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From news.Arizona.EDU!math.arizona.edu!CS.Arizona.EDU!uunet!gail.ripco.com!glr Tue Sep  6 09:56:29 1994
Newsgroups: alt.2600,alt.2600hz,alt.privacy,alt.censorship
From: glr@ripco.com (Glen Roberts)
Subject: Excerpts from the FBI & Your BBS
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Sender: usenet@rci.ripco.com (Net News Admin)
Organization: Ripco Internet BBS, Chicago (312) 665-0065
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 1994 18:53:28 GMT
Lines: 460
Computer BBS systems offer an excellent opportunity for people to exercise 
their their First Amendment rights (expression of thoughts, ideas, 
nformation, etc). Unlike other communications media, any user can express
their views to a large audience without prior restraint, at an affordable 
cost.  Other media, such as radio, require lots of money (and the content of 
the expression must meet with government licensing regulations). Newspapers 
They don't help you, unless your ideas match the newspapers publishers, 
exactly.
The FBI (and others that want to control the free flow of information) feel 
threatened by communications media, like BBS's. Unlike other communication 
media, information on a BBS does not get read by anyone before its 
nstantaneous publication. Therefore, the FBI has much less of a possibility
of intimidating the owner of a BBS into NOT publishing certain information.  
The FBI also acts as if BBS's have a monopoly on the distribution of 
Many people are well aware of the FBI's political activities in the 1960s 
and 70s. However, the FBI has been obsessed with keeping track of people 
following history of the FBI from the Final Report of the Select (Senate) 
Committee to Study Governmental Operations with repect to Intelligence 
Activies, Book IV, Supplementary Reports on Intelligence Activites shows 
this well (emphasis added):
Created on his own administrative authority in 1908 by Attorney General 
Charles J. Bonaparte in the face of congressional opposition for reasons of 
virtually no intelligence missions until European hostilities in the summer 
of 1941 precipitated a necessity for Federal detection and pursuance of 
alleged violations of the neutrality laws, enemy activities, disloyalty 
cases, the naturalization of enemy aliens, the enforcement of the 
conscription, espionage, and sedition laws, and surveillance of radicals. 
These duties evolved as the United States moved from a neutrality to a state 
of declared war and then, in the aftermath of peace, found its domestic 
tranquility and security threatened by new ideologies and their 
The Bureau's principal function during the war years was that of 
nvestigation. During this period, agents had no direct statutory
authorization to carry weapons or to make general arrests. In the field, 
they worked with and gathered information for the United States Attorneys. 
Direction came from the Attorney General or the Bureau chief. In the frenzy 
of the wartime spy mania, Washington often lost its control over field 
operations so that agents and U.S. Attorneys, assisted by cadres of 
volunteers from the American Protective League and other similar patriotic 
auxiliaries, pursued suspects of disloyalty on their own initiative and in 
their own manner. To the extent that their investigative findings underwent 
analysis with a view toward policy development, an intelligence function was 
lost in the emotionalism and zealotry of the moment.
Bureau of Investigation Leadership 1908-25
Attorney Generals	
Charles J Bonaparte (1906-1909)
George W Wickersham (1909-13)
James C McReynolds (1913-14)
Thomas W Gregory (1914-19)
A Mitchell Palmer (1919-21)
Harry M Daugherty (1921-24)
Harland F Stone (1924-25)
Bureau Chiefs	
Stanley W Finch (1908-12)
A Bruce Beilaski (1912-19)
William E Allen (1919)
William J Flynn (1919-21)
William J Burns (1921-24)
J Edgar Hoover (1924-
``small and inept force of 219 agents'' which ``was totally unequipped to 
organized by German Ambassador Johann von Bernstorff.'' [Don Whitehead. The 
FBI Story. New York, Pocket Books, 1958; first published 1956, p. 14.] Two 
years later, when America entered the hostilities, the Bureau's agent force 
enemy aliens, aiding draft boards and the Army in locating draft dodgers and 
violators.'' [Ibid., p. 38.]  This state of affairs was one of the reasons 
the Justice Department welcomed the assistance of the American Protective 
League. In many of its initial wartime activities, the Bureau was still 
Early in 1917, the Bureau proclaimed that it was in charge of spy-catching 
and the Department's representative called it ``the eyes and ears'' of the 
Government.
