|1.||Does the United States have a secret police?|
|2.||Who are they?|
|3.||What are the functions of the American secret police?|
|4.||Is the secret police under the control of any force in American society? Or does it act independently?|
|5.||Is it necessary for the well-being of the United States as a democratic republic to have a secret police establishment?|
These questions represent the major issues which the authors in this chapter argue from explicit and implicit conservative, liberal, and socialist principles.
Conservatives hold that there should be a secret police establishment but they prefer to call it the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These are the only agencies that they would include under their definition of "secret police." According to conservatives, a secret police is necessary if the United States is to be protected from its enemies abroad who are using against us secret police tactics that must be countered with similar and better strategies. Further, the CIA should operate within the territory of the United States insofar as it is necessary to carry out successfully its foreign missions. Foreign agents in the United States and Americans in contact with them must be followed closely and neutralized.
The CIA and FBI must be allowed to act in secrecy. Any attempt by the public or other government agencies to publicize FBI/ CIA activities is harmful to the security of the United States. If this secrecy is violated the very completion of their mission becomes impossible. The breaching of secrecy and the raising of too many questions will impair the operation of these agencies. Conservatives hold that the FBI and CIA must be given the power to police their own operations. If other agencies attempt to correct abuses there is the danger that there will be further losses in secrecy. Too much of a loss in secrecy could, in their view, make both the CIA and FBI unviable. In a dangerous and violent world the CIA and FBI are seen as integral and positive institutions necessary for the maintenance of American security. The successful functioning of the American political system is dependent upon a respected, smooth- running, powerful, and publically supported secret police establishment.
Liberals believe that a secret police should exist but should be maintained in a far more restricted format. They hold that the CIA should be only an information gathering agency, and that the FBI should be merely an investigatory agency. Clandestine operations, engaged in by both agencies, should be prohibited. Liberals believe in the use of espionage to obtain information but not in undertaking actions which shape or eliminate foreign governments.
The CIA and FBI are viewed by liberals as evils necessary for the protection of the United States. These agencies are not instruments for
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Publication information: Book title: Is America Necessary?Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions. Contributors: Henry Etzkowitz - Editor, Peter Schwab - Editor. Publisher: West Publishing. Place of publication: St. Paul, MN. Publication year: 1976. Page number: 133.