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Jack Valenti, Lbj, And Hoover's Fbi

In a front page story that has not gotten enough coverage today, The Washington Post reports that FBI officials were intent on determining whether Jack Valenti, aide to President Johnson (and future MPAA head), was gay. 

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.

It has been known for some time that Hoover's FBI was full of perverts and thugs with a twisted interest in the private lives of American citizens. However, this was unexpected:

Even Bill Moyers, a White House aide now best known as a liberal television commentator, is described in the records as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members. Moyers said by e-mail yesterday that his memory is unclear after so many years but that he may have been simply looking for details of allegations first brought to the president by Hoover.


Seven days later, [Hoover aide] DeLoach pressed Johnson again and he relented. In the same conversation, a memo shows, they discussed a request from Moyers, then a special assistant to Johnson, that the FBI investigate two other administration figures who were "suspected as having homosexual tendencies."

On a more humorous note, here is the Post's euphemistic description of Hoover:

Historians have suggested that Hoover himself may have been gay and that the bureau's fascination with the sex lives of others was a manifestation of deeper currents in his psychology.

Read the whole thing.

--Isaac Chotiner