America’s Unchecked Security State: Part II: The Continuity of COG Detention Planning, 1948-2001 歯止めなき米国の治安維持体制(II) 政府の継続(COG)に基づく拘束計画の連続性—1948年〜2001年


April 28, 2013

America’s Unchecked Security State: Part II: The Continuity of COG Detention Planning, 1948-2001 歯止めなき米国の治安維持体制(II) 政府の継続(COG)に基づく拘束計画の連続性—1948年〜2001年
America’s Unchecked Security State: Part II: The Continuity of COG Detention Planning, 1948-2001 歯止めなき米国の治安維持体制(II) 政府の継続(COG)に基づく拘束計画の連続性—1948年〜2001年

Volume 11 | Issue 17 | Number 3

Article ID 3933


Hoover and the Origins of COG’s Emergency Planning

In November 1939, after the outbreak of war in Europe, Hoover also began to compile a list of individuals to be closely monitored and/or detained in the event of a national emergency or war. In June 1940 he sought and gained the approval of Attorney General Robert Jackson for this list, known as the Custodial Detention list. (Late in life, Jackson appears to have regretted the powers that Hoover accumulated.)123

The Custodial Detention list played no role in the wholesale displacement in 1942 of Japanese and coastal Italians, which Hoover opposed.124 In 1943 Biddle decided that the Custodial Detention list had outlived its usefulness and that there was no statutory authorization for it. His order to Hoover to close the list was unambiguous:

The [Justice] Department fulfills its proper function by investigating the activities of persons who may have violated the law. It is not aided in this work by classifying persons as to dangerousness….

[But] upon receipt of this order, the FBI Director did not abolish the FBI’s list. Instead, he changed its name from Custodial Detention List to Security Index.125

Hoover’s decision to disregard Biddle’s order, leaving his detention program planning without legal authorization “remained secret until after his death.”126 The plans, along with Hoover’s illegal intelligence acquisitions and his use of organized crime as a source for them, were cornerstones in his conversion of the FBI into a powerful bureau that was both publicly funded and in part outside the domain of public law. This in turn became the key element in his aggregation of powers into what in the past I have called the deep state.

In particular the detention list survived a second and third effort to abolish it.

When the Security Index was ordered closed in 1971, the names were again transferred, to a new Administrative Index (ADEX). This new ADEX was in turn discontinued in 1978 under Jimmy Carter and his Attorney General Griffin Bell.127 But the list was not destroyed, and remained available for use by the new Reagan Administration, when in 1982 a secret committee including Rumsfeld and Cheney began planning for mass detentions under the rubric of Continuity of Government (COG) planning.

How Hoover’s Detention Plans Became Part of National Emergency (COG) Planning

According to Tim Weiner, it was on July 7, 1950, at the crest of the hysteria fomented by the Korean War and by hearings in HUAC and SISS, Hoover for the first time formally briefed the White House and the NSC his plans for “the mass detention of political suspects in military stockades, a secret prison system for jailing American citizens, and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.”128 He also revealed that he had had since 1939 a list of about twelve thousand individuals, nearly all of them U.S. citizens, who under his plan could be rounded up summarily on the issuance of a single “master warrant.”129 (According to Tim Weiner, Hoover had also approved a plan, never fully implemented, “to put every one of the roughly eighty thousand members of the Communist Party of the United States on the FBI’s secret Security [i.e. detention] Index.”)130

Hoover’s plan was soon paralleled in Congress by the passage (over Truman’s veto) of the McCarran Internal Security Act in the same year, whose Title II authorized the Attorney General in times of emergency to round up and hold individuals in detention centers. Congress, in passing the Emergency Detention Act, was unaware that Hoover had already assumed this power. Moreover the Act established certain protections of individual human rights, which Hoover and some DOJ officials considered “unworkable.”

Accordingly, Attorney General J. Howard directed the FBI to ignore the congressionally mandated standards and instead base current and future detention investigation on the administration’s secretly authorized program.131

In this decision we see a sign of America’s emerging dual state, in which some U.S. agencies are directed secretly to ignore the law.

In October 1950 the entry of China into the Korean War moved Truman on December 16, 1950, to proclaim “a national emergency, which requires that the military, naval, air, and civilian defenses of this country be strengthened as speedily as possible.”132 Truman’s proclamation of a national emergency authorized publicly the military buildup authorized secretly two days earlier in NSC 68/4 of December 14; in the same way that Bush’s proclamation of a national emergency on September 14, 2011 became the public authority for the COG measures implemented secretly by Cheney and Rumsfeld (during Bush’s absence from Washington) on 9/11.133

The Chinese intervention also persuaded Truman to threaten Beijing with possible use of atomic weapons.[i] As the Soviet Union now possessed its own bomb, Truman initiated COG planning to deal with a possible counterattack. Thus in a sense it can be said that the manic planning for Doomsday is a by-product of the Korean War.

Truman’s proclamation of a national emergency lasted until 1977. Under Eisenhower “A series of atomic attack simulations, entitled “Operation Alert,” were implemented from 1955 to 1960, … to test “the capability of all levels of government to operate following an attack.”134 These exercises generated a growing number of Presidential Emergency Action Documents, or PEADs, which have been since defined by FEMA as

“[f]inal drafts of Presidential messages, proposed legislation proclamations, and other formal documents, including DOJ [Department of Justice]-issued cover sheets addressed to the President, to be issued in event of a Presidentially-declared national emergency.”135

We learn from an internal FBI memo of June 19, 1958 that some of these PEADs from the FBI concerned the “apprehension and detention of those dangerous alien enemies presently included in our Security Index.”136 (One wonders what “dangerous alien enemies” were contemplated in the emergency planning of the late 1950s, when the Communist Party was by then clearly moribund, and the USG had not yet begun to stoke xenophobic anxieties about terrorists.)

Of even greater significance to COG planning in the 1980s and 1990s was the decision by Eisenhower’s cabinet to commission new “executive agencies to develop continuity measures – the means by which a fragmented federal government could begin to exercise authority over a devastated nation.”137 One of these, destined to mushroom under Reagan into a billion-dollar boondoggle, was the National Communications Agency (NCA), whose designated task was to “assist in maintaining the flow of essential national telecommunications.” Like some of the other such agencies, it was chaired by a corporate executive outside government: in this case by President Frank Stanton of the CBS Television Network.138 Eisenhower had first brought in Stanton and other prominent private citizens for Doomsday planning, just “a few weeks after the Soviets launched the first manmade satellite in 1957, shattering America’s sense of security.” The involvement of private leaders has been a feature of Doomsday planning ever since.139

The NCA was a precursor of the National Communications System (NCS), formally established by a JFK Presidential Memorandum on August 21, 1963. By 1969 at least $175 million had been spent “to increase the survivability of national communications resources” in a nuclear attack.140 In June 1979 the system was tested under Carter, in the first known instance of the COG exercise GLOBAL SHIELD. By the Reagan era the NCS had mushroomed into an $8 billion communications and logistics program for an alternative emergency communications network.141

Elsewhere I have argued that in the background of 9/11, as well as in all comparable deep events diverting America towards its current dual state, we can see the workings of “the alternative emergency planning structure with its own communications network, operating as a shadow network outside of regular government channels.”142 The most obvious example is in Iran-Contra, when Oliver North, arranging for the arms shipments to Iran that eventually cost him his job, used the nation’s top secret Doomsday communications network. North’s network, known as Flashboard,

excluded other bureaucrats with opposing viewpoints…[and] had its own special worldwide antiterrorist computer network, … by which members could communicate exclusively with each other and their collaborators abroad.143

North was also actively developing the plans, which as we have seen originated with Hoover, for emergency detentions on a large scale.144

So, before him, was James McCord, famous for having participated in the 1972 burglary that precipitated the 1972 Watergate crisis.

