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Tag: history

Debates Rage on over Removing J. Edgar Hoover’s Name from New Headquarters

Current FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Plans to build a new FBI headquarters have been in limbo under President Trump, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers and others from debating whether to remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from a new building.

The Washington Times talked to lawmakers and former FBI officials to get their take. Some lawmakers scoff at the legacy of Hoover, the bureau’s first and longest-serving director. They say he discriminated against gay workers and squashed the civil liberties of black protesters, citing his obsession with Martin Luther King Jr.

“J. Edgar Hoover was an abomination on our history,” said Rep. Karen Bass, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “I think they should find a name more reputable than J. Edgar Hoover. I mean, all that came out about him after his death: the way he threatened people, what he did in the African American community, what he did to Martin Luther King, what he did to the LGBT community, I could go on and on.”

Former agents say he was a crime-busting and national security hero and transformed the FBI into an effective, modernized federal agency.

“As a former agent, I am disappointed in the FBI for not doing more to defend Mr. Hoover’s legacy,” said William D. Brannon, a 30-year FBI veteran and chairman of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Hoover’s legacy with scholarships to underprivileged college students.

“He really is the father of modern law enforcement,” said John F. McCaffrey, director of the J. Edgar Hoover Institute and a former agent. “We need to recognize that. He did things like establish an identification division, he brought science to law enforcement. He may have had his shortcomings, but his accomplishments were tremendous, and we want to see him recognized.”

One Congressional Black Caucus member, Rep. Val Butler Demings, D-Fla., said agents should be able to decide the name of the new headquarters.

“I think it’s really important to understand how the men and women of the bureau feel about the first FBI director,” she said. “I think it’s really important to listen to them.”

But first, the federal government has to decide on a plan for a new headquarters. The current one is decrepit, can’t accommodate a lot of new technology and constitutes security concerns.

Until Trump came along, federal officials had narrowed down the locations for a new headquarters to Maryland and Virginia. Congress had even security a third of the funding.

But six months into his administration, Trump officials abandoned the previous plans, and the project has been in limbo since.

Permit Approved to Exhume John Dillinger’s Body from Indianapolis Cemetery

Gangster John Dillinger, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The nephew of notorious American gangster John Dillinger has received permission to exhume the body of his uncle in an Indianapolis cemetery on New Year’s Eve.

The nephew, Michael Thompson, he has evidence that his bank robbing uncle was not shot by the FBI at a theater in Chicago in 1934 and that his body is not buried under the headstone at Crown Hill Cemetery

The family plans to conduct DNA tests of the body.

The exhumation permit was approved last week by the Indiana Department of Health, Fox-59 reports.

Cemetery officials have opposed the exhumation.

Dillinger was considered “Public Enemy No. 1” by the FBI after his gang killed at least 10 people, robbed banks and even staged three jailbreaks from 1933 to 1934.

Two months ago, the FBI disputed claims that the FBI killed another man who was not Dillinger.

“A wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise including 3 sets of fingerprints, all positively matched,” the FBI tweeted on Aug. 1.

Author of New FBI Book Argues J. Edgar Hoover Was Not the Father of the Bureau

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A new book, “The Birth of the FBI: Teddy Roosevelt, the Secret Services, and the Fight Over America’s Law Enforcement Agency,” argues the FBI was not created by its first director, J. Edgar Hoover, as many people claim.

The origin of the FBI is traced back to 1908, when President Theodore Roosevelt created the Special Agent Force under the Justice Department. Later that year, the agency was renamed the Bureau of investigation.

By 1935, when the FBI was created, Hoover was the third director of the Bureau of Investigation.

Author Willard M. Oliver, a professor for the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State, argues Roosevelt should be credited with creating the FBI because of the agencies that preceded it.

FBI Releases Documents Related to 1976 Bigfoot Investigation

FBI scan of hair provided by Peter Byrne.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI revealed that it investigated the possible existence of Bigfoot in the 1970s, releasing 22 public documents.

The investigation began after Peter Byrne, director of the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition, gave the FBI mysterious hairs and tissue to analyze.

In a letter to the bureau, Byrne wrote, “Please understand that our research here is serious. That this is a serious question that needs answering.”

In the mid-1970s, FBI Assistant Director Jay Cochran Jr. agreed to make an exception and “examine the hairs and tissues” received by Byrne.

Cochran wrote that the FBI analyzed the samples “by transmitted and incident light microscopy,” an examination that included “a study of morphological characteristics such as root structure, medullary structure and cuticle thickness in addition to scale casts.”

