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WEDGE by Mark Riebling

WEDGE

The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA

By Mark Riebling

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1994
ISBN: 0-679-41471-1
Publisher: Knopf

A brilliant first book chronicling the bitter rivalry of the FBI and CIA from WW II, when the CIA had its roots in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), through the present.

Riebling, who has been an associate editor at Random House, combines outstanding research based on newly declassified documents with extensive interviews to provide an anecdotal and extremely well written account of the strife between the Agency and the Bureau. He offers a superlative presentation of the dramatis personae: FDR, Harry Truman, OSS Chief William "Wild Bill'' Donovan, J. Edgar Hoover, Allen Dulles, superspy James Jesus Angleton, and assorted supporting characters, including the present-day CIA embarrassment, Aldrich Ames. When the OSS and, later, the CIA were formed, FBI chief Hoover, the consummate bureaucratic turf warrior, was hardly a booster. He often refused to cooperate with the OSS, and the latter agency held the FBI in as much contempt. The competition between the two groups during the war was exacerbated by an old American social conflict: The OSS was comprised largely of Ivy League WASPs, while the FBI was dominated by less privileged Irish Catholics. One of the finest chapters of the book discusses how the FBI and CIA tried to protect their respective flanks in the wake of the Kennedy assassination--since the agencies had failed to share information about Lee Harvey Oswald. Riebling also details Angleton's obsessive search for a mole in the CIA and how that operation brought about more conflict with the FBI. In an epilogue, Riebling addresses various methods that the government might use to bring about a resolution of the FBI-CIA "problem.'' But he concludes that, in a republican government, the current discord might be preferable to a "superagency'' combining the purview of the two organizations.

A history of American spy versus American cop written in a manner as informative as any treatise and as entertaining as the best espionage novels.