McCord was a member of a small Air Force Reserve unit in Washington attached to the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP); assigned “to draw up lists of radicals and to develop contingency plans for censorship of the news media and U.S. mail in time of war.” His unit was part of the Wartime Information Security Program (WISP), which had responsibility for activating “contingency plans for imposing censorship on the press, the mails and all telecommunications (including government communications) [and] preventive detention of civilian ‘security risks,’ who would be placed in military ‘camps.’”145

From this time forward into the 1990s, the FBI’s emergency plans and PEADs would be melded into the national emergency planning process, which in turn was enmeshed in Iran-Contra and also possibly Watergate.146

Hoover’s Use of Organized Crime as a Source of Intelligence

From the outset, Hoover’s power over most other agencies of government (but conspicuously not the CIA) was reinforced by his de facto alliance with the overworld and its political armies, combined with his de facto alliance with underworld criminal elements. Back in 1919-20, Hoover’s Bureau, in conducting its nation-wide raids and arrests, “coordinated its work closely with a 250,000 member right-wing vigilante group, the American Protective League,” supported by business leaders.147 In later years Hoover continued to augment the FBI’s spying networks and files with other business-supported organizations, above all the American Legion148 and its post-war offshoot the American Security Council (ASC).

The second major network supplementing the FBI was the Anti-Defamation League, According to its prominent critic Alfred M. Lilienthal, “the ADL … works closely with the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, and sometimes with the FBI or CIA.”149

The author and Village Voice journalist Robert Friedman agrees:

At the onset of the Cold War, the ADL was running perhaps the largest private spy agency in America, regularly feeding the FBI information not only on anti-Semitic groups like the KKK and the American Nazi party, but also on Jewish leftists and members of the Communist Party…. It supplied not only the FBI, but, according to the Congressional Record, the Commerce Department, which reviewed the files of applicants for government jobs, searching for “subversives.”…. In the ’50’s and ’60s, the ADL continued to penetrate and expose racist and fascist groups. It also championed the civil rights movement, speaking out for fair housing and against job discrimination. Yet as always, there was a darker side. The ADL spied on Martin Luther King and passed its files to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, according to Henry Schwarzchild, who was an ADL officer from 1962 to 1964 and is now an official with the ACLU. “It was common and casually accepted knowledge,” Schwarzchild told the S.F. Weekly.150

Hoover also exploited the close and arguably very improper relationships that he maintained with wealthy, usually independent and self-made, millionaires like Joseph Kennedy, Clint Murchison, Sr., Lewis Rosenstiel, and George Allen (Hoover’s backdoor forwarder to Truman of the memo attacking McCloy).151

It is a telling sign of the deep state milieu after Prohibition that every one of these self-made millionaires had intimate connections to organized crime – and there are many reports that through them and their journalistic friends like Walter Winchell, Hoover himself met at New York’s Stork Club with organized crime figures like Frank Costello.152 Burton Hersh asserts that Hoover tactfully maintained this connection to the Stork Club milieu because “Costello was a resource.”153

The Stork Club, where Hoover liked to hobnob with journalists like Walter Winchell and mobsters like Frank Cosgello 

For decades Hoover declined to investigate and prosecute organized crime, claiming “that it was a local police problem, outside of the FBI’s jurisdiction.”154 As former FBI agent Peter Pitchess (later Sheriff of Los Angeles County) recalled, “Organized crime was just not a concern of the Bureau. We knew it existed, but there were hardly any prosecutions, and we knew this was FBI policy.”155 In this way Hoover tacitly accepted Tammany-style corruption as a reinforcement of the status quo, and also as a resource for dealing with outsiders who threatened it.

Hoover was recognizing and sanctioning, rather than creating, the social status of the Mob, which at the time helped elect politicians and perform favors for the wealthy. In particular Hoover was helping to preserve a status quo in which organized crime continued to help wealthy industrialists like Henry Ford (or more precisely his security chief Harry Bennett) fight trade unions like the United Auto Workers, by granting delivery contracts and concessions to prominent mobsters like Joe Adonis, Brooklyn’s top man in narcotics.156

An important political consequence of this de facto tolerance was to protect and reinforce the enduring influence of organized crime in the local politics of cities like New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. This was brought home to me through my researches into Jack Ruby, whom I linked in an early manuscript to a nation-wide network of mob figures involved in gambling and narcotics. One morning I was surprised to see in our local newspaper that one of Ruby’s associates, Benny Barrish, was named for his part in the 1974 lease of a San Francisco City golf course to an east coast gangster.157

Hoover did not just tolerate organized crime: he used it not just as a source of information, but as a source also of enforcement. A notorious example of the latter was the surrender of Louis Lepke Buchalter to Hoover personally, negotiated with the approval of Lansky and the aid of newsman Walter Winchell at the Stork Club.158 Enforcement was politically selective. For example when in 1957 a rogue ex-FBI agent, with the assistance of Joe Zicarelli of the Bonanno family, kidnapped the left-wing Dominican journalist Jesús de Galindez on behalf of Dominican dictator Trujillo (who subsequently had him murdered), Hoover, rather than indict a right-wing dictator, “informed the Justice and State Departments that the case against Trujillo and his henchmen was not ‘sufficiently airtight.’”159

Hoover used political criteria to recruit and protect individual mafia members as informants, a process which could easily lead to corruption and scandal – some of which still exists. The example of Ali Mohamed, examined earlier, was far from unique. In 1971, as a favor to his political ally, House Speaker John McCormack, Hoover in a personal memo directed the Boston FBI office to develop Whitey Bulger, then a minor mob figure, as an informant. (Whitey’s brother James was part of the McCormack political machine and a member of the House of Representatives.)160

For two decades Bulger fed inside information about the Boston Patriarca crime family to his FBI contact John Connolly (also appointed by Hoover on the recommendation of McCormack). At the same time Whitey Bulger ran a lucrative protection racket targeting drug kingpins and gambling operators. Eventually Bulger was indicted for 19 murders, including the murder of another FBI informant for which crime Connolly was also jailed.161

The Connolly-Bulger scandal in Boston was not anomalous. In the 1980s a very similar scandal developed in the FBI’s New York office, where agent Lin DeVecchio protected his mafia informant Gregory Scarpa, Sr., from arrest, allowing Scarpa to commit a series of mob murders with impunity.162 Author Peter Lance has made a persuasive case that the FBI’s eagerness to cover up the DeVecchio scandal eventually led it to cover up significant evidence about 9/11.163

Hoover’s Use of Illegal Methods to Combat the Ku Klux Klan

Those who like myself celebrate the nonviolent desegregation of the South in the 1960s need to recognize that the civil rights movement did not achieve this fundamental change without other efforts to enforce federal laws. The White House deployed federal manpower to enforce rulings of the federal courts — U.S. marshals whenever possible. These were inadequate, however, when Governor Ross Barnett in 1962 sought to block the court-ordered admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi, an event which “many historians view as ground zero on the southern counterrevolution against integration and multiculturalism.”164 In this case a well-organized riot forced the Kennedy brothers to send in more than twelve thousand U.S. Army soldiers, climaxing a fixed battle that left two people dead.165

The attempt of the Kennedys to use the law against insurrection began to look increasingly counterproductive. Robert Kennedy then moved against General Edwin Walker, who had mobilized the mob at Ole Miss “with his contingent of gunmen from Dallas” by remanding the general for psychiatric examination at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. “The John Birch Society and other far-right groups heralded this as an example of the ‘Kennedy police state.’”166 After five days, the USG backed down and Walker was released, now a “leading light” of the Birch Society in Dallas and elsewhere.167 And he still had good connections with other right-wingers in the US military.

In April 1963 there was a meeting in New Orleans of the Congress of Freedom, Inc., a Miami detective’s report of which included the statement that “there was indicated the overthrow of the present government of the United States,” including “the setting up of a criminal activity to assassinate particular persons.” The report added that “membership within the Congress of Freedom, Inc., contain high ranking members of the armed forces that secretly belong to the organization.”[168] Things were beginning to get out of hand.

Characteristically, Hoover took no known steps against this conclave of “high ranking members of the armed forces;” indeed, he took steps to discredit the source.169 With respect to the lower middle-class Klan, however, his response was quite different.170 While the White House used legal means to respond to the phenomenon of Klan violence, Hoover secretly resorted to illegal means to go after the hidden roots of disorder in the Klan and its allies. This may have been more important as well as less disruptive, for as journalist Maryanne Vollers has noted, “the retaliation that followed Meredith’s admission to Ole Miss showed a pattern indicting that someone was directing a terror campaign in the state.”171 (It is possible, though not certain, that Hoover had better intelligence than Kennedy on the strength of the deep powers backing Klan resistance to desegregation.)

Ku Klux Klan violence in the 1960s was checked by the FBI — also using violence 

Admittedly Hoover dealt very belatedly with the problem of racial violence, but in the end he also did so forcefully. He himself was a segregationist by background and inclination. In 1956 he warned Eisenhower’s cabinet about the dangers of “mixed education” from desegregation, including the “specter of racial [i.e. interracial] marriage.”172 As late as 1961 there were only five African-American FBI agents, all of whom “mostly served as drivers.”173

There were other factors inhibiting his commitment to racial justice. The FBI model for social stability was cooperation with local law enforcement, which in the Deep South was committed to segregation. And much of Hoover’s support in Congress came from southern racist committee chairmen like Senator Eastland, the overseer of the SISS.

And yet, as the civil rights movement was answered with more and more bombings and murders from a resurgent Ku Klux Klan, Hoover himself intervened, far more vigorously than is generally recognized. It is widely known that on September 2, 1964, after the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, Hoover matched his COINTELPRO against “Black Nationalist Hate Groups” (including the SCLC and Martin Luther King) with a new COINTELPRO – WHITE HATE directed exclusively against the Klan.174 In the next seven years the FBI conducted 287 separate operations, and by September 1965, the FBI could identify 2,000 Klansmen on its payroll as informants.175

It is wrong to dismiss Hoover’s anti-Klan campaign as “small” compared to other COINTELPROs.176 On the contrary, “COINTELPRO activities had a devastating effect on Klan activity. There were so many undercover agents operating in the Klan that Klan leaders became hesitant to make decisions for fear that the FBI would learn of them.”[177]

Tim Weiner writes that

“Mr. Hoover never would have changed by himself” not without LBJ’s forceful command [on July 2, 1964], Burke Marshall [RFK’s civil rights chief] said. “The FBI was grudging about doing anything” against the Klan. “Mr. Hoover viewed the civil-rights activists as lawbreakers. The FBI was worse than useless, given his mind-set” – until the president ordered him to change his mind.178

Marshall’s negative judgment of Hoover reflects that voiced at the time by Martin Luther King. However Athan Theoharis reports that, already in 1963, Hoover had subordinated his distaste for the nonviolent civil rights movement to his concern that certain Klan elements represented an organized violent insurrection, against the court-ordered imposition of federal laws. Not only this, Hoover had decided to fight illegal violence with illegal violence – the resources of the deep state.

It is not yet widely known that, after the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in June 1963, Hoover allegedly authorized the use of a mafia killer, “Julio” [possibly Gregory Scarpa], to extract the name of Evers’ murderer from a pistol-whipped and terrorized witness.179 A year later, after the June 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, Scarpa again extracted the facts for the FBI from a witness, this time by brandishing a straight-edge razor and unzipping the witness’ fly.180 And in 1966, after the arson-murder of Vernon Dahmer, Scarpa identified the culprit from a witness beaten so violently he was hospitalized and never again the same.181

Among those arrested and eventually convicted as a result of Scarpa’s interventions was Samuel Holloway Bowers, leader of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, “the most successfully violent KKK subgroup in the nation.”182 Bowers was the power behind murders and bombings across the entire Deep South (including, a recent book has suggested, at least one murder plot against Martin Luther King).183 He had rightly anticipated that he would not be tried in a Mississippi state court; but Scarpa’s discoveries helped enable the federal government to convict him and establish federal authority. This ended the impunity of Bowers’ Klan, and defused its dangerous “strategy to induce [a] race war.”184


Samuel Bowers, the Ku Klux Klan leader and murderer successfully targeted by the FBI

In 1967, after the conviction of Bowers, remnants of his White Knights began bombing Jewish synagogues and homes.185 This escalation of violence, to include white as well as black targets, also escalated the FBI’s resort to illegalities, far beyond the use of torture to obtain evidence. According to investigative reporter Jack Nelson, who broke the story, the FBI in 1968 helped provoke the attempted bombing of a Jewish businessman’s home in Meridian, Mississippi. In Nelson’s account, the FBI hired two informants to induce two of Bowers’ close associates (Thomas A. Tarrants III and another Klansman) to attempt another bombing, so that police waiting at the scene could execute them during the commission of the crime.186

As Nelson pointed out, this represented a new level of FBI illegality:

1) it involved premeditated murder;

2) it involved entrapment – Tarrants (and another victim, not the intended target) “had been lured into a trap by a pair of informants;”

3) the informants [one of them out on appeal after being convicted for shooting the three civil rights workers in 1964] were motivated, not just by thousands of dollars in reward money put up by the local Anti-Defamation League, but also by “threats by the local police and the FBI to kill them if they didn’t cooperate.”187

It is difficult to defend such tactics, other than to note (as Nelson does) that 1968 was “a year like no other,” with killings and unprecedented rioting around the nation and the world.188 Nelson himself was so shocked by what he learned that he broke with the local FBI (his source for earlier stories) and alerted the nation to the illegalities.189

At the same time Nelson had to concede that, “Since the ambush, there had been no further violence against Jews in Mississippi.”190 His assessment is expanded on by professor George Michael: “The attack proved effective, as it finally broke the back of the Klan violence in Mississippi.”[191]

Let me close this dubious late chapter in Hoover’s career with words spoken by Gandhi shortly before his assassination: “No good act can produce an evil result. Evil means, even for a good end, produce evil results.”192 Evil results, in this case, even for the FBI itself.


The End of Hooverism and the Debates of the Post-Vietnam Era

It can be said that by 1968 Hoover, William Sullivan, the other leaders in Washington, and the country itself were all driven awry from violence, all no longer themselves, all out of control.193 I wrote earlier that “all power intoxicates; unchecked power intoxicates irrevocably.” Like Defense Secretary Forrestal and CIA officer Frank Wisner, both Hoover and Sullivan were by now behaving so oddly that their behavior, especially Sullivan’s, was being questioned by their own colleagues.194

But the mania by 1968 was institutional, not just personal. The FBI by then, at Sullivan’s urging, had helped instigate a number of other murders, notably that of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Chicago, killed with multiple gun wounds while at home sleeping in his bed.195 Furthermore there were a number of instances where the FBI instigated battles, sometimes lethal, between the Panthers and other groups, making the Bureau, as legal scholar Frank Donner has written, “criminally complicit in the violence” that ensued.196 Across the country

break-ins and assaults were carried out by right-wing paramilitary groups coordinating their efforts with FBI informants, military intelligence agents, and local police investigative units…. The FBI relationship to the far right reached a violent climax in San Diego, where an FBI informant testified the FBI provided him with $10,000 worth of weapons, including explosives used in a bombing by the Secret Army Organization (SAO), a right-wing group which harassed activists protesting the Vietnam war. The FBI even hid a gun used in an SAO assassination attempt against a leftist professor until an ACLU-sponsored lawsuit by a woman wounded in the assault forced the FBI to reveal the weapon’s existence.197

The FBI’s escalation in the use of violence reflected the increasingly independent domination of the its COINTELPROs by Assistant Director William “Crazy Bill” Sullivan.198 Already in 1967 Sullivan had challenged Hoover’s aging leadership, arguing that the Ku Klux Klan was a far greater threat than the CPUSA. As Hoover grew increasingly cautious, Sullivan took less and less guidance from his director, and built violence-prone coalitions instead with James Angleton in the CIA, and eventually the Nixon White House.199

