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Nixon’s FBI: Hoover, Watergate, and a Bureau in Crisis

Melissa Graves
Nixon’s FBI: Hoover, Watergate, and a Bureau in Crisis
ISBN: 978-1-62637-917-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-920-6
2020/247 pages/LC: 2020014993

"Provides a new perspective on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the lens of Watergate.... A robust qualitative analysis that further elucidates current presidential-bureaucratic relations. Provides valuable nuance for anyone interested in executive branch politics, security and surveillance policies, and institutional development." —Ryan D. Williamson, Political Science Quarterly

"Nixon's FBI makes powerful, well documented arguments." —Hayden Peake, Studies in Intelligence

"Graves brilliantly discusses the history of the Watergate scandal, as well as other significant factors including Nixon's relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, and generally the FBI and other law enforcement agencies." —Kevin Cassidy, Criminal Law & Criminal Justice Books

"Compelling.... Graves has produced a well-sourced, clearly organized, and cogently written text that provides depth and care concerning a complicated and important period in American history.... As the country tries to move on from the chaos of the Trump years, Graves’ text provides a crucial warning for the future." —Adam M. McMahon, Congress & The Presidency

"A fine book." —Choice

"A necessary reference for intelligence history aficionados—professionals and academics alike." —Raymond Batvinis, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

"Nixon’s FBI [is] an important read." —James Robenalt, Washington Decoded

"A fascinating account of the FBI during a tumultuous period."—Richard M. Yon, US Military Academy


Polly Corrigan Book Prize Finalist!

In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. In 2020, Donald Trump was impeached. Both were investigated by the FBI, an agency under their control. How is it that the bureau is responsible for investigating the president it serves? How can it do so effectively? Nixon's FBI confronts these questions.

Melissa Graves draws on groundbreaking research and personal interviews with several of the agents involved to take us back to the time of the Watergate scandal. Her new perspective on J. Edgar Hoover's last days, his successor's tenure, and the many obstacles that FBI special agents faced from both their leadership and the White House reveals the always complex and often fraught relationship between the president and the FBI ... and makes palpable the ways that history repeats itself.


Melissa Graves is assistant professor of intelligence studies at The Citadel.


  • The FBI and the US Presidency.
  • Hoover's Sabotage and Nixon's Plumbers.
  • Protecting the Bureau's Jurisdiction.
  • The Bureau Under Scrutiny.
  • Hoover's Final Days.
  • Nixon's New Acting Director.
  • The Watergate Investigation.
  • The Past Informs the Present.