His personnel file finally obtained after us waiting 3 years, the background of WFO SAC, John Keith is one that has long been forgotten in Bureau history. It is, however, a picture of a man who professed his admiration for not only the role of the Bureau in society, but his continued support for his leader, J. Edgar Hoover. 

We had to take a look at Keith and his role in the Bureau for many reasons. His many roles in firearms and training overall lie importantly in the buried files of the period 1919 through the mid 1930s. 

Keith’s role with Frank Baughman 1n 1933 and members of JEH’s Committee in choosing the weapons the Bureau would use in coming months and years would fade to Bureau personnel just like Baughman’s role in all of it did. In a way, his role with choosing firearms and training in general was ironic because all the military banned him from entering service due to his failing eyesight. 

Keith’s entry and progress in the Bureau started in 1919, before JEH becoming Director, as an informant in Texas and turned from informant to being hired as “Special Employee” to Special agent in the mid 1920s.  That went to SAC, Phoenix to SAC, WFO and back to HQ as time went on.  On his own, when JEH entered as Director, he became a supporter of Keith and his already existing agent roles in the Bureau.

After JEH became Director in the mid 1920s, Keith’s file contains numerous one on one discussions about many topics. It was actually at that time that JEH discussed with him the policy of the Bureau agents not using alcohol on duty. There were simply too many drinking incidents and we found many of them in the old admin and 67 files of others. 

JEH’s personal discussion about alcohol use can be seen/downloaded here. It goes back to the 1920s..

John Keith’s senior photo from college, prior to FBI entry

John Keith’s senior photo from college, prior to FBI entry