How to get your own copy of Charles Bukowski's FBI file
If you're an American citizen you are entitled to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. If you are requesting it for yourself, and not for commercial use, you may even be able to get the file for the cost of a postage stamp.
In order to request a free copy of the file, you must state that you are going to use the file in a scholarly manner and not for profit. Below we have included a letter that has been used to successfully request the file. (If you intend to use the file for a commercial purpose, check the DOJ or ACLU sites for the proper format to use.)
Chief FOIA & Privacy Act Section FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20535 Re: Freedom of Information Act Request Dear Chief FOIA officer, This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552. I request that a copy of the following documents [or documents containing the following information] be provided to me: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FILE #140-35907 1957 - 1970 HENRY CHARLES BUKOWSKI, JR. (a.k.a. Charles Bukowski) In order to help determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am an individual seeking information for personal use and not for a commercial use. I am aware that I am entitled to make this request under the Freedom of Information Act, and if your agency response is not satisfactory, I am prepared to make an administrative appeal. Please indicate to me the name of the official to whom such an appeal should be addressed. I am aware that if my request is denied I am entitled to know the grounds for this denial. I am aware that while the law allows your agency to withhold specified categories of exempted information, you are required by law to release any segregable portions that are left after the exempted material has been deleted from the data I am seeking. I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is not primarily in my commercial interest, nor a business trying to get information on industrial competitors. I understand that I am not the first requester of this file, so I should not bear the cost of the initial search for this material. Sincerely, [Your signature] [Your Name] [Your mailing address]