Beverly Gage: The Dark Truth About J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI
No federal bureaucrat played a bigger role in 20th-century law enforcement than J. Edgar Hoover (1895–1972), who served as the head of the FBI and its predecessor agency for half a century.
Hoover oversaw crackdowns on everything from real and imagined communists in the first Red Scare of the 1920s and its sequel in the 1950s; staged high-profile shootouts with “public enemies” like John Dillinger and Babyface Nelson in the 1930s; surveilled Nazi and Axis sympathizers during World War II; infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s; and pursued extralegal operations against civil rights leaders and antiwar protesters in the 1960s.
His personal vendetta against Martin Luther King, Jr. led to one of the most shameful incidents in FBI history, when the bureau sent an anonymous letter to King shortly before he was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, encouraging him to commit suicide or be exposed as a serial philanderer.
Hoover is the subject of Yale
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