FBI founded

FBI founded

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On July 26, 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is born when U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte orders a group of newly hired federal investigators to report to Chief Examiner Stanley W. Finch of the Department of Justice. One year later, the Office of the Chief Examiner was renamed the Bureau of Investigation, and in 1935 it became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

When the Department of Justice was created in 1870 to enforce federal law and coordinate judicial policy, it had no permanent investigators on its staff. At first, it hired private detectives when it needed federal crimes investigated and later rented out investigators from other federal agencies, such as the Secret Service, which was created by the Department of the Treasury in 1865 to investigate counterfeiting. In the early part of the 20th century, the attorney general was authorized to hire a few permanent investigators, and the Office of the Chief Examiner, which consisted mostly of accountants, was created to review financial transactions of the federal courts.

Seeking to form an independent and more efficient investigative arm, in 1908 the Department of Justice hired 10 former Secret Service employees to join an expanded Office of the Chief Examiner. The date when these agents reported to duty—July 26, 1908—is celebrated as the genesis of the FBI. By March 1909, the force included 34 agents, and Attorney General George Wickersham, Bonaparte’s successor, renamed it the Bureau of Investigation.

The federal government used the bureau as a tool to investigate criminals who evaded prosecution by passing over state lines, and within a few years the number of agents had grown to more than 300. The agency was opposed by some in Congress, who feared that its growing authority could lead to abuse of power. With the entry of the United States into World War I in 1917, the bureau was given responsibility in investigating draft resisters, violators of the Espionage Act of 1917, and immigrants suspected of radicalism.

Meanwhile, J. Edgar Hoover, a lawyer and former librarian, joined the Department of Justice in 1917 and within two years had become special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Deeply anti-radical in his ideology, Hoover came to the forefront of federal law enforcement during the so-called “Red Scare” of 1919 to 1920. He set up a card index system listing every radical leader, organization, and publication in the United States and by 1921 had amassed some 450,000 files. More than 10,000 suspected communists were also arrested during this period, but the vast majority of these people were briefly questioned and then released. Although the attorney general was criticized for abusing his power during the so-called “Palmer Raids,” Hoover emerged unscathed, and on May 10, 1924, he was appointed acting director of the Bureau of Investigation.

During the 1920s, with Congress’ approval, Director Hoover drastically restructured and expanded the Bureau of Investigation. He built the agency into an efficient crime-fighting machine, establishing a centralized fingerprint file, a crime laboratory, and a training school for agents. In the 1930s, the Bureau of Investigation launched a dramatic battle against the epidemic of organized crime brought on by Prohibition. Notorious gangsters such as George “Machine Gun” Kelly and John Dillinger met their ends looking down the barrels of bureau-issued guns, while others, like Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the elusive head of Murder, Inc., were successfully investigated and prosecuted by Hoover’s “G-men.” Hoover, who had a keen eye for public relations, participated in a number of these widely publicized arrests, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as it was known after 1935, became highly regarded by Congress and the American public.

With the outbreak of World War II, Hoover revived the anti-espionage techniques he had developed during the first Red Scare, and domestic wiretaps and other electronic surveillance expanded dramatically. After World War II, Hoover focused on the threat of radical, especially communist, subversion. The FBI compiled files on millions of Americans suspected of dissident activity, and Hoover worked closely with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Senator Joseph McCarthy, the architect of America’s second Red Scare.

In 1956, Hoover initiated COINTELPRO, a secret counterintelligence program that initially targeted the U.S. Communist Party but later was expanded to infiltrate and disrupt any radical organization in America. During the 1960s, the immense resources of COINTELPRO were used against dangerous groups such as the Ku Klux Klan but also against African American civil rights organizations and liberal anti-war organizations. One figure especially targeted was civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who endured systematic harassment from the FBI.

By the time Hoover entered service under his eighth president in 1969, the media, the public, and Congress had grown suspicious that the FBI might be abusing its authority. For the first time in his bureaucratic career, Hoover endured widespread criticism, and Congress responded by passing laws requiring Senate confirmation of future FBI directors and limiting their tenure to 10 years. On May 2, 1972, with the Watergate scandal about to explode onto the national stage, J. Edgar Hoover died of heart disease at the age of 77.

The Watergate affair subsequently revealed that the FBI had illegally protected President Richard Nixon from investigation, and the agency was thoroughly investigated by Congress. Revelations of the FBI’s abuses of power and unconstitutional surveillance motivated Congress and the media to become more vigilant in the future monitoring of the FBI.

Behavioral Analysis Unit

The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is a department of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) that uses behavioral analysts to assist in criminal investigations. [1] The mission of the NCAVC and the BAU is to provide behavioral based investigative and/or operational support by applying case experience, research, and training to complex and time-sensitive crimes, typically involving acts or threats of violence.

The FBI Academy: A Pictorial History

In May 1972, today’s FBI Academy—which trains not only Bureau personnel but also law enforcement professionals from around the globe—opened its doors on a sprawling 547-acre campus carved out of the Quantico Marine Corps base in rural Virginia. Here’s a walk through the past visually tracing the Academy’s evolution over the years. 

The Kansas City Massacre on June 17, 1933.

In the Beginning   

How’d we end up at Quantico? It began with the so-called “Kansas City Massacre.” In June 1933, three police officers and one Bureau agent escorting a prisoner through a Missouri train station were killed when “Pretty Boy” Floyd and other criminals opened fire on them. Following the public outcry, FBI agents were given the authority to make arrests and to carry weapons for the first time.

But where to learn marksmanship and take target practice? We needed a safe, out of the way place.

And we found one, thanks to the Marine Corps, which in 1934 let us start using the firing ranges on its base in Quantico, Virginia, about 35 miles southwest of the nation’s capital. We’ve been there ever since. 

Training Takes Off  

Our agents get in shape on the roof of the Department of Justice building in D.C.

Meanwhile, the Bureau was moving into the training business.

In the early 󈥴s we’d begun formal training for agents our first organized agent school was launched in 1929 in D.C. It included classroom training, practical exercises in fingerprinting and evidence collection, and even physical instruction on the rooftop of the Justice Department building.

In line with the recommendations of a national commission on the need for more standardized police training, in 1935 we launched a “Police Training School,” the forerunner of today’s National Academy program. The high-level police professionals learned investigative and scientific techniques, studied management principles, did practical exercises, and received firearms training at the gun range at Quantico. Many of the graduates opened training classes back home to share what they’d learned.

The Academy’s First Home  

The FBI Academy building circa 1940.

“If you build it, they will come. ” Precisely our thinking by the late 1930s. The gun ranges used by the Marines weren’t meeting our more specialized law enforcement needs. And we needed a central place to instruct and house all the police officers and special agents we were now training.

Result: the Marine Corps allowed us to construct our own firing range and, in 1940, our first classroom building on the main section of the base. The FBI Academy was born.

