Knowledge of private misconduct or misconduct in public office can be used to blackmail public officials into granting concessions either in cash or in other privileges. Political blackmail is used in espionage as a means of extracting information, but it may also be used by individuals or groups with a vested interest. The latter leaves a public official equally vulnerable to espionage tactics.
J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI from 1924 until his death in 1972, has been the focus of recent accusations involving homosexuality and political blackmail. According to several sources released in 1993, Hoover's homosexuality and participation in transvestite orgies made him a target of blackmail by the Mafia, which may explain Hoover's lifetime denial of the existence of organized crime in America.