Keeping Us Safe: Secret Intelligence and Homeland Security

By Arthur S. Hulnick | Go to book overview
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6
Cops and Spies

One of the issues that created headlines in the aftermath of 9/11 was the clear disconnect between the FBI and the CIA. One reporter described it as one of the longest running feuds in government, and while it may have been surprising to the public, to law enforcement and intelligence veterans it was nothing new. This conflict involves a lot more than just the typical Washington battle over turf. Whether or not it contributed to the alleged intelligence failure on 9/11, it raises some serious issues for homeland security.

Except for a brief period during the U.S. Civil War, the nation has never had an internal security service like the British MI-5. In fact, we are the only major industrialized nation in the world that does not have such a service. There are a great many reasons for this. Lafayette Baker's draconian Secret Service, set up during the early days of the Civil War, arrested people without warrant and jailed them without trial.1 This led to the notion that any such service had to be open, subject to strict legal constraints, and well controlled.2

J. Edgar Hoover, the founder and leader of the FBI, understood very well that his agency, as a kind of federal police and investigative service, had to be above reproach. FBI Special Agents had the power of arrest and were armed. The Bureau, as many call it, was far more open than the internal security services of most nations, which was clearly what the public wanted. It was certainly not a secret police. In fact, Hoover understood the

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