The allegations turned out to be baseless. Even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover eventually admitted as much. “I am astounded,” Hoover confided to his close associate Clyde Tolson in a memorandum. “I have again & again been assured that our report was fool proof but . . . it certain looks as if we didn’t definitely tie down the Meisenbach incident.”
If anything, the police rioted against the students, there to protest HUAC’s increasingly controversial and unpopular investigations. Still, shortly after the inevitable not-guilty verdict arrived, Hoover could not resist ordering his agents to check the backgrounds of the jurors for irregularities.
Rosenfeld writes that FBI staff:
” . . . got clandestine help from the KCBS radio reporter Dick Leonard, a secret source for the bureau whose wife worked on the clerical staff of the San Francisco FBI office. Leonard interviewed two jurors and the judge about the case, asking questions that might elicit admissions of bias in favor of Meisenbach. He also questioned them about their stopping by the student’s victory party at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Leonard then interviewed the state attorney general as to whether their visits were improper. They were not, but he gave copies of his interview tapes to the FBI.”
According to the book, Leonard subsequently interviewed Vietnam Day Committee anti-war activists about their internal operations and turned those tapes over to the government as well. I doubt that Radio Survivor readers need a lecture on the impropriety of this sort of collaboration, but Kudos to Rosenfeld for bringing such mischief to light.
Here’s a Dick Leonard clip from the Bay Area Radio Museum’s KCBS page.
Just one dollar a month makes you a patron of Radio Survivor. Help us through our Patreon Campaign!