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The Nixon Precedent: Lawyer, author reviews book by Citadel Intelligence professor

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Photo: Melissa Graves, Ph.D. (left) arranged the Watergate panel, held on The Citadel campus in February 2020 as part of the Department of Intelligence and Cybersecurity’s two-day conference. (Seated left to right: Melissa Graves, Ph.D., John Mindermann, John Clynick, Paul Magallanes, Daniel Mahan and Angelo Lano.)

As seen in Washington Decoded, by James Robenalt

Nixon’s FBI: Hoover, Watergate, and a Bureau in Crisis
Melissa Graves
Lynne Rienner Publishers. 246 pp. $85

Exactly one thousand twenty-five words comprise Article II of the Constitution, and most of them are devoted to how to select a president of the United States.

The two hundred or so left over describe a president’s substantive powers. That the key phrase—“executive power shall be vested in the president of the United States”—has been interpreted generously is an understatement. It has become the basis for vast power since it confers unenumerated powers. By contrast, Article I, which governs the Congress, only vests all legislative powers “granted herein”—a limiting qualifier.

Add sweeping clauses like “commander in chief,” and “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” and you arrive at the dilemma posed in Melissa Graves’s new book, Nixon’s FBI, Hoover, Watergate, and a Bureau in Crisis. What are the limits of a president’s control over federal law enforcement, especially when the crimes at issue may involve the president in either his/her private or elected capacity? This issue, in turn, raises the question of the government’s power to surveil its citizens, including citizens who may be considered political dissidents and not seditious criminals. That question is at the heart of the present danger posed by domestic extremists or terrorists who have grown exponentially during the Trump administration.

This makes Nixon’s FBI an important read.

An assistant professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at The Citadel, Melissa Graves started out to write about the fundamental conflict between the FBI’s duties, as the premier federal investigative agency, and the fact that it answers to the president while also investigating said president from time to time. Her focus was the Nixon administration, when this conflict was in sharper relief, owing to the Watergate scandal, than at any other time save for the past four years. Eventually her research encompassed the courageous FBI agents who pursued the Watergate investigation despite all the headwinds from higher-ups to constrict the search for the truth—including, as it turned out, a higher-up named Richard M. Nixon. Special agents like Angelo Lano, John Mindermann, Daniel Mahan, Paul Magallanes, and John Clynick are profiled in an important chapter about the investigation of the break-in by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. These agents are depicted, correctly,  as being many steps ahead of Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. While Woodward and Bernstein are celebrated in history as the “intrepid” reporters who cracked the Watergate case, in reality it was the hard work of these FBI agents who simply would not be waylaid. Click here to read more.

#7 in America: The Citadel Intelligence and Security Studies bachelor’s degree

As seen on

Individuals who are interested in pursuing an intelligence analysis career need to find a degree program that will offer them the skills they need to perform at the highest possible level. National security depends on how well the intelligence analysts do their job. With that being said, intelligence analysis career opportunities are available to those who meet or exceed the expectations that have been set for them. Being able to work in this highly stressful environment requires dedication to detail and a firm resolve to protect our country from any type of threat.

A career in intelligence analysis can lead to opportunities with employment opportunities with private security agencies as well. These private security agencies formulate risk analysis strategies that are beneficial to American companies who have vested financial interests in overseas markets.

7. The Citadel

The Citadel offers a BA in Intelligence and Security Studies (ISS) that is among the best degrees for intelligence analysis. Students who have already complete at least 24 semester credits may apply for this completion degree program, which can be completed entirely online. Students explore the many aspects of global and national threats present to US security forces while employing tactical and strategic analysis.

The Citadel (full name The Military College of South Carolina)l was established as a senior military college in 1842 by the state’s legislative body. Citadel’s campus in Charleston is home to approximately 3,550 students. The Citadel is ranked among the best colleges for veterans. The student body at the Citadel is recognized as one of the biggest uniformed bodies in the nation.

Program: BA in Intelligence and Security Studies

Department Highlights: Summer 2019 Study Abroad Programs

Intelligence gathering on Russia’s edge

The Republic of Georgia, wedged between Russia and Turkey, is a critical strategic partner to the United States. That’s why a group of graduate and undergraduate students with The Citadel Department of Intelligence and Security Studies went there to study. Their leader: Terry Mays, Ph.D., professor of political science, and international relations expert.


Few, if any, U.S. colleges besides The Citadel, offer the opportunity to study abroad in this important locale, Mays said. It is critical to understand Russia’s role in this region and how Georgia and other states cooperate in order to maintain their independence.

