(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana, was under an FBI counterintelligence inquiry into allegations about her connections in her home country of Czechoslovakia in the 1990s, according to excerpts from her FBI file obtained by Bloomberg News.
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The inquiry spanned several countries, with US legal attaches in Canada and Europe instructed to inquire about the circumstances of her emigration from then-Communist Czechoslovakia to Austria and later to Canada and to look into her association with individuals whose names are redacted from the release. The agency also dug through court records of her divorce from Donald Trump.
The files were classified as “secret.” In one document dated Feb. 14, 1989, the FBI said it “recommended a preliminary inquiry be opened on Ivana Trump” based on information the bureau obtained from a confidential source. According to the document, “it is unknown if the allegations stem from jealousies of her wealth and fame. Investigation continuing.” The FBI redacted the contents of that inquiry.
While the nature of the FBI’s inquiry into Ivana Trump is unknown, it involved the bureau’s counterintelligence division and was highly sensitive, according to the documents, and spanned at least two years.
Another file, from 1990, shows the FBI looking into a man connected to Czechoslovakian intelligence who arranged fictitious marriages and believed to have some connection to Ivana Trump, who was from Czechoslovakia. There’s little information in the records on Donald Trump other than a Jan. 16, 1989, Time magazine article headlined, “Trump.”
The documents also include a reference to Barrandov Film Industry, a Prague film studio and one of Europe’s largest. It’s unclear why it’s mentioned, but it’s connected to Vaclav Havel, who served as the last president of Czechoslovakia. A then-unknown Ivana Trump appeared in an episode of a show filmed there called Pan Tau in 1970.
The file goes on to say that a “highly confidential and reliable source” advised that Ivana Trump was in Czechoslovakia on June 4, 1990, where Havel gave her an autographed book.
The Prague Daily Monitor published a story after Donald Trump was elected president about Ivana not helping dissidents or exiles during the Communist regime. That may explain the FBI’s interest in her visit to the country.
Ivana Trump, who died from a fall at her New York home last July, was the mother of Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. She was 73.
Following her death, Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI for any records it had on Ivana Trump.
The bureau later confirmed it had located nearly 900 pages of potentially responsive documents but said it could take up to five years to release them. Bloomberg News sued to speed up the release. The FBI released 190 pages on Monday and said it would release the remainder of the records next month.
In a letter accompanying the release of the documents, the FBI said some of the files it maintained on Ivana Trump were destroyed and hundreds of other pages it found are being reviewed by other government agencies.
Many of the records released Monday were located in the FBI’s cross-reference files, which the bureau defines as “mentions of the subject of your request in files for other individuals, organizations, events, or activities.”
The bureau has files on tens of thousands of Americans and foreigners, most of which relate to various FBI investigations. Ivana Trump was not accused of any wrongdoing.
Documents from those files, which could be news clippings, interview summaries with the subject and witnesses and notes, are withheld from public disclosure for privacy reasons while the person is still alive. Those privacy rights disappear, however, after the person dies.
The FBI redacted swaths of information from the files citing national security concerns, personal privacy, law enforcement techniques and procedures and because some information would reveal the identities of confidential sources and informants.
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