27 Years Ago in TIME

The FBI's current troubles are hardly the first time the agency has been plunged into controversy. Three years after the death of FBI Director J. EDGAR HOOVER, the legend of the man once known as America's chief crime fighter was beginning to crack.

The gangbuster nemesis of "Baby Face" Nelson, John Dillinger, Ma Barker. The scourge of would-be spies and saboteurs... The stubbornly independent guardian of evenhanded law enforcement, highmindedly fending off Congressmen and Presidents who sought to use his agency for political purposes. J. Edgar Hoover deserved some of that billing, although it was overblown... [Now] Hoover is seen as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!