THE BUREAU: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI by

THE BUREAU: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sullivan's contempt for Hoover's machinations would carry more weight had he not capitulated for 30 years, waiting until his own imminent retirement in 1971 to confront the Boss. (The third highest FBI official, he died in a 1977 hunting accident, leaving collaborator Bill Brown to finish this book.) But, he claims, ""I was in constant controversy over issues that I felt were important"": the emphasis on public relations over investigations, FBI lab incompetence, a dearth of blacks and Jews. Still, Sullivan admits he liked the FBI, feared Hoover's preventing him from getting another job, and wanted to reorganize the Bureau after Hoover left. (""We kept hoping that Hoover would die or retire."") Meanwhile, despite admiration for Martin Luther King, Sullivan sent Hoover memos calling King ""a dangerous menace"" and praising his vendetta against him; and when McGovern promised to fire Hoover if elected President, Sullivan wrote the required condemnatory letter (""a distasteful"" act). The portrait of Hoover is familiar--hatred of FDR, Truman, Kennedy; friendship for LBJ, Nixon, Ford; idiosyncrasies about his car; refusal to hire bald men; use of agents for work at home. But Sullivan also writes that JFK was transferred from Washington to that PT boat after a wiretap of a suspected Nazi woman revealed his voice; that Stokely Carmichael's bodyguard was an informant; that the lack of separate criminal and security agencies was responsible for ""our less-than-perfect record at catching Russian spies."" His brief coverage of the JFK assassination is unsatisfying, and the account of wiretapping 17 Nixon White-House aides is self-serving (""I'd had a funny feeling about the wiretaps from the first""). A posthumous memoir, sadly lacking heroes.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1979
Publisher: Norton