The FBI revealed the existence of a possible IRA plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the United States in 1983.
Newly released FBI files show agents warned of an “ever-present” threat to the late monarch during 11 visits to the United States during her seven-decade reign.
The files, which appear in the FBI’s safe containing information of great public interest, show they received information that Queen Elizabeth may be targeted by an Irish Republican Army sympathizer, who wanted avenge the death of his daughter in Northern Ireland, during his 1983 trip. .
According to records, a San Francisco police officer advised federal agents that he received a call from a man he knew socially for drinking at Irish bars in the city on February 4, 1983, about a month before the Queen and Prince Philip were hosted by Ronald Reagan at the White House.
The unnamed man claimed he would try to harm Queen Elizabeth by dropping an object from the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia as it sailed below, or by attempting to kill her during her visit at Yosemite National Park, according to the confidential FBI memo. .
The 102 pages of FBI files on Queen Elizabeth were released under the Freedom of Information Act after media requests were made following her death last September.
Records don’t reveal whether the assassination plot developed beyond the angry words of a single pub goer.
But they show how seriously federal agents took potential threats to the royal family during official visits ahead of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement that largely ended the sectarian violence known as The Troubles in 1998.
During a trip to New York for United States Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, an NYPD intelligence officer reported issuing a summons to a pilot who had flown over a city park with a sign that read “England, get out of Ireland”.
And ahead of a 1989 visit to Boston, New York and the southern United States, an FBI memo warned that “the possibility of threats against the British monarchy is always present from the Irish Republican Army (IRA )”.
“Boston and New York are urged to remain alert to any threats against Queen Elizabeth II from members of the IRA and to provide them immediately to Louisville,” the memo added.
Two years later, the office revealed concerns that Irish terror groups were planning to protest Elizabeth’s attendance at a Baltimore Orioles baseball game and event at the White House during a visit of state in 1991.
Citing a story in a Philadelphia-based newspaper called Irish editionthe FBI said: “The article indicated that anti-British feelings were running high due to the well-publicized injustices inflicted on the Birmingham Six by the corrupt English justice system and the recent spate of brutal murders of unarmed Irish nationalists in the six counties by loyalist death squads.
The Birmingham Six were six Irish men who were wrongfully convicted and jailed for carrying out two deadly bombings at a pub in the English city in the mid-1970s.
The group were released from prison months before the Queen’s visit to the United States in 1991 after an appeal found evidence that police had fabricated evidence and tortured the men during interrogation.
The FBI noted that while the article did not contain threats against the Queen or then-President George H. W. Bush, the statements could be considered inflammatory.
“The article stated that an Irish group had booked a large block of grandstand tickets.”