W. CLEON SKOUSEN
Back in March 2007, I wrote a preliminary article concerning former FBI Special Agent W. Cleon Skousen after I had received the first 400 pages of his personnel file from the FBI. I have now received the remainder of Skousen’s personnel file [HQ 67-69602] along with a separate file consisting of public source material and correspondence received by the Bureau concerning Skousen’s activities [HQ 94-47468].
I will be quoting extensively from documents in his personnel file pertaining to his career, but first some general biographical information which appears on two of his employment applications. [The following details are from HQ 67-69602, #65; 5/29/40 Skousen Application For Appointment as Special Agent, and HQ 67-69602, #1; 7/22/35 Skousen Application for Appointment as Typist or Messenger.] For additional biographical information, see:
Willard Cleon Skousen was born in
on January 20, 1913. His mother and father (Roy and Rita Bentley Skousen) were born in the Raymond, Alberta, Canada . Cleon lived in the United States starting in 1923. He had 7 brothers and sisters and after marrying his wife, Jewel Pitcher in August 1936, they had 8 children. [Incidentally, one of his brothers, Leroy B. Skousen, was also an FBI Agent from 1941-1954.] United States
From 1919 to 1925 he attended elementary schools in
Canada and in . From 1925 to 1926 he attended Torrance, California Sturgess Junior High School in San Bernardino CA and, subsequently, he attended Juarez Stake Academy in Mexico (1926-1928) and then San Bernardino High School in where he graduated in 1930. From 1933 to 1935, Cleon attended San Bernardino CA and received his Associate of Arts degree. He then attended San Bernardino Junior College , majoring in political science, with a minor in history, and he received his law degree in June 1940. George Washington University
Employment History – Prior to the FBI
For 3 years he worked in road construction as a foreman in his father’s business. He also worked for 3 years as a teletype operator and 2 years as a switchboard operator and 2 years as a missionary for the
Church of Latter Days Saints (Mormon) in England and . Ireland
He entered on duty October 24, 1935 as a messenger. At the beginning of December of that year he became a Clerk. In August 1937 he became Night Supervisor in the Communications Section and on February 16, 1939 he became Chief of the Communications Section. During this entire period, his annual efficiency ratings were “excellent”. His salary during this time started at $1260 annually and progressed to $2100 by July 1939.
Cleon became an FBI Special Agent on June 17, 1940 at an annual salary of $3200. By the time of his retirement in October 1951 he was earning $7600 annually. His last performance rating was “satisfactory”.
After becoming a Special Agent, he attended standard FBI training classes and then was assigned on August 6, 1940 to the
field office. After a short period in Omaha , he was assigned as follows: Omaha
field office Kansas City
04/04/41 = Administrative Division, FBI HQ
06/25/41 = Records and Communications Division, FBI HQ
field office Los Angeles
10/05/51 = retired
As details below will demonstrate, during his FBI career Skousen had no significant investigatory experience. His FBI assignments were primarily administrative in nature. I will be quoting extensively below from a 14-page summary of his performance evaluations which cover his assignments from 1940 thru retirement.
