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Looking for family papers of former FBI Special Agents

Posted by on May 25, 2012 in News, The War Begins | Comments Off on Looking for family papers of former FBI Special Agents

While I have personnel files for most the of FBI Special Agents who are the leading characters in my book-in-progress on the FBI’s investigation into the 1934 kidnapping of 6-year-old June Robles, I would like to flesh out this material with family photos, letters, and other papers dealing with the following agents (referred to only by initials in many documents): Harold Edward Andersen / H.E. Andersen Orville C. Dewey / O.C. Dewey Joseph Edward Patrick Dunn / J.E.P. Dunn Carlton J. Endres / C.J. Endres Chapmon Fletcher James Malcolm O’Leary / J.M. O’Leary Enos Sandberg Manuel Sorola Lewis Charles Taylor / L.C. Taylor Clarence D. White / C.D. White The personnel files of Andersen and Dewey were severely gutted by the Bureau for unknown reasons, and so family papers would be especially helpful in their...

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Hiring Special Agents – Lewis Taylor Part 2

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in The War Begins | Comments Off on Hiring Special Agents – Lewis Taylor Part 2

Bureaus are breeding grounds for bureaucracy, and Hoover’s was no different. Hoover might be interested in virtually everything his agency did, down to the smallest detail, but he could not do it all himself. He might read virtually every piece of paper passing through the Bureau of Investigation, he might direct its movement, but he could not control it. Paperwork in Hoover’s domain, as in anyone else’s, had a life of its own.  In Lewis Taylor’s case, all necessary documentation by the Denver field office was completed by May 13. The application folder was mailed to Washington for further action but instead was simply filed away. A confused Taylor, who had already registered his intent to accept the job of Special Agent, wired Hoover on May 29, “Does failure to hear from you mean that application has not been...

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Hiring Special Agents – Lewis C Taylor Part 1

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 in The War Begins | Comments Off on Hiring Special Agents – Lewis C Taylor Part 1

As FBI Assistant Director Harold “Pop” Nathan explained in 1934, the Division of Investigation (later renamed the FBI), “First and foremost… selects its personnel with the greatest care from the best available material.” The applicant’s record and associations should be “rigidly scrutinized” all the way back to his school days. Higher education, agency testing, and hiring interviews ensured that the prospective law enforcement officer possessed the required “resourcefulness, aggressiveness, tact, energy, and the like.” The hiring of Special Agent Lewis Charles Taylor, the lead agent in Tucson during the first months of the June Robles kidnapping investigation, provides an example of how these requirements of Director J. Edgar Hoover were put into practice not long after he assumed leadership.  Taylor was a 24-year-old law student at the University of Colorado at Boulder when he applied for the position of...

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The G-man: Hoover’s “ideal law enforcement officer”

Posted by on Feb 7, 2011 in The War Begins | Comments Off on The G-man: Hoover’s “ideal law enforcement officer”

To better ensure that crimes got solved and criminals got caught, J. Edgar Hoover demanded that the Bureau’s agents meet and exhibit the highest professional standards. The expected qualities, and they were legion, were listed in a speech given in September, 1934, by Assistant Director Harold Nathan on his boss’s behalf. The “ideal law enforcement officer,” and that certainly meant the Bureau’s special agents, according to Nathan, “should be well educated, because law enforcement is now a profession.” In the FBI, that meant a law or accounting degree. He (and there was no “she” in the ranks of special agents) should also be “truly intelligent. He should possess a mind capable of thinking quickly and effectively along the shortest possible lines to the solution of the most complicated, baffling problems. His thinking should be supplemented by a broad experience...

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J Edgar Hoover & the G-men

Posted by on Jan 22, 2011 in The War Begins | Comments Off on J Edgar Hoover & the G-men

While the Lindbergh Law assigned jurisdiction over kidnapping to the United States Bureau of Investigation (BOI) within the Department of Justice, that authority applied only if the kidnap victim was transported across a state or international border. Unfortunately, the law as originally written failed to provide a practical trigger for BOI intervention in a case. In the absence of some clue dropped by the kidnappers, or the violation of some other federal statute by the suspects, such as the Dyer Act (1919) forbidding interstate transportation of stolen vehicles, the BOI lacked the authority to investigate. In the face of public demand for action, the legal barrier proved no bar to the Bureau’s ambitious and aggressive chief, John Edgar Hoover Intelligent, well educated, and an efficient organizer of men and resources, Director Hoover was also an unsurpassed bureaucratic politician, with...

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“Unless something drastic is done…”

Posted by on Jan 4, 2011 in The War Begins | Comments Off on “Unless something drastic is done…”

By the 1930s, kidnappings in the United States were commonplace, and the crime “had become a profession.” The police chief of St. Louis, the national epicenter of the gangster “snatch racket,” advised Congress that he investigated 282 cases extending into 21 states within the space of a year. Police chiefs in 501 cities reported to Congress in 1931 that 279 kidnappings had taken place, a fraction of the estimated total. Only 69 persons had been convicted, out of the 2,000 persons thought to be involved in the “snatch,” transportation, or sequestration of the victims. Ransoms paid ran from $1,500 to $125,000. Kidnapping had truly “assumed the proportions of big business.” Whatever the numbers, said the Denver police chief, kidnapping was “increasing tremendously… throughout the country.” “Unless something drastic is done,” the Jacksonville chief asserted, “it will be unsafe for...

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