The FBI & American Democracy: A Critical History
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- By: Athan Theoharis
- Format: Hardcover, 195 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Kansas
- Usually ships in: 2 to 5 business days
- ISBN: 0700613455
Created in 1908 with a staff of three dozen, the FBI has grown to more than 27,000 agents and support personnel, while its role has shifted dramatically from law enforcement to intelligence operations. Theoharis, America's leading authority on the FBI, assesses the consequences of this shift for democratic politics, showing how the agency's obsession with absolute secrecy has undermined both civil liberties and agency accountability.
As Theoharis reveals, FBI history has been marked by operational failures, overrated abilities, and the frequent use of highly suspect means-wiretaps, buggings, break-ins-that challenge the Constitution's guarantee against illegal searches. The agency has also gathered and disseminated derogatory (and often untrue) information in an effort to discredit citizens whose views are seen as "dangerous." Most disturbing, it has drifted toward equating political dissent with genuine subversion, an approach with potentially grave consequences for free and open public discourse.
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