Even more significantly, he had no special exposure to investigations concerning communism in the
. United States
Skousen’s Post-FBI Employment and Activities
After retiring from the Bureau in October 1951, Skousen became an Administrative Assistant to the President of Brigham Young University in
. Salt Lake City
In June 1956, he became Chief of Police in
, but he was fired by Mayor J. Bracken Lee in March 1960. Significantly, J. Bracken Lee shared Cleon’s political philosophy. They both were ultra-conservative and they both endorsed the John Birch Society. J. Bracken Lee also served 6 two-year terms as Mayor of Price, Salt Lake City and then 8 years as Governor of Utah. Utah
Thus, Mayor Lee’s firing of Skousen caused a major shock within conservative political circles – both in
and nationally. [For a detailed discussion of the Lee-Skousen feud, see “Political Feud in Salt Lake City: J. Bracken Lee and the Firing of W. Cleon Skousen”, by Dennis L. Lythgoe, Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1974, or see Lythgoe’s subsequent book, Let 'Em Holler: A Political Biography of J. Bracken Lee - Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1982.] Utah
In August 1960, Mayor Lee wrote a letter to Mrs. Elizabeth Laine of
in which he made the following comments: Arcadia, CA
“To further explain my position, let me say this, that while Mr. Skousen has written a book and talks against Communism, actually he conducted his office as Chief of Police in exactly the same manner in which the Communists operate their government. The man is also a master of half-truths. In at least three instances I have proved him to be a liar before the City Commissioners and the newspaper reporters. To me, he is a very dangerous man because he preaches one thing, practices another, does not tell the truth, and cannot be relied upon. He also was one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in
government.” [HQ 67-69602, #286; 8/8/60 letter from J. Bracken Lee to Mrs. Elizabeth Laine, Salt Lake City ] Arcadia CA
When the Educational News Service of Fullerton, CA ran a favorable article about Skousen in its March 31, 1960 issue, Mayor Lee sent them a blistering 3-page response (with copies to 13 other individuals who served on the Board of Directors of the News Service). Among the accusations made by Lee are the following comments concerning Skousen’s 1958 book, The Naked Communist:
“Your article further states that my charge that Mr. Skousen had been using City Police secretarial assistance in the writing of this book was without foundation. The records will show to the satisfaction of anyone that he did use City Policemen and secretaries both to compile, typewrite, and assemble his notes on this book. While I certainly do not object to the writing of a book in opposition to Communism, I do not think it is right that City funds and personnel be used to write a book which resulted in personal gain to that writer.” [HQ 67-69602, #290; 8/16/60 letter by J. Bracken Lee to Mr. Edward T. Price, President, Education Information Inc of
.] Fullerton CA
After termination as Police Chief, Skousen then ran for the Republican nomination for Governor of Utah and his campaign literature included the phrase, “Served his country in the FBI 16 years, 4 of them as Administrative Assistant to J. Edgar Hoover during World War II, a top assignment.” [HQ 67-69602, #287; Bureau file copy notation on outgoing 1/12/61 letter to Mrs. Norman Hartnett, Bakersfield CA mentions his campaign literature.]
The John Birch Society inflated Skousen’s credentials even further. See discussion at the end of this article. During my debates with JBS members and sympathizers, some have even claimed that Skousen was “third in command” inside the FBI or that he was an “Assistant Director” – both of which are absurd falsehoods.
The Bureau received numerous inquiries about Skousen’s description of himself and it immediately declared there was no such position within the Bureau as “Administrative Assistant” to Hoover.
Nor is there one particle of evidence in his FBI records to suggest that he was a “top aide” to
. He had a supervisory position within the Communications Section but he had no direct contact with Hoover . The names of Bureau employees who actually were “top aides” to Hoover , appeared on Bureau route slips and they also were stamped on internal memos and correspondence so that important material could be routed to them for review and comment. Skousen’s name does NOT appear on either the route slips or the stamped list of names. Hoover
Utah Republican Congressman Henry A. Nixon contacted the Bureau about this matter and his administrative assistant (Mark Cannon) received a telephone call from a senior Bureau official (Robert E. Wick) who pointed out that:
“Wick impressed upon Cannon the fact that the FBI has no control over former Agents; they are not connected with the FBI; and it would appear here that frankly Mr. Skousen is attempting to trade on his former Bureau connection. Wick told him that again very frankly Mr. Hoover and the entire FBI does not appreciate this sort of thing and it is simply unfair to inject the FBI into a political matter of this nature.” … [HQ 94-47468, serial number illegible; 7/28/60 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Mohr re “Administrative Assistant”; Also see HQ 94-47468, #88; 8/22/68 memo from G.E. Malmfeldt to Mr. Bishop re comment in John Birch Society Bulletin which falsely described Skousen as a “top aide” to Hoover.]
Subsequent to his campaign for the Republican nomination for Utah Governor, Skousen became the Editorial Director of the police journal “Law and Order”, and he also associated himself with Fred Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC) as a frequent speaker at “anti-communism schools” around the country.
