On Thursday, I wrote about a Wednesday Washington Times article detailing allegations by current and former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents that FBI agents had been given quotas for investigations of “domestic terrorism” and “white supremacy” related crime. The results included a bunch of FBI agents spinning their wheels on trying to find crimes and criminals where none are, while surveilling and investigating plenty of people critical of government in the process.
Disturbingly, the investigations of these individuals would arise based on the individuals having exercised their right to criticize government. An FBI agent bluntly described the situation in the article: “If they have a Gadsden flag and they own guns and they are mean at school board meetings, that’s probably a domestic terrorist.”
Allegations by Department of Justice officials, reported in a Wednesday New York Post article by Miranda Devine, provide additional information about the FBI’s expansive efforts undertaken in the name of countering domestic terrorism. The allegations relate that Facebook repeatedly provided the FBI with customers’ private conversations in redacted form that the FBI then used to obtain subpoenas to seek more information from Facebook, and which Facebook then provided in spades. “But when the targeted Facebook users were investigated by agents in a local FBI field office, sometimes using covert surveillance techniques, nothing criminal or violent turned up,” the Post article reports.
What kind of people did Facebook turn over to the FBI? The article provides this answer:
The Facebook users whose private communications Facebook had red-flagged as domestic terrorism for the FBI were all ‘conservative right-wing individuals.’
‘They were gun-toting, red-blooded Americans [who were] angry after the election and shooting off their mouths and talking about staging protests. There was nothing criminal, nothing about violence or massacring or assassinating anyone.
‘As soon as a subpoena was requested, within an hour, Facebook sent back gigabytes of data and photos. It was ready to go. They were just waiting for that legal process so they could send it.’
It sure looks like investigation and surveillance targeting individuals due to those individuals’ political views — a disgraceful use of government power.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.