Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 28: Nice Try, FBI – Hoover’s Legacy And The War On Crime

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

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Adam Smith, Hank Oslo, Hans Lander, and Nick Mason


Created in 1908 under the Department of Justice with a small band of secret service officers originally tasked to catch bank robbers and other interstate criminals, the size and scope of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has grown substantially to include over 35,000 employees today and a collection of over 50 field headquarters in the United States alone as well as 80 overseas attache offices. The stated mission of the FBI is simple: to defend against domestic and international threats too large for local and state authorities to handle. How this manifests is not simple, nor is the operation of the organization, engaging with some of the worlds most sophisticated spy agencies and criminal organizations. And while infiltrating high profile spy rings and catching serial killers make up the FBI’s most famous success stories, the Bureau is not without its scandals, oversights and massacres. With the increased focus on anti-terrorism and its daunting global nature, the organization’s mandate for identifying and preventing potential threats seems only set to grow.


1870- President Ulysses S. Grant creates the Department of Justice
1895- J. Edgar Hoover, future Director of the FBI, is born in Washington D.C.
1901- President William McKinley assassinated by anarchist-partisan Leon Czolgosz, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumes office of POTUS.
1908- Unofficial creation of the FBI under Attorney General Charles Bonaparte; a year later, the group was renamed the Bureau of Investigation.
1917- US Congress passes the Espionage Act, extending power to the FBI to investigate and arrest radicals and potential saboteurs in World War I.
1919- A series of Anarchist Bombings, carried out primarily by anarchist-partisans following Luigi Galleani, targeted key officials and businessmen of the United States.
1920- Anarchists bomb Wall Street, acting under implicit teachings of Luigi Galleani.
1920-1921- bribery scandal involving the FBI’s attempts to gather opposition research and compromising information against political enemies of President Harding.
1924- J. Edgar Hoover offered job as Director of the Bureau of Investigations
1928- SCOTUS decision on Olmstead v. United States – wiretapped phone conversations determined not protected under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments
1932- FBI Laboratory opened at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, offering state-of-the-art scientific analysis to aid in FBI investigations.
1934, May/June- Crime Bills criminalize bank robbery, kidnappings, and other crimes associated with the Depression-Era crime wave, enabling arming of FBI agents.
1934- Infamous American gangster and bank robber John Dillinger is shot and killed by FBI agents on the streets of Chicago, Illinois after years of investigations.
1942- The FBI, under direction of Hoover, recruits Mary Markward to infiltrate the CPUSA (Communist Party of the United States of America) and become the party’s treasurer.
1943- Project Venona set to monitor, collect, decrypt, and analyze SIGINT between the USSR and its agents inside the USA.
1947- The FBI receives Morris Childs after he volunteers to infiltrate the CPUSA, becoming second in command of the party by the 1960s.
1950-51- Kefauver Committee investigates Crime in Interstate Commerce
1963- JFK assassinated in Dallas, Texas
1967- Katz v. United States decision on Fourth Amendment protections for wiretapped calls overturns Olmdstead v. United States.
1968, April- MLK assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee
1968, June- RFK assassinated in Los Angeles, California
1972- J. Edgar Hoover dies of a heart attack in his home.
1975- FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams shot and killed at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by, allegedly, Leonard Peltier, later revealing flawed methods used by FBI ballistic analysis.
1975- Infamous Boston ganger, James “Whitey” Bulger, recruited by the Boston field office of the FBI, under purview of Special Agent John Connelly.
1975-76- Church Committee studies Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities
1992, August 21-31- Ruby Ridge standoff between the Weaver family and the FBI, several are shot and killed on both sides
1993, Feb 28 – April 19- Waco Siege between the Branch Davidians and FBI; over 80 killed in a firefight and later fire at the compound
2001- 9/11, Robert Mueller appointed Director of the FBI; increases emphasis on technology and counter-terrorism


– Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (1991)
– Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA, Riebling (1994)
– Rules of Engagement: Waco, Gazecki (1997)
– FBI Secrets, Kessler (2011)
– The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror, Graff (2011)
– Don’t Talk to the Police (2011) –
– Enemies: A History of the FBI, Weiner (2013)
– Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, Summers (2013)
– Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate: The Campaign to Control the Press and the Bureau’s Image, Cecil (2014)
– Black Mass, Cooper (2015)
– Federal Bureau of Investigation (Documentary), National Geographic (2015) –
– Days of Rage, Burrough (2016)
– How FBI Intel Helps Task Force Stem Illegal Flow of Drugs (2016) –
– One of the FBI’s Major Claims in the iPhone Case Is Fraudulent (2016) –
– When Will President Trump Fire Robert Mueller (2017) –
– White Nationalists and ‘Alt-Right’ Celebrate Arrest of Jew for Bomb Threats (2017) –
– John Rivello faces 99 years in prison for aggravated tweeting, Bristow (2017) –

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  1. The Last American July 28, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Re: the Boston bombers. It is extremely obvious to me that the feds were setting them up for a sting operation akin to all the other “foiled terrorist plots” since 9/11. They were allowed to fly despite being on watch lists, and foreign governments warned us about them. Most likely the feds were attempting to use them to collect intel before ultimately setting up a sting, making the bust, and celebrating with a round of promotions as usual.

    However, the bombers probably caught wind, or just took matters into their own hands, and blew up the marathon. The fed “blunders” and “accidents” that followed were deliberate acts to cover their tracks. The friend that got shot over his dining room table probably knew the brothers’ contact that was in reality a federal agent.

    To me, this is an extremely believable “conspiracy theory” because it doesn’t require inexplicable nefarious intent or a large conspiracy of silence – all it requires is a fuckup during normal proceedings, followed by a clumsy cover-up.

    Nice ep, guys. Looking forward to next week’s episode that you alluded to.

    You should do something with Musonius Rufus from Identity Dixie, he’s also a very reasonable and skeptical “conspiracy” buff.

    1. The Last American July 28, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Just wanted to throw out another pet theory of mine – “Kony 2012” was a 21st-century test run of MK-Ultra style psyop tactics, experimenting with social media and other cutting edge avenues for propaganda. Remember the guy having a mental breakdown and beating off in the street in San Diego? Classic outcome of interrogative drug cocktails.

      Now you see the same things popping up all over – Ukraine “documentaries”, the “White Helmets”… Follow the money and you’ll quickly find “PR firms” and NGOs with large grants from “government research”.

      We’re gonna need a lot of rope

      1. The Ukraine documentaries always go out of their way to find pink-haired feminists and Muslims from Kiev to showcase as the ordinary Ukrainian citizen who totally just wants a metropolitan EU-governate running their lives.

        1. The Last American July 29, 2017 at 12:40 pm

          Yeah, seriously. Remember the little Muslim kid from Winter on Fire, cavorting around in the middle of violent riots, completely unattended? That was so disgraceful and so obviously fake.

    2. Musonious et. al. do a great job. Re: Boston – there’s a lot to be suspicious of there. Thanks for the comments.

  2. The late Michael Collins Piper with a wide-ranging discussion of organized crime in America:

  3. The 1950s FBI also found time to pursue the pathetic remnants of the pro-Axis American Right, including two associates of Ezra Pound, Eustace Mullins and John Kasper. Links to their FBI files (at least some of them) are found at the bottom of their Wikipedia pages.

    Mullins’ autobiographical account of his persecution by the FBI:

    Recent academic work on the relationship between Kasper and Pound:

    Angelina Jolie’s great uncle, Joseph Kamp, also had links of some kind to the pro-Axis Right and attracted a lot of attention from the postwar FBI:

  4. I’m a long-time critical of federal law enforcement tactics, and yet this episode still managed to blow me away with new red pills. I live near the site of some of their most infamous fuckups, so this all hits home. Great job, guys.

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