The Bureau was not impressed by Schwarz or his anti-communism “schools”. The Bureau’s Chief Inspector (their expert on communist matters), made the following observations about Schwarz:
“As we know, Dr. Schwarz is an opportunist and we are not having anything to do with him and his activities. It might be added that such people as Dr. Schwarz are largely responsible for misinforming people and stirring them up emotionally to the point that when FBI lecturers present the truth, it becomes very difficult for the misinformed to accept it. In my opinion, Schwarz and others like him can only do the country and the anticommunist work of the Bureau harm.” [HQ 62-69602, #297; 3/13/61 memo from FBI Chief Inspector W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont]. The Bureau frequently described Schwarz with the epithet “professional anticommunist” – and they also included Billy James Hargis (Christian Crusade), former FBI Special Agent Dan Smoot and Edgar C. Bundy (Church League of America).
Skousen was described by the CACC as a “faculty member”. One such school was named “Project Alert” and it featured Skousen speeches from October thru December 1961 in
. The promotional brochure for the school described “faculty member” Skousen as follows: Wisconsin
“Skousen entered the FBI in 1935 and served in various parts of the
for a period of 16 years. During World War II he served as an administrative supervisor under J. Edgar Hoover in U.S. D.C…Mr. Skousen was recently appointed the Field Director for the American Security Council. The most outstanding speaker to graduate from the FBI, he averages 350 speeches a year.” Washington
Not surprisingly, the FBI received hundreds of inquiries concerning Skousen’s background and, in particular, his claims to expertise regarding communism.
By October 1961, the Bureau received so many inquiries that Associate Director Clyde Tolson (the #2 official in the Bureau hierarchy) asked subordinates to check Skousen’s personnel file “in an effort to determine what contact he may have had with the subject of communism in connection with his assignments while working for the FBI.”
The resulting 3-page summary memo contained the following observations:
“Skousen entered on duty 10-24-35 in a clerical position and as an Agent on 6-17-40. He resigned while assigned to the Los Angeles Office on 10-5-51…When he first came to the Bureau as a clerical employee in 1935, he was a messenger. On 8-1-37 he became a night supervisor in the Communications Section and on 2-16-39 he became chief of the Communications Section, his work for the most part being connected with the Teletype Unit.“
“He entered Agents’ Training School on 6-17-40. There is no definite indication in his personnel file that he had any contact with the subject of communism other than the fact that in his first office, which was Omaha, an efficiency report indicated that he handled all types of cases except bank robbery and antitrust. He was assigned to the Omaha Office from August 1940, to December 1940, when he transferred to the Kansas City Office.”
“On 4-4-41, he reported to the Chief Clerk’s Office here at the Bureau and was transferred to the Records and Communications Division on 6-25-41. On 6-5-45 he was transferred to the Los Angeles Office. Efficiency reports indicate that he was primarily concerned with criminal, selective service, and applicant work in his field office assignments. During the period he was in the Los Angeles Office, in addition to some criminal work, he was primarily assigned to police training schools and spoke on the subjects of juvenile delinquency, police administration and public relations. Files indicate that he was a notable speaker and was used extensively on speeches beginning in his first office of assignment as an Agent. In the early 1940s Skousen spoke several times on the subjects of sabotage, national defense and subversive groups; however, due to the fact that this was the period leading up to and beginning World War II, the subversive groups to which he had referred were undoubtedly German or Axis powers.”
“During his tenure at the Seat of Government [
] as an Agent, he was a supervisor in the Chief Clerk’s Office in the Communications Section and later was assigned to what is now known as the Crime Research Section. A review of articles and statements on which Agents of the Crime Research Section conducted research at that time has been checked and there is nothing to indicate that he did any research on the subject of communism; however, he did research for several articles on sabotage.” … Washington DC
“A brief check of abstracts under Skousen’s name revealed that between 1941 and 1946 he handled a limited number of investigations or wrote reports or memoranda on internal security and espionage classifications, and from 1947 until he resigned there were no abstracts under his name for either the internal security or espionage classifications. Inasmuch as there was no mention in his personnel file of his having anything to do with communist matters, the fact that abstracts indicate he did some internal security and espionage work back in the early 1940s is undoubtedly insignificant, but rather every indication is that he was primarily associated with criminal work.” [HQ 67-69602, #214; 10/12/61 memo from M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach].
