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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Thornton P. Knowles On J. Edgar Hoover

If the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 to 1972 thought much about his legacy, he probably hoped to be remembered as the man who professionalized criminal investigation, and elevated the image of the FBI agent. As the man responsible for the FBI fingerprint bureau, crime laboratory, National Police Academy, and the "FBI Bulletin," one could argue that Mr. Hoover played a major, innovative role in the history of 20th Century law enforcement. Instead, Mr. Hoover, thanks to a combination of tabloid journalism and the truth, is remembered as a power-hungry, cross-dressing, mother's boy. For a quick and easy laugh, late night TV jokesters just have to mention his name. But Americans have short memories, and in a few years Hoover's legacy will lie with him in his grave. The late night funny guys will move on to other disgraced public figures, an endless source of monologue humor.

Thornton P. Knowles

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