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.
Time and again the FBI has shown its inability, or unwillingness, to obey the law. This time, a secret court ruling made public last week revealed that the FBI had conducted tens of thousands of unauthorized searches of U.S. persons in a government intelligence database between 2017 and 2018
Earlier this week, it was revealed that a judge on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court ruled that some of the FBI’s “backdoor” searches of communications intercepted by the NSA violated the rights of Americans. Defending Rights & Dissent has long opposed the FBI’s backdoor searches and renews its call for Congress to eliminate them once and for all.
Leaked FBI Memo Conjures Threat of Armed Conflict From Anarchist Groups Fighting for Immigrant Rights
The FBI is monitoring groups protesting U.S. border and immigration policies and considers them violent threats despite providing little evidence to support that claim.
Civil Society Leaders Demand Action After Revelations of FBI JTTF Spying on Anti-Pipeline Groups in Oregon
Leaders from international, national, and local organizations call on Governor Kate Brown to stop surveillance of communities opposing the Jordan Cove LNG export project.
Portions of the FBI’s Consolidated Strategy Guide were leaked to the Young Turks’ Ken Klippenstein. Labeled “threat guidance”, these documents from 2018-2020, show how Black dissent continues to be viewed as a top domestic terrorism threat by the