From national security threat to J. Edgar Hoover’s pal - the FBI file of California congressman Jack Shelley
Labor organizer, Californian congressman, and mayor of San Francisco John Francis “Jack” Shelley is typically cited among the most prominent figures on J. Edgar Hoover’s “Emergency Detention” list of “subversives” that were to be arrested if war with the Soviet Union became “inevitable.” However, as Shelley’s FBI file shows, being marked as a potential threat to the country didn’t stop Hoover and Shelly from enjoying a cordial, if not down downright friendly, relationship during the latter’s time on the Hill.
In the white heat of the Red Scare, journalists were often at the center of the unceasing national probe over patriotism. Over 700 pages of files on Edward R. Murrow detail the FBI’s intricate special inquiry into the legendary American newsman.
FBI Records released by the National Archives confirm confidential informants were reporting on Gavin MacFadyen over forty years before WikiLeaks and the Courage Foundation - even providing the Bureau with some of MacFadyen’s correspondence and his address book.
For Groucho Marx, sharing a surname with the author of the Communist Manifesto wasn’t winning him any friends in Middle America at the height of the Red Scare, and his pathological inability to hold anything sacred wasn’t helping, either. But according to files released to Emma Best, where he finally crossed the line for one couple - leading to them calling on the FBI to investigate him immediately - was when he used the country’s name in vain.
While getting the cold shoulder from the FBI might had ended the CIA’s formal involvement in the Alaskan Stay-Behind plan, declassified documents show that several years later the Agency was looking at the Cold War contingency as a learning opportunity - particular in regards to burying weapons caches.