Since the Revolution, Americans have debated what action the military should take toward civilians suspected of espionage, treason, or revolutionary activity. This important book—the first to present a comprehensive history of military surveillance in the United States—traces the evolution of America's internal security policy during the past two hundred years.
Joan M. Jensen discusses how the federal government has used the army to intervene in domestic crises and how Americans have protested the violation of civil liberties and applied political pressure to limit military intervention in civil disputes. Although movements to expand and to constrain the military have each dominated during different periods in American history, says Jensen, the involvement of the army in internal security has increased steadily. Jensen describes a wide range of events and individuals connected to this process. These include Benedict Arnold's betrayal of West Point; the colonial wars in Cuba, where Lt. Andrew Rowan, the nation's first officer spy, won a medal for carrying a "Message for Garcia"; the development of "War Plans White" in the 1920s to guide the army's response in the event of domestic rebellion; the activities of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI in the 1950s and 1960s; the use of the National Guard in the South at the height of the civil rights movement; and the surveillance of and violence against protesters during the Vietnam War. Scrutinizing the historic workings of the American government at closer range than has ever been done before, Jensen creates a vivid picture of the growing invisible intelligence empire within the United States government and of the men who created it.