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When the Soviets approached him again in 1944, Stone rebuffed them, saying he “did not want to attract the attention of the FBI.” However, he did tell the KGB man that “he would not be averse to having a supplementary income.”

Mr. Cecil is quick to smear those who differ from his view of Hoover as a tyrant. One peculiar target of his wrath is Morris Ernst, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and frequent defender of the FBI. Mr. Cecil writes that in supporting Hoover, Ernst was “almost fanatical in his willingness to put his own credibility and that of the ACLU on the line.” He called Ernst “a useful prop.” Don Whitehead of The Associated Press won two Pulitzer Prizes for wartime reporting. Because he wrote a book favorable to Hoover, Mr. Cecil charges that he “sold out his own journalistic credibility .”

Whew. And this man teaches journalism.

Joseph C. Goulden is the author of 18 nonfiction books.