THE FBI AND THE CIA: Secret Agents & American Democracy by James Munves

THE FBI AND THE CIA: Secret Agents & American Democracy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Munves replays some of the better known horror stories to show just how our twin undercover agencies can and do get out of hand. In the case of the FBI we have the Palmer raids, the ""security risk"" case of William Remington, the ""Harrisburg Seven"" prosecution. . . and, perhaps most important for the ordinary citizen, Dale Menard's suit to expunge his arrest record from the agency's data banks--an action which proved that an individual's name may be listed in the ""criminal"" files and so given to employers, even though he has been proven innocent. The Civil Rights era proved, says Munves, that the FBI could infiltrate demonstrators and Klan alike but lacks the political direction to distinguish between protecting rights and violating them. His conclusions about the CIA are less dear, despite brief but telling outlines of counterinsurgency activities abroad and domestic spying. An incident like the Gary Powers U-2 flight shows the limitation of this kind of reporting; Munves focuses on the coverup--but whether he believes that the mission itself was justified is unclear. Similarly, Munves concludes that both the FBI and the CIA should be broken up into smaller, more easily controlled, agencies, but he states first that one new CIA offshoot should be created to ""engage in spying to get information abroad from secret sources"" and then (two paragraphs later) that ""in the case of the CIA, all covert operations should be abolished. . . ."" Trying to have it both ways is how we got into trouble in the first place. This historical overview could help orient throe new to the controversy, but they'd better not draw any conclusions yet.

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 1975
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich