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MongoDB kThreat of Communism wasind of a big deal This would be the part of the book where I leaned heavily on Wikipedia to give me a bit context on a hit parade of names that came up in a mix of Bureau espionage achievements and embarrassments You now the type of stuff that would have Ronald Reagan joking into the microphone during soundcheck My fellow Americans I m pleased to tell you today that I ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever Even as the targets of secret intelligence operations and the faces of terror shifted from the likes of Aldrich Ames and Alger Hiss to the Blind Sheik below and Osama Bin Laden there remained one constant critical threat to the American way of life I think FBI Director Robert S Mueller from 2001 to 2013 summed it up best We did not have a management system in place to assure that we were following the law The Rules of EngagementWeiner does get into the detail of how changes in technology and personnel not to mention geopolitics alteredcontinues to alter the elusive balance between security and freedom He does a pretty damn good job of it too so you now read the book because it s interesting and intricate stuff Some rules have become a bit clear You now like the fact that if invited in law enforcement can enter your home without a warrant citation Cyril Figgis And once that happens well I ll let Agent Hawley say it Oh come on Did you really expect me to do this entire review without at least one Archer reference An informative disturbing book on the history of the FBI which at its worst moments has functioned as something like the United States version of the Stasi As the book describes for the first half century after its creation it was the tool of one man alone J Edgar Hoover Hoover turned the bureau into a weapon to snuff out communist subversion in the United States At the time of its creation the threat of revolution in America was real and the bureau was above all created to prevent such an occurrence The bureau made war on workers movements and helped support the bosses in their battle to crush organized laborIn fairness the Soviets were doing espionage in America and dreamt of triggering a revolution of the working class that would lead to a Soviet America Later on they would abandon revolutionary goals and focus on trying to steal military secrets and win informants which they did with considerable success But in what has become a running theme of FBI operati Why is it so hard for the United States to have an effective intelligence service and achieve a reasonable balance between individual rights and national security Weiner s history of the FBI had me asking that uestion and the likely answers were not comforting Ever since 1917 when the Red Threat arose and J Edgar Hoover joined what would become the FBI abuse of power and confusion have been the hallmarks of the FBI Hoover s need to eep tight personal control meant the FBI was never properly organized His legacy haunts it to this dayHoover as bad as he was with his private collection of secrets on everyone of importance Die Neurobiologie des Glücks knew his limits and not to go beyond them which is why he lasted in the FBI 55 years Worse than Hoover were presidents such as JFK Nixon Reagan and Bush 43 who tried to do the FBI s job themselves but didn tnow their limits and went out of control Weiner s recounting of the presidents relations with the FBI and their attempts to bypass or usurp it were interesting to me than those of the FBI itself and upsetting Here are some highlights Many presidents were happy to take advantage of Hoover s secrets FDR LBJ and Nixon used information from Hoover s secret files for their own political purposes Truman was skeptical of Hoover but would not dare take him on JFK had plenty of reasons to be terrified of Hoover who had the dirt him on JFK had plenty of reasons to be terrified of Hoover who had the dirt his many affairs including the one with Judith Campbell who JFK shared with mob boss Sam Giancana The JFK administration tried to enlist the mob to assassinate Castro for the CIA with Campbell serving as a go between with benefits JFK literally in bed with the mob had to be a new low but Nixon s Plumbers a bumbling crew of Watergate fame led by the inept G Gordon Liddy were scraping the bottom too Reagan not to be outdone established his own White House anti terrorist group under the nefarious Oliver North hitting bottom with active support of murderous regimes in El Salvador and Nicaragua financed by skimming money from the sale of missiles to Iran an example of duplicity hard to beat But then came George W Bush descending to new lows with lots of advice from one who always new best Dick Cheney Bush and Cheney implemented torture on a wide scale sending people at will to secret prisons and abandoning any
pretense of individual rights The proclivity to secrecy and control for personal and ideological gain at the of individual rights The proclivity to secrecy and control for personal and ideological gain at the of individual rights seems so pervasive that it is hard to believe it will ever changeWeiner ends on a bit of an upbeat note as Obama takes office with Director Mueller as FBI Director and the FBI CIA and Defense Department agencies finally begin to cooperate Mueller and his assistant and current FBI Director James Comey were notable for standing up to the Bush administration refusing their demands for wiretaps without warrants Mueller began rebuilding the FBI following twenty years of incompetent leadership by FBI Directors Louis Freeh and William Sessions both having furthered the FBI s decline While overall intelligence effectiveness SEEMS to have improved now due to better organization and coordination of intelligence agencies only time will tell if this is true History still has to decide if the latest twist on counterterrorism operations the drone strike program has downside than upside While many terrorists are illed so are innocent people and many new enemies are created as people turn against the US in what they see as abuse of power The final answer may LIE IN HOW WELL THE PROGRAM in how well the program controlled and history does not bode well here Would Reagan have used drones in Central America in his support of ruthless dictators or Cheney with Bush s ever ready approval against the Lackawanna Six in New York simply because HE thought they were an al aeda cell later disproven Cheney wanted the US Army to capture the Lackawanna Six American citizens on American soil so they could be treated as enemy combatants sent to Guantanamo tortured and denied a trial which except for the intervention of FBI Director Mueller might well have happened For Cheney drones would have provided a much expedient solution So what does the future hold for ever present paranoid politicians euipped with ever increasing technical capabilities We can only guess but if you are scared well history says you should be Tim Weiner s Enemies A History of the FBI is an interesting book about the FBI s straddling the line between legal and illegal pursuit of criminals The book spends a lot of ti. Ne it deemed subversive and sometimes American presidents The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniues have created a tug of war between protecting national security and infringing upon civil liberties It is a tension that strains the