In a dialectic worthy of a Greek tragedy, the FBI’s excesses had seriously undermined Hoover’s powers before his death in 1972. Nelson, backed by his newspaper the L.A. Times, proceeded, after exposing the Meridian incident, to expose a series of other FBI illegalities, inducing Hoover in turn to put Nelson on his enemies’ list and wage a lying war against him as a “jackal” and “a lice-covered ferret.”200 Nelson’s sequence of page-one stories had the consequence of eroding Hoover’s support in both Congress and the White House: “Suddenly, after years of near idolization, J. Edgar Hoover was no longer untouchable. The FBI director was now fair game.”201

Before Hoover’s death in 1972 Congress had finally begun to expose and condemn Hoover’s wiretapping and other illegalities. As Hoover became more and more reluctant to break the law, he became increasingly a curb to the illegalities of others – notably the increasingly obvious efforts of William Sullivan to replace him, with the support of President Nixon. A denouement of sorts was Hoover’s blocking of the 1970 “Huston Plan” for a consolidated national police uniting the resources of FBI, CIA, DIA, and NSA. The plan was nominally proposed Tom Huston in the Nixon White House, but in fact drafted chiefly by Sullivan. The other agencies supported the proposal and Nixon initially signed it; but Hoover, by enlisting Attorney General Mitchell as an ally, succeeded in persuading Nixon to reverse his decision.202

This episode was not without consequences. In the short run, the defeat of the Huston Plan drove the White House to engage unilaterally in the series of illegalities we remember as “Watergate.”203 And the coalition of agencies backing the plan was revived during the COG planning (the Doomsday Project) of the 1980s and 1990s. Viewed retrospectively, the Huston Plan looks like an early blueprint for the shadow security state we live under today.

But simultaneously Hoover, increasingly out of touch with reality, began to lose the self-restraint with which he had previously managed his own secret intelligence. In 1971 a congressman who was also a U.S. Navy hero, Commander William Anderson, spoke in the House and

rebuked J. Edgar Hoover … for accusing two prominent opponents of the Vietnam War of plotting to kidnap a government official and blow up electrical systems in the Washington area. He termed Hoover’s accusations the “climax” of “an outrageous pattern of fear and repression.”204

Such a rebuke of Hoover in Congress was unprecedented, and so was Hoover’s response. Instead of privately threatening Anderson, he

had the Congressman investigated…. Agents found a madam who “thought” Anderson had visited her place of business several years earlier. Hoover then scribbled “whoremonger” on the memorandum…and arranged to have the story leaked to the press in Anderson’s home state…. In 1972, William Anderson –…four-term congressman from Tennessee – was defeated for reelection.205

But the spell of the FBI over Congress had been broken; and in a few years Congress, in a turnabout, would begin to investigate the FBI.

The Debate Over Secret Powers in the Post-Vietnam Interim Before Reagan

After the traumas of Watergate and Nixon’s resignation, the national mood for more transparency in government increased, at least temporarily. A number of Congressional committees, notably the Senate Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, began to examine some of the illegalities of the COINTELPROs, as did an administrative committee of Justice department officials set up by Attorney General William Saxbe.206

It appeared briefly, in short, that the public state might bring Hooverism under control. And indeed, a number of key FBI programs, such as the Security List for emergency mass detentions, were terminated, at least on paper, in 1978. Congress also passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Act of 1978, as a compromise effort to regulate wiretapping. In addition two senior FBI officials were convicted in 1980 for having authorized illegal break-ins.207

But meanwhile other counterforces were building to reverse what Professor Samuel Huntington, in a study for the Trilateral Commission, called the “excess of democracy” then current in the American system.208 In 1974 the new Ford White House, with first Donald Rumsfeld and later Dick Cheney as Chief of Staff, became a focal point for resisting the efforts of Church and others to achieve greater openness in American government.209

In 1974 the new Ford White House, with first Donald Rumsfeld and later Dick Cheney as Chief of Staff, became a focal point for resisting the efforts of Church and others to achieve greater openness in American government.[ii]

Rumsfeld and Cheney were not acting alone. Behind them were the forces determined to see that U.S. defense budget did not shrink (as candidate Jimmy Carter intended) after Vuetnam. And behind the neocons of the 1970s Committee on the Present Danger were still other, more shadowy international forces, such as the Saudi-backed Safari Club of intelligence chiefs, and behind it the ultra-reactionary political backers of future leaders Reagan and Thatcher in the Pinay Circle.[iii]

Although the predominant issues after the collapse of the Saigon regime in Vietnam were the future of détente and the defense budget, also at stake was the future of the secret powers amassed by Hoover – above all warrantless surveillance. Journalists Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein write that in this period Cheney, aided by his friend Antonin Scalia (then Chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel) “teamed up to defend executive privilege,” including “illegal wiretapping.”210 Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Scalia also united in an unsuccessful campaign to block implementation of the important 1976 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).211

This campaign of Donald Rumsfeld and Cheney in the Ford White House, to protect the FBI and CIA from congressional tampering, was part of a larger campaign, to put an end to Nixon-Kissinger policies of detente and multipolarity, and put America back on the path towards global domination.

In the so-called Halloween Massacre of 1975, Rumsfeld and Cheney also arranged to end Kissinger’s tenure as national security advisor, and for Nelson Rockefeller to be removed from his expected vice-presidential position on the 1976 Republican ticket. This opened the way to the election of Reagan in 1980 and the subsequent Reagan Revolution, the final victory of the executive forces for secrecy over the Congressional efforts at openness.212 With the appointment of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to a secret COG planning committee in 1982 (the so-called Doomsday Project), arrangements resumed for warrantless surveillance, massive emergency detentions and other suspended features of Hoover’s agenda.

In short the Post-Vietnam struggle in Washington, between the Congressional defenders of a public state, and the Administrative defenders of secret powers, was effectively resolved by the launching in 1982 of the so-called Doomsday Project: plans for an emergency suspension of provisions in the Constitution. Today the landmark achievements of the post-Watergate reforms, such as the FISA Act and the National Emergencies Act, are dead. Programs briefly suspended, such as the maintenance of lists for wide-scale detention, have been restored on a level far wider than before.

Of all the post-Watergate reforms, the most visible one to survive was the establishment, by the Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980, of permanent committees in both the Senate and the House for oversight of the CIA and FBI. Those who see this reform as significant point to the Iran-Contra crisis of the 1980s, when a congressional ban on CIA aid to the Nicaraguan Contras (the so-called Boland Amendments) led to illegal responses by White House officials, and their subsequent exposure. But the intention of the reform can be said to have been effectively reversed, making the committees into constituencies for the intelligence agencies, rather than custodians of them.213 Thus in the 1980s the Committees not only gave the CIA full leash on their dubious Afghan operation, Congressman Charlie Wilson actually pressed on the CIA a larger budget than many CIA operatives wanted.214

To sum up: on the surface, one can date the recent growth on unchecked secret powers in America to 9/11 and the implementation that morning of Continuity of Government (COG) measures that had been secretly planned for two decades by Cheney and Rumsfeld, even when the two men were not officially part of the U.S. Government. But that event had been prepared for, perhaps even made inevitable, by the much earlier Rumsfeld-Cheney victory in the post-Vietnam contest between Congress and the White House: over whether the public state would control the deep state, or vice versa.

Hooverism and the Doomsday Mania: the Instructive Difference

The Doomsday Mania, I would once have said, had restored Hooverism. I would now say that COG planning, in restoring specific Hoover techniques, has gone beyond Hooverism to something far more dangerous. In addition, some of the illegalities that Hoover merely planned for (like massive detention), Rumsfeld and Cheney, after also planning for two decades, implemented on September 11, 2001.

