June 4, 2013
Nearly twenty years ago, then-FBI Director Louis Freeh – still basking in his agency’s residual glory from the Mt. Carmel Massacre of April 1993 – visited Moscow to sign a joint cooperation accord with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). After touring the Lubyanka Square headquarters of the Russian secret police, Freeh observed that “Our nations have more in common than ever before.”
At the time I thought it was shocking that Freeh would traduce his country, and his agency, by offering that comparison to the renamed KGB. Roughly two decades later I’ve come to understand that if the comparison is offensive, the Russians have the stronger claim to be the insulted party.
Like their Russian and Soviet siblings, the FBI’s primary role is that of fabricating crimes in the service of the state. Since 1991 – more particularly, since 2001 – the FBI has engaged in this behavior far more extensively than the Russians, both in terms of the volume of fabrications and the geographical reach of its operations. And evidence is accumulating that the Bureau has added assassination to its proto-totalitarian toolkit.
In his study The Gulag Archipelago, Alexandr Solzenitsyn records that “the creation of fabricated cases began back in the early years of the Organs” – that is, immediately after the Soviet secret police agency was created in 1917. The routine fabrication of offenses was done by the Chekists “so that their constant salutary activity might be perceived as essential. Otherwise, what with a decline in the number of enemies, the Organs might, in a bad hour, have been forced to wither away.”
From its inception, the Soviet secret police agency was engaged in what we now call “Homeland Security Theater.” The same could be said of the FBI, which actually had a nine-year head start on its Soviet counterpart. J. Edgar Hoover’s two chief priorities were the collection of what the Soviets would call kompromat on significant public figures – politicians, policy-makers, celebrities – and the management of his secret police agency’s public image. With the advent of COINTELPRO in the 1950s, the FBI became fully engaged in a campaign of surveillance, harassment, disruption, and assassination (if only by proxy) targeting political dissidents. Since that time, the FBI has been a fully realized political police organization, in every evil sense of that expression.
Like their Chekist forebears, FBI Special Agents don’t solve crimes; instead, they extract confessions through intimidation or blackmail. Where confessions aren’t forthcoming, FBI interrogators will routinely deploy the usefully ambiguous and self-ratifying charge of making a “materially false statement to a federal agent” to punish those who refuse to submit.
Mind you, FBI agents – like all other law enforcement personnel in the United States – are trained and encouraged to lie as an “investigative” technique. They face no criminal, civil, or administrative punishment for lying in the course of an interrogation. Once again, they share this trait with their Soviet and Russian kindred.
“We lambs are forbidden to lie, but the interrogator could tell all the lies he felt like,” observed Solzhenitsyn. “Those articles of the law did not apply to him…. He could confront us with as many documents as he chose, bearing the forged signatures of our kinfolk and friends – and it would be just a skillful interrogation technique” rather than a prosecutable deception.
A victim who is manipulated, intimidated, and barraged with unfamiliar and often contradictory details and accusations will inevitably say something that could be considered incriminating – or that he might later contradict in some trivial way. Those who are drawn into FBI interrogation sessions suffer from an additional disadvantage: The Bureau’s inquisitors, as a matter of inflexible policy, refuse to permit an objective record of their investigative interviews.