Friday, February 7, 2014

A short article I just wrote, "Putting 'American Hustle' in Proper Historical Perspective"

There is a lot of buzz at the present moment about American Hustle, which has received ten Oscar nominations.  While the film is characterized by excellent acting, it provides poor historical context to fully understand the FBI's ABSCAM investigation of the late 1970s.  The viewer is led to believe the investigation of members of Congress on bribery charges inadvertently fell into the lap of the bureau, instead of being part of a major FBI program aimed at "public corruption."  In 1978, President Jimmy Carter named a former federal judge, William Webster, to the FBI director's post and Webster made public corruption an early priority, doubling the number of cases in this area to about 1,000 within his first year in office.  In addition to investigating members of Congress, the FBI went after other elected officials -- governors, state legislators, and mayors... 

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