The Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.
While a not-insignificant percentage of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities under Director J. Edgar Hoover were driven by personal vendettas, few were as well-known – or as publicly vicious – as Hoover’s feud with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. That clash quite literally came to a head on December 1, 1964, when, at the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, Hoover invited King to FBI headquarters for their first - and only - face to face meeting, captured in a ten-page memo in King’s file.
In the ‘60s, the US federal government saw a need for a unified standard for digitally encoding information. Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 executive order on computer standards directed federal agencies to convert all of their databases to the new character encoding standard: the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII. While now a universal standard, records from the Central Intelligence Agency archives document decades of reluctance and frustration from the technicians actually responsible for making the change happen.
The National Archives and Records Administration’s recent announcement that there will be no Barack Obama Presidential Library was met with understandable outrage from historians and transparency advocates, who saw it as a blow to a functioning democracy. However, as the National Security Archive’s Nate Jones was quick to point out, this discussion needs to be understood in the larger context of NARA’s current failings in the presidential library system, where FOIA requests can take years, even decades.
A declassified 1964 memo to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency reveals that the Moscow has been attempting to influence the U.S. Presidential elections since 1964, a full fifty-two years before the election of Donald Trump.
In June 1956, Lyndon B. Johnson caused a “hullabaloo” over the search search of a Senator’s office conducted by Department of Defense security officers who were looking for a potential listening device. Johnson caused such a stink that the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided to avoid helping the Senate with security issues lest they be subject to unnecessary scandal the way the DOD security officers were.