However, it would not be the last time Phelps or the church caught the attention of federal law enforcement. He appears in FBI records in almost every year from 1993 to 2006. By August 2005, the bureau said in a memo that the Westboro Baptist Church founder was “well known to the FBI.”
Occasionally, FBI involvement came at the request of Phelps or other Westboro members, who submitted “terroristic” threats they received against the church to federal investigators.
“It would appear that Mr. Phelps is intentionally provoking these types of responses,” the FBI wrote to a U.S. district attorney in 1993 regarding reported death threats against Phelps. “Large amounts of money and investigative time can potentially be wasted investigating these threat letters. Historically, very few, if any, of these types of cases have been prosecuted in the District of Kansas.”