FBI Turning Points: 10 Critical Cases

PALMER RAIDS—1919-20

As part of the Red Scare, thousands of suspected radicals are rounded up by FBI agents and auxiliaries. The adverse public reaction teaches J. Edgar Hoover a lesson in professionalism and highlights for the nation the issue of maintaining civil liberties during a crisis.

JOHN DILLINGER—1934 Read more »

“The Most Dangerous Institution”

For nearly a hundred years, the FBI has been fighting for America—with its discipline and professionalism often at odds with its shadowy, extralegal tactics.

When American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, Robert S. Mueller III, had been at his post for just one week. Suddenly he found himself responsible for both investigating the gravest crime in American history and for preventing further attacks. Read more »

Home-grown Terror

For a sense of the continuity of the of the terrorist tradition in America, consider this actual sequence of events: The FBI smashes a dead-serious plot to overthrow the federal government and reveals that for more than a year the right-wing militias involved were undergoing army-style training, fired up by inflammatory talk radio. They Planned to use their bombs, rifles, and machine guns to wage guerrilla warfare on American cities, and they claimed friends and allies in government and the military.Read more »

The Great Red Scare

In 1919 the U.S. Attorney General swooped down on a alleged Bolshevik revolutionaries and deported them by the boatload. For a while he was a national hero; he dreamed of the White House. But then…

In November, 1919, and again in January, 1920, federal agents of the Department of Justice conducted a series of lightning-like raids on private houses and public buildings in cities across the United States and took into custody upwards of three thousand aliens suspected of plotting to overthrow the government. The mass arrests were enthusiastically acclaimed as Attorney General A.

 
 
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