Your Tax Dollars at Work: Evel Knievel's FBI File Revealed!

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That motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, the Yuri Gagarin of Snake River Canyon, was a horrible human being is pretty well understood by anyone with half a brain. Indeed, the guy once beat someone with a baseball bat for calling him "an alcoholic, a pill addict, an anti-Semite and an immoral person"—which of course perfectly underscores the point in question.

But the FBI spent plenty of time following Knievel around because, you know, there weren't serious criminals to be tracking or anything. From his recently released file:

Authorities first wanted to charge Knievel with violations of the Hobbs Act, which prohibits interfering with interstate commerce by attempting to rob or extort someone. But the case was dropped when a new federal prosecutor picked up the case and decided there was insufficient evidence. The federal government today won't comment.

"The Department follows the facts and the law in making decisions and beyond that, couldn't comment on matters in which no public federal charges were filed," Department of Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said in an e-mail.

The daredevil's widow, Krystal Kennedy-Knievel, said she was unaware of any FBI investigation involving her husband and declined further comment. They were married in 1999.

FBI files are available to the public after the death of their subjects and can provide rare glimpses into the private lives of public figures. For example, former President Ford advised the FBI that two of his fellow Warren Commission members doubted the bureau's conclusion that John F. Kennedy was shot from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, according to his file.

More here.

The ultimate FBI investigation? Trying (and failing) to figure out the lyrics to "Louie, Louie."

NEXT: Tick Tock

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  1. “an alcoholic, a pill addict, an anti-Semite and an immoral person”

    The daredevil’s widow, Krystal Kennedy-Knievel

    At least he was committed to the lifestyle he chose.

  2. the Yuri Gagarin of Snake River Canyon

    Gagarin’s chute didn’t open halfway up.
    Maybe Knievel should have sent a dog over first.

  3. The dude called himself Evil, one should expect he’s done at least a few beat downs in his career.

  4. “an alcoholic, a pill addict, an anti-Semite and an immoral person”

    Wait, I thought we were talking about Evil Knievel, not Mel Gibson.

  5. Krystal Kennedy-Knievel? KKK?

  6. Makes you long for the days when kids were able to look up to guys who drive motorcycles over rows of burning school buses for a living. It’s sad that we can’t have heroes anymore, because the media has to find the flaws in everyone’s character.

  7. Speaking of half a brain…if you call someone an “alcoholic, a pill addict, an anti-Semite and an immoral person”, and if you know those statements to be true, should a beat down be a surprise? And yes, that does justify it.

    But there’s more to it than that. From the Telegraph:

    Then, in 1977, Knievel was convicted of assaulting his former agent, Sheldon Saltman. Knievel had objected to Saltman’s book Evel Knievel on Tour, which portrayed the stuntman as an alcoholic addicted to painkillers; moreover, it alleged that Knievel did not love his mother.

    Knievel severely chastised Saltman with a baseball bat and was ordered to pay him ?6.8 million in damages. He was also sentenced to six months in prison.

    Chastised! Anyway, consider the agent that took the beating. What kind of person makes their living off another person risking death and injury on a regular basis and then goes out and writes nasty stuff, even if true, about the guy he made all the money from. It reminds me of what Chris Rock said about OJ – “I understand”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvco62PhMWE

  8. The ultimate FBI investigation? Trying (and failing) to figure out the lyrics to “Louie, Louie.”

    I say thee, nay! A thousand times nay!
    This is the ultimate in FBI masturbation investigating.

  9. People who knock on Knievel for the bat incident, they just don’t seem to get it…

    And, this is straight from memory, but it looks like only part of the story up there…

    From my fallible memory, the guy that wrote the book, the guy Evel beat with the baseball bat, he wasn’t just anybody, he was Evel’s publicist. Your publicist writing a tell-all about you, that’s kinda like your lawyer breaking attorney-client privilege and collaborating with prosecutors to bring new charges against you… Unless you’re a public figure, in which case it’s much, much worse.

    Secondly, if I remember correctly, the issue wasn’t just about him being a drug addict, there were charges that he beat his wife and kids too–charges, which, if I remember correctly, were utterly false. If I remember, the publisher had to yank all the books off the shelves because the charges were false!

    And faulting a guy for popping pain killers wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary, usually, but lets take into account that, IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY, the time period during which the pills were allegedly popped was a time when Evel was recovering after a particularly nasty crash…

    For those of you who are too young to remember, Knievel allegedly broke every bone in his body, many more than once…

    And again, I’d remind people, Evel made his money on his reputation as being against the abuse of street drugs and all about kids…

    Also, as I recall, someone should probably remind people about the unforgettable trial that convicted him… It too was unforgettable because THERE WASN’T ONE! Evel Knievel plead guilty.

    If I remember correctly, when the judge asked Knievel why he was pleading guilty, Evel replied something to the effect of, “Because I did it, I’m guilty.”

    So, anyway, taking his whole life into account..

    One time, he was hit with a crowbar by Hells Angels as he was barreling down to the take off ramp–the Hells Angels hated him ’cause he denounced them everywhere he went. Evel pulled out of the take off, turned his bike around and ran down the Hells Angel that had hit him with the crowbar. Evel then jumped on the biker, the rest of the Hells Angels jumped on Evel. Evel’s crew and some people from the stands jumped on the Hells Angels and a brawl ensued. If you ever see the film, when the cops jump in to break up the brawl, it’s pretty clear who they’re saving from whom–and it looked to me like the bikers were getting the worst of it…

    Evel Knievel, afterwards, proceeded to make the jump!

    So, anyway, taking Evel Knievel’s whole life into account, maybe he wasn’t the saint people have somehow always seemed to want to assume his fans thought he was. What he was was a real live bad ass. A crazy old cowboy. A dare devil.

    He wasn’t running for President, you know?

  10. “That motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, the Yuri Gagarin of Snake River Canyon, was a horrible human being is pretty well understood by anyone with half a brain.”

    I remember when I was a kid, watching a promo for the jump at Snake River on what must have been ABC’s Wide World of Sports with like this forty something guy with a buzz cut, and I remember this old square goin’ on about how the vehicle wasn’t really a motorcycle, blah, blah, blah…

    I remember realizing that that was relevant to him for some reason. …and when Knievel didn’t land on the other side, I remember the same old man goin’ off about that too… …as if whether Knievel landed the jump was the point.

    That old man was so square. I think the old guy hated anything that didn’t have to do with making yourself as square as he was. …’cause what could be better than that?

  11. “”””The ultimate FBI investigation? “”””

    It wasn’t an investigation, it was an assessment. 🙂

  12. “That motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, the Yuri Gagarin of Snake River Canyon, was a horrible human being is pretty well understood by anyone with half a brain.”

    Maybe I don’t have half a brain, but then maybe not everybody knows the other half of story.

    …’cause the more I think about it, the more Evel Knievel seems to me like a freakin’ libertarian superhero.

  13. …’cause the more I think about it, the more Evel Knievel seems to me like a freakin’ libertarian superhero.

    Awww shit. You just had to go too far didn’t you Ken. Evel was a violent low life piece of shit. So sayeth everyone that ever knew him before he found Jesus (just before he crawled into his deathbed) including all his wives and children.

    I was in fifth grade when he floated down Snake River Canyon. We all worshiped him and jumped our bikes off ramps made of crumbling bricks and rotting plywood trying to be just like Evel. But that don’t change the fact that he was scum. And anyone who beats another man with a baseball bat while that man is being held helpless should be nobody’s hero.

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