Opinion: Bureau of Vituperation

For nearly half a century, under eight Presidents and 16 Attorneys General, J. Edgar Hoover has commanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the zeal and jealous authority of a Chinese war lord, protecting the U.S. against enemies within and his agency's turf against all meddling from without. Today, at 75, Hoover directs an army of more than 7,000 agents—with an extra 1,000 reinforcements on the way, authorized this year by Congress.

Insecurity ought to be the least of Hoover's problems. Yet he can be painfully thin-skinned. Last month, 15 FBI agents dropped out of their courses at New York's...

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