Secret FBI File on Albert Gore Sr

Article excerpt

The long-secret case file concerning Al Gore Sr. links the late senator and father of the former vice president to communist operatives and shows his disdain for the FBI.

Former vice president Albert Gore Jr.'s expected political comeback may be rougher than he imagines. He's fresh from a European sabbatical, but not only will he be battling a popular incumbent president, but he faces the wrath of many senior Democrats who blame him for losing the White House. Now come ghosts from his senator father's communist-linked past, buried deep within the elder Gore's long-secret FBI file.

Insight has obtained the raw FBI file of the late Albert Arnold Gore Sr. under the Freedom of Information Act. Gore's FBI case file, Nos. 94-37110 and 161-12825, contains 265 pages. Another 56 pages have been withheld for supposed national-security reasons and personnel rules. It took two years for the FBI to release the file, which Insight requested before the 2000 presidential campaign.

Insight also requested FBI electronic-surveillance tapes on the senior Gore, who died in 1998. The bureau claimed "FBI Headquarters revealed no records responsive" to the request -- a circumlocution, perhaps, to suggest the FBI never had the senator under surveillance despite his financial relationships and friendship with communist operatives known to have been under such surveillance themselves. Whether those tapes are buried in field offices to protect the younger Gore remains, for the moment, a matter of speculation.

What the Gore Sr. file does show is the bitter, hostile and rocky relationship he had with former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from the 1940s until Hoover's death in 1972. Gore attacked Hoover's anticommunism and made himself a leading critic of the FBI director until losing his Senate seat in 1970 because of his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War.

During a long political career Gore took every opportunity to attack Hoover, even advocating that the FBI and Secret Service be censured for "failure to exercise surveillance over the Dallas building from which President [John F.] Kennedy was shot." Despite the attacks, Gore recommended 55 people for employment by the FBI, of whom Hoover hired four as clerks, three as agents and one as a press operator.

Little Albert briefly is mentioned in his father's FBI file as a curious 11-year-old who in 1957 requests and receives "two souvenir targets" as mementos of a private FBI tour. The FBI characterizes the elder Gore as "one who harbors strong personal animosity toward the Bureau and is uninterested in facts," and as "no friend of the FBI and, in fact, appears to delight in jumping on the bandwagon when people attack us."

Hoover regarded the senior Gore with such contempt, the file shows, that in 1954 he was placed on the "not to contact" list after Gore blasted FBI pursuit of Soviet espionage cases. Indeed the file raises serious questions about Gore's own ties, especially his relationship with the wealthy Soviet agent Armand Hammer, from whom Gore Sr. received large sums of money (see "Gore Family Ties," May 22, 2000). It also contains new revelations linking Gore Sr. to Harry Dexter White, the deputy treasury secretary in the Roosevelt administration who repeatedly was identified under oath as a Soviet agent. White died of a heart attack in 1948, two days before he was to appear before a congressional committee to answer spy charges by former Communist couriers Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley.

"Bureau files indicate that Senator Gore's bias against the FBI resulted from resentment over the Director's testimony in the Harry Dexter White case," the file says. "Gore has previously expressed his personal antipathy to the FBI and is regarded by many from his own state as being stupid and completely no good."

Russian defector Igor Gouzenko since has fingered White as a spy, as did the Venona intercepts of Soviet dispatches that linked him to the code names Richard, Reed and Lawyer. …