Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hoover Probed Jack Valenti

Fascinating piece in the Washington Post today about how the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover investigated the sexual orientation of Jack Valenti, who led the Motion Picture Association of America for many years. It was all part of the smears and witchhunts of the era by Hoover (who of course has been described in the gossipy book by British author Anthony Summers -- though it was never really proven -- to have been a gay crossdresser.) According to the Post the Republican Party too was conducting its own such "investigation" of Valenti:

Previously confidential FBI files show that Hoover's deputies set out to determine whether Valenti, who had married two years earlier, maintained a relationship with a male commercial photographer. Republican Party operatives reportedly were pursuing a parallel investigation with the help of a retired FBI agent, bureau files show. No proof was ever found, but the files, obtained by The Washington Post under the federal Freedom of Information Act, provide further insight into the conduct of the FBI under Hoover, for whom damaging personal information on the powerful was a useful tool in his interactions with presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard M. Nixon.