Jack Kelly accurately points out that the FBI’s “big year” was 1934. Prior to that, agents were not allowed to carry guns or make arrests; after it, everything changed. But if the year 1934 was one turning point, there was another that the author neglected to discuss.
It was not until the early 1980s that the FBI became heavily armed and militarized. That was when the Agency—under pressure from the Reagan Justice Department—created the highly dangerous federal hostage rescue teams, entities whose very constitutionality is open to question. And it was none other than the counselor to the President, Edwin Meese, who pressured the FBI to create this entity. It is Meese who must bear at least indirect responsibility for the disasters of both Ruby Ridge and Waco.
Say what you will about big bad J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s longtime chief was too responsible ever to have permitted his agency to be militarized in the way it was in the early 1980s.