Beyond Partisanship: FBI's Abuses Affect Americans on All Sides

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File

The FBI has long been a corrupt institution that authoritarians on both sides of the aisle have used to impose their will on the rest of us. They have used the agency as a political cudgel against those who oppose their rule. But this has not been based purely on political affiliation, per se, despite what many of us have been led to believe.


Instead, the FBI has focused on those espousing anti-government sentiments whether they are on the right or the left.

Additional information has surfaced revealing more malfeasance on the part of the FBI.

The New York Times published a report detailing how the Bureau conducted illegal surveillance on Americans during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol building and during the George Floyd riots. From the report:

F.B.I. analysts improperly used a warrantless surveillance program to search for information about hundreds of Americans who came under scrutiny in connection with two politically charged episodes of civil unrest: the protests after the 2020 police killing of George Floyd and the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, a newly declassified court ruling shows.

While the F.B.I. has tightened restrictions since then, the disclosure of the misuses is likely to provide fodder to critics of the program from both ends of the political spectrum as the Biden administration seeks to persuade Congress to renew it.

Section 702 is a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that empowers the U.S. government, specifically the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to collect communications of foreign individuals located outside the United States for intelligence purposes. Under Section 702, the government can obtain access to emails, texts, and other forms of electronic communications without a warrant, even if they involve American citizens or residents.


The program allows for the surveillance of foreigners abroad who are targeted for intelligence gathering, and it also permits the monitoring of their communications with individuals inside the United States. Critics argue that Section 702 raises concerns about privacy and civil liberties, as it allows for the incidental collection of Americans’ communications during foreign surveillance operations.

Unfortunately, the Bureau has been using Section 702 to violate the Fourth Amendment willy-nilly. Earlier this month, a report showed that the FBI’s warrantless surveillance operations had declined, but was still occurring at a rate that is hardly accidental.

The recent disclosure of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) misuse of a warrantless surveillance program has once again highlighted a concerning reality: The violation of rights by the Bureau extends across the political spectrum. The reality is that the agency has targeted both conservatives and progressives alike – and it goes far beyond warrantless surveillance.

You have probably seen reports of FBI agents and informants infiltrating right-wing groups, especially during J6. Some of these informants reportedly actively encouraged people to engage in the riot at the Capitol building so they would have a pretext for arresting and convicting them. The agency did the same with the group of people who attempted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. You can read Bonchie’s report on it here. The Bureau essentially hatched the plot and encouraged suspects to make the kidnapping attempt.


But the FBI didn’t only conduct these types of operations on right-wingers. They did the same to leftist organizations and individuals during the George Floyd riots. The Intercept published a series of reports detailing how the Bureau employed a violent felon informant to infiltrate groups protesting police brutality after the murder of George Floyd. These people were not the ones rioting and vandalizing property, they were engaging in demonstrations in line with the First Amendment. Nevertheless, the informant actively tried to provoke some of the protesters into carrying out a plot to assassinate a public official among other offenses to give the FBI a reason to arrest them. You can read the report here.

These are just a few examples of how the FBI targets Americans of all political stripes – especially ones who might have anti-government beliefs that fall outside the mainstream.

These revelations should serve as a wake-up call to Americans, as this challenges the prevailing belief that the FBI predominantly targets one side of the political aisle over the other. In fact, recognizing the FBI’s abuses on both the left and the right could pave the way for potential solutions to address this systemic problem. However, the challenge lies in overcoming the divisive tactics employed by authoritarian elites in the government and the media, who seem determined to keep conservatives and progressives divided along political and racial lines.


The FBI’s recent misuse of the Section 702 surveillance program to investigate individuals associated with both the George Floyd protests and the Capitol riot is indicative of a broader issue. It underscores the fact that the Bureau has violated the rights of people on both the left and the right.

By overstepping the limitations set by the law and failing to comply with restrictions, the FBI has jeopardized the privacy and civil liberties of Americans regardless of their political affiliations. This pattern of misconduct erodes trust in the institution tasked with upholding the law and protecting citizens’ rights.

A significant obstacle in addressing the FBI’s violations is the prevailing belief among many individuals that the Bureau primarily targets one side of the political spectrum while shielding the other. The growth of hyperpartisanship in political discourse and the media has created an environment in which people don’t believe those who disagree with them are likely to be targeted by the government. Even in cases where they see that the feds target their political opposition, they are likely to assume the abuse is justified.

In reality, the FBI’s transgressions cross ideological boundaries. Recognizing this reality is crucial to fostering a more nuanced understanding of the problem and uniting Americans across political lines to demand accountability and reform.

If more Americans become aware of the FBI’s abuses on both sides of the political divide, it could lead to a broader consensus and collective action toward finding solutions. The truth is that the violation of rights is not about right and left. Rather, it is about the elites on Teams Red and Blue against the rest of us. The possibility that the American public might finally wake up and realize this terrifies those who would expand their power while keeping us hopelessly divided.


Engaging in open discussions and fostering dialogue between individuals with different political beliefs can help bridge the divide and galvanize efforts to address the systemic problems within the federal government. The question is: Are Americans ready to wake up?


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