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The FBI: Between a Rock and a Hard Place of Truth

A few years ago, when I was researching one of my period detective novels, The Chameleon, I had occasion to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation for some details about the status and concerns of the FBI in 1929-1930. While the FBI history site gave me some information, it wasn’t quite enough. Because the story was about the discovery of an embryonic Nazi Bund near San Francisco, the questions I needed answers to were:

Was the Bureau of Investigation (or the BOI, as the FBI was known then) actively monitoring Nazi activities or Weimar Germany’s intelligence gathering in the U.S.? (Yes, to a limited extent.) Was the Department of Justice, under which the BOI operated, concerned about Nazi or German espionage or activism in the country? (Yes, to a limited extent.) Did it keep tabs on known Nazi sympathizers and organizations or on German intelligence operations in the country? (Yes.) Or was the Bureau more concerned with Communist activities in the country? (Yes, much more so.) For story purposes, because the novel is set in San Francisco in November 1929, where were BOI divisional headquarters? (We don’t know.)

I needed answers to these and other questions to write credibly about the BOI. I was finally able to contact someone with the FBI in Washington D.C. who scheduled a telephone conference for me with two agents: one who would answer my questions, and another who would audit the conversation but not participate. I was given their “field” names (which I no longer have a record of).  The call lasted about 15 minutes. Both agents (male) seemed to be on the road during the call. It was a very cordial call, although I could sense that the one participating agent was reticent about some information concerning Communist activism in the country.

The “Yes” answers prompted me to further research, much of which is reflected in the novel.

I was able, after some very frustrating and lengthy research, to locate BOI divisional headquarters in San Francisco in the period; no one in the Bureau seemed to know the answer to that particular question, not in the San Francisco office, nor in the Washington office. I encountered similar difficulties when, because I was introducing a character from the British Consulate in San Francisco in the same novel for the first time, I could find no one with the San Francisco Consulate, nor with the British Embassy in Washington D.C., who knew where the Consulate was in the time period. The Foreign Office’s records in London had no record of the Consulate’s address in San Francisco, although it did mention the name of the Consul General. I was able to find his residential address in a 1930 telephone directory, but no listing in it for the Consulate itself.

While writing the next novel of that series, A Crimson Overture, which deals with Soviet spies and fellow travelers in the American and British governments, I encountered fewer research problems. Much of it was already under my belt because of cross-references between Nazis and Communists. There was far more information available vis-à-vis the Bureau’s activities with Communist infiltration of our government in the period 1930.

Finally, while assembling information about the prominence of Islam in the same period for The Black Stone, I learned that the BOI was relatively ignorant of Islam and of Middle East politics and the turmoil there. The Bureau was focused on a rise in domestic crimes because of the Depression and the shattering consequences of the stock market crash, and was splitting its manpower between dealing with genuine crime and enforcing Prohibition.

And now the FBI has become only relatively ignorant of Islam again. And the left is so confident in its dramatization of the corrupting influence of power in the second season of “House of Cards” that it depicted the FBI as an instrument of that power, by actively conspiring against and entrapping a reporter in a non-existent cyber-terrorism plot. The newspaper reporter was pursuing evidence behind the murders of a U.S. representative, and then of a freelance reporter who was close to the truth about who murdered the congressman.

Here is a brief account of the Bureau’s post-1920s growing role.

During the early and mid-1930s, several crucial decisions solidified the Bureau’s position as the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. Responding to the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in 1932, Congress passed a federal kidnapping statute. Then, in May and June 1934, with gangsters like John Dillinger evading capture by crossing over state lines, it passed a number of federal crime laws that significantly enhanced the Bureau’s jurisdiction. In the wake of the Kansas City Massacre, Congress also gave Bureau agents statutory authority to carry guns and make arrests.

