From its earliest days, the political Left in America has been highly critical of FBI abuses of civil liberties. With the advent of World War I and Congress’ enactment of the Espionage Act of 1917, the FBI began use of wiretapping and opening U.S. Mail as part of its nationwide surveillance of Americans. To be sure, the Bureau surveilled those thought to be German agents, but it also targeted political activists who were critical of U.S. entry into the war. As far back as 1924, an ACLU report described the FBI as “a secret police system of a political character.”
The Left’s criticism of the FBI intensified over the “Cointelpro” operation, which lasted from 1956 to 1971. There, the FBI targeted and disrupted political activities of American citizens viewed as troublemakers, particularly civil rights activists and the Black Panther Party. The FBI wiretapped, surveilled, and harassed Martin Luther King, Jr., and many believe at one point tried to drive him to commit suicide.
More recently, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General examined the FBI in the years after 9/11, and its report showed the FBI had focused on left-leaning groups such as Greenpeace, Catholic Worker, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, violating its own policies while surveilling Americans. The Left objected when the Espionage Act was used against whistle blowers who revealed details of the NSA mass surveillance programs and the CIA’s use of torture to fight its war on terror.
All this changed during the Trump Era with the FBI’s protection of Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden while attacking anyone in the MAGA movement.
Some on the Left now are thrilled that the Espionage Act could be used to indict President Trump, as the search warrant used to justify the Mar-a-Lago raid asserted possible violations of that Act. The Left has made clear that they have no objections to a “secret police system” — it just needs to be their secret police. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich explains: “The arrogance, aggressiveness, and dishonesty of the FBI has turned it into the left-wing secret police.”
Congressional Democrats have attacked the FBI for decades, but when Republicans pushed back against the FBI raid, soon-to-be former Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted, “I have been ashamed to hear [Republicans] attacking the integrity of the FBI agents…. These are sickening comments…” Former FBI agent Peter Strzok told MSNBC, “Absolutely the American public should trust what the FBI is doing. It’s not that the FBI is targeting any one side or the other.” Really?
At America’s Future, we believe that everyone’s Constitutional rights must be protected — or we will have lost the rule of law. The FBI’s violation of the rights of Leftist activists is just as serious as its violation of the rights of Conservative activists. The nation cannot survive if federal law enforcement personnel who are entrusted to carry badges and guns act as the enforcement arm of those politicians currently in power.