IWP Professor Raymond J. Batvinis, a former Supervisory Special Agent at the FBI, discussed his new book, Hoover’s Secret War against Axis Spies: FBI Counterespionage during World War II, in an event at The Institute of World Politics on Tuesday, June 17, 2014.
In his lecture, Dr. Batvinis discussed the origins of FBI counterintelligence and how the FBI gained international recognition. He described how the relationship between J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, and William Stephenson, director of British intelligence, started to deteriorate in the midst of the Second World War. Despite the tension between British intelligence and the FBI, the two organizations were successful in outsmarting German intelligence efforts. In June 1942, the FBI was able to uncover German espionage efforts when thirty-three German agents were discovered operating in New York.
Although the Bureau began its counterintelligence efforts with little experience in this area, it institutionalized effective counterintelligence procedures during this time. Dr. Batvinis noted that J. Edgar Hoover set critical standards for the future of the FBI, and discussed how today the Bureau’s counterintelligence efforts are a crucial part of the U.S. national security apparatus.
Before Dr. Batvinis joined the faculty of The Institute of World Politics, he accumulated over twenty-five years of experience in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His experience and expertise give a unique perspective to his writing on the history and transformation of the FBI.