ABOVE THE LAW

Above the Law

Secret Deals, Political Fixes and Other Misadventures of the U.S. Department of Justice



"This book tells us that far too often the Justice Department represents not the people, but the politicians, corporations and other entrenched private interests. In Above the Law, David Burnham once again shows us why his investigative reporting is a national asset."

-- Seymour M. Hersh, Pulitzer Price winning investigative journalist


Myth: The Justice Department is a rational and evenhanded law enforcement mechanism.

Fact: The Justice Department is always political, steadily more powerful, sometimes corrupt and surprisingly ineffective.

The United States Justice Department -- which includes the FBI, the DEA, the INS and more than 100,000 employees -- functions as law enforcer, investigator and jailer of American citizens. The department's legal reach is vast, extending to social controversies of race, religion and economics as well as to thousands of criminal and civil laws, including espionage; mail fraud; corruption; racketeering; vote-fixing; pollution; computer crimes; adulterated food and drugs; price-fixing; tax fraud; gambling; forgery; and the sale, manufacture or possession of illicit drugs. The department then, and the attorney general, make decisions daily that affect every American citizen. But who monitors the Justice Department and its pervasive dealings?

In Above the Law, David Burnham reveals the chilling truth about this powerful arm of the government. Examining its records on such issues as drug enforcement, civil rights and national security, Burnham discovered that the agency runs virtually unpoliced, even after the BCCI scandal, the forcible abduction of Manuel Noriega and the disastrous mission at Waco. For the first time, David Burnham conducts a thorough investigation of the investigator, exposing the Justice Department as never before.

Read Above the Law and learn:

* How the FBI and the DEA have relentlessly expanded their electronic surveillance networks to encompass more and more average Americans -- rather than suspected criminals.

* How the war on drugs currently consumes more than half of the Justice Department's budget but remains a well-documented dud when it comes to reducing the use of illegal drugs.

* How and why FBI director Freeh, following a trail blazed by J. Edgar Hoover, directs a misleading national advertising blitz about the nation's crime problem.

* How the Justice Department has routinely failed to investigate the political allies of all presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy and George Bush.

* How -- more than three hundred times a year -- teams of agents from the FBI's top secret Surreptitious entry Program go about the task of breaking into houses, offices and warehouses of selected targets, usually to plant hidden cameras and microphones.

* How the law enforcement powers of the Justice Department have been used to harass black politicians and aid white ones.


Selected Excerpts


Annotated Table of Contents


Chapter 5.KEEPING TRACK OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: THE UNBLINKING EYE AND GIANT EAR


Chapter 6.THE BIG, BAD, DUMB WAR ON DRUGS


Chapter 8.UNCIVIL WRONGS AND CIVIL RIGHTS