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"The secret life of J Edgar Hoover" by Anthony Summers

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Good Day, + , Good Year....

FYI.... http://www.guardian....over-secret-fbi

I am surprised that Tony did not mention anything about Hoover and his

FBI-regime's "most thorough investigation in history" of the JFK



The secret life of J Edgar Hoover

For half a century, the FBI director waged war on homosexuals,

black people and communists. Now, a controversial film by

Clint Eastwood is set to reveal some of the explosive truth

about him. Here, his biographer Anthony Summers tells all

Anthony Summers

The Observer, Saturday 31 December 2011

Article history

PHOTO caption: Long arm of the law: J Edgar Hoover in 1936.

Photograph: New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images

J Edgar Hoover was a phenomenon. The first Director of the FBI, he

remained in office for 48 years, from his appointment after the First

World War to his death in 1972, achieving fame and extraordinary

power. For public consumption when he died, President Richard Nixon

eulogised him as: "One of the giants… a national symbol of courage,

patriotism and granite-like honesty and integrity." He ordered flags

to fly at half-mast and that Hoover's body lie in state in the


In private, on hearing that he had died, Nixon had responded merely:

"Jesus Christ! That old cocksucker!" Months earlier, closeted with key

advisers, he had held forth on the need to persuade the elderly Hoover

to resign. "We have on our hands here a man who will pull down the

temple with him, including me."

Nixon, soon to be disgraced and forced to resign, was of course

himself no paragon. Most presidents before him, though, had had cause

to fear Hoover or been troubled by what his FBI had become. Harry S

Truman wrote during his presidency: "We want no Gestapo or secret

police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-

life scandals and plain blackmail… Edgar Hoover would give his right

eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him."

Hoover himself, meanwhile, had a personal secret that – in his era –

could have destroyed him if revealed. Clint Eastwood referred to it

this year before the launch of his movie, when he assured the J Edgar

Hoover Foundation that J Edgar would not "portray an open homosexual

relationship" between Hoover and his long-time male companion, Clyde


Eastwood stretched the truth. Though there is just one passionate kiss

between Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer, the two actors portraying

them in the movie, the relationship with Tolson is a central theme. In

real life, all Washington knew was that the pair dined daily together,

vacationed together, did everything but move in together, and the

whispers flew. When a magazine article in the 1930s referred to

Hoover's "mincing" gait, and a diplomat commented on his "conspicuous

perfume", Hoover struck back. He gathered derogatory information on

the offending journalist, and asserted – falsely – that he did not use

perfume. Real information on the Hoover-Tolson relationship surfaced

only long after both men were dead, during research for my book.

A surprising find was the account by Luisa Stuart, once a celebrated

model, tracked down because she featured in a droll photograph taken

with Hoover and Tolson one New Year's Eve in the late 1930s at the

Stork Club – the place to be seen in New York at the time. In the

photo, Hoover is shown holding his hands up as Stuart, armed with a

toy shotgun, "threatens" him. Later that night, in the dark of a

limousine when they left the club, she remembered: "I noticed they

were holding hands all the way, just sitting there talking and holding

hands with each other… I was so young and those were different times.

But I'd never seen two men holding hands."

Joseph Shimon, a former Washington police inspector, recalled a taxi

driver reporting the pair had been "kissing and ass-grabbing" during a

cab journey. Harry Hay, founder of America's first gay rights group,

remembered that on vacation in California, in "a circle in which they

didn't have people who weren't gay… They were nodded together as


The Eastwood movie includes a bizarre scene that depicts Hoover, after

his mother's death, donning one of her dresses. It is a nod towards

allegations I first reported, that he on occasion cross-dressed. I had

information from three sources, two men who said an "easily

recognisable" photograph of Hoover in an evening gown circulated in

the gay community in 1948, and an account by a millionaire's former

wife of secret sex parties that she claimed to have witnessed in the

late 50s. Hoover, the woman said, had been "dressed like an old

flapper, like you see on old tintypes".

Bill Clinton, who as president in 1993 was mulling over who to appoint

as FBI Director, thought the cross-dressing reports were hilarious.

"It's going to be hard," he grinned during a speech at a press

function, "to fill J Edgar Hoover's… pumps." That I published such

allegations at all, however, to this day draws roars of fury from old

Hoover loyalists.

