I can’t seem to find much on this topic, could it be a violation of Cowen’s Second Law? Here is one passage from Beverly Gate from 2012 (pdf):
Hoover’s bureaucratic skills gave him remarkable control over the FBI’s internal culture and policies. And yet his strategies for achieving that autonomy were often in conflict with each other. Autonomy was not a one-time event; it required constant care and rebalancing. In Hoover’s case, the impulse to maintain the FBI’s professional, nonpartisan image was frequently at odds with efforts to exert popular political and ideological influence. Throughout his career, Hoover’s cozy relationships with congressmen and presidents constantly threatened to undermine the Bureau’s reputation as a nonpartisan agency, divorced from the spoils system and power politics. Similarly, his outspoken anticommunist crusades—a key source of FBI cultural authority—were often in tension with his description of the FBI as purely reactive investigative agency.
The simplest model has the FBI as a bit like the Fed: seeking to promote some policy goals but also jealous of its independence and autonomy. Doing good policy work often promotes independence but not always, and the agency is not well set up to deal with instances where the two objectives conflict. Organizations of this kind also tend to be relatively underdeveloped when it comes to skills of media management and public relations, since they are counting on results and political support to do the job for them. In fact, if they tried to actively manage their PR well on a daily basis, they might find it hard to stay out of politics, as they would end up doing too much “day specific” posturing and not enough “general mood affiliation” posturing.
Hasn’t someone written a piece called something like “A Public Choice Theory of the FBI”? (Bob Tollison, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you…) Can anyone help with reading suggestions, comments of course are open.
Addendum: Here is analysis from David Warsh.