Thursday, January 3, 2008

LBJ's Hoover Connection

Although former FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover was apparently not too fond of President Kennedy, he was apparently quite fond of President Johnson. As the book Alien Ink: The FBI’s War On Freedom of Expression by Natalie Robins recalled:

“On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas…A Hoover friend of over 20 years was sworn in as President…Johnson was the only American President whose autographed photograph hung on the living-room wall of J.Edgar Hoover’s home. The Director also kept a bust of Johnson in his dining room.”

In his 1970 book, Hoover’s FBI: The Men And The Myth, former FBI Agent William Turner described the nature of President Johnson’s relationship to former FBI Director Hoover:

“One of Lyndon Johnson’s first requests upon ensconcing himself in the White House was for 1,200 dossiers on his political adversaries from the FBI’s supposedly confidential files, plus the Bobby Baker volumes [of LBJ’s former aides]. Hoover, whose time for mandatory retirement was looming (only the president could extend it), was happy to oblige…

“Popular fable has it that the Hoover-Johnson friendship stemmed from nothing more than the fact they were neighbors when Johnson was in the Senate…

“But it was much deeper than that. In a very real sense, Hoover was part of the Texan’s political family [LBJ aide] Walter Jenkins’ brother had long been an FBI agent in Amarillo, and one of LBJ’s shirttail relatives moved from Texas state politics to the FBI (despite the fact that he was slightly under the height minimum), where his rise through the ranks was mercurial. And then there was old Clint Murchison, Hoover’s bosom pal, who was one of Johnson’s earliest political benefactors…

“The assassination of President Kennedy brought out the Hoover-Johnson team at its precision best. As Congress cranked up to investigate the momentous crime, Johnson took over with the announcement that he was forming his own blue-ribbon commission of inquiry and had asked the FBI to investigate. Less than three weeks after the assassination, far too little time to cover all the ground, Hoover handed the president a confidential summary report that concluded there was no conspiracy. Simultaneously…he leaked the report’s contents to the press. Thus was the public inculcated with the `no conspiracy’ theory, and the Warren Commission was handed it as a fait accompli…”

(Downtown 4/14/93)

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