A Historical Overview of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

By Cynthia Chung

On Dec. 17, 1906, Teddy Roosevelt promoted his Navy Secretary, Charles J. Bonaparte, to become Attorney General. Bonaparte lost no time and told Congress that the Department of Justice must be given “a force of permanent police… under its control.”

On May 27, 1908, Congress reacted by prohibiting all Executive departments from using Secret Service agents as policemen, including the Justice Department. During this period only the Treasury Department had the authority to use Secret Service men.

To get around this block from Congress, on July 26, 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte, on Teddy Roosevelt’s instructions, ordered the creation of an investigative agency within the Department of Justice; which later became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It was the start of what would become an unelected oligarchy, in direct opposition to the rule of self-government.

In the midst of this, a 22-year-old J. Edgar Hoover was first recruited, the year was 1917. Just out of law school, he was put in charge of the Department of Justice’s War Emergency Division’s Enemy Alien Bureau, and was quickly immersed in the wildly lawless wartime counterinsurgency of the First Red Scare (1917-1920).

Anton Chaitkin writes of this period in his paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship”:

“Attorney General Palmer created a General Intelligence (or “Radical”) Division in the Bureau of Investigation, and appointed Hoover its head. Military Intelligence and Hoover’s agents working together as a single secret service now built up a network of civilian vigilante spies, informers and provocateurs.

These auxiliaries were then set loose in the “Palmer Raids,” a war on unions, radicals, civil rights advocates, teachers, and immigrants from November 1919 to January 1920. This initial descent into a police state was, however, deeply opposed by the American population, and sparked popular protests and outrage.”

Edgar Hoover was well fitted as Palmer’s deputy, in overseeing the political mass arrests, deportations, lynchings, terror propaganda, and witch-hunts. Hoover would put a Southern White Masonic unit inside the Bureau itself, called the Fidelity Chapter. And insist that his agents refer to the Bureau, and his office, as “The Seat of Government”. (2)

In 1922, Walter Lippmann put forth in his incredibly influential book “Public Opinion,” that a dictatorship was of the utmost necessity to correct the crisis America was now facing, and that it could no longer afford to delude itself with the idea of a Constitutional system. Lippmann argued that the general public was incapable of exercising reasoned judgment. He claimed the people could only think in “stereotypes” such that they are led to believe in “villains and conspiracies.”

Thus, to overcome such “ignorance,” Lippmann declared that the consensus must be generated not by the ill-educated people, but rather “engineered” by an elite class of “experts”, using “propaganda.” This elite class was in turn to guide the national government from within its every department, forming a permanent dictatorship, its governing members appointed, not elected, to serve for life. A “soft” dictatorship so to speak.

When the Great Depression hit (1929-1933), Hoover blamed the general lawlessness on inefficient, corrupt local politicians and police. What was the solution? More power to “the Bureau.”

Presidents Come and Go But One Thing Remains Constant

While campaigning for the Presidency, Franklin Roosevelt installed his close friend Thomas J. Walsh as the 1932 Democratic convention chairman.

Montana Senator Walsh “knew where the bodies were buried” so to speak.

The reason for this was that in 1921, Thomas J. Walsh had led the battle at the Senate hearings on the Justice Department’s illegal practices. During the hearings he confronted Palmer and his deputy Hoover with evidence that they had perpetrated “an orgy of terror, violence and crime against citizens and aliens….”

Walsh remained in the Senate as J. Edgar Hoover’s dedicated enemy.

Franklin Roosevelt won the election on November 8, 1932; he was to take office in March. On February 15, 1933, a low-level Italian Freemason named Giuseppe Zingara shot at President-elect Roosevelt. He missed and ended up killing the Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak instead.

On February 26, Franklin Roosevelt announced his appointment of Senator Thomas J. Walsh as U.S. Attorney General. On March 1, the New York Times reported Walsh’s pledge that “he would re-organize the Department of Justice when he assumes office, probably with an almost completely new personnel.” (3) It is said that Walsh had declared that one of his first acts would be to oust J. Edgar Hoover.

Walsh was found dead the next morning, while on a train to Washington, D.C. for Roosevelt’s March 4 inauguration and his own swearing-in.

