What J. Edgar Hoover, FBI, really thought of John Lindsay

In 1955, John Lindsay was a rising star at the US Department of Justice and in the good hands of then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

But over the next decade and a half, the charismatic, Kennedy-esque New York mayor’s relationship with the larger-than-life G-Man soured, up until Hoover’s death in 1972, according to a 96-page review of the once-classified FBI files, The Post said received under the Freedom of Information Act.

“This will be welcome news to many!” exulted Hoover in a cheery note scrawled at the end of a 1970 press clip from the now-defunct Washington Evening Star, reporting that Lindsay would not seek reelection as NYC mayor in 1973.

The filings cover not only the longtime Liberal Republican’s time for the DOJ in the mid-1950s, but also his time as a congressman from 1959 to 1965, his turbulent tenure as mayor of a financially troubled, criminal New York from 1966 to 1973, and his failed 1972 presidential bid after switching to the Democratic Party.

John Lindsay
In 1955, John Lindsay was a rising star at the US Department of Justice.
Sant Visalli

Hoover was on the lookout for “communist” and “un-American” activities surrounding the American civil rights leader and his political representatives, according to the files.

“Recently, Mayor John Lindsay of New York declared (as reported by Paul Harvey on national radio) ‘the real heroes of [Vietnam War] are the ones who evade conscription and protest etc,” one person wrote to Hoover in May 1970, the day after the infamous massacre of anti-war protesters at Kent State University.

“Sir, how in the name of liberty can a leader of this size utter such despicable words for the Vietcong, flag-burning and hash-smoking and assert his position with no objection?”

Early in his career, Lindsay, a lawyer who also served as a second lieutenant in the US Navy during World War II, was so popular with FBI agents that he had rare access to Hoover.

J. Edgar Hoover FBI files on John Lindsay.

Excerpts from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI files on John Lindsay.

J. Edgar Hoover FBI files on John Lindsay.

Excerpts from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI files on John Lindsay.

J. Edgar Hoover FBI files on John Lindsay.

Excerpts from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI files on John Lindsay.

J. Edgar Hoover FBI files on John Lindsay.

Excerpts from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI files on John Lindsay.

In 1955, while working as an executive assistant to the US Attorney General, he arranged a private tour of the FBI’s Washington DC headquarters that included a meeting with Hoover for Lindsay, his wife Mary, and some friends.

“I now have a group of four (count them*) beautiful girls joining me on tour tomorrow at 3pm – one blonde, two brunettes and a chestnut,” Lindsay wrote in a typed memo to Hoover dated March 24. February , 1955, which underlined the word “four”.

“You are all members of the J. Edgar Hoover fan club, so I hope you have a minute to say hello (I’m willing to share!).”

“I’ll see her,” Hoover wrote on the same memo, approving the visit by signing his name “H.”

John Lindsay.
John Lindsay running for mayor on October 13, 1965 on the streets of New York City.
Archives of the New York Post
John Lindsay.
John Lindsay laughs with journalists and his entourage as he walks down 5th Avenue during the 1967 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Getty Images
John Lindsay stops to shake hands with a prospective voter on his Sunday morning bike ride through Miami's Coconut Grove.
John Lindsay stops to shake hands with a prospective voter on his Sunday morning bike ride through Miami’s Coconut Grove in 1975.
Archives of the New York Post

The declassified files do not provide examples of the FBI investigating Lindsay for misconduct, but they do contain a number of other letters from individuals whose names have been redacted, accusing the police of being unfit for office or unpatriotic because she opposes the Vietnam War.

“Should we let one of our country’s most dangerous men take it over,” said one person who tore up Lindsay’s presidential campaign in an October 16, 1971 letter to then-US Senator Bob Dole and cc’ed Hoovering.

The FBI Director also received a 1969 letter from a Hoover loyalist ripping up “pretty boy” Lindsay for “lust.”[ing]” the White House “with the panache and vigor of a Kennedy.”

Hoover noted in official records that she endorsed then-Conservative Democratic Comptroller Mario Procaccino for mayor and was on his “Special Correspondents List” — a term then used for key Hoover allies.

President Richard Nixon and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

President Richard Nixon and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.


J. Edgar Hoover, speaking to reporters after appearing before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover spoke to reporters after appearing before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.


FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Hoover was on the lookout for “Communist” and “un-American” activity surrounding the American civil rights leader and his political appointees.


The FBI thought Lindsay was too selfish.

A March 1967 internal memo signed by FBI agent RE Wick accused Lindsay of being “highly unethical” and claimed he broke an embargo agreement with the FBI on the release of national crime statistics for political purposes. In a speech to the NYPD’s Holy Name Society, the then-mayor announced that crime was up 11 percent statewide — yet “the city was below that number,” Wick wrote.

The files also note a number of threats allegedly made against Lindsay’s life.

In August 1967, Hoover said in a letter to the US Secret Service that a woman had been arrested by the NYPD and charged with possessing a firearm and plotting to “murder” Lindsay for a $20,000 bounty.

Hoover also noted that the arrest was reported by local media and that the FBI’s earlier investigation into the same woman – whose name has been redacted – indicated that she may have been a member of the Uniformed Communist Police and a “Tito Communist”. loyal to Josip was Broz Tito, then President of the former Yugoslavia.

Sid Davidoff, a longtime lobbyist who was close to Lindsay when he was mayor, told the Post he was “not surprised” that Hoover kept “a file” on his ex-boss, who died in 2000.

“He was the first major Republican to oppose the [Vietnam] War,” said Davidoff, who earned a spot on then-President Richard Nixon’s 1972 top 20 list of “enemies.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/03/what-j-edgar-hoover-fbi-really-thought-about-john-lindsay/ What J. Edgar Hoover, FBI, really thought of John Lindsay

JACLYN DIAZ

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