Declassified FBI file uncovers 1983 conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth during her US visit

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According to recently revealed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) papers, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain faced a possible murder threat in the 1980s while visiting the US.
On Tuesday, the FBI’s online repository for records, The Vault, revealed a cache of 103 pages. The documents detail the planning for many journeys the late Queen took to the US, including a state visit to the West Coast in 1983 with her husband, Prince Philip.
According to one document, San Francisco police received a tip about a month prior to that visit about a phone conversation from “a man who claimed that his daughter had been killed in Northern Ireland by a rubber bullet.”

“This man further claimed that he was going to try to harm Queen Elizabeth,” the article continues. “He would either do this by dropping something off the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia when it sails underneath or would try to kill Queen Elizabeth when she visited Yosemite National Park.”

According to the same document, “the Secret Service intends to close the walkways on the Golden Gate Bridge when the yacht approaches.” The files don’t specify any security measures that may have been put in place at the national park, nor do they mention if any arrests were made.

The records show the FBI’s heightened awareness of potential threats to the visiting British monarch, cooperation with the US Secret Service, and worries over the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its sympathizers during royal visits.

The Provisional IRA murdered Louis Mountbatten, the Queen’s cousin, in 1979 by placing a bomb in his fishing boat. Two children along with three other victims died in the explosion. The Troubles in Northern Ireland were present during a number of the Queen’s travels to the US, and the documents show that the FBI kept a close eye on the situation as it prepared for royal visits over the years.

While the FBI was not aware of any specific threats against the Queen prior to a private visit to Kentucky in 1989, one document states that “the possibility of threats against the British monarchy is ever-present from the Irish Republican Army (IRA).”

Another document in the files, one pertaining to the Queen’s state visit in 1991, expresses worry about Irish organizations planning protests at a number of scheduled events, including a baseball game the monarch was expected to attend and a White House function. The page quoted information from an article that appeared in the Irish Edition newspaper published in Philadelphia, which stated that “the article stated anti-British feelings are running high as a result of the well-publicized injustices inflicted on the Birmingham Six by the corrupt English judicial system and the recent rash of brutal murders of unarmed Irish nationalists in the six counties by loyalist death squads.”
Although the President or the Queen were not threatened in the piece, it continued, “the words could be construed as being offensive. According to the publication, a sizable block of grandstand tickets had been reserved by an Irish organization.

Another paper in the dossier, dated July 1976, described a time the Queen returned across the Atlantic to support the bicentennial festivities of the United States, including stops in Philadelphia, Washington, and New York.

A summons was issued to a pilot on that trip, according to FBI papers, for flying a small two-seater plane above Battery Park while holding a sign that read “England, Get out of Ireland.”