Starting in July 1933, a group of American Legion officials paid by J.P. Morgan’s men asked Marine Corps General Smedley Butler to lead a coup d’état against President Roosevelt. When General Butler had gathered enough evidence he went to J. Edgar Hoover for action. Hoover refused to take any action stating that there was no evidence a federal criminal statute had been violated. General Butler had no choice but to broadcast the coup plot to the American people in order to subvert the fascist takeover.

Franklin Roosevelt was entirely aware that the growing power of the federal bureau was a terrible threat, and had rapidly become an abhorrent opposing force to the president’s authority. It is for that reason that Franklin Roosevelt made the decision to centralise U.S. intelligence under his own control, which was to be created and guided by Colonel Donovan under the newly created OSS.

It was no secret that Colonel Donovan and J. Edgar Hoover were entirely opposed to each other. In fact, Donovan was up there with Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Robert Kennedy on Hoover’s most despised list.

Franklin Roosevelt died on April 12th, 1945. WWII was officially over on Sept 2nd, 1945. The OSS would be dissolved three weeks later on Sept 20th, 1945. The CIA was “officially” created two years later, purged of its FDR patriots. Donovan vied for leadership of the CIA and was denied. Instead Truman assigned him the task of heading a committee studying the country’s fire departments. (For more on this refer to my paper)

Following this the FBI continued to conduct witch hunts through Congressional committees, President Truman, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, and the young California Congressman Richard M. Nixon.

On November 22nd, 1963 President Kennedy was brutally murdered in the streets of Dallas, Texas in broad daylight.

On November 29th, 1963 the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the murder of President Kennedy.

The old Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana (an ally of FDR) was a member of that Warren Commission. Boggs became increasingly disturbed by the lack of transparency and rigour exhibited by the Commission and became convinced that many of the documents used to incriminate Oswald were in fact forgeries.

In 1965 Rep. Boggs told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Oswald could not have been the one who killed Kennedy. (4) It was Boggs who encouraged Garrison to begin the only law enforcement prosecution of the President’s murder to this day.

Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan 20th, 1969. Hale Boggs soon after called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover. (5)

It wasn’t long thereafter that the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace.

Jim Garrison was the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1973 and was the only one to bring forth a trial concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. In Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, J. Edgar Hoover comes up several times impeding or shutting down investigations into JFK’s murder, in particular concerning the evidence collected by the Dallas Police Department, such as the nitrate test Oswald was given and which exonerated him, proving that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov 22nd, 1963. However, for reasons only known to the government and its investigators this fact was kept secret for 10 months. (6) It was finally revealed in the Warren Commission report, which inexplicably didn’t change their opinion that Oswald had shot Kennedy.

Another particularly damning incident was concerning the Zapruder film that was in the possession of the FBI and which they had sent a “copy” to the Warren Commission for their investigation. This film was one of the leading piece of evidence used to support the “magic bullet theory” and showcase the direction of the headshot coming from behind, thus verifying that Oswald’s location was adequate for such a shot.

During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that for some peculiar reason had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine. This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from  behind.

When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman. (7)

When the FBI was questioned about how these two critical frames could have been reversed, they answered self-satisfactorily that it must have been a technical glitch…

Today there are those who continue an attempt to discredit the work of Jim Garrison for the crime of challenging the absurd narrative of the Warren Commission. However, anyone who bothers to read the Warren Commission report, would soon discover it to be a mess of contradictions, fallacies and outright fabrications. Not only an absurd sham but ultimately complicit in one of the most disgraceful cover-ups in American history.

When will the American people realise that the biggest threat to American freedom is not from without but from within its very own walls, where it has been prominently residing for the last 112 years…


(1) Anton Chaitkin’s “Treason in America” p. 152-160
(2) Anton Chaitkin’s paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship
(3) New York Times, March 1, 1933, p. 2.
(4) Anton Chaitkin’s paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship
(5) New York Times, April 6, 1971, “Boggs Demands That Hoover Quit,” p. 1.
(6) Jim Garrison’s “On the Trail of the Assassins” p. 116/ (7) For more on this refer to Oliver Stone’s film on the Garrison trial titled “JFK

This article is a redacted version of the original published on Strategic Culture Foundation.


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