The Dangers of Dissent

The Dangers of Dissent : The FBI and Civil Liberties since 1965

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While most studies of the FBI focus on the long tenure of Director J. Edgar Hoover (1924-1972), The Dangers of Dissent shifts the ground to the recent past. The book examines FBI practices in the domestic security field through the prism of "political policing." The monitoring of dissent is exposed, as are the Bureau's controversial "counterintelligence" operations designed to disrupt political activity. This book reveals that attacks on civil liberties focus on a wide range of domestic critics on both the Left and the Right. This book traces the evolution of FBI spying from 1965 to the present through the eyes of those under investigation, as well as through numerous FBI documents, never used before in scholarly writing, that were recently declassified using the Freedom of Information Act or released during litigation (Greenberg v. FBI). Ivan Greenberg considers the diverse ways that government spying has crossed the line between legal intelligence-gathering to criminal action. While a number of studies focus on government policies under George W.
Bush's "War on Terror," Greenberg is one of the few to situate the primary role of the FBI as it shaped and was reshaped by the historical context of the new American Surveillance Society.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 680.39g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0739149385
  • 9780739149386

Table of contents

1 Introduction Chapter 2 1. State Crimes 3 "Counter-Intelligence" Methods 4 The FBI Encourages Violence 5 Advice on Fighting Repression 6 "Testilying" and Falsification Chapter 7 2. The Evolution of Seventies Spying 8 COINTELPRO Aims and Ends 9 Congressional Questioning 10 Surveillance of the Left 11 Senate Church Committee 12 Black Bag Jobs 13 Carter Appoints a New Director Chapter 14 3. Has the FBI Really Changed? 15 Reagan Revives Spying 16 Spying on the Nuclear Freeze Movement 17 Spying on African-American Elected Officials 18 Surveillance of Right-wing Groups Chapter 19 4. The Need for Enemies after the Cold War 20 Enemies at the Millennium 21 Peace Dividend 22 Who are the Terrorists? Chapter 23 5. The Terror Scare 24 Denver, New York City 25 "October Plan" 26 Violations, Watch Lists and Databases Chapter 27 6. Information Flow and Political Policing 28 FBI Power and the FOIA 29 Early Lawsuits 30 Police Legitimacy 31 Concealing the Identities of Informers 32 The Privacy Act Chapter 33 7. Suing the FBI for Spying 34 Old Left Plaintiffs 35 Race and the FBI 36 New Left Plaintiffs 37 Plaintiffs Losses 38 Post-COINTELPRO Cases Chapter 39 8. The FBI in the Surveillance Society
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Review quote

A curtain has more or less descended upon the operations of the FBI since the 1975 Senate Church Committee hearings, and this book does more to pull back that curtain than any other source I am aware of. What we do know about FBI operations since 1975 has come in bits and pieces which have been carried in the press on a very episodic basis. The Dangers of Dissent puts together all that has been in the public record, plus a great deal which Greenberg has uncovered by using the Freedom of Information Act and by being in personal contact with individuals who have been involved in litigation with the FBI. It also brings together an amazing number of secondary sources, including newspapers, periodical literature, and scholarly books. This book is easily the most important source of information on the post-1975 FBI to date. I would certainly recommend the book to anyone with interests in the FBI, the intelligence agencies, or the current state of American civil liberties. -- Robert Justin Goldstein, Oakland University and The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Ivan Greenberg has written a tour de force on the history and transformation of the FBI in relation to civil liberties and political involvement in a democratic society over the past 50 years. This comprehensive and balanced yet critical analysis of The Dangers of Dissent is an excellent primer on the subject, locating the centrality of its discussion in the rise of an information and surveillance society. -- Gregg Barak, Eastern Michigan University; author of Violence and Nonviolence: Pathways to Understanding In The Dangers of Dissent, Ivan Greenberg turns the Freedom of Information Act into a weapon of protest. The result is an expose of FBI misconduct over forty years and a report from the legal trenches by a litigator against the government. Very informative. -- Chris Waldrep, San Francisco State University Greenberg makes an important contribution to our understanding of the impact of the security state on civil liberties. His book is a passionate account, although not a polemical one, and its urgent tone reminds us that the price of our inattention has often been higher than we wish to admit. Journal of American History The Dangers of Dissent is a well documented and meticulously researched work that deserves the serious attention of social scientists of all disciplines and anyone concerned with the growth and impact of the surveillance state on democracy in America. Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture Ivan Greenberg's The Dangers of Dissent provides one of the only historical surveys of FBI political spying after the death of its longtime Director, J. Edgar Hoover, in 1972. Left History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Historical Inquiry & Debate Ivan Greenberg's The Dangers of Dissent provides one of the only historical surveys of FBI political spying after the death of its longtime director, J. Edgar Hoover, in 1972. ... "The heart of this book ... is based on research in archival materials or materials obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that have rarely, if ever, been accessed by researchers." ... As a result [the] government documents provide a basis to not just study government repression, but to recover part of the history of those movements that government agencies sought to suppress. ... The Dangers of Dissent promises a different approach to using government documents to narrate the history of surveillance programs. Left History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Historical Inquiry & Debate
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About Ivan Greenberg

Ivan Greenberg is a former adjunct instructor in the City University of New York college system and is currently an independent scholar.
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