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