FBI Gores Al's Dad

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FBI Gores Al's Dad

And you thought Al Gore had a dicey relationship with the FBI. Well, the bureau had quite a low opinion of the former vice president's father, the late Senator Albert A. Gore. FBI documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request show that Gore Sr. was officially blacklisted for nearly 17 years, from 1954 until the Tennessee Democrat left the Senate in 1970.

Gore Sr. was placed on the bureau's shit list (known formally as the "Not to Contact" list) after he branded the FBI a "snooping police agency" that used "guilt by association" tactics to smear innocent people.

He made these charges--and others--during a contentious private meeting with a top FBI official, who then dutifully reported back to J. Edgar Hoover that Gore Sr., "without showing any decency or courtesy," ripped the bureau for "the lack of intelligence shown in writing FBI reports" and claimed that Hoover's agency "had fallen considerably in the minds of the American people and that he felt the principal reason was the rumor-mongering and the slander and the gossip that we traded in."

It didn't take long for FBI brass to retaliate. At Hoover's direction, Gore Sr. was immediately placed on the "Not to Contact" roster, making the politician persona non grata at the country's most powerful law enforcement agency. On one memo regarding Gore, Hoover wrote, "He is now openly hostile towards the FBI." On another document, Hoover scribbled that FBI offices in Tennessee "should be briefed re: Gore's attitude."

The Democrat would continue to tangle with the FBI, most notably in March 1967, when he confronted two agents at an American Legion dinner in Washington ("He was not, of course, one of the honored guests," sniffed one bureau official of Gore Sr.). According to an FBI memo, Gore Sr. "launched into a tirade about the growth of the Mafia," claiming that Hoover and his aides "have done nothing to control" organized crime.

Despite Gore Sr.'s "reputation for hostile and irrational views towards the FBI," the memo states, the agents "let him know emphatically" about the "incorrectness of his position." The memo concludes, "Their firm response caused Gore to shut up promptly. The March 1967 document also includes this nasty swipe: " regarded by many from his own state as being stupid and completely no good." Even for Hoover's FBI this was a incredibly harsh assessment of a U.S. Senator (though indicative of the bureau's contempt for Gore Sr.).

Despite the FBI freeze-out, li'l Albert was still granted a behind-the-scenes tour of FBI Headquarters in June 1957. Accompanied by two cousins and a couple of friends, 11-year-old Gore checked out various exhibits as well as the FBI laboratory. But, a memo states, "There was no request to meet the Director." A typed addendum to that document reads: "Following the tour young Gore mentioned that he would like to have two souvenir targets as a momento of his visit to the FBI. The targets were mailed to Senator Gore's office June 19, 1957, without cover letter." TSG's guessing they were sent in an unmarked envelope with postage due.

Some excerpts from Gore Sr.'s FBI file:

Pages 1-5: The Senator's "wild accusations."

Page 6: Gore Sr. gets blacklisted.

Page 7: Young Albert's backstage tour.

Pages 8-9: "Stupid and completely no good."