The murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace a.k.a Notorious B.I.G. rattled the rap world in 1997, creating a vast subject for controversy, West Coast-East Coast battles and two criminal cases that remain unsolved to this day.
More than 350 pages of FBI files will give those interested in the case plenty to pore over in the coming days. The files about the FBI’s 18-month investigation into Wallace’s slaying were released Thursday after Freedom of Information Act requests.
The files may not reveal much that is unknown about the case (in part because so much is redacted), but they are offering up juicy tidbits for fans (Biggie had an asthma inhaler! He believed in practicing safe sex!). The reports also highlight the FBI’s latest shiny, new venture online.
Launched on April 1 — and not as an April Fool’s prank — the “Vault” is the FBI’s online reading room for former secret documents. More than 2,000 searchable documents can be easily read via an embedded PDF reader on the site. It’s the latest in a series of experimental online initiatives by the spy squad.
The FBI recently tapped into crowd-sourcing efforts by posting coded messages found on a murdered man more than a decade ago. Police officials have been unable to understand the letters and asked for help deciphering the encrypted notes.
A FBI field office in Nevada recently launched a photo gallery of bank robbers to solicit tips. It’s kind of like a dating site, only instead of looking at potential prospects, you get to see if you recognize any fugitives at LasVegasBankRobbers.com.
The agency points out that it has had a history of solicting tips from the public. “When the FBI’s ten most wanted program started back in the 1950s, where did you publish a most-wanted poster? You’d put them in a post office,” Bill Carter, a FBI spokesman, said. The Internet is the online equivalent of a place where people gather.
Fast Company postulates that the moves could be seen as public relation ploy — they are old crimes and it is unlikely to yield many results. Still, there is great power in the Internet. If sites such as 4chan and Redditt (whose investigative skills in hunting down those who hurt animals are unmatched), perhaps the mysterious murder of Biggie Smalls will be solved one day.