Conspiring to Make People Paranoid



Alternet has published an excerpt from my book The United States of Paranoia. Here's how it opens:

The special agent in charge of the FBI's San Diego office had a plan. An antidraft activist in the area was convinced that the Bureau was watching him—he kept telling people that his phone was tapped, his home bugged, his every move observed. With "a small push in the right direction," the agent believed, the activist would start exhibiting "obvious paranoid tendencies," and that would "completely neutralize him in his several leadership capacities."

So let's make a big show of spying on the man, the investigator suggested. Maybe we could build a spooky-looking mechanism from a bicycle part and an old transistor radio, then drop it off near his front steps one night. "In the event he displayed the contraption to anyone," the officer argued, "its crude construction would ultimately neutralize any allegation that it originated or is being utilized by the FBI." And if the target tried to tell people it was a bugging device, they'd ridicule him.

Headquarters wasn't convinced. The problem wasn't that the plan was unethical, unconstitutional, or absurd. It was that the activist might not be important enough to be "a suitable target for counter-intelligence action." The agent was told to investigate the fellow further, then "resubmit your request if his importance to the New Left movement warrants such attention." In other words, the Bureau should spend more time spying on the man before it tried to convince the man he was being spied on.

In related news:

The Wall Street Journal has reviewed the book.

• I'll be talking about the book on Sean Moncrieff's radio show in Ireland today at 10 a.m. Eastern time, 3 p.m. Irish time.

• Back in the States, I'll be on Alan Colmes' radio show tonight at approximately 7:06 p.m. Eastern time.

• Sam Tanenhaus and I will discuss the book in a program at the Cato Institute on September 11.

• On Tuesday I did a reading at the D.C. bookstore Politics & Prose. They have now posted a video of the talk:

NEXT: Explosions Kill at Least 12 in Lebanese City

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12 responses to “Conspiring to Make People Paranoid

  1. Jesse should do more shameless promotions of his book.

    1. I’ll be at it all this week & all next week. Be sure to tip your waitress.

    2. Jesse wrote a book? I had no idea.

      1. Yeah, to rave reviews. From Amazon:

        Jesse Walker is merely attempting to dismiss conspiracy ‘theory’ to further Reason’s laissez faire conspiracy to enslave the human race to the pan dimensional being who takes on the 3D avatar that humans without the proper sunglasses see as a leather jacket usually worn by the lizard people’s representative to the human race, Nick Gillespie, who the Reptilians have placed as editor of Reason Magazine so he and Walker can get themselves invited to the proper cosmopolitan cocktail parties where their monocles are polished using the tears of a human/sheep hybrid named Tony, who supplies their needs for tears, milk, wool, and inane left wing commentary. Don’t be fooled.

        1. Based on that review alone, I have just ordered it from Amazon.

          1. Me, too. Read the comments to the review.

        2. Shame on Jesse for sockpuppeting a review!


        3. I believe that was one of the regulars here who wrote that. Can’t remember who, but they posted it at the end of one of the other threads a day or two ago.

          1. It’s Suki’s torso. Yeah, poor bitch got the hook from Ichi the Killer.

  2. I’m a little pissed because I preordered the book from Amazon, expecting it to arrive on the release date, but Amazon estimates the arrival date will be next Monday. It’s just more evidence they’re plotting against me.

    1. Strange. Whenever I order from Amazon, I choose the free shipping, and my stuff consistently arrives way ahead of schedule. Maybe that’s because Jeff Bezos and I are both Freemasons.

  3. FTA:

    And he [Huston]wanted the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and military intelligence to answer to an Interagency Group on Internal Security staffed by the White House.

    He wasn’t hoping to call this new interagency group the Department of Homeland Security was he?

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