News & Politics

Bill Buckley Files Reveal FBI’s Love, Helpful Cop


The CUNY Journalism school, which earlier reported on FBI records concerning David Halberstam obtained by Freedom of Information request, now gives similar treatment to the FBI’s dossier on William F. Buckley. The National Review founder, you will unsurprised to learn, had a comfortable relationship with J. Edgar Hoover and was on a list of cooperative journalists to whom the Bureau might feed information and show favors, such as a tour of FBI headquarters. A 1967 NatRev parody that fancifully portrayed Hoover’s arrest on “morals charges” put an end to that, but Buckley remained on good terms with Hoover thereafter. His agents also gave Buckley glowing reviews (“He has made James Wecshler look rather silly during debates”).

CUNY includes the documents, many parts of which are redacted. We especially enjoyed a report, made during an investigation owing to Buckley’s upcoming appointment to a Federal Commission, in which a 1958 arrest for “drunkenness” is noted. The arresting officer, name redacted, tells the Feds there is clearly “a mistake in the records,” as he “knew Buckley when he was a Yale student” and can aver Buckley was not the guy he arrested. Keep your friends close, and your cop friends closer!


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