J Edgar Hoover
- Category : Law-FBI
- Type : ME
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Tension 4
American Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924, famous for his dramatic campaigns against public enemies and organized crime. As the FBI's leader, he made the Bureau into one of the world's most efficient law-enforcement agencies. He joined the Department of Justice in 1917, first serving as a lawyer.
Hoover was one of four children to parents with a heritage of Swiss descendants and a foundation in the stern principles of Calvinism. His childhood ambition was to be a minister. At his local high school he became captain of cadets and earned the nickname of "Speed." He was valedictorian of the class of 1913, and was determined to attain a legal career. In 1916, he acquired the LL.B from George Washington University, and added a Masters degree in 1917.
His employment started with the Department of Justice as a file reviewer, and in 1919 he was appointed special assistant to the Attorney General, assigned to handling deportation proceedings against alien agitators, an assignment that he disliked immensely. By 1921, Hoover was named assistant director of the FBI and was appointed acting director on 5/10/1924 with the assurance that there would be "no politics, no outside influence." With this guarantee, Hoover, who was confirmed as director seven months later, overhauled the Bureau.
He transformed the FBI into a state-of-the-art national center for law enforcement with extensive fingerprint files, nationwide crime statistics, a technologically advanced laboratory and a top-notch training academy. He led the bureau in a series of investigations designed to curb subversive activities, fighting gangsterism during the Prohibition era from 1919 to 1933, and for a vigorous anti-Communist campaign after World War II. In September 1939, the FBI was directed to "coordinate" all matters relating to "espionage, sabotage, and violations of the neutrality regulations". The number of FBI agents was increased from 600 to a wartime peak of 5000. Following the war, FBI agents infiltrated and exposed the Communist Party and the Ku Klux Klan, and took an active part in enforcing civil rights. Hoover quickly became one of the most powerful figures in Washington and the confidant of the Presidents he served, from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon.
Until the death of his mother in 1938, Hoover made his home in the house in which he was born. He remained a bachelor, but since 1928 had a close companion, Clyde Tolson, five years Hoover's junior and one of his closest aides (born 5/22/1900). Much of the inside information about Hoover's personal activities and 'hidden' power was revealed in 1972, the year Hoover died, and later. Jack Anderson of the Washington Post, one of the rare reporters who testified of FBI corruption, told a congressional committee that the "FBI chief has demonstrated an intense interest in who is sleeping with whom in Washington" and "conducts secret investigations of prominent Americans." "Citizen Hoover", by Jay Robert Nash, was a savage critique of Hoover's entire career, describing him as "benefactor and bully, protector and oppressor, truth-giver and liar." The book "John Edgar Hoover" by Hank Messick linked Hoover's relationship with organized crime. In 1991, Curt Gentry wrote "J. Edgar Hoover, The Man and the Secrets." a well researched study of the man who ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation for half a century. In this book, Gentry describes a man who was obsessed with others' sexuality, having an endless hate list with Blacks and Jews at the top, having inside knowledge of the Mafia's plan to kill the Kennedy's, and never associating with anyone socially unless he had harmful information on them. This routine blackmail by Hoover included thousands of illegal wire-taps, bugs, mail-openings and burglaries used to extort loyalty from - or ruin, politicians and various entertainers. As for the eight presidents Hoover served under, some wanted to fire him but dared not because, as Richard Nixon said on the White House tapes: "He's got files on everybody, God damn it!" Anthony Summers' controversial best-seller, "Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover" re-affirmed Hoover's use of secret files to manipulate politicians, especially the Kennedy brothers, his overt homosexuality and cross-dressing affinity, and his mental instability that others feared to unleash in a narrow world of power. He was ruthless with his detractors, and so his power and public identification with the nation's top civil servant in combating crime was never toppled while he was in office. A corrupt bigot, blackmailer and cross-dresser, he read and kept an extensive collection of pornography.
When Hoover died in his sleep while in office in 1972, President Nixon gave him a state funeral and praised him as an American hero. Despite revisionists of history after his death and despite the controversy of Hoover being accused of abusing his power and exceeding the jurisdiction of the FBI, the reputation which he built for the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains unparalleled as a law enforcement organization.