On his blog at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger Web site, reporter Jerry Mitchell writes about the F.B.I.’s destruction of files in the 1954 murder of an Arkansas man named Isadore Banks, an African-American who was burned to death by men who were never identified, captured, or punished.
The FBI files on this case were destroyed in 1992, under the retention guidelines set for the FBI in conjunction with the National Archives and Records Administration. I delved into the mechanics of that odd system in this 2008 article. I’ve never seen a better example than this case of how nonsensical the retention rules can be. How could anybody have examined the Banks file and decided it wasn’t worth preserving? Read more about Banks in this story from CNN.