That signature line by the late Paul Harvey would easily apply to features about him appearing in Saturday’s Washington Post, as well as in USA Today, detailing a long-running friendship between Harvey and legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. A review of some 1400 pages of previously confidential FBI files, obtained through a Freedom Of Information request, show that Harvey and Hoover developed an ongoing friendship following an investigation of Harvey by the agency stemming from an incident in 1951. In a story already well-known to many broadcasters, young newsman Harvey decided to scale a fence at the Argonne National Laboratory to get a story proving reports that security at the nuclear research sight was lacking. Caught and arrested almost immediately after scaling the fence, Harvey did get a lot of publicity — albeit not the sort he was hoping for — from the stunt. He was investigated by the FBI, but was ultimately never indicted on any charges. While the newly released documents show no indication that Hoover had any direct input on Harvey’s case at the time, the files do clearly show that the newsman and the Director developed a mutual professional admiration for one another in subsequent years, and shared a common concern over the burgeoning threat of expanding communism. It’s a fascinating peak into Cold War America, a time in which Harvey’s relationship with Hoover was not unusual and, in fact, was just one of many that the powerful agency head cultivated with journalists during his tenure at the FBI.
January 25, 2010