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.
Earlier, we looked at Plan C, the government’s Cold War contingency plan to declare martial law if war with the Soviets became inevitable. More recent releases reveal that not only did the FBI drill for its new role in an irradiated police state, but that even in the face of nuclear Armageddon there were strict guidelines on employee attire.
In 1951, the federal government began paying increased attention to emergency planning, both for natural disasters, warfare or even invasion of the United States. This included a plan to provide for short-term emergency funds for critical agencies like the CIA.
Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under martial law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to “subversive” organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack.