j edgar hoover
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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.
FBI files on publisher Bennett Cerf show the Random House co-founder trying to use his leverage with the Bureau to get them to vouch for author Truman Capote’s investigation into the 1959 Clutter murders, which would eventually become the seminal true crime novel In Cold Blood.
As hordes of white men with dopey haircuts take to the streets to denouce progress, it’s worth taking a look at a moment in American history when a bunch of rich dudes attempted to turn the country in a fascist dictatorship through overt violence, before they realized they could just hijack the electoral system - the story of General Smedley Darlington Butler and the Business Plot.
While popular media has often portrayed Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney behind the infamous Clay Shaw trial, as having been targeted by the federal government for retribution, a look at his FBI file reveals the exact opposite - according to the documents, Garrison’s investigation was considered so toxic and aggressive that Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered no agents have any contact with him. When third parties began providing the FBI with evidence that Garrison had engaged in fraud against the government, the Bureau cautioned against investigating him, precisely because of how Garrison would inevitably frame it.
Brigadier General Edwin Black is best known for his role in the Nugan-Hand scandal, in which the Australian bank was accused of being used by the Central Intelligence Agency for narcotics and arms trafficking and money laundering purposes. To learn more about the scandal, Emma Best filed FOIA requests for all the people associated with it, and General Black’s file reveald two things: First, the FBI file’s only mention of his ties to Nugan-Hand is in the form of a Wall Street Journal clipping. Second, Hoover’s FBI briefly investigated him for being a librarian.