by James Bovard
Donald Trump’s supporters are now in the FBI terrorist-investigation crosshairs, according to a new report in Newsweek.
The agency has created “a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump’s army of MAGA followers”; it’s targeting strident Republicans with some of the same counterterrorism methods honed to fight al Qaeda.
Federal bureaucrats heaved together a bunch of letters to contrive an ominous new acronym for the latest peril to domestic tranquility.
The result: AGAAVE — “anti-government, anti-authority violent extremism” — which looks like a typo for a sugar substitute.
The great majority of the FBI’s “current ‘anti-government’ investigations are of Trump supporters,” William Arkin, a highly respected investigative journalist, reported in Newsweek.
The FBI recently vastly expanded the supposed AGAAVE peril by broadening suspicion from “furtherance of ideological agendas” to “furtherance of political and/or social agendas.”
Anyone who has an agenda different from Team Biden’s could be AGAAVE’d for his own good.
The Biden administration is vilifying anti-government opinions at the same time judges are exposing federal crimes.
Federal court decisions in July and September condemned the Biden censorship regime — and those rulings were preceded by Supreme Court decisions striking down President Joe Biden’s student-loan-forgiveness scheme and vaccine mandates.
But Team Biden still presumes anyone who suspects the feds are violating the Constitution is up to no good.
The FBI is required to have (or claim to have) solid information before launching a criminal investigation. But the bureau needs almost zero information to open an “assessment.”
The FBI conducted more than 5,500 domestic-terrorism “assessments” in 2021, a 10-fold increase since 2017 and a 50-fold increase since 2013.
“Assessments are the closest thing to domestic spying that exists in America and generally not talked about by the Bureau,” Arkin noted.
Those assessments could prove perilous because the official demand for terrorists far exceeds the domestic supply. A top federal official told Newsweek last year: “We’ve become too prone to labeling anything we don’t like as extremism, and then any extremist as a terrorist.”
The House Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee warns that “the FBI appears to be complicit in artificially supporting the Administration’s political narrative” that domestic violent extremism is “the ‘greatest threat’ facing the United States.”
FBI whistleblower Steve Friend complained of current FBI leadership: “There is this belief that half the country are domestic terrorists and we can’t have a conversation with them. There is a fundamental belief that unless you are voicing what we agree . . . you are the enemy.”
Did the Biden administration secretly want Newsweek to vindicate the fears of legions of Trump supporters?
Perhaps those “assessments” are repeating a tactic used against Vietnam War protesters: FBI agents were encouraged to conduct frequent interviews with antiwar activists to “enhance the paranoia endemic in such circles” and “get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox,” according to an FBI memo from that era.
The more paranoid Trump supporters become, the easier it will be for Team Biden to portray them as public menaces.
Biden’s war on extremism could become a self-fulfilling prophecy that destroys American political legitimacy. An official in the Office of Director of National Intelligence lamented: “So we have the president increasing his own inflammatory rhetoric which leads Donald Trump and the Republicans to do the same” — and the media follow suit.
Biden is exempt from official suspicion even when he denounced Republicans as fascists who want to destroy democracy. Yet if Republicans sound equally overheated, Biden’s FBI has pretexts to target them.
Will the FBI’s interventions in the 2024 presidential election be even more brazen than its 2016 and 2020 stunts? Will the agency exploit its “assessments” to recruit knuckleheads to engage in another pre-election Keystone Kops plot to kidnap a governor, as it did in Michigan in 2020?
New crackdowns on purported extremists are especially perilous when FBI seems to stand for “Following Biden’s Instructions.”
A 1976 Senate report on FBI abuses warned: “The American people need to be assured that never again will an agency of the government be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order.”
Unfortunately, Americans may not learn the damning details of another FBI “secret war” until long after the next election.