Faculty Forum: The FBI in Latin America

The FBI in Latin America
Presented by Marc Becker
7 p.m.
Nov. 12
Baldwin Hall 176 (Little Theatre)

Abstract: In the 1940s, the FBI ran a little-known political surveillance operation in Latin America called the Special Intelligence Service (SIS). In January, Marc Becker tripped across documents in the United States National Archives that reveal the extent of its penetration into Latin America. The original justification for sending hundreds of FBI agents, many of them undercover, was to combat German Nazi influence in Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. But the mission did not stop there. The agency placed 45 agents in Ecuador, a small country that never was the target of German espionage networks. With the decline of the Nazi threat by 1943, the FBI shifted its entire intelligence apparatus to focus on FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s primary obsession with communism. As a result, historians are left with a rich source of documentation of the history of Latin America left during the 1940s.
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