If the FBI is going to investigate dissent, than someone has to investigate the FBI. That’s why for decades we’ve continuously and meticulously documented the FBI’s bad acts. We use this information to educate the public and policymakers alike that these continued abuses of First Amendment rights are a threat.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the nation’s top law enforcement and domestic intelligence agency. They do more, however, than pursue crime or threats to national security. For over a century, the FBI has spied on dissent. It’s predecessor organization, the Bureau of Investigation made it clear that investigating radical political views was a top priority. This culminated when the General Intelligence Division, or Radical Division, headed by J. Edgar Hoover carried out the Palmer Raids, rounding up and deporting radicals. The FBI itself proudly carried on this tradition, creating an index of political dissidents and implementing the infamous COINTELPRO program to not only spy on disfavored political groups, but disrupt and neutralize them.
All of this may seem like ancient history, but it’s not. It was only a handful of years after the Church Committee exposed this conduct before the FBI was back to its old tricks investigating opponents of US Central America policy. And today, the FBI is still at it. We know the FBI has spied on Occupy Wall Street, antiwar, and environmental groups. They’ve made house calls to Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and Palestinian solidarity activists. They’ve created an intelligence assessment on “Black Identity Extremists,” which claims African-Americans rightfully angered by police racism are a threat to law enforcement. And they continue to deploy informants and infiltrators in the Muslim community writ large, essentially transforming religion into a proxy for suspicion.
Defending Rights & Dissent Policy & Legislative Counsel Chip Gibbons wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on why the left cannot embrace the FBI.
FBI agent Terry Albury saw inherent racism in the FBI’s targeting of local communities of color, and sought to blow the whistle on that racism and the agency’s unethical use of paid informants. He will be sentenced under the Espionage Act next week.
Political and social movements aren’t crimes, so why are Virginia police being offered a class that promises an overview of “current popular movements” and their “influential impact on social media and direct action protest?” What does that have to do with policing?
Appeals Court Reinstates No-Fly List Lawsuit by American Muslims Coerced to Spy by FBI. Victims May Sue Agents Who Listed them for Refusing to Inform
Today, a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit against 24 FBI agents alleging that they had placed or kept law-abiding American Muslims on the No-Fly List in an attempt to coerce the men into spying on their communities.
Officials from the Department of Justice and the FBI, with the blessing of the White House, have been holding meetings with security experts to develop backdoors that would give law enforcement uninterrupted access to encrypted data.