Blast from the Past: Moyers Ordered Dirt on Goldwater Staffers

Bill Moyers, the departed PBS host who has repeatedly condemned
the Bush Administration for its support of the Patriot Act for
allegedly being too intrusive in Americans' lives apparently has some
experience in the matter.

In a column released today, Robert Novak reveals
that during the 1964 presidential campaign while working for Lyndon
Johnson, Moyers asked FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to dig dirt on a
rival presidential campaign:

Even worse than "dirt collection," [federal judge Laurence Silberman] continued, was Hoover's
offering of Bureau files to presidents. He exempted only Harry S.
Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower from this use of FBI files, but said,
"Lyndon Johnson was the most demanding."

When President
Johnson's aide Walter Jenkins was arrested for homosexual conduct in a
men's room during the 1964 campaign, Silberman said, LBJ aide Bill
Moyers directed Hoover to find similar conduct on Barry Goldwater's
staff. "Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files," he continued.
An "outraged" Moyers telephoned Silberman, he said, to assert that the
memo was "phony." "Taken aback," said Silberman, he offered an
investigation to publicly exonerate Moyers. "There was a pause on the
line, and then he [Moyers] said, 'I was very young. How will I explain
this to my children?'" "Silberman's account of our conversation is at
odds with mine," Moyers told me when I asked for comment.

Matthew Sheffield's picture