After Tesla’s death, it was always claimed that the FBI took Tesla’s documents, which included all kinds of secret technologies including the famous “Death Ray”.
This story is actually #10 out of a Top 10 Myths regarding the FBI – this is what that agency has to say about it:
Myth #10) The FBI has Nikola Tesla’s plans for a “death ray”!
If you don’t know the name, Nikola Tesla was a prolific inventor and gifted physicist and engineer—most known for developing the basis for AC power—who was born in Croatia in 1856 and settled in the U.S. in 1884. When Tesla died in New York in January 1943, his papers—which were thought to include plans for a particle beam weapon, dubbed a “death ray” by the press—were temporarily seized by the Department of Justice Alien Property Custodian Office (“alien” in this case means “foreigner,” although Tesla was a U.S. citizen). Despite longstanding reports and rumors, the FBI was not involved in searching Tesla’s effects, and it never had possession of his papers or any microfilm that may have been made of those papers. Since 1943, we have told a consistent story to all who have asked. Reports to the contrary appear to be based on an initial confusion of FBI agents with other government officials—especially Alien Property Office personnel. These rumors have long been repeated in biographies and articles on Tesla without double-checking the facts as reported in our files.
Obviously, we’ll never know the truth but in any case, that is the official story. They at least do point out an agency that did seize papers and that is the Department of Justice Alien Property Custodian Office. They say “temporarily” seized it, so who did they release it to? It has been thought it was the U.S. Navy.
Here are two large PDF’s released by the FBI that relate to Nikola Tesla. Quite a bit is blacked out – no surprise – and they’re probably more valuable as historical artifacts rather than treasure troves of technical data. Here they are: http://vault.fbi.gov/nikola-tesla
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