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have obtained the personnel files of many former FBI Special Agents---including several whose service was during the same time period as Skousen’s. Typically, when an Agent had specific experience with “communist matters”, or the Agent was considered to have developed any expertise in that area, their annual efficiency reports routinely mentioned such accomplishments during the discussion of their overall performance rating. Significantly, Skousen’s performance evaluations DO NOT mention such experience or expertise --- as will be seen below.
In March 1960 Skousen was added to the FBI’s “Special Correspondents List” [SCL]. Persons considered friendly toward Bureau interests were added to the SCL and they were sent FBI publications such as the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, or FBI Uniform Crime Reports, or general data to present the Bureau point of view. Often, correspondence and inquiries from persons on the SCL received expedited attention.
Skousen was added to the SCL because of his previous position as Police Chief in
Salt Lake City, as well as him becoming editor of a national law enforcement journal, plus his work as a field representative of the American Security Council in . Chicago
Several senior officials of the ASC were former FBI employees, including former Inspector Lee Pennington. Pennington also served on the Americanism Commission of the American Legion. (See below for additional information regarding Skousen and ASC).
However, in September 1961 as the Bureau grew more concerned about “right-wing extremists” around the country, FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson inquired if Cleon Skousen, or former Special Agent Dan Smoot, or Fred Schwarz (Christian Anti-Communism Crusade) were on any Bureau mailing lists.
The answer for Smoot and Schwarz was “no”, but when Tolson learned that Skousen was on the Bureau’s SCL, he instructed that he be removed immediately. J. Edgar Hoover handwrote “Right” on the bottom of the memo discussing the matter. [HQ 94-47468, no serial number; 9/8/61 memo from C.D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson.]
In April 1962, former FBI Inspector Lee Pennington called the Bureau and spoke to Special Agent Joseph Sizoo. The Bureau memo on this call reports:
“Former Inspector Lee Pennington who is now associated with the American Security Council called Monday in connection with another matter and advised that Skousen had been dropped by the ASC. He had previously represented them in connection with certain speaking commitments, but Pennington said ASC people thought he had ‘gone off the deep end’ and his services had been discontinued.” [HQ 67-69602, #329; 4/11/62 memo from J.A. Sizoo to W.C. Sullivan.]
Retired Admiral Chester Ward was a member of the National Strategy Committee of the American Security Council and his concerns about Skousen were transmitted to the Bureau in January 1963, after Norman H. McCabe (a former FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge), contacted the Bureau.
McCabe brought the attention of the Bureau to Skousen’s proposed participation in a course on communism being sponsored by the ASC. The course was to consist of 65 one-half-hour TV programs featuring Skousen and other alleged authorities on communism.
The Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy (Rear Admiral William C. Mott) contacted FBI Chief Inspector William Sullivan to report his concerns about Skousen’s participation. Sullivan then observed:
“Mott stated that he recently had talked with Admiral Chester Ward, the retired former Judge Advocate General, who told him that he, Ward, had been contacted by Skousen to see if he would be a participating member in the program. Ward told Mott that Skousen impressed him as an ‘unprincipled racketeer in anticommunism’ who is ‘money mad’ and who is doing anything and everything to exploit the subject. Ward told Mott that he intended to have absolutely nothing to do with Skousen in this or any other of his money-making ventures in this field since he feels that Skousen is totally unqualified and is interested solely in furthering his own personal ends.”
“As you know, we frequently receive inquiries from the public regarding Skousen’s qualifications to speak with authority on the subject of communism. In view of his obvious efforts to capitalize on his former Bureau association, I feel that it would be well for us to take positive measures to clarify the Bureau’s position in regard to Skousen whenever we receive public inquiries concerning him. I feel, for example, that in addition to stating that his views are his own, that we should also add in correspondence concerning him that he was not regarded as any authority on communism while employed with the FBI. That is certainly a true statement and it might serve in some measure to prevent Skousen from using the FBI’s name for his own personal gain.” [HQ 67-69602, #338; 1/2/63 memo from W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont.]
