J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924. He was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972 at the age of 77. Hoover is credited with building the FBI into a larger crime-fighting agency, and with instituting a number of modernizations to police technology, such as a centralized fingerprint file and forensic laboratories. The FBI's current headquarters is named in honor of him.
- [Whoever did this] must be exterminated, and they must be exterminated by us.
- On the perpetrators of the Kansas City Massacre of 1933, as quoted in Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough (2004: Penguin), p. 51.
- Banks are an almost irresistible attraction for that element of our society which seeks unearned money.
- News summaries (7 April 1955).
- Just the minute the FBI begins making recommendations on what should be done with its information, it becomes a Gestapo.
- Look magazine (14 June 1956).
- We are a fact-gathering organization only. We don’t clear anybody. We don’t condemn anybody.
- Look magazine (14 June 1956).
- The menace of communism in this country will remain a menace until the American people make themselves aware of the techniques of communism. No one who truly understands what it really is can be taken in by it. Yet the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.
- The Elks Magazine (August 1956).
- Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth. Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.
- "What I Would Tell a Son," Family Weekly (14 July 1963).
- You state that the Bureau under the [counter-intelligence program] should not attack programs of community interest such as the [Black Panther Party] "Breakfast for Children." … You have obviously missed the point.… This program was formed by the BPP for obvious reasons, including their efforts to create an image of civility, assume community control of Negroes, and to fill adolescent children with their insidious poison.
- "Racial Intelligence: Black Panther Party (BPP)" (27 May 1969).
- Purpose of counter-intelligence action is to disrupt [Black Panther Party] and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge. If facts are present it aids in the success of the proposal but the Bureau feels … that disruption can be accomplished without facts to back it up.
- Memo (16 Sept. 1970).
Quotes about Hoover
- It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.
- Lyndon Johnson, as quoted in The New York Times (31 October 1971).
- I never saw any indication of homosexual tendencies in Hoover.… He did have a close association with [Clyde] Tolson. They conferred frequently during the day and they invariably ate lunch together…. On Wednesday they had dinner at Tolson's apartment, on Friday at Hoover's house.… I know from my talks with Hoover that he was genuinely fond of Tolson, as an older brother might be.
- W. Mark Felt in The FBI Pyramid from the Inside (1979).