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
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013