With a face as pretty as Sandra Bullock’s, it’s not surprising any business would want her to be its public persona. But if your business is busting up terror rings, combating organized crime, thwarting cyber attacks and other dangerous affairs, does it make any sense to even have a public face?
The Reel Story: Agent Gracie Hart (Bullock) is back in “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” but this time she’s got a different mission. After dropping her tough-guy agent persona and blossoming into a beauty-pageant queen, Agent Hart gained nationwide fame. Her cover blown while trying to stop a bank heist — even the robbers know who she is — Gracie is unable to perform her duties as an agent anymore. Knowing that anonymity kind of helps when fighting crime, her bosses back at the bureau reassign Gracie to be the public face of the FBI.
Discouraged from actually fighting crime, Gracie is groomed and manicured to the point of looking like a drag queen, and is expected to give press conferences and personal safety demonstrations on “Live With Regis and Kelly.” This had us wondering, would the FBI ever use one of its highly trained agents for public-relations stunts? Has there ever been a “face of the FBI?”
The Real Story: Not exactly.
When fighting crime, especially violent criminals like gangsters and terrorists, most agents like to keep their identity on the down low. Obviously, it’s important to keep the element of surprise, as well as protect your loved ones.
However, while there has never been an official face of the FBI, history has given us a few well-known representatives of the bureau. In the 1930s, Eliot Ness became famous as the head of a group of incorruptible agents bent on nabbing gangster Al “Scarface” Capone. While he didn’t end up actually bringing Capone down — the legendary gangster was eventually nabbed for tax violations — Ness did make Capone’s life miserable and the streets of Chicago safer. He was further immortalized in the book “The Untouchables,” which spawned a movie and hit TV series.
The top contender for the slot though, is probably the rather un-Gracie-like J. Edgar Hoover. Director of the FBI from 1924 until his death in 1972, Hoover held the post for nearly 50 years and is credited with shaping the agency into an incorruptible law office. Hoover is probably best known for fighting gangsters in the Prohibition era, and his vigorous anti-communism campaigning after the second World War. In order to publicize the work the agency was doing to fight crime, he participated personally in the arrests of several gangsters in the 1930s. Notorious for keeping secret files on everyone from John Lennon and Martin Luther King Jr. to prominent politicians, Hoover became a controversial figure in the end. He was accused of abusing his authority to blackmail public figures and engaging in political persecution — such as harassing Americans suspected of being “subversives.”
The FBI had no comment on our story … apparently, its PR people are trying to keep a low profile.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Miss Congeniality 2.”
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