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Enemies: A History of the FBI
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AMERICAN DEMOCRACY - GOVERNMENT > 12. ENEMIES: A HISTORY OF THE FBI - CHAPTERS FORTY-FOUR - AFTERWARD (413 - 450) ~ August 20th - August 26th; No Spoilers, Please

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Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Twelfth week of discussion for Enemies: A History of the FBI.

The twelfth week's reading assignment is:

Week Twelve - August 20th - August 26th :

FORTY-FOUR - All Our Weapons, FORTY-FIVE - "If we don't do this, people will die", AFTERWARD

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book kicked off on June 4th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle/Nook. We offer a special thank you to Random House for their generosity.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Bryan will be leading this discussion.


~Bentley & Bryan


Enemies A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner Tim Weiner Tim Weiner


It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.


If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:


Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.


There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author used in her research or in her notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations. No self promotion, please.

Q&A with Tim

Please as you are reading post questions to the author's Q&A thread because Tim Weiner will be looking in periodically and will be posting answers to your questions and will be available for a chat. We are very fortunate that he is making time to spend with us.

Enemies A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner Tim Weiner Tim Weiner

Bryan Craig Chapter Overviews and Summaries

Chapter Forty Four: All Our Weapons

The intelligence community was getting signs of the 9/11 attack. Catherine Kriser, a leader in the FBI counter-intelligence division, learned that Zacarias Moussaoui was attending flight school. The Phoenix office learned that al-Qaeda suspects were also taking flying lessons and not wanting to learn how to take-off and land. However, D.C. officials did nothing and other agencies like immigration wanted the FBI to stay out of these cases. Freeh resigned from being FBI director.

In August 2001, Robert Mueller was confirmed, but he was not at his desk full-time until September 4. NSC Adviser Condoleezza Rice learned from Richard Clarke about al-Qaeda threats. On September 11, the terrorist struck and ushered in the biggest investment in FBI intelligence. Some old FBI tactics were used again as Arab Americans were rounded up, people were held as material witness indefinitely, and a new eavesdropping program, Stellar Wind, was used (no search warrants needed).

Still the FBI was struggling. It followed a lot of false leads, the computer software and hardware were inadequate, and it was not talking with other intelligence agencies. The bureau also faced issues of harsh interrogation techniques. The FBI got a break when they interviewed Abu Zabaydah, but he was bounced back and forth between the CIA, which used harsh techniques, and the FBI, which did not. The FBI did not waterboard suspects, but Mueller never knew much of what was going on. With the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq War, the pressure increased. Mueller created the office of Intelligence and a field office in Baghdad. The agents in Iraq worked to rebuild the law enforcement in the country and interrogated prisoners. They saw the prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib and even relayed the information to Washington, but nothing happened.

Chapter Forty Five: "If we don't do this, people will die"

During the post-9/11 years, Stellar Wind remained active and illegal. Mueller agreed with James Comey, deputy attorney general, to end it. The program needed re-authorization and Cheney and White House Counselor Alberto Gonzales supported continuing the program. However, Attorney General John Aschcroft was hospitalized and Gonzales tried to get Ashcroft to sign, but Ashcroft deferred to Comey. Bush signed the re-authorization himself. Under the Patriot Act, the FBI had expanded powers to obtain records without a warrant. Mueller fought over a creation of a new domestic intelligence agency, while the Silberman Commission reported the FBI was not up to speed. So, Mueller created the National Security Service. The FBI also used undercover tactics to gather intelligence. They had successes, but millions of names were stuck in a ineffective database. As more agents were handling intelligence, white collar crime rose.

When President Obama took office, he took a harder line on civil liberties than before. He did get the CIA and the Pentagon to work together to hunt down bin Laden and other high level al-Qaeda members. The FBI was looking to follow the law, unwarranted searches and surveillance were not going unchecked as much as before, and Mueller survived ten years of service.

Mark Mortensen The FBI apparently plays a significant role in identifying and halting government waste and fraud. I found the Bernard Kerik case to be quite interesting.

Bryan Craig We just got a couple of lines about Kerik. It seems he was working on building up law enforcement in Iraq, a tough job, indeed.

