Cold War Documents Show The FBI Thinks It Can Be The CIA — And The US Military — If Just Given The Chance

from the holy-trinity-of-covert-intelligence-operations-[whites-only] dept

The FBI has, for years now apparently, always wished to be far more than it actually is. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI shifted its focus from law enforcement to “national security.” It continues to try to expand this role and believes it should be taking the lead in harvesting foreign informants and protecting the nation against overseas threats — rather than an agency created solely for that purpose (the Dept. of Homeland Security) or one tasked almost solely with foreign intelligence gathering (the CIA).

This isn’t a recent development. The FBI has long had CIA-envy, according to documents obtained by Mike Best and published at MuckRock. Long before Sarah Palin was keeping an eye on pesky Russians from the governor’s mansion, the FBI wished to do the same. The FBI — being neither a military force nor a foreign intelligence agency — thought it should be able to run a covert ops station deep in the coldest part of the Cold War. Added bonus? Screwing the CIA out of prime surveillance real estate.

FBI files released earlier this year show the Bureau’s plan to build a secret network of “stay behind” agents in Alaska that would become active in the event of a Communist invasion. The file also reveals that Bureau personnel thought the biggest advantage to this plan was that it would screw over the CIA, ensuring the Bureau’s supremacy in their ongoing feud with other intelligence agencies.

As Best points outs, the FBI was its own worst enemy in this push for surveillance dominance. It had no idea how to successfully carry out this plan, but was imbued with enough hubris to ask for permission to do so anyway. It seemed to have little understanding of two key elements: military planning and foreign intelligence gathering. The FBI’s folksy racism showed through, aligning it with movie producers of that era — the kind who believed Charlton Heston could pass as Hispanic and John Wayne to be more than a capable Genghis Khan.

Covert surveillance calls for subtlety but if the natives couldn’t be trusted, I guess it was up to the FBI’s brightest and whitest to pass as Native Americans and Eskimos.

Agents selected should be residents of Alaska with established means of likelihood and logical reasons for being placed where they intend to operate and consideration should be given to businessmen, farmers, trappers, fishermen and “bush pilots.” Selection of agents from the native groups, Eskimos, Indians, Aleuts should be avoided because of their basic unreliability.

Even this limited selection soon proved to be too expansive. The FBI feared informants willing to work for them might also be on the short list for deportation if tensions between the USSR and the US continued to escalate.

The files show the FBI was far less concerned with being right than it was with being first. It wanted to stick its flag in the Bering Strait before the CIA decided to do the same and start hoovering up all the intel in the area. In fact, the first advantage listed for the FBI’s incursion is that it would be able to lock the CIA out of the market.

The principal advantage to the FBI in assuming joint responsibility in the two programs is that it will preclude any other intelligence agency, such as the CIA, getting into the intelligence field in Alaska at this time.

Given the agency’s Hoover-induced rivalry with actual intelligence agencies, it’s hardly a surprise information is rarely shared between agencies, even when the safety of the nation hangs in the balance. Budgets must be defended and credit acquired. That’s apparently far more important than working together for the greater good. This sort of behavior isn’t going to stop any time soon, not with the FBI helmed by a director willing to push his, and his agency’s, agenda (not always the same thing…) with particular fervor.

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Comments on “Cold War Documents Show The FBI Thinks It Can Be The CIA — And The US Military — If Just Given The Chance”

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timmaguire42 (profile) says:

That’s not surprising–the FBI is doing what it is in the nature of bureaucracies to do. And we, unfortunately, have to remain ever vigilant against it.

On a side note: “Long before Sarah Palin was keeping an eye on pesky Russians from the governor’s mansion…”

Sarah Palin never said that, Tina Fey said that while playing Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. I do wish you people would get off the politics. Your thing is technology issues from a somewhat libertarian perspective. Every time you venture into partisan politics, you reveal yourselves to be ignorant and stupid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s not politics to observe that Sarah Palin is, in fact, a first-class moron. Even if you agree with her politics, surely anyone of even modest intellectual ability can listen to her and easily discern that she not only lacks an acceptable level of cognitive skills for a public servant, but she is stunningly ignorant. If she were one of my students, she MIGHT manage a D if I were feeling particularly charitable.