The COG measures implemented on 9/11, have supplemented Hoover’s powers with parallel powers developed by the CIA and NSA (as foreseen in the Huston Plan), plus the worst FBI illegalities from the emergency era of the 1960s. Torture, practiced by the FBI in an extreme situation, became embodied in legal memoranda as a standard way to interrogate suspects. Preemptive murder of opponents, as practiced by the FBI in Meridian and Chicago, is now the standard practice of the drone program initiated by Bush and Cheney and since expanded by Obama. In brief, as I said earlier, the aims of Hooverism were to maintain the status quo, while the aim of the Doomsday Mania has been explicitly to change it.

Hoover’s actions against the Klan were accompanied by similar illegal actions against Martin Luther King, whom he once characterized, on the record, as “the most notorious liar in the country.”215 The two campaigns, set side by side, reveal Hoover’s commitment to the status quo, against any forces, legal or illegal, violent or nonviolent, threatening change.216

His tactics to crush the Klan were clearly illegal. But they were in response to murders and a challenge to public order. They were also in their way measured, and in their way less disruptive of the peace than the “legal” tactics of the Kennedy brothers in the 1960s — whose response to the challenge at Ole Miss had resulted not only in lethal violence but the responsive determination of Bowers and others to commit serial murders, in order to induce an apocalyptic race war.217

In this respect Hoover’s “deep state” illegalities can be distinguished from those we have witnessed since 9/11 against al Qaeda. Hoover’s actions were finite and narrowly targeted, in order to achieve a successful consolidation of federal law. His methods were essentially nonviolent against the nonviolent, violent against the violent.218 The implementation of COG planning we have seen since 9/11 has been, in contrast, an open-ended erosion of law and liberty, increasing year by year, with no end in sight.

In this essay I have tried to show Hoover’s responsibility for developing the traditions of suspending habeas corpus and other constitutional liberties that have been implemented in the last decade. But we should also recognize the huge difference between planning for a suspension of liberty, and the implementation of those plans. There is no evidence that Hoover wanted to see his emergency plans implemented by state institutions including his own FBI. But Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, after working on COG plans for almost two decades, called publicly in 2000 for “a process of transformation, which even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event— like a new Pearl Harbor.”219

The Expansion of Secret Powers Since 9/11

With the implementation of COG emergency responses to 9/11, we have indeed seen an exponential expansion of America as a dual state, or what Dana Priest has called

two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.220

The second government, called by Priest “Top Secret America,” should not be thought of as identical to the deep state, but rather as the radically expanded institutional base for the deep state, ensuring an ever greater share of the national budget for top-down programs to constrain dissent both abroad and at home.

The unchecked expansion of this base – much of it now outsourced – has continued under Obama, even as budgetary cutbacks have continued to weaken the public government citizens are familiar with. For example

CACI…recorded $36.4 million in profits in the third quarter of fiscal 2011. It hired four hundred new employees and was looking for another four hundred. Analysts attributed its success to the swelling cybersecurity and intelligence markets and to its lucrative contracts with the army for intelligence and information war services.221

A percentage of such profits are inevitably dedicated to making budget allocations for security as certain in Congress as Hoover’s FBI budget was when he was at his prime. These flows of funds further trivialize the independence of Congress, to the point where, as Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel recently wrote, “”Bipartisan agreement in Washington usually means citizens should hold on to their wallets or get ready for another threat to peace.”222

Priest notes how Obama campaigned in 2008 as a critic of a number of covert programs, including torture, renditions, and secret prisons – yet in the end, torture aside, the new administration, in the words of a CIA observer, “changed virtually nothing.”223 Indeed, after having promised great openness, the Obama administration has proceeded to indict more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, with a vindictiveness that has brought a reprimand from a federal judge.224

Dana Priest’s book is of great value for its researches into a Top Secret realm not normally described in the governing media. But it is almost silent about the human agents who have brought us here: in her book Dick Cheney is mentioned only once in passing, and there is nothing at all about the COG planning of the Doomsday Project.

At one point a statement by Janet Napolitano, Obama’s cabinet-level Secretary of Homeland Security, reminds Priest of J. Edgar Hoover and “the dark days of McCarthyism, when…an obsessed and paranoid FBI had drawn up a black list” (the Security Index).225 There is indeed a sense in which America’s Doomsday Mania today is derived from Hoover’s obsessive penchant for surveillance and control. But if we were to begin by returning to the dual state as it operated under Hoover, this would represent a return to a far more limited form of secret government than that oppressing us today.


Recent American history has seen two competing narratives: one relatively stable and benign, and one posing a dangerous threat to constitutional democracy. On the one hand a succession of power-hungry men have first amassed excessive powers and then in consequence have self-destructed or been ousted: Joe McCarthy in the 1950s, Richard Nixon in 1974, Oliver North in 1986, and Donald Rumsfeld in 2006.226 Their rise and fall might suggest that American politics essentially comprises a self-correcting, homeostatic system, one in which excessive power generates counterforces to correct it. But this appearance of equilibrium is misleading.

Each of these visible figures exercised power because of their connection to the subterranean accumulation of illegal secret powers assembled originally and principally by J. Edgar Hoover. The departure of individuals did not establish effective legal checks and balances on the deep powers behind them. The one serious congressional effort to do this, after Nixon’s resignation in 1974, was successfully stymied by two men (Rumsfeld and Cheney) who went on to plan successfully for the expansion of these same powers in the Doomsday Project.

The second narrative illustrates the truth of the principle, well understood by America’s Founding Fathers, that power, unchecked, will continue to grow like a cancer. This unchecked growth of the security state has been reinforced by a parallel and related development – the unchecked accumulation of gross wealth by the top one percent of the one percent.227

The combined growth of great wealth and the security state has radically diminished the powers of the public state (and above all Congress) to restore equilibrium to the American political system. This process, as many have warned, is not at all homeostatic, but threatens disaster if not brought under control.

Corresponding to these two narratives are two opposing prospects for America’s future: one optimistic and one gloomy. The development of the Internet has provided new channels of communication for those concerned progressives and dissidents (including “conspiracy theorists) who are unheard in the increasingly corporatized and corrupt governing media. These in turn have supplied a growing constituency in support of those isolated and embattled whistleblowers who have arisen in virtually every agency contributing to the unchecked security state. And we have seen at least two successful bureaucratic revolts in the last decade: first in the FBI and the Justice Department against the torture memos inspired by Cheney, and then “the revolt of the generals” against Donald Rumsfeld.

A pessimist would respond that these developments have somewhat rationalized and heightened the powers of the security state. A rational assessment of the data assembled in this essay gives no grounds for predicting that the checks needed for democratic checks and balances will soon emerge. If they do not, a veneer of continuity will mask the growing irrelevance of the public state’s democratic institutions, leaving them to debate fruitlessly – in the same way that the Roman Senate continued to debate as the Republic slouched into Empire.

In terms of logical analysis, the likely prospect would seem to be the pessimistic one. But neither humans nor their history are wholly logical. The last century has seen a number of nonviolent changes – even revolutions – that few social scientists were able logically to predict. At their head we should list the contribution of Gandhian nonviolence to the liberation of India, one of the world’s largest and most exploited nations. Since then we have seen other such contributions: to the largely nonviolent desegregation of the American South, the nonviolent transfer of power in South Africa, and the nonviolent expulsion of Soviet troops from Poland and Eastern Europe.

So it is from faith, rather than from logic, that I am committed to the optimistic prospect. I do so because of the rewards offered by that truth which, as Gandhi wrote, “is like a birth.”.228 And I do so from faith, because, to quote Gandhi yet again, “Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs matchless and pure strength of faith.”229 Those of us who are old enough have seen such leaders of faith – Gandhi, King and Lech Walesa – arise to deal with what is humanly intolerable. I believe that we will see such leaders again.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11, and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan. His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, is here.

Recommended citation: Peter Dale Scott, “America’s Unchecked Security State: Part II: The Continuity of COG Detention Planning, 1948-2001,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 17, No. 3, April 29, 2013.


