I just read Hoover’s FBI by Cartha D. ‘Deke’ DeLoach. An FBI agent for thirty years, DeLoach was the number three guy in the FBI and interacted with Hoover on a daily as well as personnel basis. The author was involved intimately with every little detail of the FBI and was so trusted that he even had a red phone by his bed that ran straight to President Johnson. Twice he was asked to become the director and each time refused, prefering to remain retired.
Here’s a little bit I got from the book.
I liked it.
This was surprising to me. I’m not a big fan of Hoover or the FBI (for no particular reason) and I ended the book without becoming a big fan of Hoover or the FBI (for no particular reason). It’s not that I dislike them. It’s jut that neither subject would be my first choice for a book. I was away far from home and it was the only thing I had to read.
Two things did change my estimation of both.
First, Hoover was an authentic tough guy. In his early career he was right there in the mix of it and he wasn’t afraid to ‘engage’ the bad guys. He was far from all talk. Everything he ordered his agents to do, he had already done. I like that in a leader.
Second, the FBI did a bang up job on the JFK and Martin Luther King assassinations, finding the bodies of the three civil right workers murdered in 1964, breaking the KKK in Mississippi, and other high profile and disturbing cases. Like the young girl kidnapped and buried alive in a specially made coffin, which had been built by a MIT professor to keep her alive until he received his ransom money. The FBI found the girl, returned her alive to her parents, chased the bad guy to an island off the east coast, and then after an exhausting search flushed him into the water where he was captured trying to swim to safety, albeit rather weakly. All in all, these guys did some fine police work!
No second shooter.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but there was no second shooter on the grassy knoll. The author lays out a compelling case with tons of evidence all of which has been reviewed over and over again by dozens of commissions and teams of highly specialized professionals. I hate to say it…there was no second shooter. Oswald acted alone. Yeah, I know. Me too, I felt kind of cheated as well.
Oswald was known to the FBI before he murdered JFK.
Unbelievable! The FBI had a file on Oswald and the second he was identified as the killer; the FBI went into hyperactive mode trying to figure out if this had been a terrible case of coincidence or bad police work. In the end, it was just coincidence but I couldn’t help but suffer a feeling of déjà vu. The Boston murderers had been known, the shooter from Newtown had been known by the school, the Columbine murderers had been arrested before the attack, and the list goes on and on. These guys just don’t appear out of nowhere. They’re right there in front of our eyes and many times we’ve already interacted with them—just like Oswald.
In the case of Oswald, he was being watched because he had tried to defect to Russia and because he physically threatened an agent over his wife being questioned concerning his behavior.
Hoover was a cross dresser.
What? This completely blindsided me. Am I the only guy who didn’t know? The author spends a lengthy part of the book completely dispelling these accusations and in the end I couldn’t help but believe him. There was just no evidence to think otherwise and Hoover didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would lead a double life.
To wrap it up, I liked the book. I wouldn’t read it again, but I would recommend it to others. Especially, if you like history and want to know what life was like fighting crime and the KKK in the 1950-60’s. That part of the book was absolutely fascinating and full of details that only the author or those extremely close to the action could possibly know. If for nothing else, that made the read completely worth it.