JOHN EDGAR HOOVER is a remarkable example of a man narrowly identified to an institution. The FBI has been designed to investigate violations of U.S. laws in an effective way and also in an exemplary application of these laws. For half a century, the institution was fashioned by one man : hiring process, special agents profile, criteria for selection, training, promotion, etc., Hoover was hands on everything to maximize professionalism in the FBI. Over time, he deeply influenced the institution with his personal dynamics, beliefs, ideologies, privileged knowledge and misconceptions. A succession of American presidents were unable to replace him so considerable was his power. One can say then that the FBI was somewhat like the “HOOVER BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION”. By studying him, we can learn much about such a phenomenon, with positive and problematic consequences.
© Alice Labrèque & Jean Routier 2019.