Over the next two decades, we added a new wing, a basement, more dining room and kitchen space, and an elevator to the original building. But it still wasn’t enough. Eight people shared a single dorm room. The lack of classroom space limited the size of training classes. The firing range was a bumpy bus ride away. We needed the facilities to match our vision for world-class training.

In 1965, we got approval to build a brand new complex at Quantico. Construction began in 1969. A new home was just around the corner.

A New Era for FBI Training  

The new FBI Academy in the 1970s.

On May 7, 1972, the new, expanded, and modernized FBI Academy was opened.

Talk about a major upgrade: The complex included more than two dozen classrooms, eight conference rooms, twin seven-story dormitories, a 1,000-seat auditorium, a dining hall, a full-sized gym and swimming pool, a fully equipped library, and a new firing range. Not to mention much-needed enhancements like specialized classrooms for forensic science training, four identification labs, more than a dozen darkrooms, and a mock-city classroom and crime scene room for practical exercises.

The ample facilities enabled National Academy classes to expand ten-fold, to more than 200 students per session, including more from overseas.

New Directions, New Neighbors  

FBI students in the classroom.

Since 1972, the Academy has continued to grow and evolve, both in terms of its training and its facilities. A few examples:

In 1976, we created the National Executive Institute for the heads of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. More leadership training programs have followed.

In 1987, we built a mock training town on campus called “Hogan’s Alley,” which provides a realistic training ground for agents.

Also joining the Academy complex in the 󈦰s and 󈦺s were our Engineering Research Facility and our Critical Incident Response Group, which includes our Hostage Rescue Team and behavioral scientists.

In October 2001, we established a basic analyst training program to address current and future investigative responsibilities. Today, the Intelligence and Investigative Training Center at Quantico, VA provides basic, intermediate, and advanced training to intelligence analysts and special agents.  

In 2003, we opened our first ever standalone Lab building, a state-of-the-art facility complete with building-sized shock absorbers to handle vibrations from nearby Marine munitions blasts.

The FBI Laboratory building.

Since 2007, the FBI has made significant investment in the Academy’s future. Forty-year-old dormitories and dining facilities are being completely renovated, along with even older firing ranges. New facilities include additional classrooms, a firearms support facility, a field house for physical training, and the Intelligence and Investigative Training Center.  

And it’s not just new buildings the latest in technology, including virtual reality, is being used to train law enforcement personnel to operate in the high-tech environment of the 21st century.

Part of new agents’ tactical training involves a 3-D virtual reality simulator. Right: Virtual reality simulation room.

Into the Future  

It’s not called the “West Point of Law Enforcement” for nothing. The FBI Academy continues to look toward the future with new programs designed to meet the evolving needs of our workforce and our national and international partners.


John Edgar Hoover was born on New Year's Day 1895 in Washington, D.C., to Anna Marie (née Scheitlin 1860–1938), who was of Swiss-German descent, and Dickerson Naylor Hoover (1856–1921), chief of the printing division of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, formerly a plate maker for the same organization. [6] Dickerson Hoover was of English and German ancestry. Hoover's maternal great-uncle, John Hitz, was a Swiss honorary consul general to the United States. [7] Among his family, he was the closest to his mother, who was their moral guide and disciplinarian. [8]

Hoover was born in a house on the present site of Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, located on Seward Square near Eastern Market in Washington's Capitol Hill neighborhood. [9] A stained glass window in the church is dedicated to him. Hoover did not have a birth certificate filed upon his birth, although it was required in 1895 in Washington. Two of his siblings did have certificates, but Hoover's was not filed until 1938 when he was 43. [7]

Hoover lived in Washington, D.C. his entire life. He attended Central High School, where he sang in the school choir, participated in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, and competed on the debate team. [4] During debates, he argued against women getting the right to vote and against the abolition of the death penalty. [10] The school newspaper applauded his "cool, relentless logic." [11] Hoover stuttered as a boy, which he later learned to manage by teaching himself to talk quickly—a style that he carried through his adult career. He eventually spoke with such ferocious speed that stenographers had a hard time following him. [12]

Hoover was 18 years old when he accepted his first job, an entry-level position as messenger in the orders department, at the Library of Congress. The library was a half mile from his house. The experience shaped both Hoover and the creation of the FBI profiles as Hoover noted in a 1951 letter: "This job . trained me in the value of collating material. It gave me an excellent foundation for my work in the FBI where it has been necessary to collate information and evidence." [13]

Hoover obtained a Bachelor of Laws [14] from The George Washington University Law School in 1916, where he was a member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order, and an LL.M. in 1917 from the same university. [15] [16] While a law student, Hoover became interested in the career of Anthony Comstock, the New York City U.S. Postal Inspector, who waged prolonged campaigns against fraud, vice, pornography, and birth control. [11]

War Emergency Division Edit

Immediately after getting his LL.M. degree, Hoover was hired by the Justice Department to work in the War Emergency Division. [17] He accepted the clerkship on July 27, 1917, aged 22. The job paid $990 a year ($20,000 in 2021) and was exempt from the draft. [17]

He soon became the head of the Division's Alien Enemy Bureau, authorized by President Woodrow Wilson at the beginning of World War I to arrest and jail allegedly disloyal foreigners without trial. [11] He received additional authority from the 1917 Espionage Act. Out of a list of 1,400 suspicious Germans living in the U.S., the Bureau arrested 98 and designated 1,172 as arrestable. [18]

Bureau of Investigation Edit

Head of the Radical Division Edit

In August 1919, the 24-year-old Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division, also known as the Radical Division because its goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals. [18] America's First Red Scare was beginning, and one of Hoover's first assignments was to carry out the Palmer Raids. [19]

Hoover and his chosen assistants, George Ruch, [20] monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport those whose politics they decided were dangerous. [ clarification needed ] Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey [21] Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs [22] Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman [23] and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, who, Hoover maintained, was "the most dangerous man in the United States." [24]

In 1920, Edgar Hoover was initiated [25] at D.C.'s Federal Lodge No. 1 in Washington D.C., becoming a Free Mason [26] [27] at the age of 25, becoming a 33rd Degree Inspector General Honorary in 1955. [28]

Head of the Bureau of Investigation Edit

In 1921, Hoover rose in the Bureau of Investigation to deputy head and, in 1924, the Attorney General made him the acting director. On May 10, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Hoover as the fifth Director of the Bureau of Investigation, partly in response to allegations that the prior director, William J. Burns, was involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. [29] [30] When Hoover took over the Bureau of Investigation, it had approximately 650 employees, including 441 Special Agents. [31] Hoover fired all female agents and banned the future hiring of them. [32]

