23 September 2010

Letter from Lhasa, number 190. (Kessler 1993): The FBI

Letter from Lhasa, number 190. (Kessler 1993): The FBI

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Kessler, R., The FBI. Inside the World’s Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency, Pocket Books, 1993.

(Kessler 1993).

Ronald Kessler

The image coming out from this book, whatever the author’s aims, is that of a powerful Secret Police Bureau with worldwide powers and extensions. The FBI is a kind of system’s warden. The point is which system it imagine, if one be clearly imagined and pursued. Whatever bureaucratic institution has finally it own “strange” typical dynamics, and evolutions and involutions. The FBI is the system’s warden, although very probably it had no idea which kind of system it must perpetuate.

Police work is a political work. However, here, one is really facing a political police, a “secret police”, more than a banal classical police force. Its powers in whatever sectors, internal and external, criminal and political, make it largely more powerful than the CIA. Structure and powers make the FBI similar to the Soviet KGB, very probably even more powerful and decidedly more politically/institutionally unaccountable. It may be that the KGB’s structure and powers were created thinking of the FBI, although, inevitably, not with the typical Anglophone efficiency and absence of scruples.

Only one example: “Even derogatory remarks made about Hoover at bridge parties or in beauty parlors were met by visits from the FBI. It was a tactic widely used by the KGB.” (Kessler 1993, p. 364). It was a basic form of internal terrorism. COINTELPRO and connected FBI-orchestrated internal assassination have been a consequence of these attitudes. Now, it is known that Hoover was a pervert. What they be doing now will be known, perhaps, in some way, when they’ll be doing something worse.

Form and substance of a bureaucratic organisation are frequently different. In addition, overall in this kind of activities, it is always arduous to cut power from a bureaucratic organisation. Bureaucracies tend to extend their powers and are frequently resilient to cuts, overall if there is not a strong institutional will and control over them.

“With the founding of the CIA, the FBI lost its overseas intelligence-gathering functions. The CIA spies overseas and may not spy on Americans in the U.S. Conversely, the FBI investigates violations of law in the U.S. or, in some cases, against American citizens. It may not spy overseas. However, the FBI still had to exchange information with foreign police and security services and coordinate investigations that involved activities in other countries. That is the function of the legat program. While the FBI, as part of its counterspy role, occasionally sends agents overseas in covert capacities, these agents report to the bureau’s intelligence division and have no connection with the legats.“

(Kessler 1993, p. 353)

In practice, and also legally, the CIA may not spy the FBI while the FBI may spy the CIA. Although the FBI had not anymore formal intelligence-gathering functions outside the USA, it could go on with its international activities under the cover of criminal investigations. International crimes are largely protected from governments and, at the same time, they are excuses for international activities of structures as the FBI and other ones.

There are structures as the Italic’s Carabinieri (there are also in other countries similar [dis]services), which have, at the same time, cumulated in one corps, the functions of the US FBI, CIA and armed forces, since they [the Italic’s Carabinieri] are, at the same time, internal super-police and part of internal and external secret services, and they have also, since they are a military corps now at the same level of the other 3 Armed Forces [Army, Navy, Air Force], classical military units including consistent armoured units.

The FBI’s activities in the criminal sector are just the cover for whatever else. Its most secret activities could evidently not be really investigated and reported from the author. Whatever powerful police service variously manipulates and manages criminality and terrorism. In this work, there are only, inevitably, some superficial glances. The book is equally of great interest and utility, although quite old.

Kessler, R., The FBI. Inside the World’s Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency, Pocket Books, 1993.