NEW YORK TIMES: A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty.
Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.
Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau.
The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. “The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States,” he wrote.
“In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus,” it said.
Hoover’s plan called for “the permanent detention” of the roughly 12,000 suspects at military bases as well as in federal prisons. The F.B.I., he said, had found that the arrests it proposed in New York and California would cause the prisons there to overflow.
So the bureau had arranged for “detention in military facilities of the individuals apprehended” in those states, he wrote. MORE
RELATED: CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world’s largest computer database of peoples’ physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad.
STRAIGHT DOPE: “The alleged transvestitism of John Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 until his death in 1972, has never been established, and reputable historians say it’s an urban legend. The story probably got its start because of much more plausible rumors that J. Edgar was gay. He and his right-hand man, Clyde Tolson, were constant companions for more than 40 years, even vacationing together, and both remained lifelong bachelors. (Hoover lived with his mom until she died in 1938.) They say Richard Nixon, on hearing of Hoover’s death, exclaimed with his customary delicacy, “Jesus Christ! That old cocksucker!”
Which brings us back to Tolson, and to Hoover’s rumored homosexuality. There were hints about this throughout the FBI boss’s career, some of them admittedly a little silly. A 1930s magazine article describes Hoover’s mincing step. He was a bit dandyish, favoring white linen suits as a young man; he had classical statues of male nudes at his home, and one of his hobbies was antique collecting. On the more serious side, many people sensed that his long relationship with Tolson was more than a friendship–the pair never lived together, but they’re buried side by side. Today some gay activists include Hoover and Tolson in their pantheons of famous gay couples. But appearances notwithstanding, no one has found concrete evidence that the two men were anything other than buds. Given Hoover’s ability to cover his tracks – his associates, with Tolson’s help, destroyed many of his files upon his death – it’s unlikely anyone ever will.”