The Bureau of Investigation was renamed the United States Bureau of Investigation on July 1, 1932. Then, beginning July 1, 1933, the Department of Justice experimented for almost two years with a Division of Investigation that included the Bureau of Prohibition. Public confusion between Bureau of Investigation special agents and Prohibition agents led to a permanent name change in 1935 for the agency composed of Department of Justice’s investigators: the Federal Bureau of Investigation was thus born.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been the point man in a campaign to eviscerate the ability of the U.S. military, the Bureau and other law enforcement entities to detect and foil Islamic terrorism (or jihad) in the United States. At the behest of CAIR, which accused the Bureau (and other law enforcement entities) of being complicit or encouraging Islamophobia in its training materials, and under pressure from President Barack Obama and the Department of Justice, the Bureau donned politically correct blinders which virtually excluded Islam from being an active threat to American lives and the security of the country. USA TODAY in February 2012 reprinted a story from the Detroit Free Press, “FBI ditches training materials criticized as anti-Muslim”:

After complaints from some Muslim and Arab-American groups, the FBI has pulled more than 700 documents and 300 presentations that stereotyped Islam or were factually inaccurate, an FBI spokesman said. The federal agency also intends in coming weeks to roll out plans on how it will vet training materials.

FBI Director Robert Mueller announced the agency had pulled the documents at a meeting two weeks ago with advocacy groups. “The steps taken by the FBI … are certainly welcomed,” Abed Ayoub, the national director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said Friday.

How does one “stereotype” Muslims who subscribe to an ideology that calls for turning the U.S. into an Islamic republic and its non-Muslim citizens into jizya-paying dhimmis? How would one “stereotype” Nazis, or Communists, except to focus on the political ends of an ideology that employs force and extortion to attain political power over a nation?

Not content with having forced the Bureau into submission, CAIR and its allies have also gone after local law enforcement departments. CAIR announced on February 14th 2014:

A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Department in Virginia to drop notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo, who is scheduled to offer a three-day program later this month on “Jihadi Networks in America.”

In a letter to the sheriff delivered today, Corey Saylor, director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, wrote in part: “Mr. Guandolo has a lengthy record of anti-Muslim extremism and unprofessional behavior. His views on Islam are the equivalent of historical anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic falsehoods. Guandolo offers only his own prejudiced and inaccurate conspiratorial views, not solid counterterrorism training.”

As noted by the Southern Poverty law Center (SPLC), Guandolo is “a disreputable character, who regularly attacks the U.S. government, claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and says that American Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.'”

It was a Wired writer, Spencer Ackerman, who on September 14th 2011, wrote a lengthy report that “exposed” the FBI’s “anti-Muslim” training materials that added fuel to the fire.

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

Ackerman provided sixteen pages of PDF images of slides from an FBI presentation on Islam. These pages feature such subjects as “Military Considerations,” “Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law (Sharia)”, the “Doctrinal Basis for Jihad,” and “Chart Violence and Adherence to Torah, Bible and Koran.” Nothing in those slides contradicts what is known about Islam.

Ackerman’s article was the lit rag on the Molotov cocktail that was tossed by Obama, the DOJ, and CAIR into the Bureau’s counterterrorism training courses.  In fact, comparing the Power Point bullet points in the training materials with what is known about Islam, its 1,400-year history, and especially about the Musim Brotherhood and its allied organizations such as the ISNA, the ICNA, and MSA, it seemed that the Bureau had correctly identified Islam for what it is: a totalitarian ideology.

Ackerman wrote about the “damning” course materials with a gasp of indignation, overlooking the fact that the materials spoke the truth:

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat….”

“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”

Moral: Reading the Aristotelian rule that “A is A” is no guarantee that a person will grasp that A cannot be A and non-A at the same time. If one were able to introduce Ackerman to syphilis-ridden Al Capone as a murdering mobster, he would immediately think that Capone was a persecuted and stereotyped Italian-American, whose syphilis was caused by cultural stress, and call for the FBI to get its mind right.

We can actually thank Ackerman for publishing the redacted and discarded FBI Power Point slides, for they reveal that before the FBI went soft on Islam, it was on the right track in treating Islam as the enemy ideology it is. Readers are invited to examine the slides and reach their own conclusions about whether or not they reflect the true character of Islam. William Gawthrop, who presented the slide program and has subsequently lectured on the nature of Islamic jihad, has been vindicated by the scholarship of Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and a host of other authorities on Islam.

