| It's not just|
a good idea
Secret police is a term used to refer to police agencies which serve to protect typically authoritarian political regimes, often by means of abusing basic human rights, such as freedom of speech, worship, opinion, press and the right to a fair trial, as well as making heavy use of propaganda.
 Tsarist Russia
The Russian Empire in the latter half of the 19th century developed a secret police force known as the Okhrana. This secret police force tended to spend their days organizing pogroms against the Jewish population in the rural areas of Russia until the February Revolution of 1917.
 Communist Russia
Communist Russia, and its later empire, the Soviet Union that we all knew and loved, had several incarnations of the secret police, taking over where the Tsars left off, though with slightly less Jew-beatings. The first incarnation of
the communist secret police the Russian law enforcement agencies under Soviet rule that emerged in 1917 after the October Revolution was known as the Cheka, an abbreviation in the Russian language for the All-Russian Extraordinary Committee to Combat Counter-Revolution and Sabotage. The Cheka dealt primarily with purely Russian (RSFSR) affairs, as the Soviet Union itself was not formed and later ratified until 1922 and 1924 respectively. In 1922, the Cheka was transformed into the GPU - the State Political Directorate, which fell under the control of the NKVD, standing for the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs.
 Nazi Germany
The Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei--"Secret State Police") was the name of the secret police force under Nazi Germany, and de facto under the control of the infamous Schutzstaffel ("Protection Force"). The Sicherheitsdienst ("Security Service") served as a sister organization, both doing arrests on their own and collecting intelligence about dissidents and other people targeted by the state. Unlike the Gestapo, the SD were an official division of the SS.
 East Germany
The secret police service for Communist East Germany was the Stasi (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit--"Ministry for State Security"). The Stasi made the Gestapo look like amateurs--they were perhaps the most effective secret police force in world history, monitoring virtually every single aspect of East Germans' lives and recruiting as many as 1/7 of the entire population as informants.
 Union of Soviet Socialist Americas
The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover was responsible for keeping tabs on large numbers of suspected subversives during the McCarthy era, and later carried out the COINTELPRO program, an attempt to sow destruction within the 1960s domestic radical movement. This involved large-scale illegal surveillance, which is a good example of one of the secret police's specialties: attacking the constitutional rights of citizens. The National Security Agency has also been slipping in and out of this role of late, if these secret warrantless wiretapping controversies are anything to go by.
Of course, if you ask a wingnut conspiracy theorist, he will not point to these real-world examples, but to some nebulous liberal cabal with a dyed-in-the-wool Islamic socialist as its shady kingpin, which is watching you and looking to redistribute your wealth as we speak.
 Airstrip One
The Thought Police (also known as Thinkpol) are the government agents in charge of crushing freedom of
speech thought in Airstrip One (what the island of Great Britain is called) in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Like most aspects of the book, the Thought Police were inspired by life under Stalinist Russia in the 1930s and 1940s, specifically the actions of the NKVD.