L. Patrick Gray

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Louis Patrick Gray III (born July 18, 1916 ) was acting director of the FBI from 1972-73.

Gray was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 18, 1916. He attended schools in St. Louis and Houston, Texas. After attending Rice University for a period, Mr. Gray enrolled at the United States Naval Academy and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1940. The Navy commissioned Mr. Gray as a line officer and he served throughout World War II and the Korean War.

In 1949, between his two tours of duty, Mr. Gray received a J.D. degree from George Washington University Law School. He was admitted to practice before the Washington D.C. Bar in 1949; later he was admitted to practice law by the Connecticut State Bar, the United States Military Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Claims, and the United States Supreme Court. After retiring from the Navy in 1960 with the rank of captain, Mr. Gray served as Military Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1961, he entered private practice.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Gray returned to the federal government and worked in the Nixon administration in several different positions. In 1970, President Richard Nixon appointed Mr. Gray as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division in the Department of Justice. In 1972, Mr. Gray was appointed Deputy Attorney General but before he could be confirmed by the full Senate, his nomination was withdrawn. Instead, President Nixon designated him as Acting Director of the FBI. Gray served in this position for less than a year. Day-to-day operational command of the Bureau remained with Associate Director Mark Felt.

In 1973 Gray was nominated as J. Edgar Hoover's permanent successor as head of the FBI. This action by President Nixon confounded many, coming at a time when revelations of involvement by Nixon administration officials in the Watergate Scandal were coming to the forefront. Under his direction, the FBI had been accused to mishanding the investigation into the break-in, doing a cursory job and refusing to investigate the possible involvement of administration officials. Gray's Senate confirmation hearing was to become the Senate's first opportunity to ask pertinent questions about Watergate.

During the confirmation hearing Gray defended his agency's investigation, however, during questioning he let it be known that he had handed over the files on the investigation to White House Counsel John Dean, in spite of the fact that people with strong links to the White House were being investigated. He confirmed that the investigation supported claims made by the Washington Post and other sources of dirty tricks and "ratfucking" committed and funded by the Committee to Re-Elect the President, notably activities of questionable legality committed by Donald Segretti. The White House had for months steadfastly denied any involvement in such activities. By the end of the hearing, the ineptitude of the FBI's investigation of Watergate was publicly made clear, increasing the suspicions of many of a cover-up.

It was also publicly revealed that while being Acting FBI Director, Gray had destroyed Watergate evidence after White House Counsel John Dean had instructed him "This should never see the light of day". Given this revelation, Gray withdrew his name from consideration to be permanent FBI Director and he resigned from the FBI on April 27, 1973.

In 1978, Gray was indicted for having approved illegal break-ins during the Nixon administration. Charges were dropped in 1980 and Gray was later pardoned by President Reagan.


This article is based in part on the FBI-Biography http://www.fbi.gov/libref/directors/gray.htm


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