Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation has apologized for linking to a fabricated anti-Semitic text that claimed a century ago to outline a Jewish plot to take over the world, without providing context.
The FBI Records Vault Twitter account linked to The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion booklet on Wednesday. It was first published in Russia in the early 1900s and the hoax later became Nazi propaganda. German teachers once purported it to be authentic and taught it to school children in the 1930s.
Later Wednesday, the FBI account apologized and said the previous tweet had been automatically posted. The original tweet was eventually removed.
"[The] materials were posted to the FBI's Vault via an automated process without further outlining the contact of the documents," the tweet said. "We regret that this release may have inadvertently caused distress among the communities we serve."
"The FBI often receives information from members of the public, which is captured in our permanent files and released under [Freedom of Information Act] law," the bureau added. "The FBI must process historical files that were collected in the past, some of which may be considered offensive."
The link also led to other materials, including a 1964 Senate judiciary committee report that declared the text "fabricated" and "crude and vicious nonsense."
"While there is no reason to think that the FBI shared this material out of malice or due to anti-Semitic animus, it is concerning that the FBI's Twitter account did not clarify in the tweet that the digitized file was of historical interest, and released the file without any additional context or description of this work as virulently anti-Semitic," the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement Wednesday.