Actress Ethel Merman and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a friendship spanning from 1938 until Hoover death in 1972. But personal insights aside, was there any benefits to being among the Bureau’s BFFs? According to the singer’s personal FBI file, to be rich in friends isn’t always enough to keep you in riches.
When J. Edgar Hoover forced William “Bill” Sullivan, the Bureau’s domestic intelligence chief, into retirement he set into motion a chain reaction which nearly forced him into retirement as well.
An incident from the height of J. Edgar Hoover’s reign as FBI Director illustrate the lengths the Bureau would go to squash rumors surrounding Hoover’s sexuality - and the dire consequences for those found spreading those rumors.
In August 1970, J. Edgar Hoover discovered an apparent plan of the Soviet Union’s to buy an apartment building - and he knew they had to be stopped. The building, Highview Towers, was located next to the site of the future Soviet Embassy and was the only building in the area that would enable to the government to conduct surveillance operations. The result was a last-second rush by the Nixon Administration to purchase the building.