on an answering machine during the night of July 8-9, 1987, at Inouye’s Hilo office. The caller stated, “If you hurt North, we’re going to kill you,” then hung up. (Col. Oliver North was a central figure in the Iran/Contra scandal and a hero among conservatives.)

• An anonymous threatening letter was received at Inouye’s Capitol Hill office during the week of July 20-24, 1987 and was opened on Aug. 3. It read, “This is to inform you that your life will end soon. You will be killed. I don’t want to see your face on TV & hear bulls—t from your mouth. (Signed) True Patriot.” The letter was postmarked Philadelphia, July 16 or 18.

• A postcard postmarked Honolulu, Jan. 12, 1988, addressed to Sen. Warren Rudman’s (R-N.H.) Capitol Hill office, read as follows: “The scum in the guise of slant-eyed filth like Dan Inouye is the cause of racial discrimination. My people lost loved ones and still suffer because of the japs. Their (the japs) complete extermination would be a small price for the japs to pay. You and your children will suffer if you cause mine to suffer any longer. You will not be insulated any longer … I have bullets with your wife and children’s name on them.” (It was unclear why threats against Inouye were sent to Rudman.)

The FBI also investigated complaints of bribery made against Inouye, some anonymously, but could not substantiate them.

In one letter, dated Oct. 31, 2005, Inouye requested that the FBI investigate an allegation that was “not only false” but also “personally insulting” in order to clear his name.

To see the documents, visit

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