Early leadership Edit

Hoover was sometimes unpredictable in his leadership. He frequently fired Bureau agents, singling out those he thought "looked stupid like truck drivers," or whom he considered "pinheads." [33] [ page needed ] He also relocated agents who had displeased him to career-ending assignments and locations. Melvin Purvis was a prime example: Purvis was one of the most effective agents in capturing and breaking up 1930s gangs, and it is alleged that Hoover maneuvered him out of the Bureau because he was envious of the substantial public recognition Purvis received. [34]

Hoover often praised local law-enforcement officers around the country, and built up a national network of supporters and admirers in the process. One whom he often commended for particular effectiveness was the conservative sheriff of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, J. Howell Flournoy. [35]

A rare candid photo of J. Edgar Hoover was discovered while doing research on U.S. Japan relations. On Dec. 23, 1929 – Hoover oversaw the protection detail for the Japanese Naval Delegation who were visiting Washington, D.C., on their way to attend negotiations for the 1930 London Naval Treaty (officially called Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament). The Japanese delegation was greeted at the Washington Union (train) Station by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson and the Japanese Ambassador Katsuji Debuchi. This Dec. 23rd, 1929 photo is shown on the right. It presents the members of the Japanese delegation, the Japanese ambassador, and the secretary of state, with J. Edgar Hoover in the background adjacent to a police officer. The Japanese delegation then visited the White House to meet with President Herbert Hoover. [36]

Depression-era gangsters Edit

In the early 1930s, criminal gangs carried out large numbers of bank robberies in the Midwest. They used their superior firepower and fast getaway cars to elude local law enforcement agencies and avoid arrest. Many of these criminals frequently made newspaper headlines across the United States, particularly John Dillinger, who became famous for leaping over bank cages, and repeatedly escaping from jails and police traps. The gangsters enjoyed a level of sympathy in the Midwest, as banks and bankers were widely seen as oppressors of common people during the Great Depression.

The robbers operated across state lines, and Hoover pressed to have their crimes recognized as federal offenses so that he and his men would have the authority to pursue them and get the credit for capturing them. Initially, the Bureau suffered some embarrassing foul-ups, in particular with Dillinger and his conspirators. A raid on a summer lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, called "Little Bohemia," left a Bureau agent and a civilian bystander dead and others wounded all the gangsters escaped.

Hoover realized that his job was then on the line, and he pulled out all stops to capture the culprits. In late July 1934, Special Agent Melvin Purvis, the Director of Operations in the Chicago office, received a tip on Dillinger's whereabouts that paid off when Dillinger was located, ambushed, and killed by Bureau agents outside the Biograph Theater. [37]

Hoover was credited for overseeing several highly publicized captures or shootings of outlaws and bank robbers. These included those of Machine Gun Kelly in 1933, of Dillinger in 1934, and of Alvin Karpis in 1936, which led to the Bureau's powers being broadened.

In 1935, the Bureau of Investigation was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 1939, the FBI became pre-eminent in the field of domestic intelligence, thanks in large part to changes made by Hoover, such as expanding and combining fingerprint files in the Identification Division, to compile the largest collection of fingerprints to date, [38] [39] and Hoover's help to expand the FBI's recruitment and create the FBI Laboratory, a division established in 1932 to examine and analyze evidence found by the FBI.

American Mafia Edit

During the 1930s, Hoover persistently denied the existence of organized crime, despite numerous gangland shootings as Mafia groups struggled for control of the lucrative profits deriving from illegal alcohol sales during Prohibition, and later for control of prostitution, illegal drugs and other criminal enterprises. [40] Many writers believe Hoover's denial of the Mafia's existence and his failure to use the full force of the FBI to investigate it were due to Mafia gangsters Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello possession of embarrassing photographs of Hoover in the company of his protégé, FBI Deputy Director Clyde Tolson. [41] [ page needed ] Other writers believe Costello corrupted Hoover by providing him with horseracing tips, passed through a mutual friend, gossip columnist Walter Winchell. [42] Hoover had a reputation as "an inveterate horseplayer", and was known to send Special Agents to place $100 bets for him. [42] Hoover once said the Bureau had "much more important functions" than arresting bookmakers and gamblers. [42]

Although Hoover built the reputation of the FBI arresting bank robbers in the 1930s, his main interest had always been Communist subversion, and during the Cold War he was able to focus the FBI's attention on these investigations. From the mid-1940s though the mid-50s, he paid little attention to criminal vice rackets such as illegal drugs, prostitution, and extortion and flatly denied the existence of the Mafia in the United States. In the 1950s, evidence of the FBI's unwillingness to investigate the Mafia became a topic of public criticism.

After the Apalachin meeting of crime bosses in 1957, Hoover could no longer deny the existence of a nation-wide crime syndicate. At that time Cosa Nostra's control of the Syndicate's many branches operating criminal activities throughout North America was heavily reported in popular newspapers and magazines. [43] Hoover created the "Top Hoodlum Program" and went after the syndicate's top bosses throughout the country. [44] [45]

Investigation of subversion and radicals Edit

Hoover was concerned about what he claimed was subversion, and under his leadership, the FBI investigated tens of thousands of suspected subversives and radicals. According to critics, Hoover tended to exaggerate the dangers of these alleged subversives and many times overstepped his bounds in his pursuit of eliminating that perceived threat. [4]

William G. Hundley, a Justice Department prosecutor, said Hoover may have inadvertently kept alive the concern over communist infiltration into the government, quipping that Hoover's "informants were nearly the only ones that paid the party dues." [46]

Florida and Long Island U-boat landings Edit

The FBI investigated rings of German saboteurs and spies starting in the late 1930s, and had primary responsibility for counter-espionage. The first arrests of German agents were made in 1938 and continued throughout World War II. [47] In the Quirin affair, during World War II, German U-boats set two small groups of Nazi agents ashore in Florida and Long Island to cause acts of sabotage within the country. The two teams were apprehended after one of the agents contacted the FBI and told them everything – he was also charged, and convicted. [48]

Illegal wire-tapping Edit

During this time period President Franklin D. Roosevelt, out of concern over Nazi agents in the United States, gave "qualified permission" to wiretap persons "suspected . [of] subversive activities". He went on to add, in 1941, that the United States Attorney General had to be informed of its use in each case. [49]

The Attorney General Robert H. Jackson left it to Hoover to decide how and when to use wiretaps, as he found the "whole business" distasteful. Jackson's successor at the post of Attorney General, Francis Biddle, did turn down Hoover's requests on occasion. [50]

Concealed espionage discoveries Edit

The FBI participated in the Venona Project, a pre-World War II joint project with the British to eavesdrop on Soviet spies in the UK and the United States. They did not initially realize that espionage was being committed, but the Soviet's multiple use of one-time pad ciphers (which with single use are unbreakable) created redundancies that allowed some intercepts to be decoded. These established that espionage was being carried out.

