June 11, 2016

FBI agents join those objecting to naming headquarters after Hoover

Daily Mail, UK

Critics within the FBI question whether the agency's proposed new headquarters should bear the name of its first director J. Edgar Hoover.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations' crumbling Washington D.C. headquarters, dubbed the J. Edgar Hoover building, is expected to be replaced by a new campus by 2023.

Though the General Services Administration (GAS) hasn't even settled on the site for the future complex, its naming has already become the subject of debate among officials and lawmakers.

Some current and former FBI agents and officials interviewed by ABC News said they don't think Hoover's name should embellish the new structure because the some of the former FBI director's policies violated the law and constitutional rights.

One former agent said Hoover would have likely discriminated against her on account of her gender and religion.

'Hoover would have never let me become an agent because I'm a woman and Jewish,' the former agent told ABC News. 'He did a lot of things he shouldn't have done because he was given absolute power. He did a lot of hateful things. I would not like to see his name on the building.'

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont wrote a letter to the GSA urging the agency 'not to take steps to transfer' Hoover's name onto the new headquarters.

'It would be a mistake to associate his name with the new FBI headquarters. Director Hoover routinely violated the law and infringed on the constitutional rights of American citizens by ordering investigations of individuals and groups who were not suspected of any criminal wrong doing,' Leahy wrote in the April 24 letter, according to ABC News.

Current FBI director James Comey has criticized his predecessor J. Edgar Hoover for ordering the surveillance of innocent Americans

Hoover was selected as director of the newly-formed FBI in 1935. At that point, he had already been director of the agency's predecessor, the Bureau of Investigation, since 1924.

He headed the FBI until his death in 1972, and oversaw the building of the agency into a modern crime-fighting organization. He also became controversial for ordering surveillance of U.S. citizens, even when they weren't suspected of a crime, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Even the current FBI director, James Comey, has criticized that decision, and said he keeps a copy of the request to monitor King on his desk as a reminder of the agency's historical missteps.


Anonymous said...

His stock rises and fall with LBJ's for reasons explained by Barr McClellan.To Hoover's credit he went after the KKK as LBJ dismantled Jim Crow. Hoover was loyal to Woodrow Wilson's criminalization of the left.

Sylvia Valls said...

Are these FBI agents telling us they are trying to erase the past but not in name only? I hope it's true but rather suspect it may not be possible unless many other things were to change and very rapidly. Maybe a Democratic Renovation Movement could bring something like this about!