Please read the following passage, then answer the questions below. Make sure you provide full sentence responses for the written response questions.

Question Description

The FBI: With Great Power Comes Great Scandal



by Douglas M. Charles, Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University

In May of 2016, President Donald Trump fired James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It was an unusual move, but drama at the FBI is nothing new. Given its 109-year history, the FBI has seen many scandals and numerous leaders come and go.

The top official at the FBI is the director. FBI directors have always been chosen by presidents. But they haven’t always stayed friends with presidents. Most notably, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (1924-1972) worked to satisfy the political interests of some presidents and secretly undermine others. Since his death in 1972 and revelations of his abuses, the federal government has treated the FBI director as independent from the White House.

Most directors have either retired or moved on to other work. Four were forced to offer resignations, and only two — including Comey — have been fired. Understanding the agency’s past is key to understanding why Comey was forced out of his job, as well as the current drama happening with the FBI.

THE FBI’s ORIGIN

The FBI was founded in 1908. At the time, there were many state and local law enforcement agencies, but federal law enforcement was new. The FBI was created as part of the U.S. Justice Department, which was then only 38 years old.

The U.S. grew quickly in the late 1800s, and as it did people realized that only the federal government was powerful enough to reign in widespread corporate corruption and abuses. President Theodore Roosevelt established the Bureau of Investigation by executive mandate. As the FBI’s authority grew, scandals began to emerge.

EXPANSION OF AUTHORITY

In the 1910s, the FBI branched out to enforce anti-prostitution and anti-car theft laws, making it necessary for agents to leave their desks and investigate crimes in the field. The FBI established field offices across the country.

During World War I (1914-1918), the FBI entered the world of national security. Germany was the U.S.’s main enemy, and people feared spying and acts of terrorism from German-Americans and other immigrants. The FBI began enforcing new laws designed to hunt down spies and people disloyal to the United States. The FBI also, rounded up and illegally detained Americans suspected of not registering for the draft. Director A. Bruce Bielaski was forced to resign in 1919 for these raids.

FBI improprieties did not end there. In the early 1920s, William J. Burns led the bureau through the Teapot Dome scandal, one of the greatest scandals in U.S. history. President Warren Harding’s interior secretary, Albert Fall, allowed oil companies to tap U.S. Navy emergency oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, in exchange for money. Senator Burton K. Wheeler and others discovered this fraud and began investigating.

FBI Director Burns, at the request of Attorney General Harry Daugherty, tried to end the Senate probe. Burns dispatched agents to dig up dirt on Senator Wheeler, but they could not find anything. Instead, Burns and Daugherty came up with baseless corruption charges against Wheeler that only backfired, and Burns was forced to resign in 1924.

The FBI was then placed under J. Edgar Hoover. With Hoover’s leadership, the FBI evolved from a small investigative agency to a large, professional law enforcement and national security body. It was finally granted the power to arrest people, and the FBI also developed scientific methods of detecting and solving crime. These were used to target celebrated gangsters of the 1930’s.

Over time, Hoover’s FBI also became notorious for abusing his power as he illegally gathered information on U.S. politicians and celebrities. The FBI also targeted people Hoover did not like for investigation and harassment. This included African-American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. It also included gays, war protesters, leftists and other people Hoover saw as a threat to the United States.

THE MODERN FBI

After Hoover’s death in 1972, the FBI worked to repair its damaged reputation. Hoover had been director for 48 years, and, to prevent future abuses, Congress limited directors to 10-year terms.

Other FBI directors left office after scandals. In the early 1970s, the Watergate scandal began to hurt President Richard Nixon. He appointed L. Patrick Gray to replace Hoover as director, but in 1973, Gray admitted to destroying Watergate-related files and he had to resign. William Sessions became director in 1987, but he was soon caught using FBI resources for personal trips and home improvements. After a long investigation, President Bill Clinton fired him in July 1993. This marked the first time an FBI director was fired.

This brings us to James Comey, the second director to be fired. Sessions was given many chances to resign before being fired. Comey’s firing was so sudden and unexpected that it triggered an independent investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials. Trump had asked Comey to stop such an investigation. Comey’s firing was just one dramatic moment in a long history of the FBI.

1. What is Douglas Charles’ purpose in writing this article?


A. to explain why the President fired James Comey


B. to describe scandals and abuse of power that have happened in the FBI


C. to give a complete history of the FBI


D. to show that the FBI is no longer serving it’s orignal purpose



2. What led Congress to limit the term of the FBI director to 10 years?

*


A. Illegal detention of Americans during World War II


B. The FBI’s transformation into a larger, more professional law enforcement agency


C. J. Edgar Hoover’s abuse of his power as FBI Director


D. L. Patrick Gray’s involvement in the Watergate Scandal



3. Which passage best supports the idea that the FBI’s focus has shifted to include national security concerns?

*


A. “The U.S. grew quickly in the late 1800s, and as it did people realized that only the federal government was powerful enough to reign in widespread corporate corruption and abuses.”


B. “Germany was the U.S.’s main enemy, and people feared spying and acts of terrorism from German-Americans and other immigrants. The FBI began enforcing new laws designed to hunt down spies and people disloyal to the United States.”


C. “In the 1910s, the FBI branched out to enforce anti-prostitution and anti-car theft laws, making it necessary for agents to leave their desks and investigate crimes in the field.”


D. “[The FBI] was finally granted the power to arrest people, and the FBI also developed scientific methods of detecting and solving crime.”



4. What was the results of FBI Agents investigating Senator Wheeler for corruption in the 1920’s?


A. Senator Wheeler was forced to resign for abusing his power


B. Oil companies were allowed to tap U.S. Navy emergency oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming


C. The size of the FBI was reduced in order to decrease it’s power and limit investigations into Congress and the President


D. J Burn’s plan backfired and he was forced to resign in 1924



5. Why did the author describe the firing of James Comey at the beginning and the end of the article?

*


A. To show that James Comey abused his power in the same ways as past FBI directors like Hoover, Burns, and Gray


B. To show that the FBI still struggles with scandals, although the cause of the 2016 scandal is different than the scandals in past decades.


C. To show that James Comey was a much better FBI director than many of the directors who came before him


D. To remind the reader that James Comey was the main subject of the article



6. Is this a Primary or Secondary Source? How do you know? Answer in one to two complete sentences.

*

7. If you were asked to research more on the topic of this article, what would be a good question to try to answer through more research?

*

8. What type of sources would you use to find reliable information on the topic?

*

9. Do you think that this article is a reliable, unbiased source? Why or Why not?

*




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