Former agent Paul Letersky served in the FBI for eight years, three as a support employee and five as a special agent. He was assigned to the Cincinnati and former Alexandria Divisions working murders, aircraft hijackings, shoot-outs, bank robberies, extortion, presidential politics, confidential informants, and con men.
In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Paul Letersky reviews his memoir, The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover, in which he offers a unique inside look at one of the most powerful law enforcement figures in American history. In 1965, twenty-two-year-old Paul Letersky was assigned to assist the legendary FBI Director Hoover who’d just turned seventy and had, by then, led the Bureau for an incredible forty-one years. His is a rare account from someone who, for a period of years, daily spent hours with the Director.
Paul resigned from the Bureau when United Airlines recruited Paul to join their law department. He headed a team responsible for investigating criminal and civil actions directed at the airline, to include the “Unabomber” attack on the company’s president. He became a vice president of Pan American World Airways in charge of five global divisions. Paul is currently on the faculty of Tillamook Bay Community College in Tillamook, Oregon, as an Adjunct Professor and Coordinator of their Criminal Justice Program.
During the interview, Paul mentioned an airplane hijacking case he worked on. You can listen to the FBI Retired Case File Review episode about the case here: Episode 163: Jim Siano and Tom Baker – Mackle Kidnapping, Airplane Hijacking.
Special Agent (Former)
1965 – 1973
“I have no reason to defend Hoover. I have no reason to grant sainthood on him. I was just writing what I feel, and what I saw, and what I heard.”—Former Agent Paul Letersky
The following links are for FBI website and news article about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Helen Gandy, and Hoover’s secret files:
FBI Website: J. Edgar Hoover’s “Official & Confidential” Files
Washington Post – 11/9/2011: Five myths about J. Edgar Hoover
New York Times – 12/2/1975: Secretary Says She Destroyed Hoover’s Letters on His Orders
To listen to more FBI Retired Case File Review episodes featuring Director Hoover click here.