Interesting footnote: the writings of both Admiral Chester Ward and Cleon Skousen were recommended and sold by the John Birch Society. Skousen spoke under the auspices of the JBS Speakers Bureau and he authored a 1963 pamphlet entitled, “The Communist Attack On The John Birch Society” which may be seen here: http://www.zeios.com/OurRepublic/Article/27
Sometimes, other former FBI Special Agents contacted the Bureau to report adverse evaluations of Skousen’s appearances around the country. For example, in April 1962, former FBI Special Agent Robert Dellwo sent a letter to FBI Chief Inspector W.C. Sullivan. As Sullivan reports:
“Reference is made to the enclosed letter to me from the above-captioned person, a former FBI Agent who remains a very intelligent and staunch supporter of the Bureau. In this letter, he asks if I could lecture on communism to a gathering of some 7500 people whom he thinks it is possible to organize in Spokane, Washington…Further, it is to be noted that this event would be held as a counter to a similar affair held just recently in Spokane where the principal speakers were extreme right-wingers such as Cleon Skousen.” …
“I think it is of interest to the Bureau to note what Mr. Dellwo has to say about Skousen:
‘Skousen generally keeping the people scared and then at the end of his talk enunciated what he termed an extremely simple solution to the whole problem…His general approach was that on the left was totalitarianism. On the right was anarchy. Along side totalitarianism was international communism, next to it was fascism, next to it were the socialists, then the social democrats, and in the middle were wings one and two of the conservatives and liberals of the United States.’ [HQ 94-47468, #52; 4/24/62 memo from W.C. Sullivan to A.H. Belmont].
Skousen’s speeches around the country were often heard by many thousands of persons who attended Fred Schwarz’s “anti communism schools”. His comments were often so inflammatory that J. Edgar Hoover received numerous letters asking for details concerning Skousen’s FBI employment.
One of the standard
replies was sent to Sister Mary Shaun of Notre Dame Convent. Hoover stated: Hoover
“I welcome the opportunity to make it perfectly clear that former Special Agents of the FBI are not necessarily experts on communism. Some of them have sought to capitalize on their former employment with this Bureau for the purpose of establishing themselves as such authorities. I am firmly convinced there are too many self-styled experts on communism, without valid credentials and without any access whatsoever to classified, factual data, who are engaging in rumormongering and hurling false and wholly unsubstantiated allegations against people whose views differ from their own. This makes more difficult the task of the professional investigator.”
“Mr. W. Cleon Skousen entered on duty with the FBI as a clerk on October 24, 1935, in which capacity he served until June 17, 1940, when he became a Special Agent. He voluntarily resigned the latter position on October 5, 1951. Mr. Skousen is no longer associated with the FBI and his opinions are strictly his own and do not represent this Bureau in any way.” [HQ 94-47468, #49; 4/17/62 J. Edgar Hoover reply to Sister Mary Shaun, Notre Dame Convent,
.] Trenton, NJ
By contrast, the Birch Society’s Speakers Bureau publicity release on Skousen describes him inaccurately as follows: “He entered the FBI in 1935, serving first as a special agent and later in a supervisory administrative position at FBI headquarters.”
A July 1961 memo from the FBI’s Chief Inspector, W.C. Sullivan, to A.H. Belmont discusses a report in a
newspaper which mentioned that Skousen was planning to write a textbook on communism. Sullivan confirms yet again that Skousen developed no particular expertise regarding communist matters while in the Bureau: San Antonio TX
“As we know, Skousen, when he was in the FBI, did not concentrate in the field of communism. However, he has been giving lectures on the subject around the country, and during the past year has affiliated himself with the extreme right-wing groups under the leadership of Frederick Schwartz [sic] of
. The above, to me, is another example of why a sound, scholarly textbook on communism by the Director is urgently and badly needed.” [HQ 67-69602, #311; 7/29/61 memo from Sullivan to Texas .] Belmont
In September 1964, the John Birch Society magazine, American Opinion, published a summary about J. Edgar Hoover’s career which was written by Skousen and the magazine’s front cover featured a painting of
by Daniel Michael Canavan. Senior FBI officials debated whether or not to acknowledge Skousen’s favorable article about Hoover . The Bureau memo on the matter observes: Hoover
“The activities of Skousen are well known to the Bureau…In recent years he has been aligned closely with the extreme right-wing such as the John Birch Society and has been characterized as an ‘unprincipled racketeer in anticommunism’ who is ‘money mad’ and who is doing everything and anything to exploit the subject of anticommunism. Bureau files reveal Skousen has always been a strong supporter of the Bureau and the Director; however, he has not hesitated to trade on his former association with the Bureau in order to achieve stature as a writer and lecturer on anticommunism. In view of this, it is not felt we should acknowledge his favorable comments about Mr. Hoover. Bufiles reflect that in 1951 the Bureau conducted a Departmental applicant investigation on a Daniel Michael Canavan of
. This investigation revealed that Canavan had been discharged from the Army in 1946 because of ‘schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type’. A later name check form on Canavan reflected that he was self-employed as a commercial artist.” HQ 62-104401, #2280; 10/8/64 memo from M.A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach.] New York City
At this point I will quote extensively from a detailed 14-page summary of Skousen’s performance reports which was prepared in 1961. As will be seen below, there are repeated references to his assignments being primarily administrative. And when commendations are discussed, it usually pertains to matters concerning Skousen’s research, speeches, and activities concerning juvenile delinquency and police school instruction.
The November 3, 2006 issue of the Birch Society magazine, The New American, contains an article about Skousen by
Mass entitled “He Definitely Made A Difference”. Warren
That article includes this outrageous falsehood:
“Given that during his tenure as an FBI Agent Skousen was closely associated with J. Edgar Hoover [Skousen was one of two FBI agents authorized to speak about communism if Hoover could not address the topic himself], it is not surprising that Skousen became knowledgeable about the subversive communist threat, knowledge that led him to publish The Naked Communist in 1958.”
As the data above (and below) reveals:
- Skousen was never “closely associated with J. Edgar Hoover”.
- Skousen was NOT “one of two FBI agents authorized to speak about communism”. On sensitive subjects such as communism or internal security matters, the Bureau almost always authorized as a speaker either the FBI Chief Inspector (their expert on communist matters) OR somebody who worked within their Domestic Intelligence Division (DID) – usually a Supervisor or Section Chief. Skousen never worked in DID and he never had significant exposure to data concerning communist matters --- as his performance review comments below demonstrate. His expertise was primarily administrative (which is why you will see so many references below to his participation in FBI Field Office inspections).
- And, as the summary presented to Associate Director Tolson (quoted above) points out, “from 1947 until he resigned there were no abstracts under his name for either the internal security or espionage classifications.”
The references below to “SAC” refer to the Special-Agent-in-Charge who wrote Skousen’s performance evaluations:
“SAC Stein reported he [Skousen] was very promising material, was mature beyond his years and exercised very good judgment, was well acquainted with Bureau policy and was above average in intelligence, industry and comprehension of the Bureau’s work, had handled all types of cases in that office except bankruptcy and antitrust with very good results…had made numerous speeches and several persons had informed he made a very good talk and was a fine representative of the Bureau, it was believed he possessed both administrative and executive ability…”
“SAC Brantley reported he had a rather comprehensive knowledge of the duties of a Special Agent for one so new in the service…the U.S. Attorney had commented favorably upon his work, got along well with peace officers and his work among confidential informants had been satisfactory as well as his participation in the American Legion program.”