However, the Army and Navy were the armed forces endangered or advanced on 
the European battlefields by espionage operations, and their own detectives 
necessarily had primary control of stopping the movements of enemy spies and 
of war materials, everywhere in the world, including the homefront. The 
military authorities associated with their own agents the operatives of the 
State Department, traditionally charged with responsibility for foreign 
affairs.
The military departments seemed primarily to want the help of the 
Department for cutting off the flow of enemy spies, goods, and information; 
and the local police departments throughout America, as well as the Treasury 
and essential war shipping against sabotage and carelessness.
This attitude brought the Treasury police to the forefront. The Treasury's 
agents possessed not only vast equipment immediately convertible to wartime 
espionage in behalf of the United States, but also the necessary experience. 
They possessed the specific techniques that enabled them to find enemy 
agents in ship's crews, among passengers, or stowed away; to pick them up at 
any port in the world where they might embark or drop off the sides of 
Moreover, the Treasury's men knew how to discover, in the immense quantities 
of shipments to our allies and to our neturals, the minute but vital goods 
addressed to neutral lands, but actually destined to reach the enemy. 
Treasury operatives had the right training for uncovering the secret 
nformation transmitted to the enemy in every medium -- in ships' manifests
and mail, in passengers' and crews' papers, in phonograph records, in 
for the job of protecting the loaded vessels in the harbors, the warehouses, 
and the entire waterfront.
The Justice Department police were invited to participate in various 
advisory boards. But when invited by the Post Office detectives, old hands 
at inspection of enemy mail, to sit on an advisory board, the Justice police 
littering up the board'' with one of their men. [Max Lowenthal. The Federal 
Bureau of Investigation. New York, William Sloane Associates, 1950, pp. 
contains the only detailed discussion of early operations of the agency.]
What did evolve as a major wartime Bureau function, and one having 
ntelligence implications in light of espionage (40 Stat. 217) and sedition
(40 Stat. 553) law, was the investigation and cataloging of the political 
opinions, beliefs, and affiliations of the citizenry. This Bureau activity 
also had a menacing aspect to it in terms of guaranteed rights of speech and 
association; also, it did not come to public notice until after Armistice.
The disclosure came as an indirect consequence of a political quarrel 
between ex-Congressman A Mitchel Palmer (a Pennsylvania lawyer and 
corporation director who became Alien Property Custodian, and was soon to 
become Attorney General of the United States) and United States Senator 
Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania. Mr. Palmer had accused the Senator of 
anti-prohibition propaganda. The attack was made while the war was still 
nvestigating committee turned to A. Bruce Bielaski, wartime chief of the
Bureau, and others connected with the Bureau. They revealed the fact that 
the Bureau had already been cataloging all kinds of persons they suspected 
of being pro-German. They had found suspects in all walks of American life. 
Among those of whose ``pro-Germanism'' the public thus learned, were members 
of the United States Senate, other important officials (e.g., William 
Jennings Bryan, President Wilson's first Secretary of State, and Judge John 
F. Hylan, soon to become mayor of New York City), and many persons and 
organizations not connected with the Government (e.g., William Randolph 
Hearst, his International News Service and various newspapers, his New York 
American, and the Chicago Tribune); Americans agitating for Irish 
ndependence (including editors of the American Catholic Weekly and the
Freeman's Journal); some of the foremost men in academic life; political 
leaders such as Roger Sullivan of Chicago; and men of prominence in the 
financial and business world. [Ibid., pp. 36-37]
During the course of the congressional investigation, the Bureau's offerings 
conclusions even when the facts were correct. [Ibid., pp. 37-43] The 
occasion did not install mush public confidence in the Bureau's intelligence 
activities or product.
When confronted with a series of bombings directed against public officials 
be deficient.
As in the case of the 1918 bombing, the Justice Department detectives made a 
assassination of Federal officials and the overthrow of the Government. To 
their destinations shortly before the first of May, 1919, and others shortly 
after that time, and that May Day is the date traditionally chosen by some 
of bombs was sent in June, posing the question how the detectives could 
attribute these new bomb attempts to May Day Radicalism.