The FBI, after analyzing 15 hair and tissue samples, concluded that the mysterious animal turned out to be “of deer family origin.”

The FBI closed the investigation in 1977.

That Time the FBI Urged Martin Luther King Jr. to Kill Himself

Martin Luther King Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for nonviolent resistance in October 1964, the FBI was furious. 

Under the leadership of the bureau’s notorious director, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI had spent nearly a decade keeping the civil rights leader under surveillance, convinced he was a Communist – or at least a national security threat. Agents recorded thousands of memos on the minister’s movements and interactions and even bugged his home, office and hotel rooms.

But they found nothing illegal or even dangerous.

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

Infamously obstinate and relentless, Hoover was determined to discredit the 35-year-old leader, especially after he won the Nobel Peace Prize and earned international acclaim.

While King prepared for his trip to Oslo to receive the award, Hoover denounced the Georgia-born minister as “the most notorious liar in the country” during a press conference in Washington D.C. in November 1964.

A few days later, the smear campaign escalated, marking one of the darkest chapter’s in the FBI’s history. One of Hoover’s deputies, William Sullivan, typed an anonymous, harshly worded letter to King that later would come to be known as the “suicide letter.”

Since Sullivan had nothing illegal on King, the letter focused on his extramarital sexual liaisons, which were captured on FBI surveillance. 

The anonymous author calls King a “filthy, abnormal animal”and an “evil, abnormal beast” and pledges to expose the extramarital affairs “with your filthy, dirty, evil companions.”

The letter suggests there are recordings of “all your dirt, filth, evil and moronic talk.”

“You are done,” the letter declares. “Your ‘honorary degrees,’ your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done.”

The letter is crafted to give the impression it was written by someone within the civil rights movement, making a reference to “us Negroes.”

King quietly told friends that someone wanted him to kill himself.

The letter proceeds in what is an apparent reference to suicide, “King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. … There is but only one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

King wasn’t fooled by the misdirected writing. He was certain the FBI had written it, the New York Times reported. 

King’s suspicious were confirmed by the Senate’s Church Committee in 1975.

“Rather than trying to discredit the alleged Communists it believed were attempting to influence Dr. King, the Bureau adopted a curious tactic of trying to discredit the supposed target of Communist Party interest — Dr. King himself,” the committee concluded in a report.

King was killed by a sniper in 1968.

FBI Releases Mysterious Letter Reportedly from Notorious Hijacker D.B. Cooper

FBI sketch of D.B. Cooper

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The mystery man known as D.B. Cooper sent a letter to newspapers after he parachuted from a plane in 1971 with $200,000 in ransom money.

The letter was among newly released documents about the hijacking case, which marks the 46th anniversary this week, Fox News reports

“I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be caught,” the typewritten letter reads.

“I didn’t rob Northwest Orient because I thought it would be romantic, heroic or any of the other euphemisms that seem to attach themselves to situations of high risk,” he continued.

He added: “I’m no modern-day Robin Hood. Unfortunately (I) do have only 14 months to live.”

Tom Colbert, a Los Angeles TV film producer, said he believes the letter is legitimate.

“We have no doubt it’s from Cooper and the reason is that he cites he left no fingerprints on the plane,” he said. “The reason that’s critical is because it’s absolutely true.”

Cooper, who is not the real name of the suspect, released passengers and crew members and then ordered the pilots to fly to Mexico. While in the sky, Cooper parachuted out the back door over Washington state.

The FBI ended its investigation last year without identifying the hijacker, acknowledging that suspect may have died during the treacherous jump.

JFK Files Reveal FBI’s Fears of a Threat to Kill Lee Oswald

John F. Kennedy, via White House archives.

John F. Kennedy, via White House archives.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI warned Dallas police about a threat to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, but cops didn’t provide adequate protection, according to information found in the release of 2,800 previously classified files relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued the warning to police about a potential death threat to Oswald after he was in police custody.

“There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead,” Hoover wrote on Nov. 24, 1963.  “Last night we received a call in our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.”

Hoover continued: “We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection. This morning we called the chief of police again warning of the possibility of some effort against Oswald and again he assured us adequate protection would be given.

“However, this was not done.”

Hoover indicated he didn’t have “firm” information about Jack Ruby, the man who fatally shot Oswald, but said there were rumors of “underworld activity.”

An FBI scrambled to Oswald’s deathbed but was unable to get a confession.

Less than an hour after Oswald died, Hoover expressed concerns about quelling conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK.

“The thing I am concerned about, and so is (deputy attorney general) Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin,” he said.

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