Crossing Hoover, RFK softened view of Junius Scales

“Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department weighed in against a reduction in [Junius] Scales‘s sentence [for being a member of the Communist Party]….But Bobby was changing. He had begun to distinguish saying provocative things from actually doing something wrong.  He was more open to admitting a mistake. He was also less afraid to break with the unbending J. Edgar Hoover, who insisted Scales stay behind bars until he named his ex-comrades….

“[After 15 months in prison] Scales would be let out on December 24, 1962, with a guard on duty yelling to him, ‘We just got a telegram from Bobby Kennedy, and he says we gotta get you home by tonight in plenty of time for Christmas.’ ”

— From Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon” by Larry Tye (2016)


Leonard Decaprio in “It Happened One Night”?

On March 2, 1933, a train pulled into the station in Rocky Mount, unloaded the body of a newlywed septuagenarian… and J. Edgar Hoover became director of the FBI.

Well, the story is a bit more involved, but here goes, according to “J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets” by Curt Gentry (2011):

“Tom Walsh, a confirmed bachelor since the death of his first wife in 1917, had remarried, taking as his bride a member of one of Cuba’s most prominent families. After the wedding… in Havana, the pair had flown to Florida. Feeling ill, Walsh had consulted a doctor in Daytona Beach, who treated him for indigestion. The pair had then boarded the train for Washington and the inauguration [of Franklin D. Roosevelt]. Shortly after 7 a.m… Mrs. Walsh had wakened to find the senator lying face down on the floor next to his berth. By the time a doctor could be found, Walsh was dead. A physician in Rocky Mount listed cause of death as ‘unknown, possibly coronary thrombosis’….

“Apparently the 72-year-old attorney general-designate [and former Montana senator] had died following a too strenuous honeymoon with a much younger bride….”

(Or maybe he was the victim of a Cuban political conspiracy….)

Walsh made it clear his first act as AG would be a housecleaning at the Bureau of lnvestigation, starting with director J. Edgar Hoover.  Instead, Hoover used his serendipitous reprieve to ingratiate himself with Walsh’s successor and to lock up what turned out to be a lifetime appointment as FBI director.