On Mar. 14, 1950, the FBI published the first FBI 10 Most Wanted list.
J. Edgar Hoover was director of the FBI from its founding in 1935, until his death in 1972. At the end of 1949, he conceived the idea of the “Most Wanted List” as a way of attracting attention to the successes of the FBI in apprehending major criminals.
During much of his life, Hoover wielded incredible power in Washington, and used the FBI to pursue agendas beyond merely crime fighting. He has become an increasingly controversial figure, as a result.
Today, the FBI is again much in the news as a result of the role of two former directors in investigating President Trump. Former Director James Comey – who President Trump fired, and former Director Robert Mueller, leading an investigation into allegations that the Russian government conspired to influence the 2016 presidential election, have both been accused of overstepping the proper bounds of their authority. It remains to be seen what effect these investigations will have on the institutions of the American government, including the FBI.
- Do you believe that any government official should be “above the law”? How do you think we, as a country, should enforce the law against the law’s own enforcers?
- What does it mean for the rule of law when, as was sometimes the case with Hoover, law enforcement officials engage in politics? What protections might be put in place to assure that law enforcement is not politicized?
7, Mar. 2018, FBI Personnel [Digital photograph]. Retrieved from <google.com>.