Articles on related subjects

• Peter Dale Scott, Systemic Destabilization in Recent American History: 9/11, the JFK Assassination and the Oklahoma City Bombing as a Strategy of Tension 

• Peter Dale Scott, Why Americans Must End America’s Self-Generating Wars

• Jeremy Kuzmarov, Police Training, “Nation Building” and Political Repression in Postcolonial South Korea

• Peter Dale Scott, The NATO Afghanistan War and US-Russian Relations: Drugs, Oil, and War

Peter Dale Scott, The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11

Peter Dale Scott, Norway’s Terror as Systemic Destabilization: Breivik, the Arms-for-Drugs Milieu, and Global Shadow Elites

Tim Shorrock, Reading the Egyptian Revolution Through the Lens of US Policy in South Korea Circa 1980: Revelations in US Declassified Documents


123 Athan G. Theoharis, The FBI & American Democracy: A Brief Critical History (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004), 20-21; Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Report, Book III – Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans (henceforth Church Committee, Book III), 411-17.

124 Church Committee, Book III, 417.

125 Church Committee, Book III, 420-21; quoting from Attorney-General Biddle’s directive to the FBI, 1943.

126 Weiner, Enemies, 122: “[The Security Index] included – in addition to ‘both aliens and citizens of the United States [of] German, Italian, and Communist sympathies’ – radical labor leaders, journalists critical of the administration, writers critical of the FBI, and certain members of Congress.” In 1955 about half the names on the Security Index were transferred to a less punitive Communist Index (later renamed the Reserve Index), including “Professors, teachers, and educators: labor union organizers and leaders; writers, lecturers newsmen and others in the mass media field; lawyers, doctors, and scientists; other potentially influential persons on a local or national level; individuals who could potentially furnish financial or material aid” (Church Committee, Book II, 55. Among those included were Norman Mailer and Martin Luther King (Theoharis, The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, 123).

127 FBI, FBI Privacy Act Systems (63 FR 8659, 8671 / 02-20-98) link: “The following indices are no longer being used by the FBI and are being maintained at FBIHQ pending receipt of authority to destroy: Black Panther Party Photo Index; Black United Front Index; Security Index; and Wounded Knee Album.)

1) Administrative Index (ADEX). Consists of cards with descriptive data on individuals who were subject to investigation in a national emergency because they were believed to constitute a potential or active threat to the internal security of the United States. When ADEX was started in 1971, it was made up of people who were formerly on the Security Index, Reserve Index, and Agitator Index. This index is maintained in two separate locations in FBI Headquarters. ADEX was discontinued in January 1978. This list is inactive at FBI Headquarters and 29 Field Offices.”

128 Weiner, Enemies, 161. Theoharis asserts however that Truman had already secretly approved the detention plan in 1948 (Theoharis, The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, 151).

129 Weiner, Enemies, 160-61. The primary targets for detention were Communist Party members and their supporters. Each detained person would eventually get a hearing, which under Hoover’s plan would “not be bound by the rules of evidence.” The plan was declassified in 2007; see “Hoover plan for mass arrests,” Public record media, February 2011, link. The FBI at this time became what Victor Navasky called “the vanguard of an extraordinary internal-security bureaucracy,” including the Subversive Activities Control Board established, over Truman’s veto, by the McCarran Act of 1950 (Victor Navasky, Naming Names, 22). That security bureaucracy has morphed today into a second, shadow government.

130 Weiner, Enemies, 144-45.

131 Theoharis, The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, 151, 158; cf. Church Committee, Book II.

132 Presidential Proclamation 2914 of December 16, 1950; reproduced in Brian Tuohy, Disaster Government: National Emergencies, Continuity of Government, & You (San Bernardino, CA: Mofo Press, 2013), 44-45.

133 For NSA 68/4 of December 14, 1950, see FRUS, 1950, 1: 467–74; Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 322, etc.
*i Dennis Wainstock, Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 99.

134 Matthew L. Conaty, “The Atomic Midwife: The Eisenhower Administration’s

Continuity-of-Government Plans and the Legacy of ‘Constitutional Dictatorship,’”

Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 3, Spring 2010, 7.

135 Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], FEMA MANUAL 5400.2 111 (effective Feb. 29, 2000), link1 link2; quoted in Thronson, “Toward Comprehensive Reform of America’s Emergency Law Regime,” 762.

136 FBI memo of June 19, 1958, to L.F. Boardman from A.H. Belmont (FBI HQ file 66-19016-6), reproduced in Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Defense Plans –Presidential Emergency Action Documents, 1958 – 1979, link.

137 Conaty, “The Atomic Midwife,” 7-8.

138 Conaty, “The Atomic Midwife,” 14.

139 Hope Yen, “Eisenhower letters reveal doomsday plan: Citizens tapped to take over in case of attack,” AP, Deseret News, March 21, 2004, link. Other emergency responses to the launching of the Soviet sputnik included acceleration of the military programs to launch an American satellite, and the creation of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA), which developed the Internet.

140 “Emergency Preparedness for Telecommunications,” attachment to memo of November 5, 1969, to Clay Whitehead [director of the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy under Nixon], from Charlie Joyce; reproduced at

141 Tim Shorrock, Spies for hire: the secret world of intelligence outsourcing (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008),72-75; Peter Dale Scott, “Continuity of Government: Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, November 29, 2010,

142 Peter Dale Scott, “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, November 21, 2011, link. For peripheral links between this network and the JFK assassination, see this article; also Larry Haapanen and Alan Rogers, “A Phone Call from Out of the Blue,” Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Vol, 8:2, link.

143 Scott, “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events;” quoting Peter Dale Scott, “North, Iran-Contra, and the Doomsday Project: The Original Congressional Cover Up of Continuity-of-Government Planning,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, February 21, 2011.

144 Ben Bradlee, Jr., Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (New York: D.I. Fine, 1988), 132

145 Scott, “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events;” citing Woodward and Bernstein, All the President’s Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 23; Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York: Random House, 1984), 16. For more on WISP, see David Wise, The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (New York: Random House, 1973), 134-37.

146 Cf. e.g. Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD), “Promulgation and Administration of OSD Crisis Action Packages (CAPs),” December 13, 1990, link: “The Director. Crisis Coordination Center shall:
…. d. Develop and maintain an automated data base interfacing CAPs [Crisis Action Packages] with related presidential emergency action documents (PEADs), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) major emergency actions (MEAs), and Joint Staff fact sheets.” These programs were under the purview of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, who in 1990 was the neocon Paul Wolfowitz. Crisis Action Planning is today intensively developed inside and outside government: e.g. James L. Jacobs, Micheal C. Dorneich, and Patricia M. Jones, “Activity Representation and Management for Crisis Action Planning,” 1998 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, San Diego CA, October 11-14, 1998. (Invited).

147 Brian Glick, War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It (Boston: South End Press, 1999), 34 (coordinated); Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 71 (business). Cf. Weiner, Enemies, 15-16.

148 Athan G, Theoharis and John Stuart Cox, The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisition (New York: Bantam, 1990), 224-29; Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 413; Mike Forrest Keen, Stalking Sociologists: J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI Surveillance of American Sociology (New Brunswick : Transaction Publishers, 2004), 51 (Legion); Charles R. Geisst, Undue Influence: How the Wall Street Elite Puts the Financial System at Risk (Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 139 (business).

149 Alfred M. Lilienthal, “The Changing Role of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, link.

150 Robert Friedman, “The ADL: The Jewish Thought Police,’” Village Voice, May 11, 1993; citing Henry Schwarzschild, SF Weekly, April 28, 1993.

151 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 329 (Allen); 432 (Murchison, Kennedy, Rosenstiel); 470n (Kennedy).

152 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 329. Burton Hersh, claims that Hoover dined at Clint Murchison’s club in La Jolla, the del Charro, with John Roselli . Hersh, Bobby and J. Edgar, 107. Cf. Sanford J. Ungar, FBI (Boston: Little Brown, 1976), 393: “[S]ome of the director’s own wealthy friends were involved in dealings with the underworld.”