Other accounts of the Director's alleged sexual activity, if true,

would certainly have destroyed him had they become public. A former

Bureau inspector and trusted associate named Jimmy Corcoran said years

later that Hoover, youthful at the time, had once asked him to deal

with a serious "problem". He had been arrested on sex charges

involving a young man during a trip to New Orleans. Corcoran, who had

powerful contacts in the state, said he intervened to hush the matter


There is, too, a claim that as late as 1969, when Hoover was in his

early 70s, he dallied with teenage boys during his habitual summer

break in California. An element of corroboration came from Don Smith,

an officer on the Los Angeles police vice squad, who told me of

interviews he conducted with youngsters during a pedophile

investigation. "The kids," Smith said, "brought up several famous

names, including those of Hoover and his sidekick".

For me, the most significant, credible information on Hoover's

sexuality came with the discovery that Hoover for a while consulted

Marshall de G Ruffin, a Washington psychiatrist who became president

of the Washington Psychiatric Society. De Ruffin's widow Monteen

recalled learning from her husband that his distinguished patient was

"definitely troubled by homosexuality". After several sessions,

however, "Hoover got very paranoid about anyone finding out he was a

homosexual, and got scared." As if to compensate, Hoover lashed out at

and sought to expose other homosexuals. For years he had his agents

infiltrate and monitor homosexual-rights groups, while he sounded off

publicly about "sex deviates in government service".

My conclusion after five years' research was that while Hoover may

have spent much of his life repressing his private urges while

building an image of himself as the acme of sexual purity, he did

sometimes lapse – risking catastrophe every time. Having studied the

information I assembled, two noted specialists in psychiatry and

psychology said they believed Hoover's sexual torment was very

pertinent to his use and abuse of power as America's top law-

enforcement officer.

Dr John Money, professor of medical psychology at Johns Hopkins

University, thought Hoover "needed constantly to destroy other people

in order to maintain himself. He managed to live with his conflict by

making others pay the price." Dr Harold Lief, professor emeritus of

psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded that Hoover

suffered from "a personality disorder, a narcissistic disorder with

mixed obsessive features… paranoid elements, undue suspiciousness and

some sadism. A combination of narcissism and paranoia produces what is

known as an authoritarian personality. Hoover would have made a

perfect high-level Nazi."

The eight decades of Hoover's life tell their own story. As early as

his teen years, his mind was closing on issues that were to dominate

his era. In the school debating society, he argued against women

getting the vote and against abolition of the death penalty. He could

never bear to come second in anything. When his father began to suffer

from mental illness, a niece told me, Hoover "couldn't tolerate the

fact. He never could tolerate anything that was imperfect." Another

relative said: "I sometimes have thought that he really had a fear of

becoming too personally involved with people." William Sullivan, a

close FBI associate, thought his boss "didn't have affection for one

single solitary human being".

Hoover joined the Bureau – at that time just the Bureau of

Investigation (the word "Federal" was only added in the 1930s) – as

America's first great Communist scare was getting under way, and

handpicked as his assistant a man named George Ruch. One of two key

associates to name their own sons J Edgar, Ruch expressed astonishment

that left-wingers should even "be allowed to speak and write as they

like". Hoover and Ruch favoured deporting people merely for being

members of radical organisations, and used the Bureau to spy on

lawyers representing those arrested in the infamous Red Raids of 1920.

One of them, on whom he was to keep tabs for half a century and deem

"the most dangerous man in the United States", was future Supreme

Court justice Felix Frankfurter.

Hoover never joined a political party and claimed he was "not

political". In fact, he admitted privately, he was a staunch, lifelong

supporter of the Republican party. He secretly aspired to be president

and considered running against Franklin D Roosevelt, whom he thought

suspiciously left-wing. Hoover publicly expressed support for Senator

Joe McCarthy shortly before McCarthy claimed Truman's State Department

was harbouring 200 members of the Communist party. His agents slipped

file material to the senator for use in his infamous inquisition,

while publicly denying doing so.

The favourable publicity Hoover enjoyed was partially deserved. He

cleaned up a Bureau that had been notorious for corruption and

inefficiency, replacing it with an agent corps that became a byword

for integrity. One veteran defined the ideal new recruit as a man who

had to represent "the great middle class", who "will always eat well

and dress well, but will never get that sleek Packard or sumptuous

house. He belongs to the Bureau body and soul".

