February 1, 1967. Drew Pearson shares a story in his column that appears to demonstrate the power still wielded by 72-year-old FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover:
“Gov. Grant Sawyer, Democrat, running for reelection, charged the FBI with wholesale wire tapping in Las Vegas and waging ‘an invisible war against Nevada.’
J. Edgar was really sore. The election boiled down, in effect, to one between Gov. Sawyer and J. Edgar Hoover—though Hoover remained silent on the sidelines.
In the end Sawyer lost, and afterward came to Washington to talk with President Johnson, Vice President Humphrey, and John Macy, head of the Civil Service Commission. All three urged him to accept a federal job. Finally LBJ came up with the offer that Sawyer become the governor general of the Panama Canal Zone.
Sawyer hesitated, but finally agreed to accept the appointment. The White House then ordered the routine FBI check, and G-men started to ask questions in Nevada regarding Sawyer.
Either Hoover’s men were not discreet in asking questions, or they deliberately leaked. At any rate, their investigation got into the headlines.
There’s nothing LBJ dislikes more than being scooped on an appointment. This J. Edgar Hoover knows all too well. So the chances are his Nevada critic will not be governor of the Canal Zone.”
Check out more of the Drew Pearson columns here. Photo: Hoover and LBJ in the Oval Office. 4/28/1965. LBJ Presidential Library photo #A355-33, public domain.