Mark Mortensen America as an advanced nation and the leader of the world is the homeland of many extremely bright citizens; yet I continue to be amazed by the fact that elected political leaders of both parties, government regulators, the FBI and others, who should have been guiding and protecting our country seem to have been caught off guard with the economic crisis mentioned within the paragraph on pg. 445. It appears that the FBI was stretched thin fighting terrorists, however this major “white collar” incident has crippled our national stature, hindered our security and laden many with rippling debt affecting generations to come.

Bryan Craig I was surprised by imbalance that occurred due to terrorism, too. They are going to have to respond to the growing white collar crime and computer hacking.

Are internet hackers considered terrorist or white collar crime?

message 7: by Tim (last edited Aug 20, 2012 11:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weiner | 157 comments Mark and Bryan both noted that the FBI's full-bore commitment to counterterrorism after 9/11 left gaping holes in white-collar crime enforcement. That enabled the mortgage and banking fraids that sparked the Great Recession of 2008. But, like 9/11, the enabling was a government-wide failure, not the fault of one agency. The White House and Congress had been "deregulating" Wall Street since the 1980's.

Bryan asked: Is internet hacking considered terrorism or white collar crime? That depends on the intent of the hackers. Stealing money is one thing. Destroying critical infrastructure -- power grids, for example -- is tantamount to war. A dedicated attacker with the resources of, say, the Chinese Army, could conceivably knock out the computer and power systems that run major American cities, including telecommunications, mass transit, water and sewer systems. This, more than al Qaeda, is what keeps Bob Mueller from sleeping soundly.

message 8: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weiner | 157 comments Mark commented: "I found the Bernard Kerik case to be quite interesting." So did the FBI.

Kerik is now serving a four-year prison sentence on eight felony charges including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. This was the man Bush was going to make his director of Homeland Security.

Bryan Craig Unlike the Red Scare, we lived through 9/11. What are your thoughts about post-9/11 and the "Red raid" mentality?

message 10: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Mortensen Tim wrote: "Mark commented: "I found the Bernard Kerik case to be quite interesting." So did the FBI.

Kerik is now serving a four-year prison sentence on eight felony charges including tax fraud and lying to..."

This is yet one more example why I find nonfiction so much more interesting than fiction! Who could have thought this up?

message 11: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weiner | 157 comments Bryan, I think readers will see the similarities. A toxic mix of secrecy, ignorance, and fear took over our political culture. And yet we have we survived the Depression, Pearl Harbor, the McCarthy era, Vietnam, Watergate, and the Iraq fiasco. The Constitution is a resilient document.

message 12: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weiner | 157 comments Mark, I agree: You can't make this stuff up. Who would believe the life of J. Edgar Hoover?

Bryan Craig I found the section with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's interrogation very interesting. Mueller seemed to have stood his ground regarding the use of harsh interrogation techniques.

Bryan Craig What do you think about the whole Ashcroft hospital visit?

Rodney | 83 comments As someone who designs and implements large scale state level IT systems, it just amazes me the amount of money spent on attempting to get a working data system in place. Even realizing the layers of security which must be worked around, the inability to create and execute a plan should be strongly looked at by an oversight committee. Someone somewhere is just plain stealing money or the amounts are budgeted for IT and being sent somewhere else. The amount of money which has been spent to this point sounds like you could have bought Microsoft, a lot of Linux developers and IBM and turned them loose on one problem.

I still struggle with the Bush administrations actions. It is so apparent that much of what any President has to decide is done so under the fear of what could happen. After watching the destruction on his watch, i can understand why Bush would be so aggressive. What further worsens this is a President will always be second guessed by those who are not in the room without all the relevant information. As a nation, we cut them zero slack. It has always been my opinion that Bush was acting under the fear of an even worse attack, not an attempt to improve his political standings. I also realize many will strongly disagree with this assessment. It is to Obamas credit that he appears to have taken many of the Bush programs, put them under a legal foundation and had solid success targeting terrorists.

Bryan Craig I like IT response. I think it is hard to think out of the box with government.

message 17: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weiner | 157 comments Rodney wrote: "It has always been my opinion that Bush was acting under the fear of an even worse attack."

Exactly so. But fear is not a sound basis for a foreign policy. Fear, secrecy, and ignorance are toxic in a democracy.

I could not agree more with Rodney's conclusion: "It is to Obama's credit that he appears to have taken many of the Bush programs, put them under a legal foundation, and had solid success targeting terrorists."

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