From TIME's Archives: The Truth About J. Edgar Hoover

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Has all that changed, now that the Director is gone? Some agents wonder. The new boss, Clarence Kelley, is a veteran and well-regarded lifelong police official. But Kelley is an outsider—he was chief of police in Kansas City, Mo.—and the FBI is still a closed corporation. The top officials under Kelley, in charge of the day-by-day supervision of the agency, are Hoover-trained loyalists. They are Associate Director Nicholas Callahan and Assistant Deputy Director James Adams. Both are also protégés of John Mohr, a retired Hoover aide still in touch with the bureau—close enough, some agents believe, that he in effect calls key signals.

Yet conditions are changing. Among the bureau's 8,000 agents, there are now 103 blacks. Job applications still far exceed openings. Kelley does talk to his top agents around the country, and in the field—if not in Washington—morale is holding up. Many old petty rules have been relaxed. There is less emphasis on statistical achievements—stolen-car arrests and other easy shots—and more on white-collar crime, organized crime and other cases that rarely fatten the win column.

With all the public pressure and new scrutiny, any repeat of the old political abuses of civil rights seems unlikely. Mostly, it is a rocky time of buffeting for the bureau. The ship, in a sense, is dead in the water, awaiting new orders on new courses, which may well be set by Congress (see following story). Some may long nostalgically for the Old Man. But along the way, Hoover clearly lost that inner compass that had served the bureau so well for so many years.

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