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Showing posts with label J. Edgar Hoover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label J. Edgar Hoover. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's in Grover Norquist’s Private Files?

Thanks to Helen Gandy, the world never learned of the true reach of J. Edgar Hoover’s choke-hold on American politicians. According to a congressional inquiry and other sources, the notorious FBI director amassed secret files on the sexual and other peccadillos of politicians, entertainers, writers and officials, giving him immense blackmailing powers over his real and imagined enemies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

We'll never really know the whole story, because Miss Gandy, his longtime secretary, destroyed the files upon Hoover's death in May 1972.

It may turn out that tax maniac Grover Norquist also has his own Miss Gandy, primed to destroy the contents of his locked safe when the grim reaper comes. Until then, he's got the Republicans' cajones in his hands.

Norquist himself suggested his true grasp on power Monday night when he "took a pot shot at Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) marriage,"  according to Raw Story's Arturo Garcia, after the Long Islander suggested he might abandon his no-taxes pledge after nearly two decades.

"I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something,” Norquist fumed.

What other than the possession of embarrassing details on the private lives and messy business deals of Republican legislators can explain the right-wing lobbyist’s hammerlock on tax policy over the past quarter century?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Author of Hoover Cross-Dressing Story Assails Critics

As I reported in this past weekend’s edition of The Washington Post,  “the public seems determined to cling to the story that J. Edgar Hoover, the piranha-jawed director of the FBI for over 40 years, liked to par-tay in a cocktail dress, fishnet stockings, full makeup and a wig.”

Yet, I added, the story is “almost certainly untrue, based as it is on a single discredited source, according to almost every historian of the FBI, including the G-man’s fiercest critics.”

The opening last week of Clint Eastwood's “J. Edgar,” however, has given the transvestite legend “fresh legs,” I wrote.

“While the movie sidesteps any reference to cross-dressing parties the G-man is alleged to have attended, it does include a poignant scene of a deeply grieving Hoover caressing, then donning, his just-deceased mother’s necklace and dress.”

The legend took root in 1993, with publication of “Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover,” by Anthony Summers, an Irish investigative reporter and author of 11 books, the latest of the latest of which, “The Eleventh Day: The Ultimate Account of 9/11,”  coauthored with his wife Robbyn Swan, came out in July.

Summers’s principal source of the Hoover-as-transvestite story was socialite Susan Rosenstiel, the embittered former wife of millionaire bootlegger and distiller Lewis Rosenstiel, a Hoover crony who was bisexual himself.

Several expert historians of the FBI , who I quoted in my piece, dismiss the story.

But Summers, I also reported, stands by it today, pointing to other evidence, including a sworn affidavit on the matter from Susan Rosenstiel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Movies: Why Nothing Said About J. Edgar Hoover Could be Too Bad

That J. Edgar Hoover created a first-rate federal law enforcement agency from the muck of  Prohibition-era corruption cannot be denied.

Likewise, it cannot be denied that Hoover turned the FBI into an American-style Gestapo, relentlessly terrifying, blackmailing and ruining rivals, liberals, critics, politicians--including U.S. presidents--or just people he didn’t like.

One of them was Harry Belafonte, the great folk singer, one of a number of prominent African Americans who merely challenged the government to live up to its promise, as enshrined in the trumpeted first words of the U.S. Constitution: “All men are created equal.”

In contrast, the life and career of Hoover, fond of portraying himself as America’s top Boy Scout while privately trashing all its values, gives hypocrisy a bad name.

But nothing stands up the hair of many a Hoover-era FBI agent than the suggestion that The Director was gay. It's central to “J. Edgar,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and opening Nov. 9.