Daniel Greenfield, on his Sultan Knish page, wrote an insightful column, “One Election Away from Losing Our Freedom,” whose thesis is that once a totalitarian program, no matter how innocuous, is introduced into the politics of a free country, it will proceed to corrupt the freedom-based politics until the government is so compromised, there is little recourse to correct the problem and purge the totalitarian elements from the government.

As though acting on cue, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has the power to license TV and radio stations, has proposed that it conduct a study of how broadcast and print newsrooms choose and handle their news stories. The Wall Street Journal reported on February 10th:

Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of “critical information” such as the “environment” and “economic opportunities,” that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their “news philosophy” and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.

What will the FCC do with that information? Obviously, bring pressure to bear on broadcasters and publications to toe a preferred and politically correct line to better serve the “critical information needs” of the political elite and its cronies in the private sphere (Solyndra really didn’t need all that bad press, did it? Nor Barack Obama’s many expensive taxpayer-paid vacations). The irony of the Wall Street Journal article is that it was penned by a dissenting FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai.

Greenfield, in his “One Election Away” column, observed that:

When a political system becomes polarized between the forces of freedom and the forces of totalitarianism, then the forces of freedom have to win every single election. Meanwhile the totalitarians only have to win one election and then spend the rest of time reconstructing civic institutions, mobilizing thugs and making it structurally impossible for the other side to compete….

Even if Republicans were to win the White House and dominate the House and the Senate, they would still face a totalitarian entity whose judges would make laws, whose media would subvert democracy, whose educational institutions and entertainment industry would reprogram the people and whose bureaucracy would undermine any decision that it did not like….

Totalitarians politicize everything. And that really means everything from the food you eat to the books you read to the way you heat your home and drive to work. Individually we can all make choices that neutralize the politicization even in matters as simple as choosing the movies we watch or leaving products with environmentalist tripe on the packaging on the shelf….

Elections alone will not defeat the left. Totalitarian movements aren’t defeated at the voting booth, but in the hearts of men and women. And if their grip on power continues, then the scenes of violence and terror that we see on the evening news [e.g., in the Ukraine, Venezuela, Egypt] will come to our streets and cities.

Truer words have rarely been spoken.

Greenfield’s argument could also be couched in these terms: A legitimate law-enforcement agency such as the FBI, charged with pursuing and apprehending genuine, rights-violating criminals, can become encrusted with the same poisonous statist assumptions and premises as the government it serves. As a statist government expands its powers, so eventually must the FBI until it becomes a feared threat to one’s freedom, and not a protector of it. And, in our unique circumstance, if our government becomes corrupt enough to side with this country’s enemies, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, it must impose that policy on all law-enforcement agencies and entities, including the courts.

The FBI has reached a point in its history and functions that it must knuckle under the liberal/left/Marxist perception of criminality, a definition of criminality which exempts genuine criminals by excluding their ideology from official approbation, and treat the ideology’s victims as the true criminals. Consciously, or by osmosis, the FBI has adopted those same intrusive, oppressive and totalitarian policies.

Yes, the country is politically and philosophically polarized, between those who value their freedom and those who, no matter how innocuous or petty or grandiose their agenda, wish to extinguish that freedom.

We have reached the point that we fear the FBI knocking on our doors. The FBI, together with the DHS and the DOJ, is gradually becoming, not a counterterrorism shield, but an instrument of counter-freedom.

  • Hilda

    Excellent, Ed. I tip my hat and bow to you.

    Regarding the FCC, I expect much of the left wing media won’t really be protesting the FCC’s monitoring (or covering it in the news for that matter,) because the left knows that just as with the IRS, the focus of the harassment and censorship will be on only on political enemies (the Tea party, conservatives, or anyone else who threatens their fiefdom such as Michael Hastings. Because the mainstream media is already on the side of the this administration and its cronies, it has nothing to worry about, for now.