Hoover kept the intercepts – America's greatest counterintelligence secret – in a locked safe in his office. He chose not to inform President Truman, Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, or Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and General George Marshall while they held office. He informed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the Venona Project in 1952. [51] [52]

Plans for expanding the FBI to do global intelligence Edit

After World War II, Hoover advanced plans to create a "World-Wide Intelligence Service". These plans were shot down by the Truman administration. Truman objected to the plan, emerging bureaucratic competitors opposed the centralization of power inherent in the plans, and there was considerable aversion to creating an American version of the "Gestapo." [53]

Plans for suspending habeas corpus Edit

In 1946, Attorney General Tom C. Clark authorized Hoover to compile a list of potentially disloyal Americans who might be detained during a wartime national emergency. In 1950, at the outbreak of the Korean War, Hoover submitted a plan to President Truman to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and detain 12,000 Americans suspected of disloyalty. Truman did not act on the plan. [54]

COINTELPRO and the 1950s Edit

In 1956, Hoover was becoming increasingly frustrated by U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited the Justice Department's ability to prosecute people for their political opinions, most notably communists. Some of his aides reported that he purposely exaggerated the threat of communism to "ensure financial and public support for the FBI." [55] At this time he formalized a covert "dirty tricks" program under the name COINTELPRO. [56] COINTELPRO was first used to disrupt the Communist Party USA, where Hoover ordered observation and pursuit of targets that ranged from suspected citizen spies to larger celebrity figures, such as Charlie Chaplin, whom he saw as spreading Communist Party propaganda. [57]

COINTELPRO's methods included infiltration, burglaries, setting up illegal wiretaps, planting forged documents, and spreading false rumors about key members of target organizations. [58] Some authors have charged that COINTELPRO methods also included inciting violence and arranging murders. [59] [60]

This program remained in place until it was exposed to the public in 1971, after the burglary by a group of eight activists of many internal documents from an office in Media, Pennsylvania, whereupon COINTELPRO became the cause of some of the harshest criticism of Hoover and the FBI. COINTELPRO's activities were investigated in 1975 by the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, called the "Church Committee" after its chairman, Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) the committee declared COINTELPRO's activities were illegal and contrary to the Constitution. [61]

Hoover amassed significant power by collecting files containing large amounts of compromising and potentially embarrassing information on many powerful people, especially politicians. According to Laurence Silberman, appointed Deputy Attorney General in early 1974, FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley thought such files either did not exist or had been destroyed. After The Washington Post broke a story in January 1975, Kelley searched and found them in his outer office. The House Judiciary Committee then demanded that Silberman testify about them.

Reaction to civil rights groups Edit

In 1956, several years before he targeted King, Hoover had a public showdown with T. R. M. Howard, a civil rights leader from Mound Bayou, Mississippi. During a national speaking tour, Howard had criticized the FBI's failure to investigate thoroughly the racially motivated murders of George W. Lee, Lamar Smith, and Emmett Till. Hoover wrote an open letter to the press singling out these statements as "irresponsible." [62]

In the 1960s, Hoover's FBI monitored John Lennon, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali. [63] The COINTELPRO tactics were later extended to organizations such as the Nation of Islam, Black Panther Party, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others. Hoover's moves against people who maintained contacts with subversive elements, some of whom were members of the civil rights movement, also led to accusations of trying to undermine their reputations. [64]

The treatment of Martin Luther King Jr. and actress Jean Seberg are two examples: Jacqueline Kennedy recalled that Hoover told President John F. Kennedy that King had tried to arrange a sex party while in the capital for the March on Washington and that Hoover told Robert F. Kennedy that King had made derogatory comments during the President's funeral. [65] Under Hoover's leadership, the FBI sent an anonymous blackmail letter to King in 1964, urging him to commit suicide. [66]

King's aide Andrew Young later claimed in a 2013 interview with the Academy of Achievement, that the main source of tension between the SCLC and FBI was the government agency's lack of black agents, and that both parties were willing to co-operate with each other by the time the Selma to Montgomery marches had taken place. [67]

In one particularly controversial 1965 incident, white civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo was murdered by Ku Klux Klansmen, who had given chase and fired shots into her car after noticing that her passenger was a young black man one of the klansmen was Gary Thomas Rowe, an acknowledged FBI informant. [68] [69] The FBI spread rumors that Liuzzo was a member of the Communist Party and had abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African Americans involved in the civil rights movement. [70] [71] FBI records show that Hoover personally communicated these insinuations to President Johnson. [72] [73]

Hoover also personally intervened to prevent federal prosecutions against the Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the terrorist bombing attack against the 16th Street Baptist Church. [74] By May 1965, local investigators and the FBI had identified the perpetrators of the bombing, [75] and this information was relayed to Hoover. [76] No prosecutions of the four suspects ensued, however, even though the evidence was reportedly "so strong that even a white Alabama jury would convict". [74] There had been a history of mistrust between local and federal investigators. [77] Later the same year, J. Edgar Hoover formally blocked any impending federal prosecutions against the suspects and refused to share, with state or federal prosecutors, any of the evidence which his agents had obtained. [78] In 1968, the FBI formally closed their investigation into the bombing without filing charges against any of their named suspects. The files were sealed by order of Hoover. [79]

Late career and death Edit

One of his biographers, Kenneth Ackerman, wrote that the allegation that Hoover's secret files kept presidents from firing him "is a myth." [80] However, Richard Nixon was recorded in 1971 as stating that one of the reasons he would not fire Hoover was that he was afraid of Hoover's reprisals against him. [81] Similarly, Presidents Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy considered dismissing Hoover as FBI Director, but ultimately concluded that the political cost of doing so would be too great. [82]

In 1964, Hoover's FBI investigated Jack Valenti, a special assistant and confidant of President Lyndon Johnson. Despite Valenti's two-year marriage to Johnson's personal secretary, the investigation focused on rumors that he was having a gay relationship with a commercial photographer friend. [83]

Hoover personally directed the FBI investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1964, just days before Hoover testified in the earliest stages of the Warren Commission hearings, President Lyndon B. Johnson waived the then-mandatory U.S. Government Service Retirement Age of 70, allowing Hoover to remain the FBI Director "for an indefinite period of time". [84] The House Select Committee on Assassinations issued a report in 1979 critical of the performance by the FBI, the Warren Commission, and other agencies. The report criticized the FBI's (Hoover's) reluctance to investigate thoroughly the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President. [85]

When Richard Nixon took office in January 1969, Hoover had just turned 74. There was a growing sentiment in Washington, D.C., that the aging FBI chief needed to go, but Hoover's power and friends in Congress remained too strong for him to be forced into retirement. [86]