FBI HEADQUARTERS – CHIEF CLERK’S OFFICE (April 1941 – June 1941)
“On 4-4-41 he was transferred to the Seat of Government where he was assigned to the Chief Clerk’s Office as a supervisor. By memorandum dated 4-14-41, Mr. Clegg said from interviewing re-trainees he had learned that this Agent had done some remarkably fine work as an instructor and that repeated statements had been made concerning his recent delivery of lectures before police groups…Mr. Glavin reported this Agent had been assigned to the duties of interviewing clerical applicants and the manner in which he had been performing his duties was particularly pleasing, his memoranda had been very concise and yet complete…in connection with his interview, had briefed a number of files during his assignment and he had handled miscellaneous Congressional inquiries.
FBI HQ – COMMUNICATIONS SECTION (June 1941 – August 1944)
“On 6-25-41 he was placed in charge of the Communications Section. Mr. Nichols reported he had done excellent work in the training of new Messengers and new employees, had imagination, could think problems through, followed details thoroughly…his work had been very satisfactory…By letter dated 10-14-41, the Director advised he was pleased to note the fine compliment which had been paid to this Agent as a Bureau representative when he addressed the Missouri Press Association. By memorandum dated 11-28-41 Mr. Nichols expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner in which this Agent handled a telephone call with Howard Hiatt. As a result of the mishandling of two radiograms, this Agent was censured by letter dated 1-30-42 for not properly instructing all employees in the Communication Section. On the 1942 annual efficiency rating he was rated as excellent by Mr. Nichols…In January 1943, Mr. Nichols reported this Agent had developed considerably during the past year, definitely had administrative ability, handled personnel very well and the morale in his section was among the highest in the Bureau…On 6-7-43 he was designated Personnel Assistant of the Communications and Records Division. In a memorandum to the Director dated 9-2-43, Mr. Laughlin said this Agent was made available to the Staff of the House Appropriations Committee to conduct a survey and inquiry into the central switchboard and teletype facilities operated by the Central Administrative Services of the Office for Emergency Management for the use of the various war agencies…On 1-11-44, Mr. Hicks said based on observations made by representatives of the Training Division during the past year, this Agent was considered a better than average lecturer…By letter dated 3-31-44, this Agent was advised the failure of one of the employees of the Mail Review and Dispatch Unit to carry out specific instructions in connection with the mailing of a letter which was to receive special handling in the Washington Field Office reflected upon the administration of his office. On the 1944 annual efficiency rating, he was rated excellent by Mr. Nichols. Beginning March 27, 1944 this Agent was assigned to the Washington Field Office for a period of two weeks. SAC Hottel reported that during the first week he was assigned to general investigations…During the second week he was engaged in security matter investigations, spending one day of the week in the operation of a technical surveillance. On 6-22-44, SAC Abbaticchio commended the talk that Agent Skousen gave at the Rotary Club,
on 6-21-44. On 8-1-44 he was assigned to Crime Records Section. Birmingham AL
FBI HQ – CRIME RECORDS SECTION (August 1944 to June 1945)
“On 10-19-44 Mr. Nichols rated him excellent…Since his assignment in Crime Records he had general supervision over the preparation of ‘FBI This Week’ and ‘The Investigator’ and had done a very good job on each. At the present time he was being quite successful in improving each publication and in creating additional interest in the magazines on the part of Bureau personnel. He had handled several assignments involving original writing and had done a uniformly good job on each. He had also handled a number of very special tours in a very creditable manner. He had likewise filled several speaking engagements and the response from each had been uniformly good…By letter dated 3-3-45 he was commended for the fine comments received concerning his recent address at a Parent Teachers Association meeting. On 3-31-45 Mr. Nichols rated him excellent and said he had an excellent appearance, a winning personality, and an abundance of enthusiasm. He had had general supervision over The Investigator and FBI This Week since his assignment in the section and had done an outstanding job on each…He had developed two of the girls of the section to the point where they could handle much of the work on these two publications. He was one of the best speakers in the Bureau and had given a number of speeches in Washington and vicinity during the past year…In addition he had taken quite a number of special visitors through the Bureau on tours and his work in this regard was outstanding…On 5-24-45 Mr. H.H. Clegg advised that Skousen was afforded training as an Inspector’s assistant on 5-21 and 22, 1945 and it was believed he was qualified to assist in the course of field office inspections…On 6-5-45 he was transferred to the Los Angeles Office due to his ill health and his headquarters was also at San Bernardino.”
