The late radio icon Paul Harvey was BFF with J. Edgar Hoover, and often gave him advance copies of his scripts for comment and approval.
The news is contained in nearly 1,400 pages of FBI files, released to The Washington Post in response to a one-year-old Freedom of Information Act request. The trove supplies new details about how America’s No. 1 broadcaster came to befriend America’s No. 1 G-man.
The records underscore that the men shared deeply conservative convictions and a hatred of communism. And Harvey’s vast audience was of intense interest to the image-obsessed Hoover.
Harvey, a staunch conservative, worked to help the FBI, and wrote to communist-hunter Senator Joseph McCarthy with tips about “known Reds” at a Texas Air Force base. Harvey’s unlikely friendship with Hoover began when he tried to breach security at the Argonne National Laboratory to show its laxity, but was caught doing so. Harvey concocted a cover story, and a search of his car revealed he had also concocted a radio script that would give a false account of the incident.
The search…revealed a four-page, typewritten script for an upcoming broadcast. Harvey, it turned out, had planned from the outset to feed the nation a bogus account of his escapade: “I hereby affirm the following is a true and accurate account,” the script began. “My friend and I were driving a once-familiar road, when the car stalled. . . . We started to walk. . . . We made no effort to conceal our presence. . . .
And that is the rest of the story.