Micky Dolenz Suing Justice Department Over Access to FBI Files on The Monkees

The FBI investigated The Monkees' political affiliations in the late 1960s while the Vietnam War was still raging

Actor/ musician Micky Dolenz visits the SiriusXM Studios on December 3, 2018 in New York City.
Micky Dolenz. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty

Micky Dolenz is delving into his past.

On Tuesday, The Monkees star filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice to discover what information the Federal Bureau of Investigation holds on him and his former bandmates Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork.

It follows the public release of a small fraction of the band's FBI file just over 10 years ago, which showed that the FBI investigated The Monkees' political affiliations in the late 1960s while the Vietnam War was still raging, reported Rolling Stone.

"During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which, in the opinion of [redacted], constituted 'left wing intervention of a political nature,'" read the released portion of the heavily redacted document. "These messages and pictures were flashes of riots, in Berkeley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar messages which had received unfavorable response from the audience."

According to Rolling Stone, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dolenz by attorney Mark S. Zaid, who is an expert in Freedom of Information Act litigation.

The magazine added that Zaid grew up a Monkees fan and suggested the legal move to the 77-year-old drummer, who is the last remaining member of the band. At the time Zaid did not know about the previously released portion of the documents, Rolling Stone said.

(Original Caption) In four director chairs are seated members of the infamous group,The Monkees. David Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith. They are smiling while seated head over shoulder.
The Monkees. Bettmann/Getty

"That just kind of reinforced for me that there was actually something here," Zaid told the magazine. "It's not just a fishing expedition. I mean, we're still fishing, but we know there's fish in the water."

As explained in the lawsuit filed Aug. 30, published in full by the magazine, Dolenz initially filed a Freedom of Information request to the FBI on June 14, 2022 and received an acknowledgment of its receipt the same day and in writing on June 23. Since then, Dolenz and Zaid have received no further responses from the FBI, the lawsuit added.

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Rolling Stone noted that the FBI is legally required to comply within 20 working days, but said this rarely happens as their offices are currently inundated with requests due to COVID and the Jan. 6 capitol riots.

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, where the suit was filed, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for information.

During the band's heyday in the late 1960s, the music world was at the forefront of anti-war protests in the United States. While the Monkees were not as outspoken as many other musicians, their songs "Ditty Diego-War Chant" and "Last Train to Clarksville" included pieces of anti-war sentiment.

RELATED: Oscar-Nominated 'Five Easy Pieces' Director Bob Rafelson, Who Created 'The Monkees', Dead at 89

Michael Nesmith
The Monkees. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

This and the fact that that band was affiliated with other individuals who were being monitored by the agency, prompted the FBI investigation, according to the lawsuit.

"The individual members of the Monkees, both in their own right and as a group, were known to have associated with other musicians and individuals whose activities were monitored and/or investigated by the FBI to include, but not limited to: John Winston Lennon (and the three other Beatles as well) and Jimi Hendrix," the lawsuit read.

"Theoretically, anything could be in those files though," Zaid told Rolling Stone about the FBI documents, adding that "[J. Edgar] Hoover's FBI, in the Sixties in particular, was infamous for monitoring the counterculture, whether they committed unlawful actions or not."

"We have no idea what records even exist. It could be almost nothing. But we'll see soon enough," he continued.

Dolenz continues to perform in honor of his former bandmates and most recently appeared at a Beatles celebration called FabFest in Charlotte, North Carolina in July.

The rocker became the last surviving member of the popular '60s TV stars-turned-musicians following the death of Nesmith in December 2021. The two had wrapped a two-month farewell tour just one month earlier, after losing Jones to a heart attack in 2012 and Tork to adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2019.

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