Hoover’s FBI Obsessed with Norman Mailer

Photo: Tom PiazzaNorman Mailer, who lived in Brooklyn Heights for many years, was the target of investigations by J. Edgar Hoover‘s FBI according to a report in the Washington Post.  The newspaper claims that the law enforcement titan had become obsessed with the author after he “mocked” former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis in an Esquire Magazine article:

Washington Post: The FBI’s…: The bureau’s first confidential memo on Mailer, dated June 29, 1962, noted that the writer “admitted being a ‘Leftist’ ” and said that he had described the FBI as a “secret police organization” that should be abolished. An informant claimed that Mailer had been invited to a 1953 reception at the Polish Consulate in New York, though it was unknown whether he had attended. The memo quoted Louis Budenz, a former managing editor of the Daily Worker who broke with the Communist Party in 1945, as saying Mailer was a “concealed Communist.”

Although other informants would refute that claim, it was repeated in FBI files year after year, apparently serving as the grounds for investigating Mailer as a suspected subversive. The file noted that agents did not approach Mailer directly to confirm the allegation, because the writer had “been critical of the FBI in public appearances and an interview might be embarrassing to the Bureau.”

Photo of Mailer at Forturne House with Tom Piazza courtesy Tom Piazza

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