Think back to a simpler time in America when the films of Steven Seagal were box office hits. Some of you young'uns might not be able to fathom such a thing, but it's true. What happened? Why is he now stuck doing direct-to-DVD films with titles like Belly of the Beast and Flight of Fury? Some would say it's because he's made so many genuinely awful movies, but Seagal claims the cause for his decline goes much higher up.

Yahoo is reporting on a Los Angeles Times story that finds Seagal blaming the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his career slump. The FBI investigated Seagal because of his ties to former private detective Anthony Pellicano. Many Hollywood types worked with Pellicano, who was investigated starting in 2002 and is now in federal prison awaiting trial on wire-tapping and other charges.

"False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the Mafia," Seagal told the Los Angeles Times. "These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers -- and kill careers." Seagal has never been charged or accused of being involved in the incident that led to Pellicano's arrest, and he is demanding that the FBI publicly clear his name.

A spokeswoman for the FBI wouldn't comment, "because of the ongoing nature of the investigation." The U.S. Attorney's Office won't talk either, as the office "does not comment on talks it has with attorneys representing defendants, investigation targets or witnesses." In the meantime, Seagal will continue to make movies, and he'll make his triumphant return to the director's chair with Prince of Pistols. It will be his first time directing since 1994's On Deadly Ground, which co-starred Michael Caine(!). Can you believe that at one time Michael Caine was taking acting guidance from Steven Seagal? If you want the full Seagal experience, don't hesitate to check out his albums, Songs from the Crystal Cave and Mojo Priest (which includes a song called "Talk to My Ass"). I'm not making this up.