Gulags in America? Hoover Tried
He sought approval to jail 12,000 'disloyal' citizens without trial
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 5:56 PM CST
Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover is seen in this 1972 black-and-white file photo. When Eugene McCarthy ran for president in 1968, he promised to fire Hoover, who had outlasted presidents from Calvin...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – J. Edgar Hoover wanted to round up 12,000 Americans he deemed disloyal in 1950, suspend habeus corpus, and lock them up in military and federal prisons, the New York Times reports. In a newly declassified letter, the FBI chief urges President Truman to approve the plan and tell the populace the Soviet-style arrests were necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage, and sabotage.”

The names of the those arrested would be drawn from a list Hoover had spent years compiling. Their only recourse from “permanent detention” would be a hearing with one judge and two citizens, which would “not be bound by the rules of evidence.” There’s no evidence that Truman even considered the proposal, which came just after the start of the Korean War, the Times notes.