NC's Jesse Helms garnered favor from Hoover, FBI; later asked agents to probe leak to media

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Newly released FBI files show North Carolina's long-serving Sen. Jesse Helms curried favor with director J. Edgar Hoover before starting his 30-year political life.

The conservative Republican icon from Raleigh later called on the FBI occasionally for information and investigations.

Dozens of investigated death threats, forgotten episodes of foreign and domestic intrigues, and personal notes exchanged with one of Hoover's successors comprise the bulk of more than 1,500 pages in Helms' FBI file. The documents were released to The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Helms died on July 4, 2008, at the age of 86. He retired from the Senate after the 2002 elections.