What Is the FBI Hiding? Trans Shooter's Manifesto Still Under Wraps

AP Photo/John Amis

Even though the public was promised that the manifesto of the transgender-identifying shooter of the Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tenn., would be released, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the FBI is stalling, raising questions as to whether the manifesto will be released at all.


It’s been nearly a month since Audrey Hale killed six people at Covenant School before being fatally shot by police, and local politicians are claiming that Hale’s manifesto, described as a “blueprint on total destruction,” is being withheld by the FBI because its contents are “astronomically dangerous.” Whatever that means.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told the New York Post he is disappointed that the FBI is responsible for the delay in releasing the documents and urged for their release to both grieving loved ones and members of Congress. The manifesto “could maybe tell us a little bit about what’s going on inside of her head,” he said. “I think that would answer a lot of questions.”

It has been widely speculated that this is exactly why Hale’s manifesto would never see the light of day. Upon learning that a manifesto existed, it was quickly suspected that Hale’s transgender identity played a role in her targeting the school. Nashville Chief of Police John Drake would not confirm this theory, but it seemed to be the most likely explanation.


The Post reports that “Twenty journals, five laptops, a suicide note and various other notes written by Hale were seized from the house she shared with her parents as well as two memoirs, five Covenant School yearbooks and seven cellphones, according to a search warrant.”

The Post received confirmation from Metro Nashville Council Member Courtney Johnston that the FBI had already determined that the manifesto would not be released in the near future.

“What I was told is, her manifesto was a blueprint on total destruction, and it was so, so detailed at the level of what she had planned,” Johnston said. “That document in the wrong person’s hands would be astronomically dangerous.”

Related: Are Transgender People More Likely to Be Mass Shooters? I Ran the Numbers

According to Johnston, while certain sections of Hale’s writings may be released at a later time, the majority of it is considered to be a significant danger to the public. However, some have raised doubts about this explanation and questioned whether the FBI is attempting to conceal certain details that could reflect negatively on the transgender community — which is what former police officer-turned-author and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Joseph Giacalone believes. Giacalone told the Post that the public “has a right to know” and suggested the censoring of the manifesto is to protect the trans community.


“I think what the FBI is really concerned here with, and I think law enforcement, is that if there is something in there that is truly damaging for the transgender community, I think they are hesitant to do it because they are afraid of a violent backlash against that protected class of people,” he said.

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