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How Marxism Infected America’s Intel Agencies And Corrupted Them Beyond Repair

Big Intel book cover
Image CreditRegnery Publishing

In J. Michael Waller’s book, Big Intel, a veteran intelligence analyst tells the worrisome tale of how Marxist ideas such as DEI and critical theory corrupted the CIA and FBI.


In Big Intel: How the CIA and FBI Went from Cold War Heroes to Deep State Villains, J. Michael Waller describes the crisis America is facing with the subversion of our intelligence institutions. Waller is the senior analyst for strategy at the Center for Security Policy and the president of Georgetown Research, a political risk and private intelligence company. He holds a Ph.D. in International Security Affairs from Boston University. Big Intel itself builds on Waller’s earlier Secret Empire: The KGB in Russia Today. That book predicted today’s gangster government in Russia, run by former KGB officers.

Waller’s analysis is deeply rooted in his own life experiences. Straight out of a John le Carré novel, he has had some very “up close and personal” brushes with spies and spycraft — beginning with early recruitment by that old Cold War warrior, Reagan CIA Director William Casey, which led to fieldwork in Latin America. Later studies and trips in the ’90s brought Waller to the Soviet Union, which placed him in contact with the notorious FBI turncoat Bob Hanssen, which in turn led to an awkward moment with FBI Director Louis Freeh. Most of this riveting biographical information is told in Big Intel’s first 30 pages, thus briefly establishing the author’s bona fides.

The bulk of Big Intel is two parallel — and occasionally intertwined — histories. The one is a tale of spies, spying, and subversion; the evolution of militant Marxist-Leninism into cultural Marxism as manifest in contemporary woke culture. The second history is that of the CIA and FBI, which originally fought the overt aggression of Marxist-Leninism but have now themselves been subverted by cultural Marxism in the guise of woke culture and the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” trope.

Waller begins with the behavior of the FBI, cheered on by John Brennan’s CIA, in the groundless Trump campaign investigation. We first see Peter Strzok, the FBI executive who began the Trump campaign investigation “Crossfire Hurricane,” both opening the case and then traveling to London to conduct the investigation, usurping the role of a field agent. Then we had Andy McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, who was acting director after James Comey was fired, ordering an investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice. Other than the firing itself, McCabe offered no predicate for this investigative initiative. The ultimate offender was former FBI Director James Comey. The abuse of power by Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and others has undermined public trust in the FBI.

Waller sees these abuses as far more dangerous than these agencies merely interfering in partisan politics. He sees these powerful agencies as being the spearhead of a foundational transformation of our country and society. His Big Intel answers the question, how did this happen? He takes us back to Moscow more than a century ago, before there was an FBI or a CIA.

Back in Time

Borrowing a phrase from journalist Diana West, Waller follows the “red thread,” an unbroken line of ideological evolution from the earliest Bolsheviks to today’s woke warriors. Waller explains in almost painful detail each step of this evolution. Here his extensive academic background in intelligence studies becomes evident.

The early Soviets’ efforts at spreading Marxist ideology in Europe grew into the Frankfurt School, a cadre of Marxist scholars whose ideas Moscow hoped would destroy Weimar Germany from within. However, the Nazis beat them to the punch. Unfortunately for us, this was an unplanned boost for the Frankfurt School, as they relocated to the United States. Each step of the transformation of classical Marxism into today’s Cultural Marxism, with its manifestation of critical theory and woke obsessions, is traced in detail and documented by Waller.

Along the way, we get a refresher course on the Comintern and its ever-evolving supporting agencies like the Chekists, the NKVD, the KGB, and today’s FSB and SVR. Waller manages to make this all understandable. As he also does with the diverse individuals along the “red thread” from Bolsheviks like Feliks Dzerzhinsky, to Herbert Marcuse, and Reinhold Niebuhr, who brought the Frankfurt School’s Paul Tillich to America.

The parallel history of our two important institutions is related in similar detail, often dovetailing with the accounts of their challenging opponents. Waller gives them their due, covering the good, the bad, and the ugly of both the CIA and FBI. Both J. Edgar Hoover and William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, considered here as the founding fathers of the FBI and CIA respectively, are given a balanced treatment.

Donovan, a colorful character, created and ran the CIA’s predecessor, the OSS. Several of his OSS veterans would become leaders in the CIA. Waller reminds us that the legend and prestige of today’s FBI were built on a half-century of real accomplishments and extraordinary public relations by J. Edgar Hoover, in spite of the efforts of today’s FBI to erase his memory.

Intel Agencies Today

Recent FBI and CIA directors have fallen under the spell of critical theory, the current manifestation of Cultural Marxism. They have been pushed and pulled in this direction by a series of executive orders from Presidents Obama and Biden demanding “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” The CIA’s John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper all willingly went along with this and are examined in Big Intel. But James Comey deserves and gets detailed attention.

Comey’s belief system is based on the philosophy of Reinhold Niebuhr. Although not a communist, Niebuhr was definitely a fellow traveler, part of the “red thread.” Waller tells us that Comey, taking from Niebuhr, saw a moral obligation to dispense with ethics. In Comey’s own words, “The Christian in politics must be willing to transgress any purely Christian ethic. He must be willing to sin in the name of justice.”

As FBI director, Comey substituted his own moral interpretation over established norms and precedents. His virtual declination of prosecution in the Clinton email matter, usurping a prosecutor’s role, is a case in point. The distinct previous guardrails of the FBI — e.g., caution in starting political investigations and briefing Congress on sensitive investigations — were ignored by Comey. He never briefed the Gang of Eight, during their quarterly meetings, about the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. When asked why Congress had never been briefed, he replied it was too “sensitive,” again substituting his own moral judgment for the established norm.

Critical theory, the ideology that unpins the core mission of today’s FBI and CIA, demands a constant search for enemies among our fellow citizens and our constitutional institutions. Today’s FBI plans to erase Hoover’s name from its new headquarters building, while still profiting from the pedestal upon which he placed the Bureau. Meanwhile, the CIA spreads the falsehood that Wild Bill Donovan was all about “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

J. Michael Waller has written a great book: Big Intel is a brilliant analysis of a serious issue facing our country.

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