I don’t say this with any joy: I’m appalled that anyone of ANY political persuasion is this stupid. And I’m even more appalled that the public accepts this. We should immediately reject anyone whose intelligence falls below minimally acceptable levels WHETHER WE AGREE WITH THEIR POLITICS OR NOT. It might make us feel good that we’re electing people who concur with our worldview, but if they’re morons, they’re going to screw it up anyway.

Which is why even my conservative friends are appalled by Trump. We’re replacing a president who is, whether you like him or not, a very smart guy with a long track record of intellectual achievement, with someone who has the intellectual heft of Bart Simpson.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“We’re replacing a president who is, whether you like him or not, a very smart guy with a long track record of intellectual achievement,”

No matter how much you say it, it does not make it true. I know that you are used to repeating lies long and loud enough to drown out dissent, but his track record has very little to do with intellectual achievement.

For a ‘constitutional scholar’ he sure does say a lot of things contrary to what the founding father said about the Constitution.
He also said he was most like old Abe Lincoln whom also said he would not free a single black slave if the nation could be saved. I did take notice that a lot of the minorities, that were descended from those slaves Abe said he would not free if we could save the country, suffered more under his policies.

True, I do suppose Obama is exceptionally more intelligent than you, after all, you do look up to him and he did make it to the Presidency which is no small feat. However, intelligence is NOT a requirement in the least. One’s willingness to bow as well and as often as Obama did while he was in office is also a path in.

Obama like Merkel turned out to be quite the disgrace to their people and nation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Have you actually READ any of the stuff Obama’s written?

It’s first-class work. And he was doing it at a pretty young age. I detect no sign that age has weakened his analytical abilities or diminished his learning capacity.

Meanwhile: point me to one, just ONE, scholarly article by Donald Trump. Okay: one, just ONE, informal essay, report, paper, anything that demonstrates knowledge of an issue and the ability to cogently write about it. I’ll take anything: eastern European politics, baseball, federal land policy, the Fifth Amendment, the works of Faulkner, automobile exhaust systems, ANYTHING.

This is why, in part, I think we should have mandatory testing for candidates for political office. Anyone seeking a state-level office (e.g., governor, senator, representative, etc.) must take and pass the SAT with a mark above the 80th percentile. Anyone seeking national-level office (e.g,, president, senator, representative, etc.) must take and pass the GRE with a mark above the 80th percentile. (Same tests as students take, by the way: no changes.) Government is too important to be allowed to fall into the hands of people who aren’t smart and educated.

timmaguire42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Exactly, Barack Obama is a man of no real accomplishment who has spent his life accepting awards and honors he has not earned. He has never shown more than a pedestrian intellect and an education with gaps that are shocking. (How many states are in the US?)

Barack Obama is Chauncey Gardner come to life.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I note that you are unable to provide so much as a single citation for anything substantial written by Trump.

And if you can’t grasp the massive difference between someone of Obama’s superior intelligence and someone with a room-temperature IQ like Trump, then perhaps your own intelligence is minimal. Perhaps you should remain silent while those who are better than you discuss things that will — sadly — always remain far beyond your feeble comprehension.

Run along now, the smart people are talking.

Norahc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Of course, scholarly writings are the ONLY standard of measuring a candidate’s intelligence. By your system, the only people who should govern this country are then military officers if they’ve written for the War College, doctors writing research articles, lawyers writing law articles, and professors writing whatever the hell it is they write (besides self stroking bullshit).

How many business owners write scholarly articles? Very damn few. Why? Maybe because they’re too busy running a business.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Fair point, Norahc. And Trump’s academic achievements do include Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1968.

That said, he seems to be a lot more interested in making money than in carrying on the tradition of being the leader of the free world (I can’t say that any more without laughing. I couldn’t even say it during Obama’s tenure).

This, his racism, and his narcissism make him look stupid. I don’t care which team he represents, I don’t approve of him. The trouble with Obama is that he can present similar attitudes in a more urbane, socially acceptable way. Make no mistake, when you’ve peeled off the veneer, there’s not a lot of difference between them on the domestic surveillance and IPR side of things, so I don’t understand why people get so invested in tribal politics. It doesn’t make anything better for anyone, not even the people who expect to benefit, unless they’re rich.

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