The theory that the bombs were sent by radicals was beset with further 
embarrassments. The Government officials to whom the bombs were addressed 
ncluded some men who were hostile to radicalism, but prominent public men
unsympathetic with the program against the radicals were included among the 
addressees. Indeed, some of the men were targets of denunciation from 
Capitol Hill as dangerous radicals. Critics who disagreed with the 
victims the very men who might be their friends. Why, in particular, should 
they seek to bomb ex-Senator  Hardwick of Georgia, who had asked the Senate 
to vote against the very wartime sedition law under which the IWW 
[International Workers of the World] leaders and other radicals had been 
convicted?
A further difficulty arose out of the fact that some of the bombs were sent 
to minor businessmen and to relatively minor office holders, while most of 
the top Government officials whose deaths would have been of particular 
mportance to the revolutionaries were not included among the potential
victims selected by the bombers. [Ibid. pp. 68-69.]
Radicalism captured the attention of the Bureau in the aftermath of the 
became so great that, on August 1, 1919, a General Intelligence Division was 
established within the Bureau to devote concentrated scrutiny to the subject.
There was, however, a difficulty with respect to the expenditure of the 
money appropriated for the Bureau's use by Congress. It specified that the 
appropriations were for the ``detection and prosecution of crimes.'' A 
useful, in the form of an advance job to ascertain which individuals and 
organization held beliefs that were objectionable. With this information in 
and 1918. The Bureau notified its agents on August 12, 1919, eleven days 
after the creation of the anti-radical Division, to engage in the broadest 
[Ibid., p 84]
The new intelligence unit thus appears to have been created and financed in 
anticipation of a valid statutory purpose and seems, as well, to have 
engaged in investigations wherein the derivative information was not 
Coincident with the creation of the new Division, the Bureau selected J. 
Edgar Hoover as Division chief. He had joined the Department of Justice two 
years earlier, shortly after America entered the war, and shortly before 
Congress enacted the wartime sedition law. He had been on duty at the 
Justice Department during the entire war period, and obviously he was in a 
the war and the connotations of success attached to their names -- Military 
and Naval Intelligence Services. Besides, the new unit at the Department of 
Justice was in the business of detecting ideas. He called it an intelligence 
force, in substitution for the names with which it started -- ``Radical 
Division'' and ``Anti-Radical Division.'' Mr. Hoover avoided one action of 
the War and Navy Intelligence agencies; their scope had been narrowed by the 
qualifying prefixes in their titles. He named his force the General 
n Washington had been assigned to anti-radical matters, and over one-half
of the Bureau's field work had been diverted to the subject of radicalism, 
GID reported that ``the work of the General Intelligence Division . . . had 
now expanded to cover more general intelligence work, including not only 
ultra-radical activities but also to [sic] the study of matters of an 
nternational nature, as well as economic and industrial disturbances
ncident thereto.'' [Ibid., p 85.] And as its mission developed, so did the
GID's manner of operations and techniques of inquiry.
The Bureau of Investigation faced and solved one problem in the first ten 
material from undercover informants, from neighbors, from personal enemies 
of the persons under investigation. The detectives were going to hear gossip 
about what people were said to have said or were suspected of having done -- 
nformation derived, in some instances, from some unknown person who had
told the Bureau's agents or informers or the latter's informants. Some of 
the information received might relate to people's personal habits and life.
The Bureau's decision was that everything received by the special agents and 
nformers should be reported to headquarters; the agents were specifically
men were accused of radicalism. Some items about personal lives, however 
nteresting to the detectives, might not be regarded as relevant in court
Bureau instructed its agents to transmit to headquarters everything that 
they picked up, ``whether hearsay or otherwise,'' it warned them that there 
accusations and statements for its permanent dossiers and the evidence which 
trial judges and tribunals would accept as reliable proof. In judicial 
an insistence of what it called ``technical proof,'' and judges would rule 
that the rumors and gossip which the detectives were instructed to supply to 
GID had ``no value.'' [Ibid. pp. 86-87.]
necessary to study the literature and writings of the ideologues. Gathering 
on a mass basis.
Detectives were sent to local radical publishing houses and to take their 
books. In addition, they were to find every private collection or library in 
the possession of any radical, and to make the arrangements for obtaining 
them in their entirety. Thus, when the GID discovered an obscure Italian 
born philosopher who had a unique collection of books on the theory of 
anarchism, his lodgings were raided by the Bureau and his valuable 
collection became one more involuntary contribution to the huge and 
ever-growing library of the GID.
