Edwin Newton Atherton (October 12, 1896 – August 31, 1944) was born in Washington D.C. and served as a Foreign Service Officer, BOI Agent, Private Investigator and head of the college athletics organization, the Pacific Coast Conference in the 1940s.
Atherton studied law at Georgetown University (1914) and was said to be a fraternity brother of J. Edgar Hoover. After graduation, he entered the consular service (1916) where during World War I he served in Italy, Bulgaria and Jerusalem. After the war, Atherton served in Canada. He resigned from consular duties and joined the Department of Justice in 1924. He served in New York, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and headed the Department of Justice office in San Francisco California.
His service in the BOI (later FBI) was notable for his having worked on the 1924 capture of a neo-revolutionary army of Mexican nationals under the leadership of General Enrique Estrada at Engineer Springs on the California border. He resigned from the BOI in 1927 and started a private investigating firm in Los Angeles with a partner, Joseph Dunn called Atherton and Dunn.
Atherton's firm was hired to investigate police graft and corruption and wrote the so-called Atherton Report on corruption in the San Francisco Police Department in the late 1930s.