Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Our Gutted and Gutless FBI: Fiction vs. Reality

I’ve written a number of novels in which I give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the benefit of the doubt. I cast the agency in the role of an ally for justice and as a defender of individual rights and the sanctity of property. FBI agents befriend my heroes, or my heroes befriend them.  

Were I pen another novel today and involve the FBI in the plot, the agency would be cast in a villainous role, because it has become a tool and instrument of authoritarian political correctness and enforcement. It would have no more moral or Constitutional legitimacy than does the IRS, the EPA, the DEA, the FDA, or the HHS.

Nominally, as a federal enforcement agency that reports to the Department of Justice, the FBI exists to:

… protect and defend the United States, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners

Currently, the FBI's top priorities are:

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attacks
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels
  5. Protect civil rights
  6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
  7. Combat major white-collar crime
  8. Combat significant violent crime
  9. Support federal, state, local and international partners
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission

The first novel in which I bring in an FBI agent is Whisper the Guns, completed in 1977 but not published until 1992 by the Atlantean Press, and then republished in 2011 by the Patrick Henry Press. An agent flies to Hong Kong to “debrief” the hero, Merritt Fury, who has just broken up a Red Chinese plot to corner the market on tungsten and caused consternation in Washington and commodities market panic.

The next novel in which I present a sympathetic FBI is Presence of Mind, finished in 1987, but not published until 2010 by Perfect Crime Books. In this suspense novel, which pits private detective Chess Hanrahan against the State Department and a Washington desire to uphold a “peace” treaty with the Soviet Union, the FBI has been ordered to not investigate the murder of one of its agents because doing so would throw a monkey wrench into Soviet-engineered rapprochement with the U.S.  A “rogue” FBI agent nearing retirement works with Hanrahan to identify the murderer. The killer turns out not to be Soviet assassin, but a most unlikely “suit.”

Cyrus Skeen, private detective in San Francisco, in The Daedàlus Conspiracy: A Detective novel of 1929, first deals with the FBI, then known as the Bureau of Investigation, when he tries to determine the anarchist political affiliations of a man he suspects will attempt the assassination of a U.S. Senator. The agency is very cooperative.

In The Chameleon: A Detective Novel of 1929, set in San Francisco, in which private detective Cyrus Skeen meets with FBI agents to learn what the agency might know about Nazi activity in the country. The National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazis) had not yet risen to power in Germany, and information about their activities in America is scarce. It was not yet a political force to take serious cognizance of.  But the BOI does have a record of some private publications that tout the Nazi ideology, and this information aids Skeen in his investigations. The BOI does not solve the mystery; that is Skeen’s accomplishment.

The next novel in which the BOI figures is The Circles of Odin: A Detective Novel of 1929. Skeen asks the Bureau if it has any information on a German mystical cult that may have connections with the Nazis. Members of the cult apparently have been murdering San Franciscans as sacrificial offerings to a Nordic god.

In The Black Stone: A Detective Novel of 1930, Skeen visits the BOI on Gough Street in San Francisco to see if the agency has any information on the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Middle East organization. Skeen is investigating the horrific murders of Jewish girl and a New York newspaper reporter. The agency knows nothing about the Muslim Brotherhood and not much more about Middle Eastern affairs.

Finally, the BOI turns up in A Crimson Overture: A Detective Novel of 1930, and again the private detective, Skeen, consults the BOI about the extent of Soviet espionage in the U.S. and in particular in the San Francisco Bay Area. A British spy has been murdered, but there is evidence that she was assassinated by a Soviet mole. And in the course of the story, an FBI agent is later murdered with an ice pick. Skeen and a handful of agents become allies and friends.

That wouldn’t happen today. Not in any future novel I might write.

When I was researching The Chameleon, there was some information I needed to learn but which only the FBI could give me. Or so I thought. This was about where the BOI’s offices were located in San Francisco, the size of its staff, and other minor details. I contacted the local FBI office in Richmond, and posed my queries. With all the information the Bureau collects and stores, surely, I thought, it would know where its offices were located around the country in any given period. The Richmond office in turn contacted FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. A hush-hush telephone conference was scheduled for me with two agents and a monitor at headquarters.  

The whole exercise of agency caution was pointless, and, from my perspective, utterly fruitless. Nobody knew anything, not where the BOI was located in San Francisco in 1929, how big the office and staff were, and so on.  If there were records of correspondence between headquarters and regional offices, they were probably molding in a cardboard box in some warehouse. I had the same problem with locating the British, German, and French consulates in the city in Skeen’s time. Nobody knew anything, not Washington, not London, not Berlin, not Paris, not their embassies, and not any of their current consulates. I wound up having to scour the Internet and resort to the local library and old newspaper files to find the information about the BOI and the consulates. I found it all, but with no assistance from any these government entities. Invaluable starting points were the San Francisco telephone directories from 1929 and 1930. From those I followed what seemed like an endless trail of connecting dots until I got the answers I needed.

The occasion for this divorce (à la Islam: “I divorce thee! I divorce thee! I divorce thee!” – but then the new FBI wouldn’t know what I was talking about, since it isn’t allowed to know anything about Islam) is the linebacker role the agency is performing for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as its pyromaniac flunkies and thugs set fire to empty land in Oregon to intimidate and dispossess cattle ranchers of their property. Rather than admit that a terrorist with terrorist ties and predilections has committed a terrorist act in the name of Islam, the agency will now give the public its own style of taqiyya (Islamic double-speak) until it can no longer deny that the terrorist act was an act of Islamic terrorism, and that it really had nothing to do with “extremism” or “radicalization.” Listening to FBI Director James Comey or any other recent Director talk his way out of admitting the fact that Islam has everything to do with terrorism, especially when the terrorists boast of it, is like listening to Porky Pig recite the alphabet.

The FBI has abandoned its mandate to preserve and protect this country and its Constitution. It can blame President Barack Obama all it wants for ordering the redaction of all references to Islam and Muslims in its literature and training materials, but good, honest FBI employees would leave the agency or revolt against Obama’s domestic ROE’s. Perhaps that’s what they’ve done, for it seems the country is saddled with paycheck collectors more worried about their perks than anything else.

Now it is running interference for one of the most notorious land-grabbing federal agencies, the BLM, squelching independent reporting of what is happening in Oregon and calling the patriots who occupied a vacant federal shack in protest of the railroading of two ranchers “terrorists.”

Rather than admit that the BLM is an agent of federal terrorism with a long record of property seizure, confiscation, and destruction, it is partnering with this mini empire builder. This is disgrace the FBI will have to live down for a long time.

Today, I wouldn’t give an FBI agent the time of day. He would have to confiscate my watch – at gunpoint.

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