Hoover brought modernity and co-ordination at a time of

disorganisation. He built the first federal fingerprint bank, and his

Identification Division would eventually offer instant access to the

prints of 159 million people. His Crime Laboratory became the most

advanced in the world. He created the FBI National Academy, a sort of

West Point for the future elite of law enforcement.

While all this was positive, Hoover's Division 8, euphemistically

entitled Crime Records and Communications, had a priority mission.

Crime Records pumped out propaganda that fostered not only the image

of the FBI as an organisation that spoke for what was right and just,

but of the Director himself as a champion of justice fighting "moral

deterioration" and "anarchist elements". Hoover used the department to

preach the notion that the political left was responsible for all

manner of perceived evils, from changing sexual standards to


Crime Records portrayed Hoover as the dauntless scourge of serious

crime. In the movie J Edgar, long sequences are devoted to his

supposed role in tracking down the murderer of the aviator Charles

Lindbergh's baby son. In real life, while Hoover postured as the

Sherlock who led the probe, the case was in fact broken thanks to work

done by another federal agency. Similar phoney self-promotion featured

in the fight against the bandits of the 30s, Bonnie and Clyde, Machine

Gun Kelly, John Dillinger and Alvin Karpis. Hoover hogged the

limelight when the thugs were killed or captured and was jealous and

vindictive when it fell instead on one of his proteges.

Late in the Eastwood movie, his companion, Clyde Tolson, peruses a

memoir Hoover has just completed about his life and career. Then,

reproachfully, he remarks that the account is a pack of lies. There

was no real-life memoir, but the line is perceptive. Issues of fact

versus fabrication and distortion, truth versus outright lie or self-

delusion, dominate Hoover's story.

Hoover's public position on race, Southerner that he was, was that of

the paternalistic white nativist. Less openly, he was racially

prejudiced. He shrugged off the miseries of black Americans,

preferring to claim they were outside his jurisdiction. "I'm not going

to send the FBI in," a Justice Department official recalled him saying

testily, "every time some n woman says she's been raped." FBI

agents paid more attention to investigating black militants than

pursuing the Ku Klux Klan.

In the 60s, Hoover went to extreme lengths to establish that Martin

Luther King and his movement were under Communist control. When

surveillance established only that King was having sex with women

other than his wife, FBI aides worked to "neutralise" him by slipping

prurient information to the press. When the civil rights leader was

awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Hoover was enraged. When thousands

mourned King's assassination, Hoover went to the races. He later tried

to prevent King's birthday being declared a national holiday.

All this took place against a personal background of which few are

today aware – a rumour that Hoover himself had black ancestry. Early

photographs do show him looking somewhat negroid, with noticeably wiry

hair. Gossip along those lines was rife in Washington and – true or

not – Hoover must have been aware of it. Did anxiety on that front

shape the way he behaved towards blacks – just as he lashed out at

homosexuals while struggling with his own homosexuality?

Research into the sex angle, meanwhile, may explain why – at the very

time in US history that organised crime was on the rise and could have

been effectively countered – Hoover failed to act. The man who had

found fame for hunting down the bank robbers and bandits of the 30s

let the Mafia flourish.

It seemed at first, before the Second World War, that Hoover would

clamp down on the mob. Then, abruptly, he turned off the pressure. In

the 50s, he actively obstructed the Kefauver Committee, which

concluded there was indeed "a nationwide crime syndicate known as the

Mafia". Not so, said Hoover. When a 1958 report by his own agents also

said the Mafia was real, he dismissed it as "baloney". The FBI would

take vigorous action only very belatedly, in the 1960s, under pressure

from Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Former officials I interviewed, including three former attorney

generals and several former assistant directors of the FBI, were at a

loss to explain why Hoover refused to tackle the threat of organised

crime. "Hoover's attitude," said Neil Welch, a senior former agent who

eventually distinguished himself fighting the Mafia, "was so contrary

to reality as to be a reason for great speculation."

