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Eradicating the Hoover Legacy
By Jeffrey S. Weiner
The Willie Sutton Federal Reserve Building. The Charles Ponzi Securities and Exchange Commission Building. Incongruous? Appalling? Yes, but no more so than the J. Edgar Hoover Federal Bureau of Investigation Building.
Language and nomenclature are powerful symbols, and never more so than when they are emblazoned across the edifices of government. Nowhere is this more true and apparent than in our nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., is a city defined by symbols and monuments that are intended to inspire, comfort, and remind people of our nation’s greatest accomplishments. Having J. Edgar Hoover’s name on the FBI Building does not conjure up any of these feelings; it reminds us of an America in which constitutional rights only applied as long as the complexion, sexual orientation, and political beliefs of the accused met with the approval of the FBI Director.
Hoover’s illegal actions and abuse of power became more apparent in the years following his death. Documents obtained through the
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