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Tag: book

Records: FBI Spied on Numerous African American Authors, Scholars for Decades

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and its notoriously paranoid director J. Edgar Hoover spied on prominent African American writers for decades, monitoring their activities and critiquing their work.

The Guardian reports that newly declassified documents from the FBI show extensive surveillance of black writers and scholars, including Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Claude McKay.

The records were obtained by William Maxwell, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who was shocked when the FBI turned over 1,884 pages of documents on 51 well-known black writers. His request included 106 black writers, which means nearly half were monitored by the feds.

“I suspected there would be more than a few,” said Maxwell. “I knew Hoover was especially impressed and worried by the busy crossroads of black protest, leftwing politics, and literary potential. But I was surprised to learn that the FBI had read, monitored, and ‘filed’ nearly half of the nationally prominent African American authors working from 1919 (Hoover’s first year at the Bureau, and the first year of the Harlem Renaissance) to 1972 (the year of Hoover’s death and the peak of the nationalist Black Arts movement). In this, I realised, the FBI had outdone most every other major institution of US literary study, only fitfully concerned with black writing.”

Maxwell is revealing the findings in a book entitled, “FB Eyes: How J Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature.” The book hits the shelves on Feb. 18.

The book says the surveillance was prompted by Hoover’s “personal fascination with black culture.”

What was Hoover afraid of?

“Hoover was exercised by what he saw as an emerging alliance between black literacy and black radicalism,” Maxwell said.

“Then there’s the fact that many later African American writers were allied, at one time or another, with socialist and communist politics in the U.S.”

 

Former FBI Agent Reveals Tricks of Influencing People in Everyday Life

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A good FBI agent can make friends with just about anyone. 

Now a former agent, Jack Schafer, is sharing the tricks of the trade in a new book, “The Like Switch,” which is written for people to use in their everyday lives.

Schafer, who worked as behavioral therapist for the bureau for seven years, said people are too caught up in themselves and don’t have a lot of the skills to make friends.

“We are too busy focusing on ourselves and not the people we meet,” he writes.

“We put our wants and needs before the wants and needs of others. The irony of all this is that other people will be eager to fulfill your wants and needs if they like you.”

Schafer shows how nonverbal cues impact how people see us.

Former DEA Agent Reveals Details of His Undercover Career in New Book

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A former DEA agent has uncovered fascinating details of his undercover career in a book entitled, “The Dar Art: Inside the World’s Most Dangerous Narco-Terrorist Organization.”

Ed Follis talked with St. Louis Public radio about the book.

“The book was cathartic,” Follis said. “I finally looked back on all those days and the stuff we did.”

Follis’ career with the DEA spans nearly 30 years when he pursued drug traffickers.

Follis said the war on drugs would be more successful if law enforcement targeted the bigger dealers.

“The war on drugs is somewhat like a number of other wars that we’ve advanced since Vietnam,” Follis said. “I’m not quite sure that we’re pressing in as hard as we should. I did, personally, as an agent. But the war on drugs has to focus emphatically on the larger figures. I never pursued people that were addicted. They’re not victims, but they are in need of extreme assistance. It’s those who exploit them … They’re not concerned about the addicts and the people that are hopelessly addicted.”

Follis said he never used drugs in his career and got by on two things.

“Number one, beyond anything else, you have to have the right access. That’s through informants, of course, because they already have standing with these people. Number two, you have to be like them, because once they trust you, they don’t want to disbelieve their trust with you.”

Stories of Other Interest


Retired FBI Agent Publishes Book That Blasts Quality of Bureau’s Training Academy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI special agent has published a book in which he describes his inadequate training at a new agent class at the academy in Quantico, Va., the Officer.com reports.

Entitled “FBI: Animal House,” the book alleges that the training was subpar and didn’t rise to the level of education by police departments.

Author Peter M. Klismet, Jr. left the Ventura Police Department to join the FBI and later served as a profiler.

Klismet said the training is much better than it used to be and said some of the instructors were inadequate.

Klismet said trainees spent too much time on photography, first aid and fingerprinting.

Book Review: ”Long Mile Home,’ Recounts Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation

By Aamer Madhani
USA Today

On the first-year anniversary of a national tragedy, it’s inevitable for the so-called definitive account to be rolled out by publishers calculating that enough time has passed for an author to have developed perspective, but not so much time that the calamity is no longer fresh in the public’s conscience.

Publishing houses are, more often than not, wrong. Too often, readers, including this one, feel burned by investing time and cash in what too frequently reads like notebook dumps by journalists on the front line of a big story. The works ultimately don’t stand the test of time.

But with Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, The City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice, The Boston Globe‘s Scott Helman and Jenna Russell prove there are exceptions.

Long Mile Home, which arrives just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is a riveting piece of journalism and an exceptional tribute to a great American city that manages to avoid being sentimental or syrupy.

Helman and Russell, two of the Globe‘s best reporters, relied heavily on their colleagues’ outstanding coverage of the bombing and the aftermath in weaving a narrative around several principal characters.

Justice Department Gives Agent Permission to Publish Book Critical of Agency

ATF file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has switched its position and said an ATF agent may publish a book about the agency’s bungled gun smuggling sting operation “Fast and Furious,”  the Associated Press reports.

The department said it was notifying the ACLU, which is representing ATF agent John Dodson, that the book could be published.

The department previously tried to stop the publication, saying federal employees are generally banned from making profits off of their work.

But for law enforcement reasons, the AP wrote, some parts of the book, “The Unarmed Truth,” will be redacted.

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Author Speaks Out about New Book That Claims FBI Manufactured Terrorism Cases

Steve Neavling
ticklethethewire.com

Investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson has caused quite a stir since the release of his new book, “The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism.”

Claiming in his book that most terrorism suspects could never have carried out an attack without the help of the FBI, Aaronson spoke at length with The Atlantic about his research.

Trevor Aaronson: The FBI is looking for what they term “a lone wolf terrorist,” which is someone holed up in an apartment somewhere who sympathizes with Al-Qaeda but may lack the specific means to do that. And so the FBI uses sting operations to [find] these people — these people who may want to commit an act of terrorism, are right on that line from moving from sympathizer to operator — and then through these sting operations, lure them out and get them involved in a terrorism plot that they’re ultimately prosecuted for. 

To readmore click here.

FBI Agent, Reporter Published Book About Bizarre Heist

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent and newspaper reporter have written a book about the bizarre bank heist involving a pipe bomb that exploded around the neck of a pizza delivery driver, the Associated Press reports.

The book, “Pizza Bomber: The Untold Story of America’s Most Shocking Bank Robbery,” was released Tuesday.

The idea behind the book is to provide new details and dispel claims that the pizza delivery driver, Brian Wells, was an innocent pawn in a sophisticated heist, the AP reports.

Retired FBI special agent Jerry Clark worked on the 2003 case that involved a strange list of characters and said Wells was not the innocent victim he pretended to be.

Clark said Wells “Brian Wells “had some association with these people and had some cooperation with committing this crime,” the AP wrote.