Skip to comments.Dan Smoot, Conservative Activist (1913-2003)
Posted on 07/28/2003 8:50:58 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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Sorry Wallace, I cannot agree with everything you wrote:
First: Yes--Hoover had an agenda. And, yes, to some extent, he micro-managed. But NO -- what the Bureau produced was not simply whatever reflected Hoover's outlook.
This is a VERY complex matter and I can't summarize it briefly. However, I suggest that you request some FBI file to see how information was presented. In particular, see the summary memos that were sent to other agencies and to Hoover's superiors or other components within the Justice Department.
More often than not, those summaries are good-faith reporting of all data received by the Bureau --- not some ideological crusade to match FBI reports to Hoover's personal opinions.
I think you over-simplify and over-estimate the importance of Hoover's opinions. When the Bureau received data from a Police Chief, County Sheriff, Police Dept Intelligence Unit, or from military intelligence or BATF or informants,
or whomever, --- that data was memoralized in FBI memos and incorporated into the file(s) pertaining to that subject. What difference would Hoover's opinion make with respect to processing that data?
When Hoover requested a "name check" on some prominent person, the resulting report summarized the data in their files irrespective of Hoover's opinion. And when Hoover sent summary memos to the AG, the White House, or when he testified before Congressional committes or gave speeches to civic organizations -- he often REFUTED arguments which circulated among his most enthusiastic admirers.
The uppermost quality revealed in Hoover memos and reports and speeches is his extreme reluctance to involve the Bureau openly in any political disputes -- because he feared embarrassment to the Bureau. Good example: Joe McCarthy. He initially very much liked McCarthy as a person. He ordered his subordinates to covertly provide McCarthy information. But when McCarthy became reckless in his charges, when the Bureau's relationship to McCarthy was suspected, Hoover broke off relations. In addition, Hoover confidants (such as Clint Murchison) told newspaper reporters about his conversations with Hoover in which Hoover expressed derogatory comments about McCarthy.
There are only TWO public comments by Hoover about the John Birch Society or Robert Welch --- neither of which is widely known because they are buried in sources that no one ever reads. Even within the FBI file on the JBS -- there are only 2 or 3 of explicit comments by Hoover on Welch or the JBS. So whatever misgivings Hoover had about the JBS---he was incredibly circumspect about venting his personal opinions. Instead, there are ambiguous and generalized references in his speeches about the danger that "extremists" on the right and the left pose.
Actually, Hoover DID routinely "mince words" about persons he despised. Public comments (such as he made about MLK Jr.) are EXTREMELY rare!
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