The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence

( 2 )

Overview

As the world prepared for war in the 1930s, the United States discovered that it faced the real threat of foreign spies stealing military and industrial secrets-and that it had no established means to combat them. Into that breach stepped J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

Although the FBI's expanded role in World War II has been well documented, few have examined the crucial period before Pearl Harbor when the Bureau's powers secretly expanded to face the developing international ...

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Overview

As the world prepared for war in the 1930s, the United States discovered that it faced the real threat of foreign spies stealing military and industrial secrets-and that it had no established means to combat them. Into that breach stepped J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

Although the FBI's expanded role in World War II has been well documented, few have examined the crucial period before Pearl Harbor when the Bureau's powers secretly expanded to face the developing international emergency. Former FBI agent Raymond Batvinis now tells how the Bureau grew from a small law enforcement unit into America's first organized counterespionage and counterintelligence service. Batvinis examines the FBI's emerging new roles during the two decades leading up to America's entry into World War II to show how it cooperated and competed with other federal agencies. He takes readers behind the scenes, as the State Department and Hoover fought fiercely over the control of counterintelligence, and tells how the agency combined its crime-fighting expertise with its new wiretapping authority to spy on foreign agents.

Based on newly declassified documents and interviews with former agents, Batvinis's account reconstructs and greatly expands our understanding of the FBI's achievements and failures during this period. Among these were the Bureau's mishandling of the 1938 Rumrich/Griebl spy case, which Hoover slyly used to broaden his agency's powers; its cracking of the Duquesne Espionage Case in 1941, which enabled Hoover to boost public and congressional support to new heights; and its failure to understand the value of Soviet agent Walter Krivitsky, which slowed Bureau efforts to combat Soviet espionage in America.

In addition, Batvinis offers a new view of the relationship between the FBI and the military, cites the crucial contributions of British intelligence to the FBI's counterintelligence education, and reveals the agency's ultra-secret role in mining financial records for the Treasury Department. He also reviews the early days of the top-secret Special Intelligence Service, which quietly dispatched FBI agents posing as businessmen to South America to spy on their governments.

With an insider's knowledge and a storyteller's skill, Batvinis provides a page-turning history narrative that greatly revises our views of the FBI—and also resonates powerfully with our own post-9/11 world.

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Editorial Reviews

Historian
An important contribution to FBI historiography, filling a major gap in the literature.
Secrecy News
This interesting book traces the development of the FBI's counterintelligence role in the crucible of pre-World War II security concerns.
Choice
Essential reading for all FBI and espionage buffs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700616534
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 2/26/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 346
  • Sales rank: 1,022,070
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond J. Batvinis was a special agent of the FBI from 1972 to 1997 and also served in the FBI Intelligence Division Training Unit.

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Table of Contents

Preface

List of Abbreviations

Introduction

1. Rumrich

2. A Look Back

3. Controversy and Confusion

4. Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference

5. Following the Money

6. Wires and Bugs

7. Opportunities Missed

8. Special Overseas Assignments

9. British Security Coordination

10. Special Intelligence Service

11. Ducase

Appendix A: Sebold's List of Abwehr Requirements

Appendix B: Dequesne Ring Conspirators

Appendix C: Unindicted Duquesne Ring Coconspirators

Appendix D: Sentences of the Duquesne Ring Conspirators

Appendix E: Expenditures for Special Intelligence Service Operations, July 2, 1940-June 30, 1947

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2008

    Outstanding insight

    This book is a wealth of declassified information on the pre-WWII FBI and their efforts to keep America safe from Axis spies bent on causing chaos on the homefront. As a retired Special Agent in counterintelligence Batvinis' knowledge and a storyteller's skill, provides a rich historical narrative that has some eye-opening information. An interesting part of the narrative is how Hoover fought fiercely over the control of counterintelligence, and tells how the agency combined its crime-fighting expertise with its new wiretapping authority to spy on foreign agents. People opposed to the FBI's current war on terror should read this book and imagine what if the FBI was not as proactive. Where would we be today?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2007

    great indepth history of fbis counter intelligence

    former fbi agent raymond j. batvinis has writtion a very fasinating and well documented background of the bureaus long and very successful history of counter intelligence. this book goes back to the early days of pre world war 2 and up the present day and shows that there were alot of enemy spy activties very close to americas shores that threatened harm to our citizens and this intresting publication shows how federal agents are going to show england and they will go to training and to stop terrorism.

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