Hoover remained director of the FBI until he died of a heart attack in his Washington home, on May 2, 1972, [87] whereupon operational command of the Bureau was passed onto Associate Director Clyde Tolson. On May 3, 1972, Nixon appointed L. Patrick Gray – a Justice Department official with no FBI experience – as Acting Director of the FBI, with W. Mark Felt becoming associate director. [88]

Hoover's body lay in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, [89] where Chief Justice Warren Burger eulogized him. [90] Hoover is the only civil servant to have lain in state. [91] President Nixon delivered another eulogy at the funeral service in the National Presbyterian Church, and called Hoover "one of the Giants, [whose] long life brimmed over with magnificent achievement and dedicated service to this country which he loved so well". [92] Hoover was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., next to the graves of his parents and a sister who had died in infancy. [93]

Biographer Kenneth D. Ackerman summarizes Hoover's legacy thus:

For better or worse, he built the FBI into a modern, national organization stressing professionalism and scientific crime-fighting. For most of his life, Americans considered him a hero. He made the G-Man brand so popular that, at its height, it was harder to become an FBI agent than to be accepted into an Ivy League college. [80]

Hoover worked to groom the image of the FBI in American media he was a consultant to Warner Brothers for a theatrical film about the FBI, The FBI Story (1959), and in 1965 on Warner's long-running spin-off television series, The F.B.I. [94] Hoover personally made sure Warner Brothers portrayed the FBI more favorably than other crime dramas of the times. [ citation needed ]

In 1979 there was a large increase in conflict in the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) under Senator Richard Schweiker, which had re-opened the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy and reported that Hoover's FBI failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President. The HSCA further reported that Hoover's FBI was deficient in its sharing of information with other agencies and departments. [95]

U.S. President Harry S Truman said that Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force:

. we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him. [96]

Because Hoover's actions came to be seen as abuses of power, FBI directors are now limited to one 10-year term, [97] subject to extension by the United States Senate. [98]

The FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. is named the J. Edgar Hoover Building, after Hoover. Because of the controversial nature of Hoover's legacy, there have been periodic proposals to rename it by legislation proposed by both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. The first such proposal came just two months after the building's inauguration. On December 12, 1979, Gilbert Gude – a Republican congressman from Maryland – introduced H.R. 11137, which would have changed the name of the edifice from the "J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building" to simply the "F.B.I. Building." [99] [100] However, that bill never made it out of committee, nor did two subsequent attempts by Gude. [99] Another notable attempt came in 1993, when Democrat Senator Howard Metzenbaum pushed for a name change following a new report about Hoover's ordered "loyalty investigation" of future Senator Quentin Burdick. [101] In 1998, Democratic Senator Harry Reid sponsored an amendment to strip Hoover's name from the building, stating that "J. Edgar Hoover's name on the FBI building is a stain on the building." [102] The Senate did not adopt the amendment. [102]

Hoover's practice of violating civil liberties for the sake of national security has been questioned in reference to recent national surveillance programs. An example is a lecture titled Civil Liberties and National Security: Did Hoover Get it Right?, given at The Institute of World Politics on April 21, 2015. [103]

Pets Edit

Hoover received his first dog from his parents when he was a child, after which he was never without one. He owned many throughout his lifetime and became an aficionado especially knowledgeable in breeding of pedigrees, particularly Cairn Terriers and Beagles. He gave many dogs to notable people, such as Presidents Herbert Hoover (no relation) and Lyndon B. Johnson, and buried seven canine pets, including a Cairn Terrier named Spee De Bozo, at Aspen Hill Memorial Park, in Silver Spring, Maryland. [104]

Sexuality Edit

From the 1940s, rumors circulated that Hoover, who was still living with his mother in his early 40s, was homosexual. [105] The historians John Stuart Cox and Athan G. Theoharis speculated that Clyde Tolson, who became an assistant director to Hoover in his mid 40s, was a homosexual lover to Hoover until his death (and became his primary heir). [106] Hoover reportedly hunted down and threatened anyone who made insinuations about his sexuality. [107] Truman Capote, who enjoyed repeating salacious rumors about Hoover, once remarked that he was more interested in making Hoover angry than determining whether the rumors were true. [82] On May 2, 1969, Screw published the first reference in print to J. Edgar Hoover's sexuality, entitled "Is J. Edgar Hoover a Fag?" [108] [109] [110]

Some associates and scholars dismiss rumors about Hoover's sexuality, and rumors about his relationship with Tolson in particular, as unlikely, [111] [112] [113] while others have described them as probable or even "confirmed". [114] [41] Still other scholars have reported the rumors without expressing an opinion. [115] [116]

Cox and Theoharis concluded that "the strange likelihood is that Hoover never knew sexual desire at all." [113]

Hoover and Tolson Edit

Hoover described Tolson as his alter ego: the men worked closely together during the day and, both single, frequently took meals, went to night clubs, and vacationed together. [106] This closeness between the two men is often cited as evidence that they were lovers. Some FBI employees who knew them, such as Mark Felt, say the relationship was "brotherly" however, former FBI official Mike Mason suggested that some of Hoover's colleagues denied that he had a sexual relationship with Tolson in an effort to protect Hoover's image. [117]

The novelist William Styron told Summers that he once saw Hoover and Tolson in a California beach house, where the director was painting his friend's toenails. Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society, one of the first gay rights organizations, said Hoover and Tolson sat in boxes owned by and used exclusively by gay men at the Del Mar racetrack in California. [118]

Hoover bequeathed his estate to Tolson, who moved into Hoover's house after Hoover died. Tolson accepted the American flag that draped Hoover's casket. Tolson is buried a few yards away from Hoover in the Congressional Cemetery. [119]

Other romantic allegations Edit

One of Hoover's biographers Richard Hack does not believe the director was homosexual. Hack notes that Hoover was romantically linked to actress Dorothy Lamour in the late 1930s and early 1940s and that after Hoover's death, Lamour did not deny rumors that she had had an affair with him. [82] However, Anthony Summers, who wrote Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (1993), stated that there was no ambiguity about the FBI director's sexual proclivities and described him as "bisexual with failed heterosexuality." [118]

Hack further reported that, during the 1940s and 1950s, Hoover attended social events with Lela Rogers, the divorced mother of dancer and actress Ginger Rogers, so often that many of their mutual friends assumed the pair would eventually marry. [82] However, Summers noted that Hoover's friend, actress and singer Ethel Merman, knew of his sexual orientation. [118]

Pornography for blackmail Edit

Hoover kept a large collection of pornographic material, possibly the world's largest, [120] of films, photographs, and written materials, with particular emphasis on nude photos of celebrities. Hoover reportedly used these for his own titillation, as well as holding them for blackmail purposes. [121] [122]

Cross-dressing story Edit

In his biography Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (1993), journalist Anthony Summers quoted "society divorcee" Susan Rosenstiel as claiming to have seen Hoover engaging in cross-dressing in the 1950s, at all-male parties. [123] [124]

