Special Agent: Gay and Inside the FBI

Special Agent: Gay and Inside the FBI

by Frank Buttino, Lou Buttino
     
 

It was a tough job, a dangerous job, and Frank Buttino loved it. For twenty years he served as one of the nation's top FBI agents. He led investigations into organized crime, narcotics, and foreign counterintelligence - and was praised by every FBI director from J. Edgar Hoover to William Sessions. But Frank Buttino also led a secret life - a life he kept hidden from… See more details below

Overview

It was a tough job, a dangerous job, and Frank Buttino loved it. For twenty years he served as one of the nation's top FBI agents. He led investigations into organized crime, narcotics, and foreign counterintelligence - and was praised by every FBI director from J. Edgar Hoover to William Sessions. But Frank Buttino also led a secret life - a life he kept hidden from the FBI, his family, and many of his friends. After years of denial, Frank had finally admitted to himself that he was gay. Extended undercover assignments had prepared him brilliantly for life deep in the closet and enabled him to form a discreet relationship with another man. Then, at forty-three, at the peak of his twenty-year career, an anonymous letter shattered his privacy and revealed his sexual orientation to his parents and to the FBI. First the FBI tried to intimidate him into resigning. When that failed, his security clearance was revoked and he was fired. With exhilarating candor, Frank tells the story of his life as a closeted gay man in the FBI - and as an openly gay man fighting for the right to serve his country. He recounts the strains on his relationship, coming out to his parents, his entry into the gay and lesbian community - and its acceptance and support for him. Frank pulls no punches, commenting on many of the most controversial issues of the day: lesbians and gays in law enforcement and the military; the government's response to the AIDS crisis; the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover (and the issue of his sexual orientation). A Special Agent provides a thrilling and intimate look inside the FBI. In vivid detail, Frank recalls his firsthand experiences working on some of the most famous FBI investigations of our time, including the tragic Mitrione case, and the interrogation (in Frank's dining room) of Mafia member turned government informant Jimmy "The Weasel" Fraianno. Using the skills he developed as an agent, Frank Buttino turned his investigaive talents to his class-action suit

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former Special Agent Buttino grew up in upstate New York, graduated from Colgate University and joined the FBI in 1968. After 20 years of service, an anonymous letter to his parents and the FBI revealed that he was gay. Buttino, who lives in San Diego, was fired. In this cautious, sensitive memoir, Buttino, assisted by his filmmaker brother, discusses his homosexuality, working relationships with his enforcement colleagues, details of his case work and how he found the strength and strategy to pursue a class action suit against the FBI for anti-gay discrimination. The case is still unsettled. Buttino's story, partially reported on 60 Minutes , is a courageous and movingly told account of a man seeking justice and fairness against insidious bureaucracy. The book is also a compelling argument against governmental bias. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Frank Buttino was a 20-year veteran of the FBI with an exemplary record of service who led two secret lives. As an agent, he was commended by FBI directors on numerous occasions for his undercover and investigative work on drug trafficking, organized crime, and espionage cases. But in 1988, his second secret life as a gay man was shattered by a shadowy figure known only as W.J., who ``outed'' Buttino by sending copies of personal letters to the FBI. The author reveals in detail the arduous and excruciating inquiry by the FBI into his private life, objectively exposing the antigay practices of the bureau. Subsequent to his dismissal, Buttino filed a lawsuit to regain his special agent position, and it nears trial. This is a powerful, moving account of one gay man's struggle for acceptance in the federal government. Recommended for all collections.-- Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
Charles Harmon
A first-person account of life inside the FBI as a very conservative man comes to grips with his homosexuality, Frank Buttino's story (Lou is Frank's filmmaker-writer brother) both offers encouragement to closeted gay readers and is a compelling read for anyone. Frank divulged his homosexuality to the FBI only when forced to, after someone sent notes outing him to his parents and, later, to the San Diego FBI office where he worked. Interrogated repeatedly at FBI headquarters, he was subjected to a sloppy investigation, placed on paid administrative leave, and then terminated. Frank responded by filing a suit (now a class-action suit) that is still pending in the federal courts. Like that of servicemen and -women involved in similar cases, Buttino's work had been acknowledged as superior, and he had received commendations from every FBI director, starting with J. Edgar himself. Though the writing is pedestrian in spots, Buttino's is a welcome addition to the growing number of nonfiction accounts of gay men and lesbians fighting discrimination at work, not least because of the experience of liberation that Frank reports accompanied his transformation from closet case to gay activist.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688119584
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/01/1993
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
351

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