Similar contributions came from others, among them the anarchist 
over the years, built up private libraries in pursuit of their studies; 
these are discovered by the General Intelligence Division, and it was soon 
able to report that ``three of the most complete libraries on anarchy were 
a boys' club, and assured Congress that the library was ``in the possession 
of this department . . . '' Catalogs of these acquisitions were prepared, 
ncluding a ``catalog of the greatest library in the country which contains
anarchistic books.''
carpets and mattresses had to be ripped up, and safes opened; everything 
``hanging on the walls should be gathered up'' -- so the instructions to the 
Bureau, and to enhance the GID information store, Hoover created a card file 
The index also had separate cards for ``publications,'' and for ``special 
conditions'' - a phrase the meaning of which has never been made clear. In 
addition, Mr. Hoover's index separately assembled all radical matters 
full details about its subject -- material regarded by the detectives as 
Government's espionage service to find him quickly when he was wanted for 
of the radicals in the United States is found in their migratory nature.''
The GID assured Congress that Mr. Hoover had a group of experts ``especially 
trained for the purpose.'' This training program was directed to making them 
``well informed upon the general movements in the territory over which they 
and they had to keep up with its fabulous growth. The first disclosure by 
the GID showed 100,000 radicals on the index; the next, a few months later, 
years of indexing, the General Intelligence Division had approximately half 
a million persons cataloged, inventoried and secretly recorded in Government 
A considerably older unit of the Department of Justice, its Bureau of 
Criminal Identification, had long maintained an index of actual criminals. 
over the older bureau and the 750,000 name index it had developed in the 
course of a quarter century. Whether the two indices were merged or kept 
Also, in addition to indexing radicals, GID prepared biographical profiles 
of certain of them deemed to be of special importance.
The writing up of lives and careers proceeded rapidly, so that within three 
and one-half months of the GID's existence its biographical writers had 
ndividuals,'' according to the official information supplied the Senate.
ultra-radical body or movement,'' in particular ``authors, publishers, 
editors, etc.''
Rigorous secrecy has been imposed on the list of names of newspapermen, 
authors, printers, editors, and publishers who were made the subjects of 
GID's biographical section. How many additional biographies have been 
biographers, how they were trained so promptly, and how they managed to 
answered. [Ibid., p 91.]
The Constitution has three specific prohibitions against this type of abuse. 
These Constitutional protections often don't help, because of a willingness 
by the FBI to violate them, and a lack of understanding of them by the 
capricousness by which the FBI ignores the law:
TO: Mr. C. D. Deloach DATE: July 19, 1966
FM: W.C. Sullivan DO NOT FILE
SUBJECT: ``BLACK BAG'' JOBS
The following is set forth in regard to your request concerning what 
authority we have for ``black bag'' jobs and for the background of our 
We do not obtain authorization for ``black bag`` jobs from outside the 
Bureau. Such a technique involves trespass and is clearly illegal; 
therefore, it would be impossible to obtain any legal sanction for it. 
Despite this, ``black bag'' jobs have been used because they represent an 
nvaluable technique in combating subversive activities of a clandestine
nature aimed directly at undermining and destroying our nation.
The present procedure followed in the use of this technique calls for the 
Special Agent in Charge of a field office to make his request for the use of 
the technique to the appropriate Assistant Director. The Special Agent in 
Charge must completely justify the need for the use of the technique and at 
the same time assure that it can be safely used without danger or 
embarrassment to the Bureau. The facts are incorporated in a memorandum 
or to the Director for approval. Subsequently this memorandum is filed in 
the Assistant Director's office under a ``Do Not File'' procedure.
[Material apparently censored]
We have used this technique on a highly selective basis, but with wide-range 
effectiveness, in our operations. We have several cases in the espionage 
field [material censored]
Also through use of this technique we have on numerous occasions been able 
to obtain material held highly secret and closely guarded by subversive 
organizations.
This applies even to our investigation of the [censored]. You may recall 
that recently through a ``black bag'' job we obtained records in the 
[censored]. These records have given us the complete membership and 
financial information concerning the [censored] operation which we have been 
using most effectively to disrupt the organization and, in fact, to bring 
about its near disintegration [censored]
Nation.
RECOMMENDATION:
For your information.
--
--------------------------------------
Glen L. Roberts, Editor, Full Disclosure Magazine
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email glr@rci.ripco.com for information on The Best of Full Disclosure,
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