Milestones: 55 Years Ago In TIME

Many years before 9/11 and its aftermath, the FBI was the focus of concern over its ability to balance the need for security with that of privacy. As this 1949 TIME cover on J. Edgar Hoover shows, that worry extends to the earliest decades of the law-enforcement agency.

FBI men reassuringly point out that the bureau's file of 112,500,000 fingerprints is used to identify amnesia victims and mangled corpses as well as such underworld characters as Airbrake Smith and Rooster Face Fannie. But what no tourist will see is the bureau's investigative file covering thousands of ordinary U.S. citizens. It was...

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