The four week study abroad trip included multiple excursions to exciting locations, lectures by former ambassadors to the U.S., former ministers in the Georgian government, and trips to Georgian military facilities.Click here to read more about our Georgia Study Abroad

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Group photo at Jvari Monastery (6th century), with Citadel Professor Terry Mays (back/right) and his 30 year old Bulldogs flag he has taken with him around the world

Citadel students spend summer learning from world-renowned expert in nation’s capital

The Citadel is giving the next generation of principled leaders a chance to learn directly from today’s decision makers.

This is the fourth year The Citadel in DC program has been offered, and it has been made possible every year by the college’s strong ties with Washington, DC, as well as the large alumni network there.

This year, The Citadel in DC program is giving 14 cadets and students the chance to earn academic credit and real-world experience. The nearly two months-long program combines an internship with a class, allowing participants to earn nine total credit hours. Previously, the academic portion of the program has been taught through various combinations of the Fine ArtsCriminal JusticePolitical Science and Business departments. But this time, The Citadel in DC is being taught through the Intelligence and Security Studies department, and the class’s focus is on related U.S. policies, both foreign and domestic.

The class portion of The Citadel in DC is being led by Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at The Citadel and an expert on violent extremism issues with areas of specialty on transnational terrorist movements, counter-terrorism, Islamic intellectual history, Islam in America and contemporary theology in the Muslim world and African affairs.

“I’m pretty plugged into what’s happening in Washington, having worked in government myself,” said Fraser-Rahim. “It helps students experience what’s going on, not just in theory but also in thinking about life, jobs or careers moving forward. It really excites me to be able to give them that opportunity that hopefully changes their perspectives and serves as an inspiration for what they want to do in the future.”

Students attend class with Fraser-Rahim once a week, which includes guest speakers such as Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Erin Wilson, who works as a senior policy fellow on Capitol Hill. Click here to read more about The Citadel in DC program

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Muhammad Fraser-Rahim teaching in Washington, DC

Faculty in the Spotlight: Dr. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim

This program aired on February 21, 2019.

Listen to Citadel professor Muhammad Fraser-Rahim on NPR’s “On Point”

With Meghna Chakrabarti

An American woman joined the Islamic State, went to Syria, married three ISIS fighters and called for attacks on Americans. But now, she says she was brainwashed, is rejecting extremism and wants to come back — with her child.

She says she’s willing to face justice here in the U.S., but should she be allowed to come home? Click here to listen. 

As seen live at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

While groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have lost ground in the Middle East, terrorist attacks and extremist ideologies have spread across many African nations. Whether it’s the continued presence of Boko Haram in Nigeria or more recent attacks on the Ivory Coast and in Burkina Faso, terrorism is a growing problem in Africa.

Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., executive director of Quilliam in North America and assistant professor in The Citadel’s Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, and Katherine Zimmerman, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and research manager for AEI’s Critical Threats Project, discuss options for responding to these threats. Click here to watch the video. 


Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., an assistant professor in The Citadel Department of Intelligence and Security Studies is the author of Enslaved and Freed African Muslims: Spiritual Wayfarers in the South and Lowcountryan online exhibit launched Oct. 26. Click here to read more. 

As seen in Quilliam International, by Dr. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, executive professor of Quilliam International and assistant professor at The Citadel. Click here to read. 

Faculty in the Spotlight: Dr. Carl Jensen

Intelligence, homeland and cyber security issues are constantly in the news – from the Russian elections interference to Facebook hacks to the recent rash of pipe bomb mailings.  Which is why our next guest’s Lowcountry university recently launched a degree program focused on intelligence and security.

Mike Switzer interviews Carl Jensen, Co-Director of the Citadel Center for Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Studies at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. Click here to listen to the interview. 

Faculty in the Spotlight: LTC Michael Brady

As heard on the The Live Drop

Weekly episodes of this podcast feature guests, which The Live Drop calls “Assets” in classic spy style, from various professions that relate to or directly involve Cold War and intel experiences. Mark is not just the creator and host of The Live Drop, he is also a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and was stationed in Berlin at the end of the Cold War.

Episode 11

ASSET: Michael Brady

Mark Valley chats with Michael Brady, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, career intelligence professional, and the author of several spy novels. He teaches at The Citadel (Military College of South Carolina), encouraging and patiently guiding his cadets and students to backup their choices with solid intelligence. More information about Michael and his work can be found at Michael Brady

Listen to the podcast here.

Michael Brady discusses what inspired him to join the military and what leadership skills he gained over the years. Click here to read LTC Brady's interivew with the School of Humanities &Social Sciences. 

Department Highlights 

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Members of The Citadel's Intelligence Club pose with Ambassador Marina Kaljurand, the former Foreign Minister of Estonia and current Chair of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. Ambassador Kaljurand is also a Fellow in the Citadel's Center for Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Studies.


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