The encyclopedia Britannica claims:

Hoover habitually used the FBI’s enormous surveillance and information-gathering powers to collect damaging information on politicians throughout the country, and he kept the most scurrilous data under his own personal control. He used his possession of these secret files to maintain himself as the FBI’s director and was apparently able to intimidate even sitting presidents by threatening to leak damaging disclosures about them.

How good is the evidence for the claim that Hoover repeatidly used the intelligence gathered by the FBI to blackmail politicians to stay in power?

  • 7
    Britannica is a well-researched, editorially reviewed, source. Multiple other sources back up this claim. Why do you doubt it? Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 15:04
  • 1
    Better question for the History stack. Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 16:09
  • In History, maybe reword it to ask about specific instances. But read first. For example this 2nd-page Google result Chicago Tribune article says he blackmailed President Kennedy to reappoint him, mostly w/files on his dad: chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1991-09-08-9103070622-story.html Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 17:28
  • @DJClayworth : I'm looking through conspiracy claims of the 1950s and 1960s. This seems to be one made by some authoritative sources and thus it seems worth establishing whether it's true.
    – Christian
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 20:31


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