Summers alleged the Mafia had blackmail material on Hoover, which made Hoover reluctant to pursue organized crime aggressively. According to Summers, organized crime figures Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello obtained photos of Hoover's alleged homosexual activity with Tolson and used them to ensure that the FBI did not target their illegal activities. [125] Additionally, Summers claimed that Hoover was friends with Billy Byars, Jr., an alleged child pornographer and producer of the film The Genesis Children. [126]

Another Hoover biographer who heard the rumors of homosexuality and blackmail, however, said he was unable to corroborate them, [125] though it has been acknowledged that Lansky and other organized crime figures had frequently been allowed to visit the Del Charro Hotel in La Jolla, California, which was owned by Hoover's friend, and staunch Lyndon Johnson supporter, Clint Murchison Sr. [127] [128] Hoover and Tolson also frequently visited the Del Charro Hotel. [128] Summers quoted a source named Charles Krebs as saying, "on three occasions that I knew about, maybe four, boys were driven down to La Jolla at Hoover's request." [126]

Skeptics of the cross-dressing story point to Susan Rosenstiel's lack of credibility (she pleaded guilty to attempted perjury in a 1971 case and later served time in a New York City jail). [129] [130] Recklessly indiscreet behavior by Hoover would have been totally out of character, whatever his sexuality. Most biographers consider the story of Mafia blackmail unlikely in light of the FBI's continuing investigations of the Mafia. [131] [132] Although never corroborated, the allegation of cross-dressing has been widely repeated. In the words of author Thomas Doherty, "For American popular culture, the image of the zaftig FBI director as a Christine Jorgensen wanna-be was too delicious not to savor." [133] Biographer Kenneth Ackerman says that Summers' accusations have been "widely debunked by historians". [134]

The Lavender Scare Edit

The attorney Roy Cohn served as general counsel on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations during Senator Joseph McCarthy's tenure as chairman and assisted Hoover during the 1950s investigations of Communists [135] and was generally known to be a closeted homosexual. [136] [135] Cohn's opinion was that Hoover was too frightened of his own sexuality to have anything approaching a normal sexual or romantic relationship. [82]

During the Lavender scare, Cohn and McCarthy further enhanced anti-Communist fervor by suggesting that Communists overseas had convinced several closeted homosexuals within the U.S. government to leak important government information in exchange for the assurance that their sexual identity would remain a secret. [135] [137] A federal investigation that followed convinced President Dwight D. Eisenhower to sign an Executive Order on April 29, 1953, that barred homosexuals from obtaining jobs at the federal level. [138]

In his 2004 study of the event, historian David K. Johnson attacked the speculations about Hoover's homosexuality as relying on "the kind of tactics Hoover and the security program he oversaw perfected: guilt by association, rumor, and unverified gossip." He views Rosenstiel as a liar who was paid for her story, whose "description of Hoover in drag engaging in sex with young blond boys in leather while desecrating the Bible is clearly a homophobic fantasy." He believes only those who have forgotten the virulence of the decades-long campaign against homosexuals in government can believe reports that Hoover appeared in compromising situations. [139]

Supportive friends Edit

Some people associated with Hoover have supported the rumors about his homosexuality. [140] According to Anthony Summers, Hoover often frequented New York City's Stork Club. Luisa Stuart, a model who was 18 or 19 at the time, told Summers that she had seen Hoover holding hands with Tolson as they all rode in a limo uptown to the Cotton Club in 1936. [118]

Actress and singer Ethel Merman was a friend of Hoover's from 1938, and familiar with all parties during his alleged romance of Lela Rogers. In a 1978 interview, she said: "Some of my best friends are homosexual: Everybody knew about J. Edgar Hoover, but he was the best chief the FBI ever had." [118]

J. Edgar Hoover was the nominal author of a number of books and articles, although it is widely believed that all of these were ghostwritten by FBI employees. [141] [142] [143] Hoover received the credit and royalties.

  • J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Scholastic Publishing. 1993. ISBN978-0-590-43168-2 . HV8144F43D46.
  • Hoover, J. Edgar (1938). Persons in Hiding. Gaunt Publishing. ISBN978-1-56169-340-5 .
  • Hoover, J. Edgar (February 1947). "Red Fascism in the United States Today". The American Magazine.
  • Hoover, J. Edgar (1958). Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It. Holt Rinehart and Winston. ISBN978-1-4254-8258-9 . [144]
  • Hoover, J. Edgar (1962). A Study of Communism. Holt Rinehart & Winston. ISBN978-0-03-031190-1 .
  • 1938: Oklahoma Baptist University awarded Hoover an honorary doctorate during commencement exercises, at which he spoke. [145][146]
  • 1939: the National Academy of Sciences awarded Hoover its Public Welfare Medal. [147]
  • 1950: King George VI of the United Kingdom appoints Hoover Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. [148]
  • 1955: President Dwight D. Eisenhower awarded Hoover the National Security Medal. [149]
  • 1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson bestowed the State Department's Distinguished Service Award on Hoover for his service as director of the FBI.
  • 1973: The newly built FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., is named the J. Edgar Hoover Building.
  • 1974: Congress voted to honor Hoover's memory by publishing a memorial book, J. Edgar Hoover: Memorial Tributes in the Congress of the United States and Various Articles and Editorials Relating to His Life and Work.
  • 1974: In Schaumburg, Illinois, a grade school was named after J. Edgar Hoover. However, in 1994, after information about Hoover's illegal activities was released, the school's name was changed to commemorate Herbert Hoover instead. [150]

J. Edgar Hoover has been portrayed by numerous actors in films and stage productions featuring him as FBI Director. The first known portrayal was by Kent Rogers in the 1941 Looney Tunes short "Hollywood Steps Out". Some notable portrayals (listed chronologically) include:

Organization and duties

The headquarters of the FBI is located in Washington, D.C., in a building named for J. Edgar Hoover, who served as the bureau’s head from 1924 to 1972. The FBI has more than 50 field offices located in large cities throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico. It also maintains several hundred “satellite” offices, called resident agencies, and several dozen liaison posts in foreign countries to facilitate the exchange of information with foreign agencies on matters relating to international crime and criminals.

The FBI is headed by a director, who originally was appointed by the attorney general. Legislation enacted in 1968 empowered the president of the United States, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint the director to a 10-year term. The bureau has a large staff of employees, including more than 10,000 special agents who perform investigative work. The majority of these agents have served with the bureau for 10 years or more.

Directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
name dates of service*
*Gaps in service were filled by acting directors.
Stanley Finch July 26, 1908–April 30, 1912
Alexander Bruce Bielaski April 30, 1912–Feb. 10, 1919
William J. Flynn July 1, 1919–Aug. 21, 1921
William J. Burns Aug. 22, 1921–June 14, 1924
J. Edgar Hoover Dec. 10, 1924–May 2, 1972
Clarence M. Kelley July 9, 1973–Feb. 15, 1978
William H. Webster Feb. 23, 1978–May 25, 1987
William S. Sessions Nov. 2, 1987–July 19, 1993
Louis J. Freeh Sept. 1, 1993–June 25, 2001
Robert S. Mueller III Sept. 4, 2001–Sept. 4, 2013
James B. Comey Sept. 4, 2013–May 9, 2017
Christopher Wray Aug. 2, 2017–

The investigative jurisdiction of the FBI extends to most federal criminal laws in more than 200 areas, including computer crime (cybercrime), embezzlement, money laundering, organized crime (including extortion and racketeering), piracy and hijacking, sabotage, sedition, terrorism (including ecoterrorism), and treason. The bureau is the principal federal agency responsible for counterintelligence (see intelligence) it is represented on the United States Intelligence Board, a body created by the president’s National Security Council. In areas relating to domestic security, the FBI is responsible for correlating intelligence and disseminating it to other federal agencies. It also investigates violations of federal civil rights law, such as racial discrimination in employment and voting and police brutality. Through its Uniform Crime Reporting program, the bureau annually publishes a comprehensive summary of criminal activity in the United States it also publishes a specific report on hate crimes. It collects evidence in most civil cases in which the United States is or may be a party, and it investigates individuals who are being considered for employment in sensitive positions within the federal government. Although the bureau investigates crimes committed outside the United States against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests (such as embassies), it may arrest individuals on foreign soil only in cases where the U.S. Congress has granted it jurisdiction and where the host country consents.

The chief exceptions to the FBI’s jurisdiction lie in specialized fields. These include alcohol and firearms violations (which fall under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, part of the Department of Justice), customs and immigration violations and financial crimes targeting the U.S. financial and banking infrastructure (Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Secret Service, all of which are part of the Department of Homeland Security), tax violations (the Internal Revenue Service), securities fraud (the Securities and Exchange Commission), and postal violations (the U.S. Postal Service). The FBI has concurrent jurisdiction over narcotics violations with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is also part of the Department of Justice.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Questions

1. Is the FBI more concerned with intelligence gathering than it is with law enforcement?

2. Why is the FBI responsible for both intelligence gathering and law enforcement?

In order to find out what the FBI's priorities are, I must first ask why they are responsible for these two inherently conflicting missions in the first place.

3. How did the FBI become so involved in domestic intelligence gathering?

In order to fully understand why the FBI is invested in these two missions, I must look at it's history and see how they arrived at this point.

4. What historical events contributed to the FBI's growth in authority?

If I'm looking at the history of the FBI, I need to look at it in the context of the time period.

5. What can I learn from the FBI's history, and how can I apply it to what the FBI should do in the future?

If I can understand how the world affected the FBI in the past, I can understand how it may affect it in the future.

The earliest behavioral analyses

In the 1960s, Howard Teten of the FBI developed a hypothesis that it was possible to determine the kind of person the authorities were looking for based on what could be seen at the crime scene. To test his theory and further develop his approach, Teten reviewed unusual homicides from several police agencies, examined all the data and evidence, and prepared a profile of the perpetrator. Once an arrest was made, he would look at the perpetrator and check the accuracy of his description.

In 1970, Teten provided his first profile in a case involving the stabbing murder of a woman in her home. Based on the circumstances and documents, Teten shared that the crime was probably committed by an adolescent who lived close to the victim and that the perpetrator would immediately confess once confronted because of deep feelings of guilt and shame. Teten suggested that the boy would be found by knocking on doors in the neighborhood. He was right.

Teten and Patrick Mullany, an expert in abnormal psychology, soon initiated a criminal psychology program at the FBI Academy wherein officers were taught behavioral analysis as one of many investigative tools. In 1972, the Behavioral Science Unit was formed. Teten and Mullany were eventually approached to assist in a stalled investigation regarding the kidnapping of 7-year-old Susan Jaeger during a family camping trip in Montana in June 1973.

The case was stalled for over 10 months due to lack of physical evidence. Once Teten and Mullany were brought to examine the case, they were able to identify the personality of the kidnapper. Through the help of an anonymous caller, investigators questioned 23-year-old Vietnam veteran David Meirhofer. Despite passing the polygraph, Teten and Mullany were convinced that Meirhofer was a cold-hearted psychopath who’s good at lying. When Meirhofer committed suicide, he admitted to the murder of four individuals, including Susan.

Their success in profiling the Meirhofer eventually earned the trust of those who doubted their criminal profiling approach, and criminal profiling is used in most major FBI cases today.


Originally known as the Bureau of Investigation, the FBI was created by the then attorney general Charles J. Bonaparte on July 26, 1908. The internationally known name, Federal Bureau of Investigation, was adopted on July 1, 1935.

In 1924 John Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the bureau by Harlan Fiske Stone, then attorney general, and he was reappointed by each succeeding head of the department of justice. Hoover inaugurated the policies which constitute the foundation of the present organization. Political considerations were divorced from personnel appointments, and promotions were placed on a merit basis.

Less than a decade after this reorganization, the FBI was faced with enlarged responsibilities. A wave of lawlessness in the early 1930s aroused considerable public concern. Local police officers, often inadequately trained and hampered by the restrictions imposed by state boundaries, were unable to cope effectively with the modern weapons and transportation available to organized criminal gangs. To meet this situation, congress passed a number of laws which extended the jurisdiction of the FBI. In 1932 the federal kidnapping statute was enacted, making unlawful the interstate transportation of a kidnapped person. All kidnapping cases referred to the FBI the following year were solved. The federal Bank Robbery act was passed in 1934 to stem the rising tide of bank robberies. Again in 1934, special agents of the FBI were authorized by congress to carry firearms and to make arrests. With the passage of these and other crime bills, the FBI was given authority to act against the criminal gangs which previously had met little effective opposition. In 1934 alone, three vicious fugitives who had gained national notoriety were killed. John Dillinger, Charles Arthur (Pretty Boy) Floyd and Lester Gillis, alias “Baby Face” Nelson, met death while resisting arrest. In 1935 Russell Gibson and Kate and Fred Barker fell before the guns of special agents. The arrest of Alvin Karpis by Hoover in 1936 marked the end of the powerful Barker-Karpis gang, while Alfred James Brady and an accomplice were killed in a gun battle with FBI agents in 1937. Numerous other kidnappers, bank robbers and lesser criminals were sent to federal penitentiaries during this period.

