The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was born in 1930 and was terminated, for covert reasons, in 1968. It was replaced by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and then by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). A book released in 2004 is the first complete history of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
The book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs, is authored by Douglas Valentine. Valentine managed to interview every former FBN agent still living as part of his research. The book also includes recently released information based on documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
Tantalizing information on the FBN and infamous Mafia leaders such as Carlos Marcello and Meyer Lansky was offered in Peter Dale Scott’s excellent book, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. For those fascinated by Professor Scott’s relatively brief coverage of the FBN, The Strength of the Wolf opens wide the doors to a deeper understanding of America’s “War on Drugs” and its interface with the U.S. espionage establishment.
The Strength of the Wolf also devotes a chapter to re-examining the John F. Kennedy assassination. Valentine does not solve the JFK whodunnit, but provides a keen analysis of relatively unknown aspects of the case.
Some notable points made in Valentine’s book are headlined below.
National Security Trumps Drug Law Enforcement
Crusading former DEA agent Mike Levine (image) has written about how, during the course of his investigations as a deep cover DEA agent, he kept encountering the footprints of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whenever his investigations neared the top levels of drug trafficking. Levine grew frustrated when his pursuit of high-level criminals began being thwarted due to “national security,” and eventually he left the DEA. “The ‘War on Drugs’ is a fraud,” he charged, during a lecture at Northern Illinois University. Levine went on to write Deep Cover and The Big White Lie, two books which blew the whistle on “War on Drugs” pretenses.
But Levine and many others may not know that espionage establishment thwarting of drug enforcement efforts goes back further than the 1960s. Strength of the Wolf portrays drug law enforcement almost immediately outweighed by diplomatic and national security priorities. This means, in effect, that the federal government has been at war with itself as it simultaneously waged a war on drugs. An early example of such federal government working at cross-purposes is given by Valentine in his book: In 1926, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Narcotics Division agent Ralph H. Oyler went to China to investigate opium exportation, which was fueling an illicit market in the U.S. Unfortunately, “Oyler and his associates were thwarted by the War and State Departments, which had an overarching need to accommodate a strategically placed ally, Nationalist China, whose survival depended on profits from drug smuggling.”
Valentine succinctly sums up the ongoing situation: “As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be: national security interests superseded those of the drug law enforcement agencies of the U.S. government.”
The Kefauver Committee and “Mob Hits”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was quite reluctant to pursue organized crime. J. Edgar Hoover, FBI’s longtime czar, is alleged to have been blackmailed by the Mafia into quiescence. “Not only was Hoover a closet queen, he was a degenerate gambler too,” alleges Valentine. Pals of Hoover in organized crime facilitated big winnings for him at the racetrack. So Hoover would say, “There is no Mafia.”
Thanks to FBN investigations, however, the existence of the Mafia became harder to deny. So, in a public relations sleight-of-hand, the FBI finally acknowledged the presence of organized crime, but called it (erroneously) “La Cosa Nostra.”
But it wasn’t “La Cosa Nostra,” it was the Mafia. During World War II the U.S. had actually made a Faustian pact with Mafia chiefs: help us win the war, and we’ll ease up a bit on you. The secret Luciano Project utilized Mafia crooks to safeguard shipping (e.g. by surveilling New York docks) and to obtain help in Sicily. One reward for Mafia help was that Charles “Lucky” Luciano got released from prison early and was allowed to leave the U.S.
In 1950, the Kefauver Hearings shone a harsh spotlight on the Mafia. There began to occur “mob hits,” portrayed at the time as gang wars between mobsters. Potential witnesses for the Kefauver Committee were murdered and so could not testify. Valentine wonders, “Were organized crime’s new patrons in the US intelligence and security agencies weeding out troublesome Mafiosi, alumni of the Luciano Project, to prevent the Kefauver Committee from uncovering the Mafia’s ties to the espionage Establishment?”
Valentine also hints that “Lucky” Luciano may have been assassinated by the CIA. Luciano, in Italy, was working with writer Martin Gosch on a planned tell-all book. The top mobster was about to be arrested by the FBN on drug charges. Luciano’s death by heart attack, a mere half hour before his imminent arrest, is “incredibly uncanny,” writes Valentine. One source cited claims the CIA feared Luciano was on the verge of revealing too much.
Mob boss Sam Giancana may also have been murdered by the espionage establishment to keep him from talking. Information given in the book, Double-Cross, paired with Valentine’s forensic detail of .22 caliber guns as a CIA-preferred murder weapon, suggest this is so.