153 Hersh, Bobby and J. Edgar, 49; cf. 198.

154 Theoharis, The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, 189. Hoover’s refusal to investigate American organized crime was ended by the embarrassing news stories about the 1957 Apalachin, NY crime summit. After Robert Kennedy, then working for a Senate Subcommittee, approached the FBI for information, it developed that the FBI had no information at all on about forty of them. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), in contrast, “had something on every one of them” (Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 454n). In all, 58 mobsters were apprehended at Apalachin, while about fifty more escaped through the woods and fields. Cf. Gil Reavill, Mafia Summit: J. Edgar Hoover, the Kennedy Brothers, and the Meeting That Unmasked the Mob (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2012).

155 Summers, Official and Confidential, 228.

156 Stephen H. Norwood, Strikebreaking and Intimidation: Mercenaries and Masculinity in Twentieth Century America (Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 178.

157 Scott, Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection (Berkeley: Westworks, 1977), 40; citing San Francisco Chronicle, September 26, 1974; January 11, 1975.

158 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 218-21; Albert Fried, The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America (New York: Columbia UP, 1994),213.

159 Weiner, Enemies, 487. In like manner, when Carmine Galante of the Bonanno family avoided conviction for the murder of the left-wing journalist Carlo Tresca in 1943, a sycophantic admirer of Hoover and Winchell, Guenther Reinhardt, blamed the murder on the Communists (Nunzio Pernicone, Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel (Edinburgh: AK Press, 2010), 296; cf. Thomas A. Reppetto, Battleground New York City: Countering Spies, Saboteurs, and Terrorists since 1861 (Washington: Potomac Books, 2012), 190-94.

160 Howie Carr, Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger’s Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld (New York: Forge Books, 2011), 170ss.

161 Boston Globe, September 6, 2006, link.

162 John Kroger, Convictions: A Prosecutor’s Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), 146-52, etc.

163 Lance, Triple Cross, 221-38, etc.

164 Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock, The Awful Grace of God (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2012), 34.

165 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (New York: Ballantine Books, 1979), 341-50; Henry T. Gallagher, James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier’s Story (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. 2012), ZZ (twenty thousand).

166 Richard D. Mahoney, Sons & brothers : the days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy (New York: Arcade Pub., 1999), 186, 188.

167 Summeres, Not in Your Lifetime, 162.

168 Scott, Deep Politics, 49-50.

169 A few days before the JFK assassination, the source, Joseph Milteer, also told Miami police informant Willie Somersett that the president would be shot “from an office building with a high-powered rifle.” FBI HQ received this information on November 10, 1963; but did not transmit it to the Warren Commission (in a rewritten form making it less credible) until August 7, 1964, when the Commission had already written its report and was winding up its work. Meanwhile FBI HQ had ordered its Miami office to “amend the reliability statement to show that some of the information …could not be verified or corroborated.” See Scott, Deep Politics, 49-51. Thus in August 1968 the FBI ignored a credible report from Somersett connecting a Klan murderer, Tommy Tarrants (of whom more shortly) to the murder of Martin Luther King in Memphis four months before (Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 95-97).

170 Although the Klan were generally people with little status in society, Tommy Tarrants told Patsy Sims that one of the people responsible for planning the White Klan violence in which he participated was “a high-ranking military officer” (Patsy Sims, The Klan (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1996), 240).

171 Maryanne Vollers, Ghosts of Mississippi: the murder of Medgar Evers, the trials of Byron de la Beckwith, and the haunting of the new South (Boston: Little, Brown, 1995), 229-30; quoted in Michael Newton, The Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi: A History (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2010), 125.

172 Theoharis, The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide, 33; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (New York: Ballantine Books, 1979), 313.

173 Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy and His Times, 314.

174 Weiner, Enemies, 247.

175 Glenn Peter Hastedt, , ed., Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations: An Encyclopedia of American Espionage (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011), 180. One of the agents later commented, “There would be a Klan meeting with ten people there, and six of them would be reporting back the next day” (Weiner, Enemies, 247).

176 Hastedt, , ed., Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations, 180. By way of comparison, the FBI COINTELPRO against the Socialist Workers’ Party, over a much longer period, involved only 208 operations.

177 Steven E Atkins, Encyclopedia of Right-Wing Extremism In Modern American History (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011), 24.

178 Weiner, Enemies, 244.

179 Theoharis, ed., The FBI: A Comprehensive Guide, 70; Anthony Villano, Brick Agent: Inside the Mafia for the FBI (New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Books, 1977); M. Susan Orr Klopfer, Fred Klopfer, Barry Klopfer, Where Rebels Roost: Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited ([Fort Madison, Iowa?]: M.S. Orr, 2006), 399.

180Sandra Harmon, Mafia Son: The Scarpa Mob Family, the FBI, and a Story of Betrayal (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010), 57-64; Peter Lance, Cover Up

What the Government Is Still Hiding About the War on Terror, link; Richard H. Stratton, Altered States of America: Icons And Outlaws, Hitmakers And Hitmen (New York: Nation Books, 2005), 226-27.

181 Fredric L. Dannen “The G-Man and the Hit Man,” New Yorker, December 16, 1996, link. The involvement of Scarpa in the two earlier investigations has been challenged (Jerry Mitchell , “A mobster takes on the KKK,” Jackson Clarion-Ledger,

February 17, 2010); but on the basis of evidence introduced into the trial of Scarpa’s FBI handler Lindley DeVecchio, the interpretation of which has itself been challenged (Brad Hamilton, New York Post, May 27, 2012, link; Lance, Triple Cross,, 421-25; Jack Cashill, “The Trials of Angela Clemente: Why the Department of Justice is Destroying America’s Best PI,”, May 31, 2007, link).

182 Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 25: “The FBI would connect the White Knights with more than three hundred acts of racial violence.”

183 Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 20: ”Sam Bowers had himself targeted King for murder and … was part of a network that had incited and planned attacks on King over a period of years.”

184 Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 275. In contrast Hoover should be severely faulted for his obstruction of the investigation of the Martin Luther King assassination. FBI files contained evidence which, if “collated and cross-referenced…could have developed a powerful circumstantial case for a conspiracy to murder King [against Bowers and followers of an allied racist, Wesley Swift].” But after the FBI had developed evidence pointing to James Earl Ray as the assassin, “Hoover issued a directive to several field offices…to ‘hold all leads in abeyance concerning whereabouts and activities of various individuals, including Dr. Wesley Swift, in view of the present information regarding Galt [i.e. Ray]’” (Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 253, 256).

185 Jack Nelson, Scoop: The Evolution of a Southern Reporter (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013), 147-48.

186 Nelson, Scoop, 146-52. Cf. David Mark Chalmers, Backfire: How the Ku Klux Klan Helped the Civil Rights Movement (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 83-86.

187 Nelson, Scoop, 150, 152. Cf. Wyn Craig Wade, The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 362-63. Tarrants, who became a repentant born-again Christian while in prison, later discounted the entrapment issue: “My feelings are,,,that I was a willing participant” (Patsy Sims, The Klan, 243; cf. Wade, The Fiery Cross, 363).

188 One person forgiving the FBI was the repentant Tarrants: “if I were an FBI agent faced with the situation there in Mississippi in that particular time, I would not hesitate to use the same methods they used to get me” (Sims, The Klan, 243).

189 Nelson, Scoop, 152.

190 Nelson, Scoop, 150.

191 George Michael, Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA (London: Routledge, 2003), 128. Cf. Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock, The Awful Grace of God (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2012), 91-95.

192 Jim Douglass, Gandhi and the Unspeakable (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012), 83.

193 Hoover gave increasing signs of being out of touch, even senile (Ronald Kessler, The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI [New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002], 172). Meanwhile leadership in the once nonviolent SDS passed to people like Bernardine Dohrn, who said in a 1970 address to an SDS convention, “Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson” (Vincent Bugliosi, with Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter: the True Story of the Manson Murders [New York: W.W. Norton, c1994], 297).

