Hollywood on the Potomac: Bugging Out

From installing bugs to searching houses- Author Ron Kessler’s new book reveals the secret workings of the FBI.
By Janet Donovan

Ron and Pam Kessler. Photo by Janet Donovan.

“The idea of this book is to bring out secrets that no one ever heard,” Ron Kessler said about his new book, The Secrets of the FBI, at a recent dinner. “When I was first given information on Marilyn Monroe at the FBI, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, am I going to be arrested or are they going to be arrested?” he added with a grin.

Obviously, for the FBI to investigate anyone, there has to be a good reason. When they do, “they go into planes, cars, homes, and they’ll stage fake yacht parties to get people away from their homes, anything to get the people out of the way so that they can install these bugs,” said Kessler.

Kessler's new book gives an inside look at the FBI.

While an FBI investigation is no laughing matter, there are some humorous moments. Take the story of the cat. “The FBI thought there was a dog in this mafia home. It turned out there was also a cat. When the opened the door, the cat ran out,” Kessler remembered. “They had to get the cat, otherwise they would create suspicion that maybe the FBI had been there. So they went hunting for it. All the agents ran around, saying on the walkie talkie: ‘Cat is described as nine pounds, gray in color.’ An hour later an agent said, ‘cat in custody, cat in custody,’ so they brought the cat back. But the next morning they listened to the bugs and realized they had gotten the wrong cat.”

Kessler has had his run-ins too. “One of their people came to my house and said: ‘We need to reinstall the bugs.’ That was their way of joking around a bit, I guess.”

As for the rest of us? “The FBI has probably already been in your apartment by now,” he said, only halfheartedly.

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