The war on crime was not halted but was overshadowed as the international developments leading to World War II placed additional responsibilities on the FBI. During this period, federal statutes relating to subversive activities were the basis for counteraction by the bureau against intelligence operations of foreign powers. Several espionage agents were arrested before the outbreak of hostilities in Europe. On Sept. 6, 1939, a presidential directive was issued providing that the FBI should take charge of investigative work in matters relating to espionage, sabotage, subversive activities and related matters. The president also called upon all enforcement officers, both federal and state, to report all information in these fields promptly to the FBI, which was charged with the responsibility of correlating this material and referring matters under the jurisdiction of any other federal agency with responsibilities in this field to the appropriate agency. The FBI’s responsibility in these matters was reiterated by presidential directives of Jan. 8, 1943, and July 24, 1950. By agreement, the armed forces handle investigations concerning their uniformed personnel. This action by the president obviated the confusion experienced in World War I when more than 20 agencies investigated security in the United States.

The scientific techniques which had been developed by the FBI in its war against organized gangsterism were employed to thwart the spy and the saboteur. In June 1941 the FBI climaxed its investigation of a Nazi espionage ring in New York city with the arrest of 33 persons. All pleaded guilty or were convicted in federal court.

An effective pan-American intelligence force was created under the bureau’s leadership to oppose the activities of Axis spy and sabotage rings in the western hemisphere. From July 1, 1940, through June 30, 1946, more than 15,000 Axis operators and sympathizers in South America were expelled, interned or rendered harmless. More than 460 spies, saboteurs and propaganda agents were apprehended, and 30 secret radio transmitters were eliminated.

In 1939 the FBI undertook a program of surveying industrial plants engaged in the manufacture of strategic war material. Before it had concluded its responsibility in this program, more than 2,300 plants had been surveyed and recommendations made for their protection. In the period preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor new field offices were opened in the continental United States and its territorial possessions. Additional personnel was trained by the FBI to investigate the flood of complaints regarding suspicious activities which citizens were encouraged to report, and its rolls of clerical and investigative employees reached an allotted peak of 14,300.

A mass of intelligence information had been accumulated by Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked at Pearl Harbor. By the following day, 1,771 potentially dangerous enemy aliens had been arrested and detained. As formal declarations of war were made, German and Italian aliens, known or suspected to be dangerous, were arrested. In all, more than 16,000 such apprehensions were made by the FBI with the assistance of local law enforcement authorities in an orderly manner and in marked contrast with the disorganized vigilante activities of World War I. Precautions against espionage and sabotage were increased.

In 1942 eight saboteurs, landed by submarine from Germany, were quickly taken into custody. German plans to send such groups to the United States every six weeks were thwarted. Two additional saboteurs were dispatched by Germany in 1944 and were quickly apprehended. The normal channels for enemy agents to enter the country were closed, and spies were then sent to the United States as refugees. Spies intercepted by the FBI often became double agents, identifying other espionage agents and transmitting misleading information to their principals.

After the war the nation found itself confronted with a crime wave of serious proportions. In 1945 major crimes increased 12.3% over 1944. Crime in 1946 continued its upward trend, increasing 7.6% over 1945. The war-born scarcity of consumer goods created a lucrative market for stolen merchandise and contributed to the reactivation of old criminal gangs. The finely geared machinery of the FBI was able to face this condition without pause.

During the postwar period there was increased public concern in matters relating to Communism and the infiltration of government and essential industry by persons whose loyalty was subject to question. On Aug. 1, 1946, congress passed the Atomic Energy act, charging the FBI with the responsibility of determining the character, associations and loyalty of employees of the Atomic Energy commission and of all persons having access to restricted atomic energy data. Following the issuance by the president on March 21, 1947, of executive order 9835, the FBI was given the duty of investigations concerning the loyalty of employees and applicants for positions in the executive branch of the federal government. The result was to increase greatly the investigative work of the FBI.

On April 5, 1952, congress transferred responsibility for the bulk of applicant-type investigations to the United States civil service commission, and provided that the FBI should handle those cases where information indicated questionable loyalty or where the position involved was sensitive and important.

On July 20, 1948, 12 leaders of the Communist party were indicted under the Smith act as members of a conspiracy teaching and advocating the overthrow of the constitutional form of government of the United States by force and violence. Following the trial and conviction of 11 of these leaders, the FBI arrested other Communist officials. Other investigations by the FBI in the security field developed evidence of plots to transmit government secrets and information relating to atomic energy and other secret projects to foreign nations. It scrutinized even more closely organizations which advocated policies not in keeping with the United States’ constitutional form of government.

Knuckledraggin My Life Away

And we've "circled back" to the same situation in 2021. I don't think this is what Bill Lind meant by "Retroculture".

"This was a time when law enforcement was often political rather than professional."

I see we've come full circle.

All of what is said in the article was handled by the U.S. Marshals. The FBI has, since inception, been political.

J. Edgar Hoover was a Progressive. That kind of thinking leads to a re-education camp when the "real Progressives" come into total power. Also, key phrases in understanding the last 110 years of US history: “When the Bureau was established, there were few federal crimes.” “Attacking crimes that were federal in scope but local in jurisdiction called for creative solutions.”

The FBI has been a corrupt organization since its inception and continues to be so to this very day. There was fudge packer Hoover, who kept a dossier and spied on every elected official in DC and most state governor's during his tenure.

Witness the story at MailOnLine, today, telling how former Director Louis Freeh, the supposed squeaky clean guy who retired to accolades from most every elected official in DC and beyond in 2000, bribed Biden with a $100K donation to Biden's Grandchildren's Trust Fund for "future business considerations" while representing foreign organizations.

I wonder if Freeh registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But hey, you know, he's a good Demonrat, so no harm no foul.

Saw that today. Freeh was in charge of the Eric Robert Rudolph manhunt and even came to the backwaters of Swain county NC for a time to demonstrate his commitment to keeping abortion factories safe for everyone but the babies. At any rate the vaunted FBI failed to find their man. even though they drove past his campsite virtually everyday. I guess it never occurred to the crack team of languages at the FBI to stroll through A public campsite right off the main road. It made more sense to fly helicopters over a dense hardwood canopy and hike and picnic over some of the toughest terrain in the country to demonstrate their Fidelity!, Bravery!, and Integrity! A young deputy did catch him a year or two later and the very serious, sober, honest, upright government fucked him out of the reward 10 mill if memory serves. Maybe that's zwhere graft king Louis got the spare cash to invest in Low IQ Joe's grandkids. Odd bit of charity, that. Of course, running the FBI for years, Louis wouldn't have any idea of the multiple millions running through Hunter's hands, lungs, and nose. No doubt Louis was completely ignorant about all the crack whores and street dealers that Hunter engaged, unless that was seen as resume enhancement by good old honest Louis. I'm sure it's all on the up and up. In fact, I think I'll change my will tomorrow and leave my estate to Hillary Clinton's grandchildren. That just seems the right thing to do and not suspicious at all. I know one thing: the FBI would NEVER look into that.
The longer I live the more sure I become that there isn't one person in DC of any worth.