194 Cf. Ray Wannall’s not wholly unfriendly assessment of his former colleague Sullivan: “With respect to some of Sullivan’s FBI associates referring to him as ‘Crazy Bill,’ there surely were signs of certain irrationalities on his part beginning about a year before he retired from the FBI [in 1971]…. Those of us who came to know him well felt that he may have suffered a mental collapse the last year or so he was in the Bureau, perhaps brought on by his obsession to become FBI Director” (Wannall. The Real J. Edgar Hoover, 146).

195 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 621; Scott, Deep Politics, 308-09.

196 Frank J. Donner, The age of surveillance: the aims and methods of America’s political intelligence system (New York: Vintage Books, 1981), 223; quoted in Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 621-22n: “more specifically it [the FBI] engaged in a conspiracy to deprive individuals of their constitutionally protected rights.”

197 “The Hunt for Red Menace: – 4, Information Collection & Sharing,” Political Research Associates, link.

198 “By 1970 Sullivan was, largely unbeknownst to Hoover, almost obsessively pursuing factions of the New Left, pushing field offices to open files on every known individual affiliated with SDS or living on a commune. Such excesses were halted only when hey were discovered by another assistant director, Inspection Division head W. Mark Felt” (David Cunningham, There’s something happening here: the New Left, the Klan, and FBI [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004], 253).

199 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 687-88. Cf. Ray Wannall. The Real J. Edgar Hoover: For the Record (Paducah, KY: Turner Pub., 2000), 145-46. The Angleton-Sullivan alliance may have developed after their collaboration in 1964 to establish a common FBI-CIA version of how John F. Kennedy was killed. Cf. Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 646; Scott, Deep Politics II, 20. However Mark Riebling writes that the Angleton-Sullivan mostly developed (unknown to Hoover) after Hoover terminated formal liaison with the CIA in 1970 (Mark Riebling, Wedge: the secret war between the FBI and CIA [New York: Knopf, 1994], 276).

200 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 670); Nelson, Scoop, 157 (‘ferret”).”

201 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 670-72. Cf. B. Hersh, Bobby and J. Edgar, 500.

202 Loch K. Johnson, America’s secret power: the CIA in a democratic society

(New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 145; Joan Hoff, Nixon reconsidered (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 243.

203 “Huston’s legacy lived on in a way he could not have anticipated…. Nixon had formally approved this extension of buggings and break-ins…. The president wanted this development; some of the official organs of the state were frustrating his wishes…. When in the following year the next peril presented itself, the urge for the White House to take over and run some police functions itself was irresistible” (Fred Emery, Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon (New York: Random House/ Times Books, 1994), 28; emphasis in original). Cf. Hoff, Nixon reconsidered, 243-44.

204 Dennis Hevesi, “William Anderson, Navy Hero, Dies at 85,’ New York Times, March 6, 2007, link.

205 Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 666.

206 Church Committee, Report, Book III – Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, especially pp. 10-11. 33-61. 

207 The two men (Edward Miller and Mark Felt) were pardoned by Reagan in 1981, while their cases were still on appeal.

208 Samuel P. Huntington, The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies (Trilateral Commission Report; New York: New York University Press, 1976),

209 John Prados, Safe for Democracy: the secret wars of the CIA (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006), 435-36: “The [Ford] White House saw the [congressional] inquiries as a major threat.”
*ii John Prados, Safe for Democracy: the secret wars of the CIA (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006), 435-36: “The [Ford] White House saw the [congressional] inquiries as a major threat.”
*iii Scott, Road to 9/11, 98.

210 Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein, Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency (New York: Random House, 2006), 36. For an extended analysis of the Ford-Rumsfeld-Cheney-inspired “counterattack” on the various congressional investigations of the FBI and CIA, and its overall success, see Kathryn Olmstead, Challenging the Secret Government: the post-Watergate investigations of the CIA and FBI (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 147-89.

211 “Veto Battle 30 Years Ago Set Freedom of Information Norms:

Scalia, Rumsfeld, Cheney Opposed Open Government Bill.” National Security Archive, November 23, 2004, link.

212 Scott, Road to 9/11, especially pp. 50-113; Olmstead, Challenging the Secret Government, 177-78.

213 Cf. Olmstead, Challenging the Secret Government, 180-81.

214 Scott, Road to 9/11, 132: “Wilson even put an extra $200 million into the CIA’s Afghan pipeline in 1991, after the Russians had withdrawn from Afghanistan.”

215 Newsweek, November 30, 1964. Hoover added, off the record, “He is one of the lowest characters in the country” (Church Committee, Book III, 157). For the illegalities in Hoover’s obsessive campaign to destroy King, see Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, 571-75; Church Committee, Book III, 158-61.

216 This same homeostatic impulse explains his use of the FBI to reinforce public myths about the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations. According to Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock, FBI files contained evidence which, if “collated and cross-referenced…could have developed a powerful circumstantial case for a conspiracy to murder King [against Bowers, Tarrants, and others].” But after the FBI had developed evidence pointing to James Earl Ray as the assassin, “Hoover issued a directive to several field offices…to ‘hold all leads in abeyance concerning whereabouts and activities of various individuals, including Dr. Wesley Swift, in view of the present information regarding Galt [i.e. Ray]’” (Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 253, 256).

217 Wexler and Hancock, The Awful Grace of God, 275, etc.

218 Having surprised myself by coming to this relatively benign assessment of Hoover, I was pleased and again surprised to find it corroborated by Burton Hersh (Bobby and J. Edgar, 514-15).

219 Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: strategy, forces and resources for a new century (Washington, DC: Project for the New American Century, [2000]), 51.

Contrary to what some have suggested, the focus of this transformation was clearly on forcing the Department of Defense, for the sake of “military preeminence,” “to exploit the emerging revolution in military affairs.” But to fulfill the Rumsfeld-Cheney-Wolfowitz PNAC agenda of future preemptive wars, it was also vital to shift America to the more robust techniques we have since seen for silencing antiwar opposition.

220 Dana Priest and William Arkin, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State (New York: Little Brown, 2011), 52.

221 Priest and Arkin, Top Secret America, 277. No fiscal cliff threatens CACI’s growth. In April 2013 its website advertised 1,014 job openings for people with security clearances, along with another 46 job openings with no clearance required.

222 Katrina vanden Heuvel, “The Corporate ‘Predator State.’” Washington Post, March 26, 2013.

223 Priest and Arkin, Top Secret America, 275; quoting CIA general counsel John Rizzo.

224 Judge Richard D. Bennett of the Federal District Court, commenting on the case of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, whose felony charges were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor. Judge Bennett said that it was “unconscionable” to charge a defendant with a list of serious crimes that could have resulted in 35 years in prison, only to drop all of the major charges on the eve of trial. For more on the Drake case, see Jane Mayer, “The Secret Sharer: Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state?” New Yorker, May 23, 2011, link.

Obama’s behavior is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s, who was elected after promising to reduce the defense budget, but presided instead over a huge increase. I suspect that neither president was duplicitous; rather, they are just less powerful than the covert processes over which they preside.

225 Priest and Arkin, Top Secret America, 132.

226 Some might wish to add to this list General MacArthur in 1952 and General Westmoreland in 1968.

227 Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, “Dr. King’s ‘Two Americas’ Truer Now than Ever,” Moyers @ Company, April 10, 2013, “Walmart’s one of those companies laying people off, but according to the website Business Insider, the mega-chain’s CEO Michael Duke gets paid 1,034 times more than his average worker.“ As a matter of fact, “In the past 30 years, compensation for chief executives in America has increased 127 times faster than the average worker’s salary.”

228 Young India, December 15, 1921; in Mahatma Gandhi, The Essential Gandhi: His Life, Work, and Ideas: an Anthology (New York: Vintage, 1963), 150.

229 Mahatma Gandhi, “Towards Realization,” in Works (Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, [1958]-1994), Vol. 88, 185.

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Volume 11 | Issue 17 | Number 3

Article ID 3933

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