Today in 1932 the “cutting edge” FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory officially opened in Washington, D.C. The lab was one room, chosen because it had a sink, was run by one agent who borrowed a microscope and was more a public relations stunt, rather than a crime lab. J. Edgar Hoover provided little in operating funds.
In its early years, the FBI Lab received maybe 200 pieces of evidence in a year. Today it gets over 600 pieces of evidence each day to examine.
Today in 1947 the House of Representatives voted 346 to 17 to issue citations to 10 Hollywood writers, directors, and producers for contempt of Congress. The “Hollywood 10″ refused to answer questions by the House Un-American Activities Commission if they were or ever were members of the communist party. The men felt the questions were a violation of their 1st amendment rights.
Chairman J. Parnell Thomas said Congress had every right to ask about political affiliations. “The Constitution was never intended to cloak or shield those who would destroy it.”
In a joint statement, the Hollywood 10 replied “the Congress cite the Bill of Rights for contempt…The United States can keep its constitutional liberties or it can keep the Thomas Committee. It can’t keep both.”
The Hollywood 10 were sentenced to one year in jail. Later, the Supreme Court upheld the contempt charges.
Today in 1971 a hijacker known only as D. B. Cooper, extorted $200,000 cash with a bomb threat aboard a Northwest Orient 727 in Washington State. Cooper ordered the plane to fly toward Mexico at a low altitude and somewhere in southwest Washington he bailed out of the plane at 10,000 feet into a thunderstorm with 100 mph winds and a temperature below zero.
Most investigators assume Cooper did not survive the jump. In 1980, a boy found a stack of currency on the bank of the Colombia River about five miles from Vancouver, Washington, amounting to $5,880, which matched the recorded serial numbers of some of the ransom money. No other trace of the money or D. B. Cooper has ever been found.
At least three different people have been identified as the mysterious D. B. Cooper by independent investigators who claimed to have solved the mystery.
Today in 1944 for the first time since the Doolittle Raid, an awesome number of 111 B-29 bombers raided Tokyo. Even with radar, poor weather and obstructing clouds caused all but about 50 bombs to miss the intended target of the Nakajima Aircraft Works.
Only one plane was lost in the raid.
Happy birthday Zachary Taylor, soldier, veteran of the War of 1812, the Blackhawk War (1832), Seminole War (1835 – 1837), the Mexican – American War (1846-1848) and 12th president (1849 – 1850), who was born today in 1784 at Montebello, Virginia. The exact cause of his death, on July 9, 1850, continues to be debated by historians, it is likely that Taylor succumbed to a case of cholera at age 65. He is buried at Springfield, Kentucky.