General Overviews


A - J

Campbell, Dan. "FBI Celebrates Centennial with Web Site." Government Computer News, 7 Apr. 2008. [http://www.gcn.com]

The FBI "has updated its Web site with pages devoted to its first 100 years of existence. The Web site covers the 'Bureau of Investigation's' history since its inception..., and includes a section that details each of the bureau's directors through the years.... The site also includes a 'Hall of Honor' dedicated to the FBI agents that have been killed in the line of duty, as well as a detailed history of the bureau's seal." See http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/history.

DeLong, Candice. Special Agent: My Life on the Front Line as a Woman in the FBI. New York: Hyperion, 2001.

Dew, Rosemary, and Pat Pape. No Backup -- My Life as a Female FBI Agent Battling, Kidnappers, Terrorists, and the Destructive Culture that Handcuffs the Bureau. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004.

AFIO WIN 01-04 (12 Jan. 2004) suggests that this is an "angry, burn-the-bridges, insider look at [Dew's] experiences as female and agent in the pre-1990 Bureau.... She suggests the Bureau is a dysfunctional family which fosters the environment where someone like Robert Hanssen can work and thrive."

According to Peake, Studies 49.1 (2005), this book "describes several constants" in the author's "relatively brief but promising career. The positive ones include rapid promotion, awards, and commendations. The major negative aspect ... was the pervasive and persistent sexual harassment.... In part two of the book, Dew ... reviews the Hoover legacy with its emphasis on law enforcement." She "examines the effect of the Bureau's reluctance to cooperate with other intelligence agencies, the impact of several discomforting recent espionage and terrorist cases ... and the failures associated with 9/11. Since she was not involved, she merely gives views based on her experience." Dew also "makes a series of specific recommendations aimed at long-range FBI improvement."

Earley, Pete. Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War. New York: Putnam's, 2008.

Tretyakov died 13 June 2010 at his home in Florida. See T. Rees Shapiro, "Sergei Tretyakov Dies; Former Russian Spy Defected to U.S. in 2000," Washington Post, 10 Jul. 2010, B4.

Wise, Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2008, notes that Comrade J is SVR Col. Sergei Tretyakov, who was the deputy rezident (station chief) in New York when he defected in 2000. The reviewer does not care much for some of Tretyakov's accusations against Western politicians, but finds that "[t]he real value of [his] saga lies less in his scattershot claims and innuendoes than in his sharp eye and gossipy insider's view of the KGB/SVR's training, methods, foibles and tricks."

For Goulden, Washington Times, 20 Jan. 2008, this is "an unsettling book." However, "[s]py buffs will love Tretyakov's gossipy accounts of National Enquirer-style sexual and alcohol misbehavior in KGB and SVR offices." Ransom, NIPQ 24.2 (Apr. 2008), comments that the author "covers a great deal of ground, sometimes roaming without any specific destination."

Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), wishes there were more details on Tretyakov's work for the FBI in the three years before his defection. This book is in essence an unsourced defector memoir, and that raises "the question of accuracy." Nevertheless, "Earley has provided another well told espionage case study." While lamenting its lack of an index, West, IJI&C 21.4 (Winter 2008-2009), still finds the book to be "important, not so much because it contains sensational disclosures -- which it does not -- but more for what it reveals about the daily grind of life in the New York rezidentura."

Eringer, Robert. RUSE: Undercover with FBI Counterintelligence. Dulles, VA: Potomac, 2008.

According to Peake, Studies 52.3 (Sep. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.2 (Fall 2008), this work concerns the author's activities with the FBI to lure Edward Lee Howard back to the United States, where he could be arrested for espionage. In terms of documentation, it "falls squarely in the 'trust me' category" and "struggles to attain mediocrity."

Freeh, Louis J., with Howard Means. My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror. New York: St Martin’s, 2005.

Walsh, Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2005, calls Freeh's book "a scorching account of his relationship with Bill Clinton and of leading the bureau at a time when, as Freeh writes, the president's 'scandals . . . never ended.'... Freeh devotes a scant two chapters to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and their aftermath, explaining that enough newsprint and news hours already have been dedicated to what went wrong without his rehashing the details. This will be too little for many."

