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The Secrets of the FBI Paperback – August 7, 2012
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Q&A with Author Ronald Kessler
Why did you write this book?
I love to uncover secrets about subjects like the FBI, CIA, or Secret Service. I’ve always been aware that even though the FBI becomes involved in everything from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and congressional scandals to the confirmation of Supreme Court justices, very little ever gets out about what agents uncover in the course of their investigations. The Secrets of the FBI is a vehicle for revealing that privileged information. What was the most surprising thing you found?
I could not believe that the FBI gave me the inside story on how it breaks into homes, offices, and embassies to plant bugging devices without getting caught. Along with names of terrorism and Mafia informants, this is the most sensitive, closely guarded information the FBI has. Many high-ranking FBI agents were shocked as well. It’s the most riveting story I’ve uncovered in my journalism career. What other secrets will readers find in this book?
What triggered Vince Foster’s suicide. Who secretly visited Marilyn Monroe just before she took her own life. What J. Edgar Hoover’s sexual orientation was. Who actually uncovered Robert Hanssen as a spy, contrary to the story line of the movie “Breach.” Why the FBI could not match Osama bin Laden’s fingerprints after he was killed. When planting bugs in the homes and offices of Mafia figures, spies, and terrorists, how FBI agents tranquilize dogs, stage fake traffic accidents, and instruct police to stop occupants who try to return. How did you get FBI agents to talk?
Usually I would waterboard them! Actually, I’ve developed a track record that engenders trust. In addition, agents figure I already know a lot. While it doesn’t seem to require much skill, people also say I am a good listener. Photos from Inside The Secrets of the FBI
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy borrowed the personal car of William Simon, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles field office, to secretly see Marilyn Monroe just before her suicide.—AP Photo
For twelve years, FBI Executive Assistant Director Louis E. Grever was what he calls a "government-sanctioned burglar," planting bugs in homes and offices of Mafia figures, terrorists, corrupt members of Congress, spies, and foreign intelligence officers. If caught, he could have been shot as an intruder.—FBI Photo
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, at right, had a spousal relationship with his deputy, Clyde Tolson. He vacationed with him and left his estate to him.—AP Photo
Karl Koecher, a mole in the CIA, and his wife Hana attended sex orgies to obtain information for the KGB until the FBI arrested them for espionage and sent them back to Prague.—Ronald Kessler Photo
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
As Mr. Kessler indicates, this is not your grandfather's FBI. They think out of the box these days, and do imaginative things like staging fake car accidents to find terror suspects. They can and will impersonate almost anybody, although not a journalist or members of clergy. And female agents are not permitted to use sex to entrap a subject. So, if in doubt about who your date really is, kiss her. If she's FBI, she can't respond.
As to the question everyone has been wondering about, on page 17 we get: "Every other week, agent Louis Grever meets with his counterparts at the CIA". So yes, there is sharing of intelligence information, which was generally not the case prior to 9/11.Read more ›
Chapter 3, "Red Dress," is about J. Edgar Hoover's alleged homosexuality. The "proof" that Kessler offers is found in two main pieces of "evidence." One is a story of Susan Rosenstiel (which I will not dignify by repeating here); however, Rosenstiel is not a creditable witness (she pled guilty to perjury in the 1970s), as Kessler himself admits later in the chapter. The other evidence offered is Hoover's relationship with Clyde Tolson--his deputy and successor at the FBI--which Kessler believes was romantic. This rumor dates back to the '40s and is based on hearsay with no solid evidence behind it. Kessler himself notes that the FBI spied on Hoover and Tolson but found no evidence of anything unusual. This chapter ends with Kessler grasping at straws: "Still, the fact that Hoover spent his leisure time with a man and that they took adoring photos of each other points to Hoover's being homosexual" (p.36). The fact that two men spent leisure time together "points to" a homosexual relationship? This is nonsense. Kessler continues, "[Hoover] conceivably could have had sexual relations with Tolson when the two were alone together" (p.36). They also conceivably could have spent time reading Icelandic poetry, breeding horseflies, or listening to baseball on the radio - but these are not very interesting theories to pass off as fact.Read more ›
The overall thesis of this piece is that the FBI has learned to think outside of the box particularly since 9/11. This is plainly a good thing. I came away after reading this book with a more favorable opinion of the FBI. This book is an engaging read and I recommend it. RJB.
Author Ronald Kessler does a wonderful job in sharing the history of the FBI with a writing style that exudes the humanity of the everyday citizen's interest.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was amazing what we ask of our Secret Service Agents and how dedicated they are to service while at a great expense and emotion to their lives missing out on family events and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maude L Norris
This was an easy read so I figure it was written at a 4th grad level. He lost my respect when he tried to minimize and whitewash the government's role in Waco and Ruby Ridge. Read morePublished 1 month ago by BushWoman
OK but focus is on the new FBI trying to prevent crime and violence rather than putting people in prison. A little too much detail on what we call wire tapping today.Published 2 months ago by Warren B. in C. B.
Very informative book about the FBI. They work so hard to help our country stay safe. Ronald Kessler is a fine writer and I have read many more of his books. Thank you.Published 2 months ago by Rosey
This book was recommended to me by another friend and it was exactly like he described it. The book is educational and has tons of insider information that you never would hear... Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Douglas Brown
"Secrets of the FBI" by Ronald Kessler is a good book about the functioning and non-functioning of the FBI since the passing of J Edger Hoover. Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. Joseph Anna