LOS ANGELES FIELD OFFICE (June 1945 – thru retirement 10/5/51)
On 8-13-45 SAC Hood rated him excellent and said since arriving in the Los Angeles Office he had been assigned to Selective Service investigation and recently was assigned to a special squad investigating black market activities…On 11-28-45, Mr. Gurnea advised the Bureau that Agent Skousen assisted him during the inspection of the Portland office…He had an excellent knowledge of the Bureau’s rules and regulations and required a minimum amount of supervision after his assignments were made…In January 1946 he was recommended for possible development as an SAC…On 3-31-46 SAC Hood rated him excellent and said he made a splendid personal appearance…He organized his work well, proceeded on his own responsibility and by application of initiative and good judgment was successful in bringing cases to a logical conclusion…He had been assigned to Selective Service matters where he had performed an average volume of work. He had also worked on Black Market activities in the field office and did a commendable job. He had made numerous speeches during his assignment here for which he had received letters of commendation…It was believed he definitely possessed supervisory or administrative ability…On 4-3-46 his SAC was advised that Skousen recently completed a specialized course in juvenile control at the Seat of Government and was now qualified as an instructor in Juvenile control. He was also qualified as a general police instructor. On 5-23-46 the SAC of the Portland Office advised that Skousen handled the subjects of ‘Public Relations’ and ‘Juvenile Delinquency’ at the statewide school of Police Administration held in Portland March 6th to 9th…By letter dated 8-28-46 he was commended for the excellent manner in which he conducted an interview with Mr. John M. Zook, Los Angeles County Probation officer…On 3-31-47 SAC Hood rated him excellent…He was an outstanding representative of the Bureau before law enforcement officers…His SAC had occasion to commend him on numerous occasions for speeches made before local groups…He had a good knowledge of the techniques involved in physical and technical surveillances…It is to be noted during an inspection of the Los Angeles Office in February 1947, Inspector Gurnea advised he was attached to the general criminal squad. In addition, he assisted in police school work…In April 1947 Mr. O.C. Smith, Chief of Police of Whittier CA commended this Agent and others for the training the officers of his department received in gunnery and various phases of police investigation from these Agents…On 1-29-48 Mr. Gurnea advised Agent Skousen assisted him during the inspection of the Phoenix office and he was particularly familiar with office administrative devices when compared with other Agents…On 3-31-48 SAC Hood rated him excellent…He was assigned to the general criminal investigative squad and had the responsibility of writing the Crime Survey and also Interesting Case Write-Ups. During this period the majority of his time had been used as a police instructor. He also was used as an Inspector’s Aide and gave numerous Bureau speeches…He was outstanding in research matters, he spent considerable time doing research on police administration and supervision, juvenile matters, crime conditions and allied matters…On 12-21-48 Inspector Gurnea advised that Agent Skousen assisted him during the Butte and Salt Lake City inspections.”
All the subsequent remarks repeat the same type observations as reported above. The comments praise all the work Skousen did with respect to writing manuscripts pertaining to juvenile delinquency and his participation at police school training classes. In May 1950, for example: “It is to be noted on 5-3-50 the SAC of the San Diego Office stated that Agent Skousen was primarily responsible for the organization and handling of a Juvenile Crime Control School at San Diego California, April 25-27th…On 7-11-50…he had been most outstanding as a police instructor during the past year in the office, having devoted considerable personal time to the preparation of material for his lectures…On 9-15-51, SAC Hood rated him satisfactory and stated he had served exclusively in handling police schools, making speeches, and instructing moot court procedure.”
The last entry on this summary concerns his speeches after leaving the FBI:
“Memorandum to Mr. Belmont dated 3-1-61, reflected that Mr. Skousen had spoken on Communism and his recent speeches in this field were beginning to border on the verge of rabble rousing.” [HQ 62-69602, #334; 5/23/61 summary memo by C.R. Davidson to Mr. Callahan, captioned “W. Cleon Skousen – Former Special Agent”.]