agcnc” until the New Deal era, when itrnacquired the legendary status it retainedrnuntil the 1970’s, and the modern FBI isrn’er’ much a creature of the New Deal.rnWhile Coolidge’s Attorney GeneralrnHarlan Fisk Stone had withdrawn thernBureau from the red-hunting that was J.rnEdgar Hoover’s first love, the Presidentrnwho put the FBI back into the domesticrnsecurit’ business was Franklin Roosevelt.rnRoosevelt II was principalh’ interestedrnin what he regarded as pro-Nazi activitiesrnin the 1930’s as challenges to his interventionistrnforeign policv, but also inrncommunist activities, and he demandedrnfrom Hoover what a 1936 memorandumrncalled svstematic intelligence on “subversirne activities in the United States,rnparticulariy Eiscism and Communism …rna broad picture of the general movementrnand its activities as may affect the economicrnand political life of the country.”rnThe memorandum was in fact a mandaternfor the permeation of all of Americanrnsocietv bv federal intelligence authorities,rnbut cspeciallv for the politicallyrnmotiated surveillance and intimidationrnof the critics of Roosevelt’s foreign polic.rnIt was one thing for the FBI to inxestigaternactual German-government sponsoredrnpolitical activities in the UnitedrnStates, but, using that as a cover, Rooseveltrnwas able to extend FBI surveillancernto non-Nazi domestic dissenters. ThatrnRoosevelt had no serious interest in resistingrnclandestine foreign interferencernin American politics is shown bv his notoriousrncollaboration, in iolation of lawrnand the Constitution, with secret Britishrnintelligence activities in the UnitedrnStates designed to promote pro-Britishrnsentiment and support Roose’elt’s foreignrnpolicy.rnThe New Deal, then, was a GreatrnLeap Forward for federal police power asrnwell as for federally mandated investigationsrnof political adversaries. The secondrnsuch leap took place in the 1960’s, whenrnLyndon Johnson conscripted the Bureaurnfor the blatant political intimidation ofrnSouthern resistance to the civil rightsrnmovenrent. Just as the New Deal JusticernDepartment exploited John Dillingerrnand the other small-time regional banditsrnof the 1930’s to justify increases inrnfederal law enforcement power, so LyndonrnJohnson exploited the Ku Klux Klanrninthel960’s.rnIt was Johnson’s goal to use Klan violencernagainst civil rights workers as a justificationrnof civil rights legislation, andrnhe personally ordered an FBI investigationrnof the kidnapping and murder ofrnthree civil rights workers in Mississippi inrn1964 and also of the Viola Liuzzo murderrnin 1965. Both investigations seem tornhave been dress rehearsals for the laterrnshenanigans at Waco and Ruby Ridge.rnIn the Liuzzo killing, one of the government’srnmain showcase horror storiesrnabout Southern resistance to integration,rnan FBI informant, Gary Rowe, actuallyrntook part in the murder and may actuallyrnhave pulled the trigger of the gun thatrnkilled her, and Rowe may also havernplanted a bomb that killed four blackrnchildren at a Birmingham church inrn1963. In the Mississippi kidnapping andrnmurder case, the basis of the contemptiblernfilm Mississippi Burning, thernFBI may have used a New York gangster,rnGregory Scarpa, to threaten the life ofrnone of the suspects to discover where thernbodies were buried. But aside from thesernillegalities, the FBI crackdown on thernKlan is significant for another reason asrnwell.rnFBI operations against the Klan grewrnout of the Bureau’s COINTELPRO operations,rnoriginally aimed at the CommunistrnParty. Covert action aimed at thernCP, and also at the New Left, could bernjustified on national security grounds,rnbut no such rationale existed in the casernof the Klan, a purely indigenous organization,rnmost of whose members werernnever involved in illegalities or violence.rnMoreover, the Klan was a political organizationrnof no small importance that impededrnthe expansion of federal powerrnand presented a political threat to Johnsonrnand his Southern allies.rnBy 1965, the FBI had thoroughly infiltratedrnthe Klan with some 2,000 informants,rnno less than 20 percent of therngroup’s total membership. The purposernof the infiltration was not to gain intelligencernon illegal activities but ratherrnexplicitly to disrupt and destroy it as anrneffective organization. A memo fromrnHoover to FBI field agents of Septemberrn2,1964, made this clear: “The purpose ofrnthe program is to expose, disrupt andrnotherwise neutralize the activities of thernvarious Klans and hate organizations,rntheir leadership and adherents.” AsrnHoover’s biographer Richard Gid Powersrnwrites, “For the hrst time … the Bureau’srncounterintelligence techniques of harassmentrnand disruption were being directedrnagainst groups that did not have,rneven tangentially or theoretically, contactrnwith foreign intelligence or an internationalrnrevolutionary movement.”rnIt was a simple matter for state-buildingrndemagogues like FDR and LyndonrnJohnson to brand their political opponentsrnas “Nazis” and “hate groups,” linkrnmainstream critics to such “extremists,”rnand then enlist (and enlarge) federalrnpower to spy on and disrupt any and allrnorganized resistance to their oyvn plansrnfor centralization of power. The FBI wasrnessential to their goals, since it effectiveh’rnsered as a means of disciplining and intimidating,rnif not actually repressing, resistancernfrom the right.rnAnd exactly the same pattern emergesrnin the recent witch hunt for “terrorists.”rnThe FBI’s own statistics show that betweenrn1990 and 1994 there was a whoppingrntotal of 28 terrorist incidents in thernUnited States, that only two of these canrnbe ascribed to “right-wing” groups, andrnthat in 1994 there were no recorded domesticrnterrorist incidents at all. Yet thernBureau and the Clinton administrationrninvoke the nonexistent “terrorist threat”rnas a rationale for granting even broaderrnpowers to the FBI at the same time thatrnthey smear political opponents on thernright—from the militias to talk showrnhosts—as somehov^ aguely complicit inrnthe Oklahoma City bombing. The Republicans,rnmeanwhile, are casiK seducedrninto supporting the plan, which is ultimatelyrnaimed at their own supporters.rnOnce again, the object is to intimidaternlegitimate political resistance by “linking”rnit to “extremism” and using the FBIrnto crush both.rnIf we ha’e learned anything from Wacornand Ruby Ridge, it ought to be thatrnAmericans can no longer assume thatrnthe gargantuan federal layv enforcementrnapparatus obeys the law. In point of fact,rnthe militias, for all the rhetorical fury unleashedrnupon them in the past year, haverna far better record of adherence to thernlaw than the FBI itself. Even the Republicansrnat last came to understand thatrncreating a new Gestapo with which thernparty of the leviathan can intimidate itsrnenemies still further would be a foolishrnand dangerous measure, but neither thevrnnor most other citizens have yet come torngrasp that what the administration andrnthe FBI sought last year is part of a century-rnold strategy for the consolidation ofrnpower and the muzzling of those who resistrnit. Until they begin to understandrnthat and reverse it, we have every reasonrnto expect onl}’ more Wacos, more RubyrnRidges, and more use of federal law enforcementrnto control the enemies of thernstate. crnFEBRUARY 1996/39rnrnrn