Hoover himself, it is now clear, had contacts with organised criminals

or their associates in circumstances that made it possible – likely

even – that they learned of his sexual proclivities. More than one top

mobster claimed the outfit had a hold on Hoover. Meyer Lansky, the

syndicate's co-founder, was said to have "pictures of Hoover in some

kind of gay situation" and an associate quoted Lansky as claiming, "I

fixed that sonofabitch." Carmine Lombardozzi, who was known as "the

Italian Meyer Lansky", said: "J Edgar Hoover was in our pocket."

Blackmail was the tactic that worked for Hoover, too, in his dealings

with politicians. The title of my biography of him, Official and

Confidential, derives from the name of a file group that was held in

locked cabinets in Hoover's office. By an official count after his

death, the Director held 883 files on senators and 722 on congressmen.

Many documents were shredded after Hoover's death, but those that

survive speak for themselves. An example is this 1959 report:

Dear Mr Hoover,

You may be interested in the following information… (NAME WITHHELD)

she had spent the afternoon of 3 June 1959, with Senator (NAME

WITHHELD) in his private office. She also said she had sexual

intercourse with the senator during the afternoon "on the couch in the

senator's office…"

Sincerely yours,

James H Gale, Special Agent in Charge

Such reports, I learned, were used to bend politicians to Hoover's

will. He might need their co-operation to procure funds, to gain

political muscle, or to avert investigation of operations he preferred

kept hidden. An aide to Senator Edward Long, the Democrat from

Missouri, was to swear an affidavit describing what occurred when Long

was planning hearings on the FBI – with a special focus on electronic

eavesdropping. A senior Hoover aide came to call, and the conversation

went as follows: "Senator, I think you ought to read this file that we

have on you. You know we would never use it, because you're a friend

of ours… We just thought you ought to know the type of stuff that

might get around and might be harmful to you… They handed him the

folder… Long read it for a few minutes. they went on their way.

The next thing I knew we had orders to skip over the FBI inquiries."

Hoover snooped not just on politicians but on officials high and low,

on Supreme Court justices – at least 12 of them – even on presidents.

He built files on writers, actors, on citizens across the spectrum who

caught his malignant eye. Many feared what the Director might have

found – whether he had compromising information on them or not.

In life, Hoover denied time and again that there were such "secret

dossiers". Acting Attorney General Laurence Silberman, the first

person to peruse the secret files after Hoover's death in 1972,

learned otherwise. "J Edgar Hoover," he told me, "was like a sewer

that collected dirt. I now believe he was the worst public servant in

our history."

The Director more than got away with his excesses. He was showered

with honours. Even today, in spite of the ugly truths that have

surfaced since his death – an official probe found that on top of

everything he had also been personally corrupt – the sign on the

façade of FBI headquarters in Washington proclaims, in gold lettering,

that it is the "J EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING".

"American society", mused Dr Lief, the psychiatrist who thinks the

facts indicate Hoover would have made a perfect high-level Nazi, "has

a strangely polarised attitude towards its heroes. On the one hand

people love to find the idol has clay feet, to find the flaw in the

famous man. On the other, they are reluctant to take the hero off his

pedestal. This is a curious contradiction in our society, and

sometimes a dangerous one."

Anthony Summers is the author of eight non-fiction books; the most

recent is The Eleventh Day, on 9/11. A new edition of Official and

Confidential: The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover, is published this

month (Ebury, £8.99). The movie J Edgar is out on 20 January

Best Regards in Research,


Donald Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, plank walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

For your considerations....

Homepage: President KENNEDY "Men of Courage" speech, and Assassination Evidence,

Witnesses, Suspects + Outstanding Researchers Discoveries and Considerations.... http://droberdeau.bl...ination_09.html

Dealey Plaza Map Detailing 11-22-63 Victims precise locations, Witnesses, Films & Photos,

Evidence, Suspected bullet trajectories, Important information & Considerations, in One Convenient Resource.... http://img831.images...dated110110.gif

Visual Report: "The First Bullet Impact Into President Kennedy: while JFK was Still Hidden

Under the 'magic-limbed-ricochet-tree' ".... http://img504.images...k1102308ms8.gif

Visual Report: Reality versus C.A.D. : the Real World, versus, Garbage-In, Garbage-Out.... http://img248.images...ealityvscad.gif

Discovery: "Very Close JFK Assassination Witness ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film

Documented 2nd Headsnap: West, Ultrafast, and Directly Towards the Grassy Knoll".... http://educationforu...?showtopic=2394

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

For the United States:



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