Downfall of Joe McCarthy
Senator Joseph McCarthy fought against Communists which he charged had infiltrated the U.S. government. There was a great deal of truth to McCarthy’s claims (despite anti-McCarthy propaganda), however his tactics led to a “witch hunt” when alarm became so great that the investigations went out of control. People’s lives and careers were ruined because of overzealousness.
New light on the McCarthy case is shed by Valentine, in The Strength of the Wolf. When McCarthy turned his attention upon possible Communists within the US Army and the CIA, especially when he turned his sights upon Cord Meyer, a CIA officer who worked to establish a “compatible left,” that may have been McCarthy’s undoing. Probably, Meyer had been merely supporting a neutered left, one tame enough to not make real waves. But McCarthy apparently considered that the CIA had actually been penetrated by Communists. At any rate, soon after McCarthy peered into the CIA, the Senate launched its own investigation of McCarthy himself. He was subsequently censured and de-fanged by his Senate colleagues.
Valentine offers hearsay evidence that Joe McCarthy was a drug addict. High on drugs, McCarthy may have been fed an “enemies list” by the CIA itself, which later, when the senator became a liability, “pulled the plug” on McCarthy.
Texas Big Oil, the French Connection, and JFK
Texas oil barons like Clint Murchison, “the emerging Bush dynasty,” and H.L. Hunt benefited from the oil depletion allowance. But John F. Kennedy favored eliminating the oil depletion allowance. This, JFK’s wish to desegregate the south, and other factors, caused “Texas ultras” and others to plot JFK’s murder, according to Valentine.
Also suggested as involved in the Kennedy assassination was the Permanent Industrial Exhibition, a.k.a. Permindex. Permindex, a.k.a. Centro Mondiale Commerciale in Rome, was reportedly a CIA front, handling money for the Agency.
Consider, if you will, the JFK assassination in some ways rebounding off of the so-called French Connection. To most people, their idea of the French Connection is based upon the film, starring Gene Hackman. The film is based on a real case, handled by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), however Valentine suggests that the French Connection case had ramifications far deeper than shown in the movie. One tangent of the French Connection involves former French colony Algeria. French president Charles DeGaulle collided with the Organization de l’Armee Secrete (OAS), which wanted to maintain French rule in Algeria. A complex series of offshoots, painstakingly detailed by Valentine in The Strength of the Wolf, branched into the July 1961 assassination plots against DeGaulle. Reportedly, the attempted overthrow by coup d’etat of French president DeGaulle was partly financed by about $200,000 in secret funds handled by none other than Permindex. (Recall that Clay Shaw was reportedly an employee of Permindex.)
Also connecting with the Organization de l’Armee Secrete (OAS) was former FBI agent Guy Banister, who reportedly sent the OAS $200,000 in 1962. That money allegedly went to Jean Rene Marie Souetre of the OAS. In early 1963, Monsieur Souetre had a sequence of clandestine meetings with, respectively, E. Howard Hunt, far-right General Edwin Walker, and Guy Banister. Souetre and unnamed Corsican assassins are shown by Valentine to have been the probable actual killers of John Kennedy. Corsican drug smugglers used as assassins were reportedly favored over U.S. Mafiosi due to ongoing Project Luciano-type entanglements between them and the CIA. (See also, Corsican Assassin Waited for Abe, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of June 19, 2014, where JFK’s possible key assassin is named as one Lucien Sarti.)
One consequence of the JFK assassination, as seen by Valentine and others, was a “transfer of political power from the northeast to the [Lyndon Baines] Johnson [LBJ] administration in the southwest,” also known under the generalized nomenclature of “The Yankee, Cowboy Wars.” This alleged battle between an east coast Establishment and a “Cowboy” Establishment in Texas may have been ongoing in 2004, with John Forbes Kerry representing the “Yankees” and George W. Bush representing the “Cowboys.”
The Strength of the Wolf
There’s quite a lot of intriguing history packed into Douglas Valentine’s The Strength of the Wolf. Details on the CIA’s MK-Ultra program, LSD dabbling by elite Washington, DC high society, Bobby Baker, LBJ’s shady personal secretary, Howard Hughes connections to CIA… the list of intelligence gathered through the years by the “Wolf Pack” of often courageous, sometimes demented FBN agents illuminates a crucial, hitherto unknown aspect of U.S. history.
The book is not light reading for summertime on the beach. Recommended for most readers is that they cover about a chapter per day (the chapters average less than 20 pages.) The Strength of the Wolf is also not psychologically easy to digest: many painful truths are revealed and for that reason, too, most readers are advised to cover about a chapter per day.
(A version of the above first appeared at my old Conspiracy Nation web site on April 25, 2004.)