March 31, 1961: Paul Weeks files a story from Washington saying that the John Birch Society has become a "matter of concern to the attorney general.”
Although Atty. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy made no direct statement, a spokesman said "a growing number of inquiries which the Justice Department has received about the John Birch Society has made it a matter of concern to the attorney general.”
Among the congressmen who belong to the society is Rep. Edgar Hiestand (R-Altadena). "It is a group of dedicated patriots fighting communism — is that bad?" Hiestand said.
And Paul Coates has a letter from the inimitable Parkey Sharkey about his book “Whiskey Road.”
FBI FILES ON BIRCH SOCIETY:
This report explains why J. Edgar Hoover and senior FBI officials within the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division concluded in FBI memos that the JBS was “extremist”, “irrational” and “irresponsible”
CONSERVATIVE CRITICS OF ROBERT WELCH and BIRCH SOCIETY:
Contrary to claims made by the Birch Society about the alleged “left-wing” origins of JBS criticism, the most potent adverse comments about the JBS have always originated from the right-side of the political spectrum. This report presents a representative sample of such comments.
PERSONS DESCRIBED BY BIRCH SOCIETY AS “EXPERTS” ON COMMUNISM:
Two former FBI Special Agents who endorsed the Birch Society after they retired from the FBI are often cited by Birch Society members and supporters as knowledgeable, reliable, and authoritative sources of information on the communist movement.
However, their FBI personnel files reveal that senior FBI officials did not have a very high regard for their post-FBI endeavors.
In the case of Dan Smoot, just prior to his retirement from the FBI he was censured, placed on probation, and transferred to a small, insignificant field office as a disciplinary measure.
In the case of Cleon Skousen, his FBI career was predominantly administrative assignments — not internal security-related investigations and he was not, as his admirers claim, “a top aide” to Hoover nor was he considered an authority about communism-related matters while he served in the FBI.
Both reports include detailed critiques of statements and assertions made by these former FBI Special Agents.
W. CLEON SKOUSEN