Just because it's nutty doesn't mean it's illegal. That's one lesson to be gleaned from the release of Whitney Houston's FBI file.
The FBI looked into three episodes in Houston's life — two involving ardent fans, and one concerned with possible extortion — between 1988 and 1999, according to the 128-page document posted online Monday.
In all three cases, investigators eventually determined that no crime had occurred.
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That said, the activities didn't fall solidly in the "normal" category either. One unnamed man, from Vermont, claimed to have sent more than 70 letters over a 17-month period to Houston and a handful of her associates. The letters declared love for the singer, and then turned a bit threatening.
"I might hurt someone with some crazy idea and not realize how stupid an idea it was until after it was done," reads one letter. Says another: "I am afraid of what I might do because it now seems like a rational choice to send copies of all the letters to these trash things so that they could print the story and [maybe] I can get an answer from you."
Turns out, the FBI determined during interviews, that the fan was not physically threatening Houston but rather was suggesting declaring his love to outlets like the National Enquirer so they might print his story and get her attention. He saw the "hurt" coming from damage to her reputation.
Another person, a man from the Netherlands, admitted sending Houston audio tapes of songs he'd composed, one of which he said was intended "to be received by Houston as 'a joke'"; apparently, it was perceived as a threat.
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The lyrics of said jokey tune were not included.
"During the interview, the subject claimed to be the 'President of Europe' and to have purchased Brazil for 66 billion dollars," stated an internal FBI communication. "He also claims credit for the fall of the former South African government and for the election of Nelson Mandela."
The third case, from 1992, in which extortion was initially alleged — first a demand for $100,000 and then for $250,000 in exchange for not releasing sensitive personal information — wound up being resolved through a payout of an undisclosed amount of cash and a signature on a nondisclosure agreement prepared by Nippy Inc., Houston's corporate incarnation. No extortion here, folks, so move along, please.
Alas, we can't tell you more details, because the communications between John Houston and the FBI were about 90% redacted. Maybe more. We're talking a LOT of blank white boxes on the page.
Second lesson to be gleaned? Just because something private is "revealed" doesn't always mean it's revealing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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