The New FBI Powers: Cointelpro on Steroids
John W. Whitehead|Rutherford Institute
Listen closely and what you will hear, beneath the babble of political chatter and other mindless political noises distracting you from what’s really going on, are the dying squeals of the Fourth Amendment. It dies a little more with every no-knock raid that is carried out by a SWAT team, every phone call eavesdropped on by FBI agents, and every piece of legislation passed that further undermines the right of every American to be free from governmental intrusions into their private affairs.
Meanwhile, President Obama and John Boehner are exchanging political niceties on the golf course, Congress is doing their utmost to be as ineffective as possible, and the Tea Party–once thought to be an alternative to politics as usual–is clowning around with candidates who, upon election, have proven to be no better than their predecessors and just as untrustworthy when it comes to protecting our rights and our interests. Yet no matter how hard Americans work to insulate themselves from the harsh realities of life today–endless wars, crippling debt, sustained unemployment, a growing homeless population, rising food and gas prices, morally bankrupt and corrupt politicians, plummeting literacy rates, and on and on–there can be no ignoring the steady drumbeat of the police state marching in lockstep with our government.
Incredibly, with little outcry from the populace, the lengths to which the government will go in its quest for total control have become more extreme with every passing day. Now comes the news that the FBI intends to grant to its 14,000 agents expansive additional powers that include relaxing restrictions on a low-level category of investigations termed assessments. This allows FBI agents to investigate individuals using highly intrusive monitoring techniques, including infiltrating suspect organizations with confidential informants and photographing and tailing suspect individuals, without having any factual basis for suspecting them of wrongdoing. (Incredibly, during the four-month period running from December 2008 to March 2009, the FBI initiated close to 12,000 assessments of individuals and organizations, and that was before the rules were further relaxed.)