Late Sen. Helms Offered to Help FBI as TV Executive

Jesse Helms/govt photo
Jesse Helms/govt photo
By Allan Lengel

The late  Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina was a broadcast executive before becoming a senator and  “offered the facilities of his station to assist the FBI at any time,” according to a 1971 FBI memo, the Raleigh News Observer  reported.

“He is a great admirer of the Director [J. Edgar Hoover] and the FBI and for a long period of time has been a staunch defender of the Director and his policies,” the FBI memo said of Helms who died in 2008, the newspaper reported. The memo was part of newly released FBI files of the Helms, a conservative Republican,  who was elected to the Senate in 1972 and served five terms.

Before serving in the senate,  he was executive vice president and assistant CEO of the Capitol Broadcasting Company, which operates WRAL, the Raleigh, N.C.,  station he volunteered to give the FBI access to, according to the paper.

Steve Hammel, WRAL’s vice president and general manager, told the paper  he was not aware of the FBI ever using the station.

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