very fabric of a free republ. What a fascinating book I was really disturbed at how much intelligence was floating around before the 911 attacks Even as far back as the mid 1990s I have a lot greater respect for director Robert Mueller Mueller was essentially thrown into the position after battling an aggr If you liked Legacy of Ashes you ll like Enemies The converse also applies Weiner retains the fast paced journalistic style of Legacy tantalising links are left hanging and background is left as exercise for the readerLike his biography of the Agency this effort starts to fade as it heads closer to the present deprived of declassified documents and on the record testimony it starts to read as a recap of recent NYTWaPo exposes and the insights become less and less penetrating one wonders whether Weiner s glowing assessment of Mueller s FBI will look anywhere near as convincing in twenty years timeRegardless Enemies does a great job of placing the FBI largely thought of as a law enforcement organisation firmly under the spotlight in its capacity as the United States domestic intelligence service exploring and exposing it s successes failures and the inherent tensions of running a secret police force in a democracy J Edgar Hoover is the main character in this book at least for the first 23rds and if there was ever any uestion that Hoover is one of the most conseuential people in American history that uestion no longer exists in my mind But the Hoover of the book surprised me my mind s eye had always pictured Hoover as a Machiavellian power hungry manipulator the Master of Whispers of the American government But the Hoover I read about is less a scheming Edward G Robinson type and of a dedicated patriot I have no doubt in my mind that Hoover loved this country even if he also loved the accolades power and influence that came with his station as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation The fact that Hoover was America s top cop from the FDR Administration through Nixon is almost unfathomable But he wasn t A New Philosophy of History kept in that position because of any dirty secrets he held over the power brokers or at least not that the book reveals He was simply the best person for the job for the better part of four decades He was a tactical genius and yes he did skirt around certain legal obstacles but from what I can tell he did it out of a true love of countryWithin the story of Hoover and the shadow he casts over the Bureau nearly half a century later is a chronicle of all the growing pains and traumatic events in American history From the Red Scares 1910s and 1950s to essentially destroying the Klan in the 1950s and 60s to the COINTELPRO of the the last decade of Hoover s life The latter when the FBI started spying on American citizens for fear of subversion isind of the turning point of the FBI when it became less about defending America and about spying and tapping the phones of people who aren t necessarily breaking the law but have dangerous ideas After Hoover s death in 1972 the Bureau went through a few years of triumph finding the evidence for Watergate and about two decades of relative incompetence When Bill Clinton shit canned Director William Sessions in 93 nobody protested because he was patently awful Although Louis Freeh wasn t much betterOne of the interesting chapters in the Bureau s history is the final chapters of the book which detail the course correction of the Bureau moving away from warrantless wiretaps and waterboarding to using gasp the law to take down terrorists I d be curious to see if they put in any ind of addendum later on to include the Comey firingIf you have a fancy for American political history of the 20th century you d be hard pressed to find a interesting and fact filled book Dryly factual Five stars for the overwhelmingly interesting facts one star for the dry writing style which rarely goes into sufficient detail in its rush to recount large events often taking up large swaths of time Of course the detail I m looking for would at least triple the length of the book so you may disagree The writing style would certainly make me hesitant to read three times the pagesThis would certainly make me hesitant to read three times the pagesThis should be read by all Americans despite the intelligence report style of writing This is an honest and seemingly unbiased account of the many failures and few triumphs of the FBI in the areas of counterintelligence and terrorism The complete disregard and contempt for the strict rule of law that the FBI has often demonstrated in the past is well documented It also shows how even well meaning ideology morals and political views can hamper and destroy what should be a completely independent and apolitical branch of the government Reading this book i realized a couple things i didn t now before One that J Edgar Hoover was probably the most powerful man in American history only because of the amount of sway that he had on just about anyone And two that the FBI is this weird mix of 1984 and the Wizard of Oz where you have this agency that is presumably watching you all the time but it does have a head and that head until his death was J EdgarI really love the fantastical element of his character The daunting seriousness coupled with the insatiable lust for being on the top of the mountain where you oversee everyone else and no one sees you a very private way of living Behind The Screen Wizard Of the screen Wizard of Ehrlichman approached the director with caution His staff had warned him that every meeting in Hoover s office was secretly filmed or videotaped But they did not prepare me for the Wizard of Oz approach that his visitors were reuired to make From the corridors of Justice Ehrlichman was ushered through double doors guarded by Hoover s personal attendants He walked into a room crammed with tributes to Hoover plaues and citations emblazoned with emblems of American eagles and eternally flaming torches The anteroom led to a second formal room with hundreds awards That led to a third trophy room with a highly polished desk The desk was emptyJ Edgar Hoover was nowhere to be seen he wrote My guide opened a door behind the desk at the back of the room and I was ushered into an office about twelve or thirteen feet suare dominated by Hoover himself he was seated ina large leather desk chair behind a wooden desk in the center of the room When he stood it became obvious that he and his desk were on a
"dais about six inches high I was invited to sit on a low purplish leather couch to his right "about six inches high I was invited to sit on a low purplish leather couch to his right Edgar Hoover looked down on me and began to talkI find this book terrifying Because in developing the FBI J Edgar thrust into our justice system all of the covert shit that haunts us the lists of radicals or subversives the secretive tribunals wiretapping dossiers of politically important characters and what s worst this sprawl of information contained by now the NSA in a neverending database in Bluffington UT Talking with Tim Weiner through the Goodreads History club I found out that Ho. Enemies is the first definitive history of the FBI’s secret intelligence operations from an author whose work on the Pentagon and the CIA won him the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award We think of the FBI as America’s police force But secret intelligence is the.