Was Rowland Evans, Robert Novak‘s conservative lifelong reporting partner, secretly gay? Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, thought so, and according to internal memos obtained by Radar through the Freedom of Information Act, they tasked the FBI with proving it.
Evans, a patrician right-winger who coauthored a nationally syndicated political column with Novak for 30 years before his death in 2001, was a feared and relentless reporter and an ever-present personality on the Washington cocktail-party circuit in his day.
In a November 25, 1970, memo to his aides, then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover recounted a telephone conversation with Haldeman in which the chief of staff requested a “run down on the homosexuals known and suspected in the Washington press corps.” Haldeman gave Hoover a couple names to kick off the homo hunt: “Mr. Haldeman mentioned [redacted], [redacted], Evans, [redacted] and some of the others generally rumored to be and also whether we had any other stuff; that he, the President, has an interest in what, if anything else, we know.”
Two days later, Hoover sent Haldeman a two-page response captioned “HOMOSEXUALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., PRESS CORPS” that yielded approximately jack squat. “Our files reveal no data pertinent to your inquiry concerning [redacted], Rowland Evans, and [redacted],” Hoover wrote.
While the details of Nixon’s gay witch-hunt have been previously reported, the partially unredacted memos obtained by Radar reveal for the first time that Evans, who was married and had two children, was a target.
[Document scans after the jump!]