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Agency of Fear
Opiates and Political Power in America
By Edward Jay Epstein
Copyright, 1977, G. P. Putnam and Sons, New York.
The Story of How the Drug Enforcement Administration Came to Be.
Zip File of this book (about 217KB)
PART ONE - THE VAMPIRE COMES TO AMERICA
3. G. Gordon Liddy: The Will to Power
PART TWO - THE POLITICS OF LAW AND ORDER
4. The Barker of Slippery Gulch
6. The Education of Egil Krogh
PART THREE - THE NIXON CRUSADES
PART FOUR - THE WAR WITHIN
11. The Narcotics Business: John Ingersoll's Version
12. The Border War: Eugene Rossides's Version
13. Conflict of Interest: Egil Krogh's Version
PART FIVE - TRIUMPH OF THE WILL
PART SIX - PRODUCTION OF TERROR
20. The Manipulation of the Media
PART SEVEN - THE COUP
PART EIGHT - UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES
31. The Revolt of the Bureaucrats
END NOTES - Coming Soon!
For example, in theory, six presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, had the power to fire J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI, but in each case he had the power to retaliate by revealing illicit activities that occurred during their administrations (as well as information about the private lives of the presidents). This potential for retribution by government officials is compounded by the fact that in the vast complexity of the executive branch a president cannot be sure where embarrassing secrets exist, and he must assume that most officials have developed subterranean channels to journalists, who will both conceal their sources and give wide circulation to the "leak." A president could seize control over the various parts of the government only if he first nullified the threat of disclosures by severing the conduits through which dissidents might leak scandalous information to the press. This prerequisite for power is in fact exactly what President Nixon attempted when he set up a series of special units which, it was hoped, would conduct clandestine surveillance of both government officials and newsmen during his first administration. If he had succeeded in establishing such an investigative force, he would have so radically changed the balance of power within the government that it would have been tantamount to an American coup d'etat.
A coup d'etat is not the same as a revolution, where power is seized by those outside the government, or even necessarily a military putsch, whereby the military government takes over from the civilian government; it is, as Edward Luttwak points out in his book Coup d'Etat, "a seizure of power within the present system." The technique of the coup involves the use of one part of the government to disrupt communications between other parts of the government, confounding and paralyzing noncooperating agencies while displacing the dissident cliques from power. If successful, the organizers of the coup can gain control over all the levers of real power in the government, then legitimize the new configuration under the name of eliminating some great evil in society. Though it is hard to conceive of the technique of the coup being applied to American politics, Nixon, realizing that he securely controlled only the office of the president, methodically moved to destroy the informal system of leaks and independent fiefdoms. Under the aegis of a "war on heroin," a series of new offices were set up, by executive order, such as the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement and the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence,- which, it was hoped, would provide the president with investigative agencies having the potential and the wherewithal and personnel to assume the functions of "the Plumbers" on a far grander scale. According to the White House scenario, these new investigative functions would be legitimized by the need to eradicate the evil of drug addiction.
In describing the inner workings of the "war on heroin" I have relied heavily on the files supplied to me by Egil Krogh, Jr., who was the president's deputy for law enforcement before he was imprisoned for his role in the Plumbers' operations. This archive includes verbatim transcripts of' conversations the president had with presidential advisors; handwritten notes describing meetings between John Ehrlichman, John Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, and other principals in the administration's "crusade"; option papers drafted for the Domestic Council; scenarios designed for the media; internal analyses of political problems; drafts of presidential speeches; private reports on the drug problem; briefings for the press; and outlines of conversations Krogh had with the president. Krogh, after he was released from prison, spent more than three weeks assisting me in analyzing the material, and I then went over many of the documents with Jeffrey Donfeld, who was Krogh's assistant on the Domestic Council. The archive is by no means complete-the White House retained a large portion of Krogh's files-and it presents information only from the perspective of the White House. I therefore filled in the archive by interviewing officials in the various agencies that were to be affected by the White House plans for a "reorganization." These interviews took over three years, and reflect personal animosities as well as bureaucratic perspectives. Because the circumstances surrounding each interview bear directly on the credibility of the interview-why, for example, did Krogh provide me with such embarrassing documents?-I have decided to reveal all the sources for this book and comment on the motives, problems, contradictions, and gaps that I found in the interviews and documents. Unless otherwise specified, whenever references are made to persons explaining, commenting, observing or otherwise divulging information, they were made to me for the purposes of this book, and a fuller explanation of when, where, and why is provided in the final section of the book. Books and documents are listed in the Bibliography.
The research for this book was financed in large part by the Drug Abuse Council, Inc., a privately financed foundation which was established to provide another perspective on problems of drug abuse. Assistance was also provided by National Affairs, Inc., the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Police Foundation. Esquire helped subsidize my reportage of poppy-growing in Turkey, and The Public Interest magazine supported my investigation of methadone clinics and helped me obtain the Krogh file. Research on various parts of the book was done for me by Hillary Mayer, Suzanna Duncan, Elizabeth Guthrie, and Deborah Gieringer, to all of whom I am grateful.
I am also indebted, for their insights into the political process, to Edward Banfield, Daniel Bell, Allan Bloom, Edward Chase, Nathan Glazer, Erving Goffman, Andrew Hacker, William Haddad, Paul Halpern, Bruce Kovner, Irving Kristol, Edward Luttwak, Jerry Mandel, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Victor Navasky, Bruce Page, Norman Podhoretz, Mark Platner, John Rubenstein, William Shawn, Jonathan Shell, Leslie Steinau, Edward Thompson, Lionel Tiger, Paul Weaver, William Whitworth, and James Q. Wilson. The conclusions that I draw from their insights are, of course, entirely my own.
E. J. E.
NEW YORK CITY, 1976
Other books by Edward Jay Epstein
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