WASHINGTON – The Nixon White House was so worried about Daniel Schorr's reporting that it ordered an investigation into the veteran network correspondent whose tough stories landed him on the president's infamous enemies list, according to newly released FBI files.
The administration had the bureau conduct a background investigation in 1971, according to one section from among hundreds of pages released Thursday from Schorr's FBI file.
The White House said it was considering Schorr for a public affairs job in the environmental area. A day later, the investigation was canceled but the White House still wanted to see anything the FBI had managed to discover about Schorr.
Schorr asked the FBI to discontinue the investigation.The long-time newsman later said he had never applied for such a position.
The 93-year-old Schorr died in July after a six-decade career with CBS, NPR and other news media outlets. He believed the White House had tried to intimidate him for his hard-hitting coverage of the administration.
The first reference to Schorr in FBI files dates from July 31, 1942, when FBI Director J Edgar Hoover asked the chief of the Special War Policies Unit for more information on Schorr's status as a "representative of a foreign principal" in his employment with the Netherland Indies News Agency.
Eight years later, at the height of the post-war "Red Scare," Hoover told the CIA director that the bureau had looked over Schorr's background and had kept information on his travels to "Iron Curtain countries."
The files mainly deal with the fallout from the FBI's investigation into Schorr and include dozens of newspaper articles and interviews with people who knew the famous reporter.
Some of the files document Schorr's attempts to pry information from the FBI about the investigation by filing a Freedom of Information Act request for information.