For Peake, Studies 50.2 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), although the author "dealt with aspects of some important events during his seven-year tenure -- 1 September 1993-25 June 2001 -- ... few details are provided here.... In the area of domestic counterintelligence,... he says nothing in the title and little in the book. Less than a page for the CIA's Aldrich Ames ... and Harold Nicholson ([p.] 236), just a few more for the FBI's Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen.... This book is FBI lite. GOOGLE will be more informative."

Gertz, Bill. Enemies: How America's Foes Steal Our Vital Secrets -- and How We Let It Happen. New York: Crown, 2006.

It seems odd to Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), that the author "treats cases in which [enemy] agents were caught or confessed -- presumed successes -- yet he argues that 'FBI is out of control' ([p.] 199) and American CI isn't doing anything right, largely because it takes too long to catch the culprits, a problem he blames on the lack of high-level attention. Like others before him, Gertz argues that more resources, better leadership, and proactive programs are needed."

Brooks, NIPQ 23.1 (Jan. 2007), notes that this book "deals with the rather consistent failures of U.S. counterintelligence." The author "points out the failures of the FBI to detect, their ineptitude in investigating, and their flawed prosecutions as evidence that the nation requires an MI-5 type professional counterintelligence service." West, IJI&C 20.4 (Winter 2007), finds that this work "is not so much a work of disclosure, but more a series of case histories." The author's "account of wholesale ineptitude and worse at the FBI's Hoover Building is written in racy journalese, and reads as if it had been downloaded off his newspaper's website."

For Goulden, Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007) and Washington Times, 12 Nov. 2006, "even someone who is reflexively friend[ly] towards intelligence and law enforcement agencies must feel appalled at Mr. Gertz's account of sweeping incompetence by the men and women who are paid good salaries to protect important secrets.... Not a pleasant read, to be sure, but a valuable one."

Hersh, Burton. Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2007.

Goulden, Washington Times, 23 Sep. 2007, finds that this book "does a serious disservice to history (and the truth)." The author has produced "a nose-holder of a book"; it is "laden with outlandish assertions.... Repeating nut stuff serves only to keep nonsense in circulation." For Harter, Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer-Fall 2007), this is "a well-written hodgepdge, blending fact, rumor and innuendo." It has "nothing new." Hersh "includes some mighty tell tales ... which stretch belief, and challenge common sense." Although it is "at times an interesting account," the author too often "allowed speculation to become fact; rumor and innuendo to masquerade as reality."

To Theoharis, I&NS 26.4 (Aug. 2011), this is a "well-written, massive, and extensively research study" that "does not advance our understanding" and "devolve[s] into gossipy, at times conspiratorial, assertions.... Hersh's affinity for the sensational at times leads to his distortion of a more complex reality."

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. The FBI: A History. New Haven,CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2007.

Clark comment: Jeffreys-Jones's interpretation of FBI history is not uninteresting; however, it often seems that he is trying too hard to shoehorn his two main themes (racism and civil liberties) into his narrative.

Although he finds rather strange ("historical sleight of hand") the author's locating the FBI's beginning in 1871 rather than 1908, Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), judges this work to be "a balanced review of the FBI's organization and functions from ... 1908 to the present." Hickman, I&NS 24.4 (Aug. 2009), comments that if this book "fails to persuade in some of its novel vantage points and observations, it still should provoke spirited debate."

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. "The FBI's Continuing Challenge: Centralized Intelligence vs. Civil Liberties." Chronicle of Higher Education 51, no. 20 (21 Jan. 2005).

The joint Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks "recommended the creation of a cabinet-level director of national intelligence. At a stroke, the time-honored functional split between the FBI and CIA would be eradicated. Implicitly, civil liberties would be subordinated to the more urgent need to fight terrorism.... The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, of December 2004, created the post of director of national intelligence, or DNI, but the law reflected political compromises and is vague in vital areas.... Intelligence turf wars and controversy are likely to continue."

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